San Diego with Teens: 11 Entertaining Things to Do

San Diego is an amazing place to spend time away from home with your teenagers! Enjoy long stretches of white sand beaches, mouth-watering food scenes, and dozens of outdoor adventures. All under the Southern California sun!

Visiting San Diego with teenagers in tow? You will have no problem unplugging them for a bit to enjoy the outdoor adventures that “America’s Finest City” has to offer! With the abundance of things to do in San Diego with teenagers, it’s impossible for them to be bored.

Listed below are the best attractions and tours to help plan the best family vacation. Our fun-packed list of things to do in San Diego will have your teens begging to go back for more adventure long after your family trip is over.

Follow along as we share our top list of the most exciting places to explore and activities to book when in San Diego with teens!

Things to Do in San Diego with Teens

1. SeaWorld San Diego

From thrill rides to animal encounters, SeaWorld San Diego is just about any teenager’s dream!

SeaWorld San Diego with teens means experiencing one of the most unique amusement parks in the country. Animal lovers will love interactions with sea giants, including whales, sharks, and the friendliest dolphins!

If the young ones are looking for a thrill, teens will love a wild roller coaster ride! Arctic Rescue, a new attraction, offers the bravest of them all the rush of the fastest and longest straddle coaster on the West Coast!

Of course, if one or two days at SeaWorld San Diego isn’t enough, there are other San Diego theme parks to explore. Belmont Park, the most popular beachfront amusement park on the pacific ocean coast of Southern California, features the historic Giant Dipper roller coaster. Teens with a thirst for adventure will love a side trip here!

Guests on the Manta Roller Coaster at SeaWorld in San Diego, California, USA2. San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Looking for things to do with teenagers in San Diego is a breeze! With attractions like San Diego Zoo Safari Park, it’s easy to make sure that the teens are going to have a blast.

Visit San Diego Zoo Safari Park with teens to explore 1,800 acres of land that is home to more than 2,600 endangered animals from countries across the globe. Animal encounters are assured as this safari-style zoo setting allows animals to roam natural habitats within the safari reserve.

You will see giraffes grazing from trees, rhinos coating their bodies in cool wet mud, and momma tigers playing with their cubs!

If Sea World San Diego and the Zoo Safari are on your buck list of places to take your teens, grab the Seaworld San Diego Zoo Safari Park ticket combo! Book all your tickets in one transaction and save money and time in the process.

And if you’re staying at Cape Rey Carlsbad Beach, A Hilton Resort & Spa or Hampton Inn Carlsbad North San Diego County, Safari Park will come up on your search for “teen activities near me.”

family of three holding food for giraffe standing outside and smiling at San Diego Zoo Safari Park in San Diego, California, USA3. USS Midway Museum

A vacation in San Diego for a few days is the perfect opportunity to take the teens on a once-in-a-lifetime educational tour at the USS Midway Museum.

Located along Navy Pier in downtown San Diego, USS Midway Museum features the longest-serving U.S. Navy aircraft carrier of the 20th century. Exploring a historic aircraft carrier is one of the coolest things to do in San Diego for teens, especially if one is an aspiring pilot!

There are over 60 exhibits to explore with a self-guided audio tour, as well as open spaces on the Flight and Hangar Decks displaying over 30 restored aircraft and helicopters.

Close up photo of a Navy airplane on the USS Midway with a blue and cloudy sky in the background in San Diego, California
photo credit: USS Midway Museum via Facebook

4. Maritime Museum of San Diego

Is your teen dreaming of joining the marines? Give them a peek at what to look forward to should they become part of the most talented, unwavering forces in the country!

The Maritime Museum of San Diego houses one of the finest collections of historic ships across the globe, including the world’s oldest active ship—Star of India. Aspiring marines and curious teens will enjoy “ooh-ing” and “ahh-ing” over the gigantic vessels! Plus, there’s the excitement of dockside visits and being able to touch a real submarine in person!

Other collections to marvel at include the 1898 steam ferry Berkeley, the 1904 steam yacht Medea, the 1914 Pilot, the state’s official tall ship Californian -a replica of a mid-19th century revenue cutter, and the H.M.S Surprise, a magnificent replica of an 18th century Royal Navy frigate featured in the award-winning film “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.”

an iron-hulled sailing ship Star of India in the harbor in San Diego, California, USA5. Electric Scooter Tour San Diego

Hopping on an electric scooter is already fun, but touring around San Diego on an electric scooter is more entertaining!

The Electric Scooter Tour San Diego is one of the most fun things to do in San Diego for teens! They are easy to operate and are a fun and convenient way to get around.

Don’t worry about navigation! Cruise around San Diego carefree of directions as the scooter’s talking GPS keeps you on track. Teens can just focus their energy on having fun and learning more about this picturesque city.

Please note that a rider must be at least 15 years of age to rent an electric scooter. Riders under 18 must have a parent or guardian present at all times. For this reason, the electric scooter tour is recommended as one of the best things for 18 year olds to do in San Diego.

San Diego Skyline during the day6. Pizza, Pasta and Piazzas – Little Italy Food Tour

Did you know that sunny San Diego is home to a lively Italian neighborhood filled with patio cafes, restaurants, and pubs? San Diego’s Italian quarter, aka Little Italy, has a rich array of local foodie hotspots that is perfect for the often hungry, ever-energetic teens!

Include Pizza, Pasta, and Piazzas Little Italy Food Tour to your list of San Diego activities for teens. Take a few hours to walk around Little Italy and taste a combination of Italian flavors and unique bites from 4 restaurants that represent the area.

Handmade pasta, traditional pizza, and house-made gelato. Oh my! Teens will be begging to explore more of San Diego’s beloved Italian neighborhood long after the tour has concluded.

A picture of a group of people happily crossing the road
photo credit:

7. Secret Food Tours San Diego

If the teens are open to a few hours of surprising palatable adventure, take them to the Secret Food Tours San Diego!

Secret Food Tours San Diego is perfect for foodies who are excited to embark on a mouth-watering food journey. The tour will take you exploring the diverse cuisine that has evolved over the years in downtown San Diego.

Along the way, learn more about San Diego’s food, culture, and history. Every bite from this perfect foodie adventure is also an educational experience!

Please note that Secret Food Tours San Diego is not suitable for guests with dietary requirements due to the nature of creating a well-balanced and thoughtful gastronomy experience.

8. San Diego Harbor Dinner Cruise

Take the teens out in San Diego for a night of good food and good company!

Offered by Flagship Cruises and Events, San Diego Harbor Dinner Cruise is the original San Diego dinner cruise with a three-course meal and 25 miles of San Diego waterfront views. Enjoy freshly prepared meals served indoors or outdoors aboard a luxury yacht, with excellent service that will leave you in a state of nautical bliss.

Whether you are celebrating a special event for your teenage prince/princess or just want to treat everyone to a nice family dinner, San Diego Harbor Dinner Cruise is sure to please!

Flagship cruise on water with San Diego skyline in background during sunset at San Diego, California, USA
photo credit: Flagship Cruises & Events via Facebook

9. San Diego City Lights Night Tour

San Diego underneath the stars, illuminated by thousands of city lights, is a nighttime journey that will make teens appreciate “America’s Finest City” and see it from a brand new perspective.

Things to do with teens in San Diego include doing the San Diego City Lights Night Tour, which includes exploring destinations such as Balboa Park, Gaslamp Quarter, Coronado’s Ferry Landing, and more.

A visit to Balboa Park at night is most electrifying in particular. The largest urban cultural park in the country is transformed at night by stunning buildings, fountains, and statues glowing bright that are equally as remarkable in the evening as they are during the day.

From Balboa Park, drive through the top of Coronado Bridge for more spectacular sights, including the lights coming in from Tijuana, Mexico, the bay, and downtown San Diego. Every corner makes for a perfect backdrop to the teens’ Instagram-worthy snapshots.

view of gaslamp quarter street at night in san diego
photo credit: Gaslamp Quarter via Facebook

10. San Diego Private Driving Tour: Gaslamp Quarter, Balboa Park, and Old Town

Some days in San Diego features hot, sunny, and dry summers. When the weather calls for it, take the San Diego Private Driving Tour to explore the city in the comfort of a private air-conditioned vehicle.

Enjoy hotel pick-up and drop-off by your driver-travel guide, who will take you to some of the most scenic places in the city, and some more.

Visit stunning La Jolla Cove and enjoy marine life and the bay. Then, enjoy a great lunch at one of the authentic Mexican restaurants on San Diego Avenue. Finally, stroll along the city’s waterfront, where you will be able to see the USS Midway. All of these and more make for a relaxing family getaway.

External view of lily pond at Casa de Balboa in San Diego, California, USA11. Private Driving Tour of San Diego’s Beaches

You can’t take the teens to San Diego without taking them to one of the pacific beaches in the city. Beach obsessed? Book the Private Driving Tour of San Diego’s Beaches to see as many beaches as you can!

The beaches in San Diego are arguably some of the best on the whole planet. Your teen beach lovers will love exploring the natural beauty of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. As well as the iconic La Jolla shores and world-renowned Coronado beach.

After exploring several of the best beaches in San Diego, you’ll be dropped you off at one of the tour’s last beaches. So feel free to bring your swimsuits and towels to soak up the glorious San Diego sun!

Aerial view looking down at Pacific Beach - San Diego, California, USAPlan the Ultimate Family Adventure in San Diego

Well-planned family vacations make a stress-free experience! Have a list of places to take the teens? Book San Diego tickets, as well as nearby hotels all in one, go on Tripster.

Whether you’re looking for SeaWorld San Diego Zoo Safari Park combo tickets or a luxury hotel with an impressive children s pool, Tripster has got you covered! Plan the perfect San Diego vacation with teens today.

What Did We Miss?

Do you have anything to add to our list? Leave us a comment below!

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Written by Nicole King

There are only two things that make Nicole really happy–books and travel! When her head’s not buried in a book, she’s most likely...

1 comment about “San Diego with Teens: 11 Entertaining Things to Do”


July 21, 2022 at 11:23 am

Cabrillo National Monument. Free if they go with a grandparent who has the life pass. Lighthouse, museum, info on sea life etc. also a great hike with placards about the native bushes. Awesome view.

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