I recently read an article about the difference between a “trip” and a “vacation”. It was absolutely hilarious and worth the read! You can find it HERE! I feel blessed to be able to take our kiddos on family trips and hope and pray that they are creating memories that they will cherish for a lifetime. I love giving them new experiences and am grateful for a career that gives me the opportunity to leave for a week at a time and still have business run as usual. Our most recent trip was to San Diego. I thought I would share some fun money saving tips and must see destinations!
Money Saving Tips!
- Check out the Go San Diego card available at Costco.com. This allows you to pay one reasonable price for over 40 attractions in the San Diego area. You have the choice of how many days you want to purchase and it was well worth the money! It allowed us to do things we wouldn’t have spent the money on and also encouraged us to try a few adventures we probably wouldn’t have thought of!
- Bring your own snacks and food! Check online for the places you are visiting and see if they will allow you to bring food in. SeaWorld will allow you to bring in a cooler. Places like legoland and such would let you bring in water and snacks for small children. We also saved money by buying the souvenir cups for each theme park. They were around $10 and gave us free refills the whole day. We just shared and it worked out nicely. We also purchase the all day dining pass at sea world. This allows you one entree, drink, and dessert once every hour. We purchased one for our group and just grazed the whole day. It was a great deal considering some of the meals we got would have been $28 each. The whole all day dining pass was $35.99. It was a bargain in my opinion! Save money where you can and splurge when we see something fun like fried apples or a Dole Whip!
- October is FREE KIDS month! If you are looking to plan a family vacation and want to make it as affordable as possible. Check out San Diego in October. There are over 100 destinations that kids eat, stay, and play for free!! October is a beautiful month in California and it isn’t as crowded as Spring Break! We always try and schedule a trip over the PIR day in October so the kids don’t miss too much school.
Must See Destinations!
- Sea world– I feel like there is something here for everyone. The little ones can check out the kiddie area with small rides and play structures. The older kids can stay entertained on the plethora of bigger rides and roller coasters. My kids were so excited when the electric eel opened. My personal favorite is ship wreck rapids, but you get soaked. I also love the shipwreck cafe with the all day dining pass. I think you get the most food and the best quality at this restaurant. Check out the benefits of the all day dining and the season passes on my post HERE! The adults, grandparents, and the kids will enjoy the live shows. I personally love the dolphin show and the orca show. The others are entertaining but plan your day around he dolphin and orca show. They offer a good rest from walking during the day as well. Sea World is honestly one of my favorite parks in all of California!
- Legoland– we were celebrating my 8 years old’s birthday. He is a LEGO fanatic and was in heaven the whole day. There are so many amazing LEGO exhibits. It really is remarkable. The apple fries are worth getting. We also got their all day soda cup. They had refill stations that read your cup and knew if it had been 8 minutes since you filled it last! It was pretty cool actually! As far as the rides go; my thought is that this park is really for kids 10 and under. This will be our last trip for sure. We purchased the fast passes. It is a little electronic device that allows you to reserve your next ride as soon as you enter a ride. It cut the waiting time down to almost nothing. There are three different levels. We bought the middle package that said it cut ride times by 50%. I feel that it was more than 50% and don’t think it would be worth the money to get the one that does 90%. I would recommend the robot coding station. This is a 45 minute free experience that you can sign up for right when you enter the park. It is a good break in the middle of the day and the kids got to code and train a robot to accomplish a task. It was pretty cool! Overall we had a great day. If you had to choose between legoland and another Park I think it depends on the age of your kids. If you have a LEGO fan and your kids are under 10; then go with legoland. Is your kids are over 10 then I would say Knottsberry Farm or Sea World.
- Knott’s Berry Farm– this was one of our favorite stops. The kids had a blast. Our kids are at good ages for this park. They are 14,10, and 8. Our youngest was able to go on some, but not all of the rides. There was plenty to keep him entertained while my older two rode the bigger rides. Some of the roller coasters were INTENSE! The fast passes were expensive; like $75 a person. I am too cheap to do that, but they had these wheels you could spin for $5 and allowed you to get a fast pass for two people to a ride. You had to take what you got and couldn’t trade for another ride. We tried to sweet talk the workers, but had very little success! 🤣 We were here during boysenberry festival and bought a $30 taste testing card. It allowed us to try 8 different boysenberry treats. It was yummy! This was about an hour and 45 minutes from San Diego but it was part of the Go San Diego card and we felt that it was worth the trip.
- Speed Boat adventure – this was a thrilling adventure that was a lot of fun. We got to drive our own speed boats. You are led by a guide and he gives you a little tour of the bay over a speaker in each boat. The waves got kind of crazy, but it was fun to see some of the sites from the water. The USS midway is another must see. We went on another trip so didn’t make it there this time, but we got right next to it and heard more about it on our speed boat tour. The guide told us all about these ships and brought us right next to docks filled with sea lions.
- Whale watching cruise– this was a relaxing 3 hour cruise around the bay. The tour guide did a great job of giving us good information about the area and some of the wildlife. We spotted a few whales and enjoyed the sunshine and fresh air! I probably would not spend the money if I was paying full price, but it was included in the go San Diego card and was a nice respite from the walking and hustle of the amusement parks.
- Fleet science museum– we really enjoyed this museum. There are lots of exhibits that were unique and interesting. It was educational and fun for everyone involved. The admission included an imax movie. We watched one called under the sea and it was amazing. It was narrated by Jim Carey and the videography was incredible. This museum is located in Balboa Park and there are dozens of attraction and museums close by as well. The downside of this one was PARKING! We couldn’t find a parking spot to save our life. I don’t have any fancy suggestion for that one! 😉
- Belmont Park- I wouldn’t recommend this unless you have the Go San Diego card. It was fun and we did rock climbing, zip lining, and a laser maze in a short time period. The reason it is on the list if because it sits right next to our favorite beach! It is right next to great food and has a place for surfing and a spot for boogie boarding. The waves are perfect and it can keep my kids entertained for hours!! We bought smash ball on our last trip and it is a great way to keep the kids busy.
San Diego is one of my favorite places to visit. The weather usually cooperates, the beaches are great for boogie boarding, and the hole in the wall good food is almost endless. If you are looking for your next family TRIP or a true VACATION with someone special, put San Diego into the hat! I don’t think you will regret it!