<img src="https://d5nxst8fruw4z.cloudfront.net/atrk.gif?account=5C8hi1agq800qI" style="display:none" height="1" width="1" alt="">

    16 Best Things to Do Near Naval Base San Diego

    Welcome to Naval Base San Diego! While you might be in for a little culture shock if you're not used to the beach life, America’s Finest City is hard not to love. Beyond its local charm, mouth-watering food, and gorgeous weather, there is so much to do. There’s a whole lot, dare I say, an excessive number of things to do in the San Diego area. 

    If you’ve ever vacationed here, then you know that you left some things undone. And if you're stationed in San Diego, you'll learn that there’s far more beneath the surface. You discover that beyond the attractions are events and lesser-known (but not underrated) bars and restaurants, and that a hike up Torrey Hills is not a one and done kind of thing.  

    There's so much to do in the San Diego region! Whether you’re just visiting, on short-term orders, or here to stay for a while, here are a few activities in the area to get you started!

    Take a look at the short video below, then read on for even more ideas. 

    1) Gaslamp Quarter

    The heart of downtown San Diego is Gaslamp Quarter. The area is backdrop to many social events, incredible dining, and gorgeous historic Victorian buildings contrasted by the modern skyscrapers. It’s a fun place to spend the afternoon and even more exciting at nightfall as it transitions into a “cosmopolitan playground.”   

    2) New Children’s Museum

    Intentionally designed to create opportunities for imaginative play, critical thinking, and interaction with contemporary arts, the New Children’s Museum isn’t just a favorite for the littles in your family, it’s a delight for parents as well! 

    3) Legoland

    Heaven for the Lego fanatics in your family, the Legoland amusement park complete with rides, a water park, and a shop (yes, of course, you can buy more here) is so fun it might be worth an annual pass. 

    San Diego skyline and water

    Photo by Daniel Guerra on Unsplash

    4) SeaWorld

    Not only is SeaWorld a well-known attraction, not just here in San Diego but all over the country, but it’s free for the military! SeaWorld allows service members and three of their dependents one free day a year.

    5) San Diego Zoo & Safari Park

    The mother of all zoos, San Diego knows how to make you feel like you’re out in the wild. The San Diego Zoo is located in San Diego, while the San Diego Safari Park is north in Escondido.

    Active-duty military members can get a free one-day pass to the zoo and/or Safari Park. Spouses and other dependents aren’t eligible for free admission. However, they qualify for a discounted rate.

    6) Balboa Park

    For the nature-lover, historian, or explorer in your family, Balboa Park is a one-stop wonder. Dating back to 1868, this intricate park has nearly always been observed and appreciated for the natural wildlife and arts that reside here (except for serving as an extension of the Balboa Naval Hospital during WWII). Today, many come to soak in the gorgeous architecture, learn about the history, and observe nature down the trails winding through the property.  

    7) San Diego Air and Space Museum

    The San Diego Air and Space Museum sets the backdrop to learn about the history of space technology. One thing you don’t want to miss while you’re here? The max flight simulator where you can see what it’s like to fly an aircraft yourself. Kids are free only on specific days, and admission is always free for military.

    aircraft carrier in San Diego at Navy PierPhoto by Johanna Zender on Unsplash

    8) USS Midway Museum

    The Navy’s longest-serving aircraft carrier, the USS Midway, is home to over 30 restored naval aircraft and helicopters, along with an attraction that's a must-see, the Unconditional Surrender Statue. Grab a cup of coffee below deck, then peruse this incredible piece of history. 

    9) Old Town San Diego

    Authentic and historic, Old Town San Diego is a delight to visit. It’s home to dozens of historic homes to venture and explore. And if you’re looking for fun gift ideas or to immerse yourself in the culture, you’ll find endless historical reproductions, including jewelry and art.

    View San Diego Homes for Rent or Sale

    10) Hotel Del Coronado

    Even if you live here, a night or two at the legendary Hotel Del Coronado is a must. It’s expensive, but when you experience it, you understand why. Situated on Coronado Beach, the views are outstanding. Couple the location with pristine amenities (a spa, salon, pools, beach access, events, and of course, fine dining), and you’ll soon realize that you’re on a honeymoon-worthy vacation. 

    11) Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial

    Considered one of the most unique veterans memorials in America, Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial, a Beacon of Freedom, is the only memorial that honors veterans, living or deceased, from the Revolutionary War to the present, with an image of the veteran.

    12) Birch Aquarium

    Birch Aquarium is the public center for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and features more than 60 exhibits of small sea life from the Pacific Northwest down the coast to Mexico and beyond. 

    13) San Diego Padres

    Is there anything better than sipping a cold one and eating a ballpark dog while watching a good ol’ game of baseball? San Diego is home to the Padres and makes for a fun evening out for the whole family. Go, Padres!

    14) Hiking

    Get outside and breathe in that crisp Southern California air! A few good places to start are: 

    • Lake Poway to Mount Woodson (and Potato Chip Rock!)
    • Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
    • Los Penasquitos Canyon Trail
    • Cowles Mountain
    • Iron Mountain Trail

    15) Beaches 

    pacific ocean and beach near san diego
    Photo by Ameer Basheer on Unsplash

    Of course, you’ll want to visit the beaches (especially if you’re coming from a landlocked state). And with 70 miles along the Pacific Ocean, you’ll have your fair share of choices. Whether you want to surf, sip a drink with your toes in the sand, or explore the wildlife near shore, the beaches here are irresistible. Check out: 

    • La Jolla Shores and La Jolla Cove
    • Children’s Pool in La Jolla 
    • Carlsbad
    • Coronado
    • Del Mar
    • Imperial Beach 
    • Mission Bay Park

    16) Weekend Getaways

    Are you looking to take a break and find a reset before diving into another work week? Your weekend spots come in a variety of forms. No matter what you’re looking for, whether it’s a kid-friendly adventure, a search for local wine, or some snowy slopes to ski, you don’t have to travel far from San Diego to find it. Visit Big Bear, Temecula, Los Angeles, and Disneyland. 

    Need more ideas?  Take a look at: 

    Are you about to make a PCS move to the San Diego area? Download our free resource below!

    New call-to-action

    IG Story Best Things to Do near San Diego

    Danielle Keech


    Danielle Keech

    Danielle Keech is a writer and content creator for MilitaryByOwner Advertising. She writes on military life topics, highlights clients’ open houses on social media, and manages the Military PCS Facebook group. She especially enjoys covering financial topics and helping military families exercise financial responsibility and plan for the future. Danielle has been a Marine Corps spouse for ten years (and counting!) and is a momma to four littles and one fur baby. She and her pilot spouse have lived in Virginia, Florida, Texas, California, Hawaii, and, most recently, Okinawa, Japan. And yes, you guessed it, Hawaii is her favorite duty station to date! Find MilitaryByOwner's Millitary PCS group here.

    Popular Posts