Our Favorite San Diego-Area Beaches

There are so many options for tide pools in/near San Diego but we decided to check out Cabrillo’s! We also wanted to see the Lighthouse, so it was win-win. As you can see, the entrance fee is $10 to enter and the pass is good for a full week.


Cabrilllo National Park


Path to Cabrillo Tide Pool path to tide pools at cabrillo

It was an overcast, semi foggy morning (as so many San Diego mornings are!) when we visiting in June. The guard at the entrance told us that was the best weather to visit the tide pools. The parking lot at the bottom is pretty small (maybe about 20 spots or less) so we drove to the upper parking lot. As you can see, the upper lots are definitely not stroller or wheelchair friendly, so just keep that in mind. Other than that it was less than a 10 minute walk down to the tides. Be sure to keep a close eye on little ones, though, as there were a couple steep 10-20 foot drop-offs.

cabrillo tide poolscabrillo tide pools

This was actually our family’s first time visiting a tide pool- we don’t exactly have these in the desert of Utah!  We weren’t sure exactly what to expect. But WOW! We found hundreds- thousands?-of tiny crabs ALL OVER! It was so fun to see these little creatures. We must of just sat on one rock for 20 minutes or so before we started to venture elsewhere.  They were fascinating. The water is pretty shallow, although the rocks can be slippery to walk on.

cabrillo tide pools  cabrillo  cabrillo tide pools

cabrillo cabrillo


cabrillo tide pools, san diego

cabrillo tide pools, san diego

Oh it was SO fun!! We can’t wait to visit more tide pools!

Lighthouse & Gift shop

Cabrillo Lighthouse   Cabrillo Lighthouse

A short drive up from the tide pools is the Cabrillo Lighthouse and Giftshop.

Cabrillo lighthouse stairs Cabrillo lighthouse

The kids really thought the spiral-and steep- staircase was cool!

Cabrillo Cabrillo lookout from museum

San Diego San Diego


And the views were gorgeous too!

Coronado Island

We spent an evening on Coronado and LOVED it! How can you not?! The first thing we did was rent a Surrey from Bikes and Beyond. There is a nice trail that goes along the ocean, past the shops and restaurants and even past a little park. We biked along that until we hit a major road, then turned around again. It took about an hour and was SO fun. The only funny thing (depending on who you ask- haha) was that on our way back I (Emily) commented how easy the Surrey was to pedal. Then I noticed poor Jeff was just sweating and huffing along. We looked down and noticed that my pedals weren’t connected at all. Jeff was hauling all five of us around by himself. Hahaha. Poor Jeff.

Surrey rental on Coronado Surrey fun on coronado Surrey rental on Coronado View of San Diego from Coronado

Hotel del Coronado Coronado at Sunset

We loved eating dinner at Lil Piggy’s Bar-B-Q and getting ice cream from  Moo Time Creamery at the Hotel Del Coronado.  Visit this link for more info. on our favorite family friendly eats in SD.  The beaches and powdery sand- heavenly! So fun to play in. Next time we’d love to stay on the Island. Where do you  like to stay when you visit Coronado?

san diego eats comp

San Diego Eats- Family Friendly Places to try next time you go!

We live a day’s drive from San Diego, so we took a little road trip with the family and had a wonderful week there.  Such a beautiful place- perfect weather, so many fun things to do, and of course- yummy food to eat! To see what activities we did, check this out.

We packed a cooler full of snacks and treats to last us the entire week. In addition to that, we found some yummy places to eat. One of our favorite things about going on vacation is trying out new restaurants- especially ones that are unique to where we are vacationing and that we don’t have in Utah.


Richard Walker’s Pancake House

We LOVE going out for breakfast and RWPH did not disappoint! Be prepared for long lines. We waited for about 20 minutes at around 9 a.m. When we left, the wait was closer to an hour. We were talking with a local who lived around the corner from RWPH  and he said he there was always a line, didn’t matter the time. Hey, good things take time 🙂 Our kids entertained themselves just fine- playing tag up and down the sidewalk in front of the restaurant. As we got closer, they brought us menus to look at. As soon as we were seated, we placed our order and within 10 minutes, we were enjoying our food! Wow! The speed and the customer service was definitely a good thing for hungry kids (and parents!).


*Not pictured are the amazing banana pancakes. They are a pancake house, after all, so be sure to try one of a dozen varieties- like blueberry, strawberry or BACON–yes Bacon.

Visit there website for locations and the full menu.

Lil’ Piggy’s Bar-B-Q


We spent one evening on Coronado and what a wonderful time we had! There is so much to do on this beautiful island.  We started out on the Ferry Landing side, where there are many boutique shops and restaurants. We knew we wanted something kid-friendly and affordable, but not fast food. Our kids love BBQ, so this seemed like a great option. And we were right! It was so yummy. While Jeff waited at the restaurant for our table (approximately 15 minutes), Emily and the kids walked along the path and checked out some of the fun boutiques nearby. Portion sizes were great as was the menu. It was crowded at dinner time, but after we ordered our food didn’t take that long to come out. The atmosphere was great and the food was delicious! And it’s ok to get messy! Haha- wet wipes are a given here.

One last thing- we found these daily specials for LP BBQ. If you happen to be on Coronado on a Wednesday, kids eat free! Nice. Visit their website for menu and hours.


Hash House A Go Go

hash house hwv

How can you not visit Hash House A Go Go when in San Diego?!  Pancakes as big as yo’ head, outside dining, farm to table eating (our favorite kind!), this place is a must! With such huge portions, our younger kids shared a plate and there was more than enough to go around. Any time we eat out and have the chance to eat outside, we take it. I don’t know why, but eating on the patio is so much less stressful when dining out with kids.  FYI: they do not serve chocolate chip pancakes or peanut butter, two of our kids favorites. There was more than enough yummy choices, so our kids were just fine. Emily ordered one of the Farmhouse Scrambles, with bacon, avocado, Swiss and onions (bottom picture) and it was SO, SO good. It’s torturous looking at pictures of it. Jeff ordered the Tractor Driver Combo. Again- so good.  The pancakes really are yummy. And can we talk about the plating?! I loved how pretty each dish was served.

We arrived about 9 a.m. and got right in, but when we left about an hour later, the line was out the door.  Visit their website for locations and a complete menu.

 Moo Time Creamery

mootime hwv

I was shocked when I went through our photos and couldn’t find a single picture of what we ordered here! I think we were so excited  for ice cream, we just dived right in. Moo Time has two locations on Coronado. We visited the location inside of the famous Hotel Del Coronado. It is a bit pricey and the portion sizes are on the small side (which could be good or bad, depending on how you  look at it),  but the flavors are super yummy! The husband and I shared a dessert nacho, while the kids each got a cup with a single scoop of ice cream. Be sure to head outside to find a table or bench. It was so fun eating ice cream,with the sights and sounds of the ocean and hotel all around us.

It was  a bit tricky for us to find Moo Time because it’s not visible from the beach- we entered the hotel from the backside.  If you also enter from this direction, just go right, past all of the outdoor restaurants, and follow the sidewalk around the right side until you see it. Visit their website for information.


A few other places in SD we have to mention:

Panera Bread. We ate there multiple times while in SD (why, oh why don’t we have one in Utah?!). Anytime we asked the kids where they wanted to eat, Panera Bread was their answer. And one that we were happy with too!  We love everything at this bakery! Yummy salads, sandwiches, soups and freshly baked treats galore. This is a great, family friendly place to eat. Check out their menu and find a location near you here.

Trader Joe’s. TJ’s is  a great place to grab handy, portable meals and snacks. Since our hotel room had a mini-fridge,  we stopped by and grabbed a bag of sliced apples, bananas, baby carrots, & yogurt (we didn’t eat out every breakfast, haha! And yogurt was the perfect addition to the granola bars, muffins and Belvita bites we brought from home). Be sure to ask for some complimentary plastic spoons -or whatever utensils you need- at checkout! Visit their website to find a location near you.


In addition, on the drive home we tried out two yummy and HEALTHY places:

WABU Grill.  Your choice of protein served over rice with a salad and veggies. Yes please! We all loved it. It was worth getting out of the car for- you know when you’re in that ‘let’s just drive and get home mode’ you don’t necessarily want to stop. But it was a good place to stretch our legs, use a clean restroom and eat a yummy meal! They have multiple locations throughout Cali. Visit their website to find one near you.

Twisted Noodle Cafe. Located in St. George, tucked back on Main Street just adjacent from the splash pad. This was a super yummy place, offering salads, pastas and more. It was really hard to choose what to order because everything looked so good. I settled on the salad of the day, which was a yummy Mexican salad with grilled chicken, while our kids got the spaghetti and Jeff ordered the creamy pesto pasta dish. So good. Clean restrooms and outdoor patio dining made this another great place to stop at on the drive home. Visit their website for the full menu and address.


What are your favorite places to eat in San Diego?  We want to know!