Skip to Content

6 Free Things To Do On Your Trip To San Diego

Share The Article

Last Updated

San Diego is a gorgeous city surrounded by some equally gorgeous views. Looking to visit, but not wanting to spend an exorbitant amount of money? We’ve got you covered! Here are 6 memorable and free things to do in this Southern Californian city!

6 Memorable, Free Things To Do In San Diego

1. Explore Balboa Park 

Located near downtown San Diego, Balboa Park is one of the city’s most loved areas – and for good reason! The park is home to a variety of museums, gardens, and more. While some of the attractions and museums aren’t free, there’s still plenty you can do at Balboa Park without paying a dime! Wander around the numerous gardens, such as the Botanical Building. Balboa Park is also home to several trails that are perfect for a short hike or nature walk, such as Palm Canyon Trail. The park’s gorgeous gardens and memorable architecture also make it a great place to take some stunning photos! 

Explore Balboa Park

2. Hang Out At La Jolla Cove

Head over to La Jolla Cove to explore sea caves, see seals, and enjoy a gorgeous beach! The largest easily accessible cave is Sunny Jim’s Sea Cave, which does charge admission, however, a small one to the left of the beach is accessible by foot and free. Additionally, if you’re an avid kayaker or snorkeler, you could head over to some of the other sea caves located further offshore. The rocks near the cove are also a prime spot to see seals up close. Finally, there are two gorgeous beaches in the area. The first is La Jolla Cove, which is a small but beautiful sandy cove. If you’re looking for a larger beach, La Jolla Shores is only a couple of minutes up the road. It features picnic tables and showers in addition to gorgeous views of the ocean! 

La Jolla

3. Fly A Kite At Mission Bay Park 

If you’re looking for a fun way to spend an afternoon, why not try your hand at flying a kite? Or even just watching kites – Mission Bay Park is a popular spot for kite flying, and you’ll often see all manner of colorful and creative kites soaring through the sky. Kite flying isn’t all the park has to offer either. It’s also home to several nature trails. While they aren’t super long, they are perfect for a day hike, run, or simply stroll in nature. The park is also a great spot for picnics, and kids will love exploring the area.  

4. Stay Warm With A Bonfire At The Beach

With it getting colder out – well, colder for San Diego, anyways – a bonfire can be the perfect evening activity! This is a great way to relax, stay warm, and spend some quality time with friends and family. Better yet, there are several beaches in San Diego that allow bonfires – the perfect combination of wintery fun and oceanside views! Here’s a couple of notable beaches that allow bonfires. Fiesta Island offers some beautiful views of nearby city lights and is also pet-friendly. Coronado Beach, meanwhile, is close to attractions such as the Hotel Del’s beachfront ice-skating rink, and also offers fire pits. 

Beach Bonfire

5. Consider A Day Trip To Anza Borrego State Park.

If you’re down to head a little outside of the city, consider a day trip to Anza Borrego State Park. This gorgeous park has several features that make it worth the trip. First, keep an eye out for the various metal sculptures that dot the landscape near – this is also an excellent roadside attraction if you’re driving through the area. Then, head deeper into the park for some hiking trails. One particularly great trail is the Borrego Palm Canyon Trail, which features a palm tree oasis. 

Anza Borrego

6. Catch A Glimpse Of The Green Flash

For our final suggestion for free things to do in San Diego, watch the sunset – with a twist! The sunsets occasionally feature the fabled “green flash” – an optical phenomenon that sometimes occurs at the moment of sunset. 

Catch A Glimpse Of The Green Flash

Read More:

Travel Insurance That Covers Covid-19

Top 10 Beginner Friendly Hikes Near San Diego

↓ Elevate Your Travel↓

Sign Up Now For Travel Off Path Premium! No ads, VIP Content, Personal Travel Concierge, Huge Savings, Daily Deals, Members Forum & More!

✈️Join Our Travel Off Path Community Forum: Where travelers unite, ask questions, share experiences and even find like-minded travel buddies!


Enter your email address to subscribe to Travel Off Path's latest breaking travel news, straight to your inbox.

This article originally appeared on

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.