These 20 things to do in San Deigo when it’s too cold to swim can save your beach trip and turn it into a fun-filled adventure. Traveling during the off-season can save a lot of money but sometimes you take a gamble with the weather. Don’t blow your affordable family vacation budget on expensive activities. This list will help save your trip and your budget as they are great cheap family vacation activities.
San Diego is beautiful year round. But there’s always the occassional bad weather and the ocean is always fairly cold. Whether you are planning a beach trip knowing it will be too cold to swim or you are hit with unexpected weather, these activities can keep you having fun even without swimming in the ocean.
1. Build a Sand Castle or other Sand Sculpture
You can comb through the internet for inspiration and types for building the best sand castles. create a theme. or even build a fort you can sit in. Playing in the sand is fun for all ages including us adults.
2. Foam airplanes is our favorite thing to do at the beach when it’s too cold to swim
There are affordable foam airplanes are one of our favorite cheap travel toys. Kids can spend hours playing with them as they can fly straight or do loop de loops.
3. Use a metal detector to find buried treasure.
My kids love searching for buried treasure. After watching some beachgoers search for treasure our kids asked if they could have a metal detector. In case they aren’t successful, it’s fun to bring some items to bury
4. Go for a Bike Ride near the beach if it’s too cold to swim
Bring your bikes and explore some of the bike trails around the area. Whether you want to ride in nature or with beach views there’s plenty of places to ride a bike in San Diego
5. Fly a Kite is a great thing to do at the beach if it’s too cold to swim
The beach is the best place to fly a kite and so much fun. see how high you can get it to go just be careful to fly your kite away from other beachgoers.
6. Wear a wetsuit or shorty and jump in.
Wetsuits and shortys used to be very expensive. I spend $85 ordering one from England when my son was a toddler because his lips were always blue even when the weather was hot. Prices have significantly dropped and you can find wetsuits for $50 or less. They make a world of a difference and even if the water isn’t freezing they help keep the kids in it longer. Whether at the beach or pool they are wonderful for northeast cooler ocean weather or Florida winters when the sun isn’t as hot as you hoped.
Check out these affordable options:
7. Enjoy a hot cocoa bar on the deck of your beach house
Enjoy a hot cocoa bar or one of these other wonderful Cheap Travel Treats. Your kids will have fun making or sampling different things.
8. Play with balls
There are so many sports options you can play at the beach. Football, soccer, dodgeball, kickball, volleyball, or pitch and catch are just a few.
9. Collect and paint shells and/or rocks
Pack a simple watercolor set or even markers and enjoy creating your own masterpieces. Painting shells is a lot of fun. You can also make seashell jewelry windchimes or Christmas ornaments.
10. Play card or board games
My grandmother loved Yahtzee and Backgammon and we always had them in our beach bag. We usually can’t keep the kids still long enough but during cooler weather, it’s perfect for a break.
11. Go for a walk and explore
Taking a walk on the beach can be peaceful and fun. You can look for shells and cool rocks, sharks’ teeth, and other fossils. Mission Beach Boardwalk is a great place for a stroll espeically if you have a little one in a stroller and your hoping they will take a nap.
12. Look for dolphins and other sea life
Where ever you go there’s always nature around us. Look for dolphins or other sea life. Sometimes we even encourage the kids by offering a reward for whoever finds things first.
13. Watch seagulls and other birds
We enjoy watching seagulls and other birds. Sometimes they are stealing food as a beachgoer is trying to enjoy a meal. sometimes they are running from the waves. We have watched babies run around the sand and even had one bold enough to come right up to our beach blanket looking for food.
14. Swim in a Hot tub or Heated Pool
Swimming in a pool especially one that overlooks the ocean can be a lot of fun. If you booked a hotel with a pool or haven’t quite planned your trip yet, it might be a good idea to book accommodations with a heated pool if you are traveling during off-season times when the weather could be really hot or possibly cool. Bring some pool floats to extend the length of time the kids are entertained.
15. Play Disc Golf
Some local parks and resorts offer disc golf. It can be a little challenging at first just to understand how it works but overall it’s a fun family activity that can often be free or inexpensive. There are several Disc Golf Courses in San Diego County including Morley Field Disc Golf Course which is one of the most played courses in the world. if you bring your own discs. You can purchase a disc golf starter set on Amazon.
16. Get on the water instead of in the water
Bring your kayaks, paddleboards or rent a boat. If it’s too cold to get in the water you can always get on the water for some fun. We love bringing our inflatable kayaks and paddle board when we travel. While we won’t take them in the ocean there are often calmer places to kayak near the ocean. Mission Bay is a goo option for kayaking or paddle boarding.
17. Go Fishing, Clamming, Scalloping or Crabbing
My kids love fishing. If you bring your own equipment it can be more affordable but make sure you follow local laws and get any permits you may need for fishing in San Diego. You can also charter a fishing trip. Large group trips are more affordable but private tours may be easier to manage the time and go back sooner if the kids need to. You may also be able to rent equipment to fish from the beach or pier. Whether you want to fish from a pier or head out on the water with a charter San Diego has plenty of Fishing options for you.
18. Check out the Zoo or local museum
If you have the ASTC Museum Reciprocity pass, check to see if there are any nearby museums on the list. You may be surprised to find one as there are hundreds located around the world. If not, there’s often an aquarium located near popular beach destinations that can be a fun experience. San Diego Zoo and Safari Park are 2 of the most popular places to see animals in the country.
19. Go for a Hike
There’s often more to a beach town than just the beach. Check out local hiking trails that may offer nice views or fun rock scrambles. You may even get to spot local wildlife. If you have a National Parks pass check to see if there’s a National Park, Forest, or monument near buy. There are plenty of kid friendly trails in San Diego. There’s also Cabrillo National Monument a short drive away.
20. Skim Boarding
Skimboarding is a great activity when it’s too cold to get in the water. The boards are more expensive than boogie boards tend to be for a bit older kids.
My Favorite off-season resort is the Hyatt Chesapeake.
The Hyatt Chesapeake is a great resort to visit any time of year. It is not on the Ocean but on a river that still looks like you are at the ocean, especially when relaxing in the infinity pool. It has a very small sand beach but loads of available activities. In the spring when the outdoor pools open they are hearted and Maryland tends to get warmer weather sooner than much of the Northeast. The bay is great for water sports but not really for swimming anyway. There’s a nice bike trail there if you bring your bikes or you can rent them on site. The resort includes complimentary miniature golf, disco gulf and has a fire pit where you can roast smores. Just bring your own or purchase onsite (although that is the pricier option.). Rates are very reasonable during the off-season when you factor in all the activities that are included.
20 Things to do in San Deigo when it’s too cold to swim Summary
These 20 Things to do in San Deigo when it’s too cold to swim can save your beach trip and turn it into a fun-filled adventure. If you can plan ahead it’s great to pack some of these for back up but if you can’t there are plenty of options that require no planning or a quick stop at the dollar tree- or better yet $5 and below if there is one nearby.