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Best Parks In San Diego, CA

There are many parks to visit in San Diego, and it has beautiful weather most of the year. It is possible to find a dog-friendly park with a playground for children to suit everyone’s needs. An evening park stroll is a great way to enjoy the picturesque scenery. In San Diego, good weather means plenty of time spent in the parks. 
With our year-round sunshine and beautiful views, our best parks offer trails, playgrounds, and plenty of grass to enjoy. You can choose either based on where you live and what you want to do. 


With its splash pads and state-of-the-art play areas, the new Waterfront Park is perfect for kids in the downtown area. Located across the street from the Embarcadero, it makes a nice stop between exploring Little Italy or visiting the San Diego Maritime Museum. 

Below you’ll find a list of the top five parks in San Diego, California


Balboa Park, which houses over 85 cultural and recreational facilities, is a must-see for those visiting San Diego. The best place to start is the Visitor’s Center, where you’ll find maps, events calendars, and tickets for the Balboa Park Explorer Pass, which allows free entry to the park’s museums.

As well to the Zoo (which is located right next door), you can also find 16 museums, cultural centers, playgrounds, a carousel, and a miniature railroad ride in this park. There are several full-sized gardens, a botanical building (and over 2000 plant species), and some theaters where you can attend a presentation or participate in an organ concert. In addition to the free tram system and the fun e-bike rental system, it is easy to get around the massive complex.

There are 16 museums in the park and several gardens, and it is the largest urban cultural park in the country. Compared to buying individual museum tickets, the Balboa Park Explorer Pass will allow visitors to enter all Balboa Park’s museums at a reduced cost.

An official address for Balboa Park is 1549 El Prado San Diego, CA 92101
Balboa Park

Driving Directions From Balboa Park To San Diego Smile Center

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With the historic county building at its center, Waterfront Park is one of the most popular places for kids (and adults) to cool off in the summer, thanks to its splash fountain, which you can walk into and get drenched. Additionally, there is a reflecting pool, native plant garden, public art, and state-of-the-art play equipment to be found at the park.

The large grassy area is perfect for picnics and games since many trees surround it. Movies are shown here in the evenings during the summer months. There is a beautiful park with ocean views right across the street from the Embarcadero and only a few steps away from Little Italy (where you can grab a delicious picnic), making this the ideal place to take a break while sightseeing. Nearby there are several parking lots where you can park your car. This huge downtown park has new play equipment and a splash fountain that makes it a favorite among kids and adults alike. Between sightseeing in Little Italy and the Embarcadero, taking a break at Waterfront Park is an excellent way to take a breather.

An official address for Waterfront Park  is 1600 Pacific Highway San Diego, CA 92101
Waterfront Park

Driving Directions From Waterfront Park To San Diego Smile Center

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The park encompasses a total of 4600 acres with 27 miles of shoreline, out of which 19 miles are sandy beaches. It offers a variety of facilities such as a marina, a horseshoe court, sand volleyball courts, picnic areas, children’s play areas, a fire ring, playground areas, a jogging path, and paths for biking, roller skating, and jogging.

It is considered one of the best birdwatching locations in the world due to the park’s wildlife preserves. It is possible to bring your dog to Fiesta Island as long as they are on a leash.

It is very common here to see people enjoying water sports. There are places where you can rent stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, aqua cycles, and more, all of which can be found at some of the hotels along the bay, as well as the Mission Bay Aquatic Center (which offers lessons and summer camps for tourists and residents).

Many leisure activities can be enjoyed in this man-made bay, such as walking and sunbathing, in addition to water sports. As there are no waves on this beach, it is a nice area for young children as there are no waves on this beach.

An official address for Mission Bay Park is I-5 at Clairemont Dr San Diego, CA 92117
Mission Bay Park

Driving Directions From Mission Bay Park To San Diego Smile Center

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Located just above La Jolla Cove, this park is an excellent place to stop if you are walking along La Jolla’s boardwalk or taking a walk to see the area’s famous seals and sea lions which can be found in the area. A truffula tree, one of the wind-blown trees found here, is believed to have inspired the truffula tree in “The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss (a resident of La Jolla). It is a popular place for parents and kids to enjoy games, exercise, and picnics because of the large grassy area.

In the park, many little green huts offer shade and provide excellent viewing spots for the sunset. Although parking on the street can be difficult, several public garages are within walking distance, and a lifeguard station is staffed year-round. Among the most popular beachside green spaces in La Jolla is this one, with its vast grassy area, funky wind-blown trees, epic views, and spectacular sunsets. La Jolla’s famous sea lions hang out in the area below this park, where the sea lions are known for their antics.

An official address for ELLEN BROWNING SCRIPPS PARK is Coast Blvd La Jolla, CA 92037

Driving Directions From Ellen Browning Scripps Park To San Diego Smile Center

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Located in San Diego’s Mission Trails Park, which covers a substantial area of 7200 acres, Mission Trails is considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful, wild, and expansive parks. Throughout the park, there are more than forty miles of hiking trails and mountain biking trails for hikers and mountain bikers of all ability levels, as well as a beautiful lake, campgrounds, and a wonderful Interpretive and Visitor Center with plenty of information on the park’s natural and cultural history. The park regularly organizes guided hikes on a regular basis.

Besides snakes, lizards, roadrunners, hummingbirds, squirrels, deer, and quail, the area is home to all sorts of wildlife, so make sure to keep an eye out for snakes, and lizards, roadrunners, hummingbirds, ground squirrels, and deer in the area. In addition to the weekdays, Kumeyaay Lake Campground is also available for weekend camping by making a reservation in advance. See if there are any guided hikes on offer during your visit to this enormous park by checking out its event calendar to see if there is one on offer during your visit. Several activities can be enjoyed in this vast park, but hikes and mountain bike rides are especially popular.

An official address for MISSION TRAILS REGIONAL PARK is  One Father Junipero Serra Trail, San Diego, CA 92119
Mission Trails Regional Park

Driving Directions From Mission Trails Regional Park To San Diego Smile Center

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