Southern California has something for everyone. You just have to go looking. Some of my favorite things to do cost little to no money. As I’ve gotten older I have spent a lot more time exploring SoCal, particularly San Diego over my summers and have been slowly creating a list of my favorites.
Today I am going to share 5 fun things to do, roughly in order from cheapest to most expensive.
Obviously, the beach is a perfect choice for this list. Southern California has numerous beautiful beaches. I tend to stick to beaches in San Diego because it is closer to me than heading towards beaches in the LA Area. The beach is a perfect place to entertain a large group of people and especially great for broke college kids.
Grab some friends, pack some food and you can spend the entire day at the beach without spending a penny. You can get a tan, jump in the ocean and have a great time with your friends. If you want to stay late don’t forget to bring a sweatshirt because the winds coming off the ocean can cool the temperatures extremely fast as the sun goes down.
La Jolla Cove
The La Jolla Cove may just be my favorite place. La Jolla is beautiful and the cove is perfect for all day fun. The cove has a beach that includes lifeguards from 9am to sunset, showers, and bathrooms, and is incredibly popular for families because of the lower level wave breaks.
During low tide, the waves pull back to reveal a ton of tide pools to explore. The cove also has a variety of water sports available such as swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking.
Not to mention the La Jolla Cove is home to the La Jolla Sea Lions. You can usually find them sunbathing on the giant rocks near the Children’s Pool or hanging out in the sea. They are fun to watch and are something you should check out if you go.
Seaport Village is a great place to walk around. A waterfront shopping and dining complex in downtown San Diego. It is also home to a historic carousel, the cost is 3$ a rider.
While it does cost to park, there is validation or you could always park farther away and walk, which is something I have done before. It is a great way to get out of the house and explore some cute shops and eat.
Balboa Park is beautiful. Not only is a great place to walk around and take photos but there is so much to do. While there are museums and gardens that cost money, there is still plenty of free options.
One of the most beautiful spots in Balboa is the Botanical Building and Lily Pond. The garden is filled with more than 2,000 exotic plants, some with very fun names, like Fluffy. The Zoro garden is also a great spot for seeing butterflies. Balboa has 16 other gardens and aside from the Japanese friendship garden, are all free.
The park is also home to the San Diego Zoo, a bit pricey but if you have a chance, incredibly worth it. The zoo is filled with hills so be sure to wear some comfy shoes.
Balboa Park has a ton of museums to choose from. The Timken Museum of Art is always free. A shortstop but lovely. Note: it is closed on Mondays. Other non-museums include the Natural History Museum, Museum of Man, Fleet Science Center, and Mingei International Museum.
Not to mention the Old Globe modeled after Shakespeare’s Old Globe in London is here. In 1984 the Globe won the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. It annually produces 15 mainstage productions.
There is also the Spreckels Organ Pavilion that has free live concerts every Sunday at 2pm. It was donated to the park in 1915 and has 5,000 pipes some over 32 feet tall.
These are only some of the cool aspects of the park. It is easy to spend an entire day here with cool events happening all the time so be sure to check on their site for daily events before going.
Of course, I have to include Disneyland on this list. It wouldn’t be a SoCal to do list without it. This is the most expensive item on this list but if you can it is for sure worth it to visit the Happiest Place on Earth. You can always buy a hopper ticket to visit both Disneyland and California Adventure if you are only planning on a single park I will always recommend Disneyland over California Adventure. Not only is Disneyland the OG it is filled with more rides and personally I think it is way more fun.
My favorite things to do include getting Dole Whip and going on Star Tours. If you want to go during Christmastime be sure to check out my post about it >here<
What places do you enjoy in the Southern California area?