Considered San Diego’s waterfront wonderland, the area of Mission Bay is an exciting resort neighborhood. Here, you can relax on sandy beaches, participate in exciting water sports, or set off on a fun bay cruise. The area is also home to a few kid-friendly theme parks, such as SeaWorld San Diego and Belmont Park. Book a stay at one of many unforgettable Mission Bay vacation rentals today. Whether you’re visiting this waterfront neighborhood with toddlers or teens, here are 10 things to do in Mission Bay to keep your young ones entertained.

1. Soak Up the Sun at Mission Beach

Mission Beach may be popular with the college crowd, but during the day, the sandy stretch is the perfect place for families with little ones who want to play in the sand or splash around in the waves. If you’re traveling with older kids, be sure to visit the Wave House, where they can test their skills behind the artificial wave machine.

2. Enjoy the Rides at Belmont Park

Play some games in the vintage arcade, ride the old-fashioned wooden roller coaster, and take a ride on the carousel at this beach-front amusement park that has become a family classic. Opened in 1925, Belmont Park has maintained its vintage feel, and special experiences, such as enjoying a hot dog on a stick, are sure to stick with you long after your Mission Bay vacation ends. The park also features kiddie rides, a laser tag arena, a mini golf course, and a rock climbing wall for your more adventurous little ones.

3. Have a Picnic at East Mission Bay Park

The grassy shores of East Mission Bay Park are a pleasant contrast to the hustle and bustle of the watersports areas and busy beaches. Prepare a picnic at your vacation rental to enjoy on the shoreline while spotting dolphins in the bay. You can also enjoy a family bike ride, roller skate along the paved paths, or spend time at one of the playgrounds.

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4. Rent Some Kayaks or Stand-Up Paddle Boards

Enjoy jet skiing, windsurfing, and jet packs with your older kids, and then rent a few kayaks or stand-up paddle boards for a relaxing time on the water with your entire family. You can also rent a few boogie boards so your kids can ride the mild surf in before your beach day comes to an end.

5. Go for a Sunset Cruise on the Bahia Belle

Hop aboard a three-story Steamboat for a laid-back cruise around Mission Bay before heading back to your vacation rental. The Bahia Belle leaves from Catamaran Resort for a family sunset cruise in the late afternoon, offering snacks and family activities while the steamboat chugs past dolphins and stunning waterfront hotels.

6. Stroll Along the Boardwalk

Enjoy a bike ride, some rollerblading, or a relaxing stroll along the Mission Beach boardwalk after spending a day on the sand. Older kids may enjoy stepping into some of the surf and skate shops, and then the whole family can head to one of the burger joints or taco stands for a bite to eat. If you have some extra time, check out the bay-side Santa Clara Recreation Area, where kids can play on the jungle gyms while the adults relax and enjoy the views of the bay.

7. Check Out SeaWorld San Diego

One of the world’s most famous aquatic parks, SeaWorld offers enough entertainment for a full day of family fun. Kids of all ages love seeing the vast collection of marine mammals and watching the aquatic shows, but the park also features roller coasters, sea-themed kiddie rides, unique circus acts, and a virtual reality orca encounter. Younger kids have a blast feeding the sea lions, walking through glass tunnels under shark tanks, and reaching out to pet dolphins.

8. Learn to Surf

Head to the ocean side of Mission Bay to find a slew of surf schools where your older kids and teens can take surf lessons before renting a board and heading out on the water. Many schools offer both group classes and private lessons. Don’t have a lot of time in Mission Bay? No worries. Your kids are sure to be out on the water after their first lesson.

9. Go Sailing

Head to the Mission Bay Sportcenter or another watersport hot spot to book a sailing tour for a unique Mission Bay experience that older kids are sure to love. Set out to learn the ins and outs of sailing with an experienced captain while enjoying the calm waters of the bay, where you’re likely to spot some sea lions.

10. Embark on a Whale-Watching Tour

Get ready to shove off on an off-shore adventure to catch a glimpse of breaching whales. During your tour, you might see blue whales, gray whales, humpback whales, orca whales, and other species of both migrating whales and those that swim the Southern California coastline year-round. You might also see pods of dolphins, harbor porpoises, seals, and sea lions during your relaxing cruise along the shores of beautiful San Diego. Remember to bring a few sets of binoculars to help the captain spot whales and other sea life.

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