Fun & Free Summer Activities in San Diego

Having fun during the summer in San Diego doesn’t require a lot of money. In fact, many things to see and enjoy in San Diego are absolutely free.

Following is a list of fun and free activities you can enjoy during San Diego’s summer months:

Put on your bathing suit, grab your towel and head to one of San Diego's 30+ beaches, all open to the public and perfect for bodysurfing, boogie boarding, building sandcastles, collecting seashells and basking in the sun.
Hit the road and take in the sights as you navigate San Diego's 59-Mile Scenic Drive that loops its way through the city's charming neighborhoods and reveals our unique attractions and natural wonders.
"Summer concerts in the park" are offered throughout San Diego County, including:
- Carlsbad TGIF Concerts in the Park 
- Coronado Summer Series
- Del Mar Foundation Twilight Concert Series

- Lemon Grove Summer Concerts
- Point Loma Concert Series 
- Poway Summer Concert Series 
- Santee Summer Concerts
- Scripps Ranch Symphony in the Park
- Solana Beach
- Twilight in the Park Summer Concerts
Visit Seaport Village during the weekends for free entertainment and hours of leisurely strolling and window-shopping in the Village’s stores. You can also walk along the bay-front or sit in the grass and gaze at passing yachts and ships along San Diego’s beautiful Big Bay.
Stroll through the 16½-block historic Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego and view the renovated turn-of-the-century Victorian architecture, home to antique stores and art galleries. Did you know that the Gaslamp Quarter was the stomping ground of Wyatt Earp?
Fly a kite along the grassy field in the Tecolote Shores of Mission Bay Park, a 4,600-acre aquatic park. Here, away from trees and overhead wires, friends and family gather to launch colorful kites into the high-flying bayside breezes.
Enjoy free organ concerts at 2 p.m. on Sundays at the Organ Pavillion in Balboa Park. The Organ Pavillion features the world’s largest outdoor pipe organ, a San Diego landmark for 84 years, where organists resound traditional favorites, waltzes and showtunes from the organ’s monstrous 32-foot lead alloy pipes.
Visit Old Town full of Mexican lore and stroll through the variety of international shops. Guests are also invited to wander free through Old Town’s historic buildings, including the blacksmith shop, the Seeley Stables, the Stewart House, the Estudillo House and the oldest schoolhouse in San Diego.
Bike or jog along Mission Bay Park’s many trails. Joggers and walkers share more than 20 miles of scenic running paths winding through sunlight and shade near the shoreline with workout courses at planned stations along the route.
Take free fly-fishing lessons on Sunday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon at Lake Murray, located in La Mesa. If you don’t have your own gear, arrive early for a free equipment loan.
Take a walk around Balboa Park to discover its beautiful architecture. While visiting the Park, take advantage of the variety of free offerings, including 15 museums (select museums on Tuesdays), tours of the park, organ concerts (Sundays) and spectacular gardens (seven of the eight are free on a regular basis).
Stargaze outside the Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater on the first Wednesday of every month for "Stars in the Park." The San Diego Astronomy Association sets up huge telescopes and offers guests a great view of our magnificent outer space.
Take a scenic, one-hour drive to Mt. Laguna for a hike, bike or picnic while enjoying the fresh mountain air whispering through the pines. Before making your way back to San Diego, stop at Julian to sightsee in this century-old gold mining town and enjoy some apple pie.
Rollerblade, skateboard or bicycle along the Mission Beach Boardwalk, a scenic 3-mile boardwalk along picturesque Mission and Pacific Beaches.
Visit Mission Trails Regional Park to explore the cultural, historical and recreational aspects of San Diego. The Park’s state-of-the-art Visitor’s Center boasts a 94-seat theater where guests explore and learn about the wonders of nature and the people who once lived on the land. The park also offers 40 miles of natural and developed hiking and biking trails.
Go on a hike at the Torrey Pines State Reserve. Feast your eyes on the dramatic cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, deep valleys and majestic pine trees in this scenic 1,000-acre wilderness playground.
Go scuba diving or snorkeling off San Diego’s shores to see spectacular creatures of the sea. La Jolla Cove offers some of the clearest waters on the California coast, as well as miles of protected underwater preserves to explore.
On warm summer nights when the tide is high and the moon is full, join San Diegans in a local natural phenomenon, the grunion run. Witness thousands of small grunion fish swimming ashore to mate and bury their eggs in the sand before riding the waves back out to sea.
Gather your family, friends and firewood and have a cozy beach bonfire at one of the select beaches around San Diego County, including Coronado Beach, La Jolla Shores and Mission Beach.
Explore the Point Loma tidepools when the tide is low and the pools are visible to see some of the magnificent creatures of the sea. Point Loma tidepools are located just short of the tip of Cabrillo Point.
Take a drive to the top of Mt. Soledad in La Jolla for breathtaking, 360-degree views of San Diego, including the gently curving La Jolla coastline and Mission Bay. Other spectacular views await guests at the top of Mt. Helix, offering magnificent 360-degree views of San Diego’s East County communities.
Visit Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and experience the heat and natural beauty of the desert. The 600-acre park is one of the largest state parks in the United States.
Walk along the Batiquitos Lagoon in Carlsbad and look for birds, insects, plants, fish and animals in one of the few remaining tidal wetlands on the Southern California coast. The nature reserve is open 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM daily.
Go on a self-guided walking tour of The Stuart Collection, a display of contemporary sculptures scattered throughout the University of California San Diego campus in La Jolla. Tour maps are available at the Gilman Drive campus entrance.
Geocaching is a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game. Players try to locate hidden containers, call geocaches, using GPS-enabled devices and then share their experiences online.
Attend the 40th Annual Ocean Beach Street Fair & Chili Cook-off, featuring live music and entertainment, unique vendors, talented artists, thrilling rides, refreshing beer garden and so much more! June 22.
Join the festivities at San Diego’s Fourth of July celebrations. Fireworks, festivals and patriotic parades are held in numerous communities throughout the county.
July 13th Imperial Beach Sun & Sea Festival will feature world-class sandcastle sculptors creating some of the best sand creations on the West Coast as well as a community parade and pancake breakfast, live music, children’s craft activities and a Kids 'n Kastles competition.
Watch the 65th Annual World Championship Over-the-Line Tournament San Diego’s most popular beach and softball event. July 14 & 15 and July 21 & 22 on Fiesta Island in Mission Bay.
Celebrate the Latin American culture at the Annual Latin American Festival at Bazaar del Mundo in Old Town. Diane Powers’ annual festival presents one of the nation’s most extensive collections of authentic Mexican folk art, traditional clothing and textiles, colorful collectibles and dazzling jewelry, plus entertainment and Mexican cuisine August 2, 3 & 4.
Chula Vista Lemon Festival celebrates Chula Vista's heritage as the "Lemon Capital of the World" and will feature live entertainment, a kids' fun zone and lemons galore. August 4th.
The Imperial Beach Surf Dog Competition, where fearless surFUR dogs will jump on their boards and hang 20! August 10th.
The Annual Cardiff Dog Days of Summer is presented by Cardiff 101 Main Street and the City of Encinitas on August 11. This free event features over 100 dog-related vendors, rescue groups, pet adoption agencies, and a carefully curated “Maker’s Market Row”. Activities include dog contests, live music, kids activities, beer & wine garden, food trucks, and more.
Don’t miss the Annual Hillcrest Cityfest Street Fair, featuring fine arts, crafts, food booths, live entertainment and a beer garden. August 11 from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Watch international and U.S. body surfers, equipped with only a pair of swimming fins, ride and perform on ocean waves during the 43rd Annual World Body Surfing Championships on August 17-18.
Experience the 49th Annual Barona Powwow on August 30 – September 1, 2019 at the Barona Sports Park in Lakeside, California. You are invited to join the Barona Band of Mission Indians for a weekend of contest dancing in all categories.

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