6 Kid-Friendly Hikes in San Diego, CA

Author: Celine Brewer

Last Updated:

San Diego is one of the most kid-friendly destinations in the United States. With famous attractions like the San Diego Zoo and Legoland, there are so many amazing things to do in San Diego with kids. But did you know that there are also lots of excellent kid-friendly hikes in San Diego?

San Diego is blessed with a great climate, a southern California beach-front location and lots of beautiful parks for kids of all ages to explore. You’ll enjoy a wide variety of easy hikes in San Diego. These 6 kid-friendly hikes in San Diego range from long walks through lush city parks, relaxing strolls along the beach, beautiful hikes in a nature reserve and yes, even the San Diego Zoo.

Parents with babies and toddlers will have no issues finding kid-friendly hiking trails in San Diego to match everyone’s abilities. Many of the easy San Diego hiking trails described below are also stroller friendly hikes.

A father with his baby and toddler enjoy a fun kid-friendly hike at the Torrey Pines Natural Reserve just outside San Diego, CA.
We loved the kid-friendly hiking at Torrey Pines.

We spent a week in San Diego with toddler and a baby and we enjoyed easy hikes in San Diego every single day. We want to get our children outdoors as early and as often as possible to instill a lifelong love of nature in them. If you feel the same way, we encourage you to visit San Diego with kids and enjoy its natural wonders.

We brought a travel stroller and our two favorite baby carriers for travel with us on our family vacation to San Diego. Almost all of our outings were stroller friendly hikes in San Diego, but we always brought a baby carrier along too. We enjoyed the flexibility to have our baby in either the carrier or the stroller, depending on the situation.

La Jolla in San Diego with a baby and toddler
La Jolla was a wonderful location for an easy hike in San Diego with kids.

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Our 6 Favorite Kid-Friendly Hikes in San Diego:

1. Torrey Pines Natural Reserve Hikes

The Torrey Pines Natural Reserve is home to many wonderful, kid-friendly hikes your family is sure enjoy. Home to the rare and beautiful Torrey Pine tree, the Torrey Pines Natural Reserve is dramatically perched high above the shores of the Pacific Ocean. This park offers beautiful views of the ocean and gives you that refreshing feeling of being in a forest, despite being in the middle of San Diego. 

The Torrey Pines hiking trails are not stroller-friendly trails, so you’ll need to bring your baby carrier. We brought a carrier for our baby and one for our toddler (in case she wanted to be carried) and were glad we did!

San Diego Kid Friendly Walks at Torrey Pines Natural Reserve
Dad having fun with the kids on an easy hike in Torrey Pines.

Don’t miss our informative posts about hiking with a baby and even more tips on hiking with toddlers. We share our best hiking tips, the best baby carriers for hiking and the best toddler hiking backpack carriers.

We combined two kid-friendly hikes in Torrey Pines Natural Reserve: 

  • The Razor Point Trail is approximately 1.3 miles (2.1 km) return and descends to a spectacular lookout over the Pacific Ocean. It’s not overly steep, but you might end up carrying your toddler on the way back up.

  • The Guy Fleming Trail is a 0.7 mile (1.1km) loop with two scenic lookouts providing amazing Pacific Ocean views. This easy Torrey Pines hiking trail is mostly level and is well worth visiting.
hiking Torrey Pines Nature Reserve with a toddler.
We loved the ocean views on the kid-friendly hiking trails in Torrey Pines!

Tips for Hiking Torrey Pines with Kids

  • Get all the Torrey Pines Natural Reserve trail maps on your phone with AllTrails.

  • You’ll find portable toilets up near the Razor Point hike trailhead.

  • Food is not allowed on the Torrey Pines hiking trails. You can have a snack on the benches near the Razor Point trailhead.

  • Golf fanatics will enjoy getting a glimpse of the world-famous Torrey Pines Golf Course – home to the 2021 US Open Championship.

Enjoy map downloads and many more premium features with a 7-day free trial of AllTrails+!

Looking for more great kid-friendly hikes? See our list of the best hikes for babies and toddlers in the USA or the best baby and toddler hikes around the world.

2. La Jolla Cove Walk

Centrally located and ocean-side, La Jolla Cove deserves its reputation as one of San Diego’s top neighborhoods to visit with kids. In addition to the great shopping and many kid-friendly restaurants, your family will enjoy a pleasant and easy hike along the La Jolla oceanfront.

Aside from the beautiful, rocky oceanfront scenery, your kids will love looking for the La Jolla Cove sea lions, who bask on the rocks near the Children’s Pool beach.

A father holds his daughter on a walking trail in La Jolla - home to one of our favorite kid-friendly hikes in San Diego.
We couldn’t get enough of the beautiful oceanfront scenery on our family walk in La Jolla.

Tips for Hiking La Jolla Cove with Kids:

  • The La Jolla oceanfront trail is stroller-friendly.

  • You will find portable toilets near the start of the walkway along the sea wall at the Children’s Pool. Great for those mornings where you’ve had too much coffee!

Want to take advantage of the stroller-friendly hikes in San Diego? See our list of the Best Travel Strollers.

3. Mission Beach Boardwalk

The Mission Beach Boardwalk is one of the best easy hikes in San Diego. This easy, stroller-friendly walking trail stretches for 3.5 miles (5.6 km) along the sandy shores of Mission Beach.

If you’re looking to spend a family day at the beach in San Diego, Mission Beach is a great option. Babies and toddlers can spend all day playing in the sand and water. When it’s time to take a break from playing in the sand, a family walk along the Mission Beach Boardwalk is a ton of fun.

Before you start your walk, grab an ice cream at Dreyer’s Ice Cream shop near Belmont Park. Perhaps it was the magical combination of the beach and the warm California sun, but we felt it was some of the best ice cream we’ve ever had!

Enjoying Dreyer's ice cream while on an easy San Diego walk along the Mission Beach Boardwalk Trail.
We grabbed ice cream before our easy walk along Mission Beach.

Before you go to the San Diego beach with your kids, be sure you have the Beach Essentials for Toddlers.

4. Mission Bay Trails

The Mission Beach Boardwalk is a great stroller-friendly walk in San Diego, but its popularity means it can get very crowded with bikes, inline skaters and skateboarders. If you’d rather find a less-hectic stroller-friendly trail in San Diego simply walk a few blocks in-land to Mission Bay where you will find 12 miles of bike paths.

Though you still need to be on the lookout for bikes, the easy Mission Bay trails are much quieter, and you can still take a break to let your kids play in the sand. In fact, because the water is not exposed to the open ocean, there are no waves to worry about, making Mission Bay a great place for small kids to play in the sand.

A baby and toddler play on the beach near Mission Bay, San Diego, CA.
Our kids loved playing in the sand along Mission Bay.

5. Balboa Park Hiking Trails

Visiting Balboa Park is one of the most fun things to do in San Diego with kids. Balboa Park is home to several playgrounds, 15 major museums and of course, lots of kid-friendly San Diego hiking trails. 

Balboa Park is home to many of the best easy hikes in San Diego for kids.
Stopping at one of the many museums on our easy walk in Balboa Park.

We did a modified version of the red trail on this Balboa Park walking trails map. This stroller-friendly San Diego hiking trail took us around the museums and gardens to the Spanish Village Art Center. We wanted to let the kids ride the Balboa Park Miniature Train, but it was closed.

This easy Balboa Park hike is also great for the kids as you can stop at the 6th Avenue Playground before and after your walk. Giving your kids time to play while on vacation does wonders for their mood, making the rest of your travel day more enjoyable for everyone.

For a bonus activity, stop at the corner of Front Street and Spruce Street before you go to Balboa Park and walk across the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge.

A toddler races across the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge on an easy walk near Balboa Park in San Diego, Califonia.
Our daughter races across the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge before our Balboa Park family walk.

Tips for Hiking Balboa Park with Kids:

  • Get many of the Balboa Park hiking trails on your phone with AllTrails.
  • The Balboa Park Miniature Railroad is only open on holidays and weekends, so confirm the schedule before planning to visit.

  • Want to see the highlights of Balboa Park the easy way? Check out this kid-friendly walking tour of Balboa Park.

Have a blast singing these hiking songs with your family.

6. San Diego Zoo Walking Trails

One of the reasons San Diego is such a great destination for a family vacation is the San Diego Zoo – a must-do attraction with kids.

The San Diego Zoo is so big, it makes a great place for a kid-friendly walk in San Diego. The zoo is a safe and interesting area to explore, and the zoo animals will keep your kids entertained and engaged. While at the zoo, kids will run from animal-to-animal, and you’ll never need to coax them to keep moving.

San Diego Zoo with toddlers
Our daughter literally RAN from animal-to-animal at the San Diego Zoo.

There are many stroller-friendly walks through the San Diego Zoo. It was also a great place to get our baby to nap on-the-go in the baby carrier.

Get more information about visiting the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park with a Toddler or Baby.

We hope that you enjoy these kid-friendly San Diego hikes as much as we did!

More California with a Baby

San Diego Kid Friendly Walks

This post was written & edited by:

info@babycantravel.com | Website | + posts

Celine Brewer is the owner of Baby Can Travel. Not only does she have years of experience traveling with babies & toddlers, but she's helped millions of new parents travel with their babies and toddlers for over a decade. In addition to writing on her baby travel blog, she has shared her expertise on traveling with a baby or toddler by contributing to articles about traveling with a baby with the Washington Post, USA Today, the Lonely Planet magazine and Pregnancy & Newborn magazine.

Celine also writes about family travel on the site FamilyCanTravel.com, which she co-owns with her husband. Being from the Canadian Rockies, she shares her passion about her home and travel to Banff National Park and area on their site TravelBanffCanada.com.

Read more about Celine Brewer.