If the kids are restless on a warm day, or any day in San Diego for that matter, take them to one of these great playgrounds or splash parks. While the splash parks may only be open for part of the year, our San Diego weather means a long season for enjoying outdoor play. Here are some of the most-loved play areas for kids.
Playgrounds that are always FREE
Pepper Grove playground in Balboa Park can provide a full day of fun for really little ones as well as older kids. Enjoy two separate play areas. One for small children that is padded with a giant sandbox, slides, and swings. And the other area for older kids has large playground equipment, faux zipline, and spinning things. There are plenty of grassy picnic areas and lovely views.
The Sixth Avenue Playground at Sixth and Spruce, also in Balboa park, offers two separate play areas as well. The younger kids’ area has a fire engine theme and the bigger kids’ area looks like modern art with lots of climbing things and a slide.
Mission Bay Park has great play equipment and is suitable for little ones on up to the older kids in your tribe. This park offers plenty of open space for picnics and sports activities as well as great ocean views. There are restrooms and snack machines in the vicinity as well.
Old Trolley Barn Park is named for the historical trolley barn location that it once was. Located at 1900 Adams Avenue in San Diego, it has great play equipment on padded surfaces with several shade trees. It has a water fountain, but be aware that there is no bathroom on the premises. There are FREEconcerts on Friday nights.
Chollas Lake Park offers a few playground areas for kids, a lake trail and hiking trails, and family barbeque areas. There is a 16 acre lake that offers FREE fishing to youth ages 15 and under. Restrooms are on the premises.
Splash pools and pads
There are several wonderful parks and playgrounds in the San Diego area that offer plenty of FREE or very cheap water fun for the kids. Next time you’re itching to get the little ones out on a hot day to cool off for cheap, try out one of these great splash parks in the area.
Del Mar Highland’s Town Center in the heart of the Del Mar shopping district offers a wonderful place for kids to cool off and have some safe fun in the water. The pop-jet fountain will have your kids laughing and splashing for hours.
At Hilton Head County Park in El Cajon, who wouldn’t love a splash park with a pirate theme? Bring the kids for an all-day session at the water park, playground, and picnic areas for only $3 for the day.
Lakeview Park in San Marcos has a fun wading fountain amongst its extensive bike and scooter trails and playground areas. It turns on at 11:00 am, 12:30 pm, 2:00 pm, 3:30 pm, and 5:00 pm for 15-minute intervals. Perfect for cooling off after a few hours of play or bike riding.
Otay Ranch Town Center shopping mall in Chula Vista has a big popper fountain right near their food court. It operates most of the year offering a place for kids to have fun after parents shop till they drop at the extensive array of shops in the area.
Pioneer Park in San Diego offers a wonderful place to play for residents of 4S Ranch. It is a private park/splash pad, so you must live in the area or be a guest of someone who does.
Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve has seven playgrounds to choose from including their Sprayground. Santee Lakes has extensive campgrounds, cabins for rent, fishing and boating opportunities, and more. Cost is $4 per vehicle weekdays/$6 weekends and $2 for Sprayground play weekdays/$3 for weekends.
Sweetwater Summit Regional Park located just east of Chula Vista in south San Diego is also a camping and fishing destination that offers many great amenities to daily visitors. Among those is a splash park for kids, playground, and several covered picnicking areas. Cost is $3 for parking.
Waterfront Park in San Diego offers one of the largest play areas and interactive water fountains around. Kids will not be disappointed with this playground, and parents will love the various garden rooms, picnic areas, and views that this centrally-located park has to offer. Best of all, it’s FREE!
If you have other favorite splash parks that are budget-friendly, we want to know about them. Respond in the comments or email us at news@sandiegoonthecheap.
You may also like FREE and Cheap San Diego Kids’ Activities for Summer.