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Sunny San Diego is a very popular tourist location for people to visit, especially families. San Diego is a family-friendly city in Southern California and can be visited at any time during the year as there is plenty to do indoors and outdoors. We live in Southern California and have driven by San Diego, but have never visited and stayed a few days. I was very excited about taking Amtrak from Los Angeles to San Diego. I was probably even more excited than the kids as it was not only going to be their first time, but it was also going to be my first time riding an Amtrak train.
Los Angeles To San Diego On The Amtrak Train With Kids
We traveled to San Diego which is located along the Pacific Coast of Southern California. San Diego is well-known for its beautiful weather, beaches and also for being a very family friendly city to visit in California.
When To Travel With San Diego With Kids
We visited San Diego with kids in August 2018 and spent 3 days there. you can visit anytime during the year and still have a great time, however, it is a bit colder in the winter.
San Diego Weather In The Summer
The San Diego weather was in the 70s for our whole trip. It got a little cooler in the evenings, but because the kids spent most of their time running around and riding their bikes, their bodies stayed warm.
Packing For San Diego With Kids
We packed all our clothes in our Osprey backpacks. The kids, my husband and I all have Osprey backpacks and absolutely love them. It is perfect to pack for a short or even a long trip. The kids carried their backpacks on their backs and rode their bikes with no issues, and we did the same as well.
Each kids backpack contained;
- toiletry pack
- a book to read
- writing materials
- 2 outfits
- 1 swim trunk girls | boys
- 2 undies girls | boys
- 1 pair of pajamas
Taking The Amtrak Train From Los Angeles to San Diego
We took the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner Train from Los Angeles to San Diego with our bikes and it was such an amazing experience for our entire family. Can you believe that I have lived in California for 14 years, but have never taken an Amtrak train? This was not only a new experience for the kids but a new experience for my husband and me as well.
How to Purchase Amtrak Train Tickets
Train tickets for Amtrak can very easily be purchased on the Amtrak website or by calling 1(800)872-7245. A child discount is offered for every child accompanying a paying adult.
Boarding the Amtrak Train
Once you purchase your Amtrak ticket and receive confirmation by email, all you need to do is show up to the train station and locate your boarding area. The train number and time will be listed on your boarding pass. You’ll also need to make sure to have it handy because the train conductor goes around and checks everyone’s ticket.
Choosing Seats on Amtrak
On Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner, there are no pre-assigned seats in coach. There were plenty of seats when we boarded the train, and we found seats that face each other which the kids were excited about. These seats are reserved for parties of 3 or more, so if you board late, you may still be lucky enough to grab one of them. Two seats that are across from each other can also be moved to face the ocean. The kids loved looking out of the window in between doing math.
The seats also recline which is perfect for when you need to lounge or take a nap.
Eating and Drinking on Amtrak
Amtrak has a café car which has snacks, drinks, and even food that can be warmed up like burritos and more. My husband and I were appreciative of this. On our Amtrak Los Angeles to San Diego trip we were running late, fed the kids but didn’t get a chance to eat. The café car also has alcohol for sale so on our return, after 3 exhausting days of biking around San Diego, my husband and I enjoyed some champagne.
Wi-Fi on Amtrak
Amtrak offers free Wi-Fi on most trains so if you have to work, it is perfect. Our
Amtrak San Diego to Los Angeles route had wifi. I loved taking advantage of this to get some work done.
How To Entertain Kids on Amtrak
We packed enough items to keep the kids busy such as markers, pencils, writing books, reading books and card games. Between all the things to keep them busy and staring out of the window, they were occupied for the whole train ride. Read more on Keeping Kids Entertained here.
Amtrak Baggage Allowances
Amtrak allows four free carry-on bags for all passengers, two personal items weighing no more than 25 pounds and two carry-on items weighing no more than 50lbs. We had a backpack each which we were able to put in the overhead compartment above our seats.
Traveling with Bikes on Amtrak
Prior to our trip, I had no idea that we could travel with bikes on Amtrak. When I was on the website trying to book our tickets, I noticed the option for bikes and was so excited. I figured this would be a good chance to not only take the train but also to take our bikes and ride around San Diego.
There are bike racks on Amtrak for you to store your bike. Each train can only accommodate a certain number of them, so if you plan to travel with a bike, make sure to reserve a spot for it as soon as you purchase your ticket. The kids love bike riding, and they often ask to travel with their bikes so this is an added bonus to taking the train. Make sure to travel with a bike lock so that you know your bike is always safe.
How To Get Around San Diego With Kids
There are many ways to get around San Diego, such as taking the bus, train, trolley, Uber, Lyft, rental car or even just driving your own car.
We enjoyed riding our bikes around San Diego. I was a little worried at first because I thought the kids would get tired of riding their bikes, but they did not. We got off the Amtrak train at the Santa Fe station in San Diego and rode our bikes to our hotel which was only an 8-minute bike ride away. We also rode our bikes all around the downtown and waterfront area for the entire duration of our stay in San Diego.
Where To Stay In San Diego With Kids
San Diego is really big and there are several kid-friendly hotels. However, when searching for hotels, I wanted to make sure that we were in a place that we could bike to a few attractions and restaurants.
Hampton Inn San Diego Downtown is located in the perfect area of downtown. It is walking distance from the Santa Fe Amtrak station, walking distance to Little Italy which has several amazing restaurants, walking distance to the waterfront and also a huge park just right across. They have a pool as well but we were so busy riding bikes, exploring and playing and we didn’t get a chance to swim.
What To Do In San Diego with Kids
As we were riding our bikes to our hotel, the kids noticed this park and we rode there right away before even checking in to our hotel. The kids dropped their backpacks and ran to play. We visited this park on all 3 days that we spent in San Diego.
This park also has a water area right behind it for hot days. We saw other kids running through and splashing in the water, but my kids were just so excited with all the fun structures at the park so they spent most of their time there.
The New Children’s Museum
There are two Children’s Museums in San Diego, and this is the newer one. Glad they opened this one because we were able to bike to it from our hotel. We took our bikes inside and they were able to store them for us while the kids and I enjoyed the museum.
We rode our bikes up and down the harbor and watched the boats. We even rode all the way to the San Diego Airport and watched the planes take off and land. The kids loved it.
Coronado Island is a beautiful island connected to San Diego by a bridge. Riding our bikes there was not an option, so we took the ferry. The cost of the ferry is $9 per person for a round trip ticket. The ferry leaves the San Diego port and arrives at Coronado Ferry Landing on Coronado Island. This trip takes about 40 minutes, with a beautiful view and a smooth ride. We were able to take our bikes on the ferry as well so that we could ride around the island.
Coronado Beach / Mel Beach
As soon as we got off the ferry at Coronado Ferry Landing, we got on our bikes and rode to Coronado Beach. The beach is about a mile and a half from the ferry landing. We rode our bikes all the way to Mel Beach. When we got to Mel Beach we realized that the distance from the bike path to the beach was too far, and because we forgot our bike locks, we didn’t feel comfortable being so far away from our bikes. We rode a little further down past Hotel del Coronado, which is right on the beach and found the perfect spot. We parked our bikes on the sand and the kids enjoyed the beach.
The beach water was really cold though, so I didn’t fancy it much, but the kids didn’t care and loved playing in the water and running away from the waves.
Where To Eat In San Diego
Some people believe that you must get on a plane or sit in traffic to travel somewhere, well, I disagree. I strongly believe that all travel is travel, and if you want a more relaxing way to travel, I highly suggest that you consider the train.
This post was sponsored by Amtrak, however, all opinions expressed are my own.
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