San Diego in October

Discussion in 'California & the West' started by Supermavs, Jul 8, 2017.

  1. Supermavs

    Supermavs Earning My Ears

    Nov 9, 2008
    Hi everyone!
    Our kids have the first week of October off, so we are thinking of heading south to enjoy the San Diego area and take advantage of kids getting in free to the local museums/zoo etc. Is everything slammed due to kids getting in free?

    We will be bringing 7 of our kids aged 16 down to two 3 year olds. (16, 13, 11, 7, 7, 3, 3) We are an active beach and nature loving family. We have two older boys (18, 20) who likely will not be joining us but may come down for a couple days if school shecule allows.

    I'm looking for a recommendation for an area/town to stay that will have good family friendly beaches, and won't be too far for driving into the zoo etc. We are looking at airbnb and vrbo sites for housing due to number of people. We are from the Bay Area and sadly I haven't had much time south, so I don't know the areas well.

    Also looking for what you guys who know the area recommend as far as the must-sees. Anyone done the Medival Times restaurant? What about Safari park? I'm envisioning that to be hot and with few animals. Ha ha. I'm sure it's better than that! Lego land too boring for the older girls? Also, there are smaller auto or airplane museums I think?

    My heart's desire is that we'd get to go to Disneyland on the way home for a day or two, but I don't think we could swing it financially.

    Thanks for any input!

  2. SteveMP

    SteveMP DIS Veteran

    Jun 13, 2017
    October is a nice time usually. I avoid free days, but mainly the Fleet museum seems to get the busiest on free days due to science center and Kid City.

    As for beach areas to stay I prefer Carlsbad, Encinitas, Cardiff, etc but thats not close to downtown/zoo. Not sure what kind of Airbnb places you could find on Coronado? Plenty of others but depends on budget.

    Medieval Times isn't close, past Disneyland closer to Knotts. Safari Park is nice and october shouldn't be too hot to enjoy.

    Legoland depends on the kids really. I would say 7-11 prime ages.
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  4. cruisehopeful

    cruisehopeful Wishing I was taking a nap on a ship.

    Oct 25, 2015
    I haven't done it, but want to emphasize it is far from San Diego. It wouldn't be worth the drive just to go to it. If you hit it on the way up or down, it would be more reasonable.
    Safari Park is great. It can be hot in October. Go early in the day right when they open. You should be able to see most of the park before it gets unbearable. They have a lot of upsell things which can get expensive. Be sure to go through their website carefully ahead of time so you know exactly what you are getting. There are a lot of different endangered animals and some nice outdoor "hikes" around the park. I highly recommend visiting.
    It will be boring for the older girls, but it is still kind of fun to see how they make everything lego themed. If you let them know ahead of time that the park is made for younger ages, they will know what to expect when they get there. I would go to it because of the ages of your other children.
    Balboa Park is full of museums. The auto and airplane museums are small, but the nice about them being small is that you can visit several in a day. I love the auto museum. It has, imo, the coolest car ever. The Fleet Science Center is another good museum, but that one takes a lot longer to visit. If you do a film there, you could easily spend half a day at the museum.

    I don't know about crowds during the free times. Many years ago (25 + years ago), I worked at the San diego Zoo and during October, we had bus loads of kids from Mexico visiting because they got in for free. They were very sweet and well behaved, but if you got behind their group for things like going to the restroom or buying a drink, the lines would be very long.
  5. PHXscuba

    PHXscuba Mouseketeer since birth!

    Jul 7, 2008
    I would consider the Mission Bay area for a condo. Lots of options, very family friendly, easy access to many areas. The beach is right there and the waves aren't too powerful.

    Legoland would be great for the youngers but the teens might think it a little small. But you might be able to do some great "buy adult ticket, get child ticket free" deals that might offset the overall price.

    We love the San Diego weather in October. It's a little more crowded because of the freebie deals, but not nearly as much as summer, spring break, or Christmas. And many of us Arizonans don't have fall break until the second week. :rolleyes:

  6. oakleycat

    oakleycat Mouseketeer

    Jan 19, 2017
    San Diego will be beautiful in October, but up at the Safari Park it may still be really hot. The Safari Park is great when it's cool and the animals are out and about. I actually prefer it to the zoo. Legoland will be boring for your older kids, but the little ones will love it and the older ones will be helpful in taking the younger ones on all the rides where an "adult" must accompany smaller children. As PP said, there are always buy 1 adult, get 1 kid free coupons available so you cold get all the younger ones in free. While Legoland is almost as expensive as Disneyland now, the coupons make it much more affordable. They are always in the free magazine you can get from the Lego website and usually at one of the fast food restaurants in the area.

    As others have said, Medieval Times is not in SD but your could easily catch it on the way up/down if you're coming from the north. My whole family (kids-grandparents) really enjoys it - good show if you like the whole knight tournament thing and decent food. Again, look for the buy one-get one free coupons or groupon deals that are usually available.
  7. Supermavs

    Supermavs Earning My Ears

    Nov 9, 2008
    Thanks for all of the replies! I've been busy and haven't been able to reply before now. I'm sure I'll have more questions.
  8. halfmonkey

    halfmonkey DIS Veteran

    Jan 25, 2011
    October is a nice time of year for San Diego. Keep in mind, it is also our fire season during the October months so there is a chance for some windy and dry conditions if that bothers you for example, if you have allergies and such.

    As far as things to do, I would first recommend you eat a carne asada burrito. I know many parts of the country say they serve carne aside burritos but nowhere does it like San Diego. Trust me. If you plan on staying in the Mission Valley area, I would recommend you go to JV's. It's down the street from USD.

    If you want to go to the zoo, be aware that it may be crowded. We went once when it was free admissions for kids and will not do that again. We spent like 30 minutes just looking for parking. Now if you've never been, just come right when it opens and you won't have to deal with the parking but it will be a great deal for you because of all your kids. It's a great zoo. I would recommend the zoo over the Safari Park, not both unless you have time to kill. If you can find a nice VRBP/AIRBNB in La Jolla within your budget, I would say go for it.

    As far as beaches, if you want to go to a beach close to Mission Valley, I would recommend you go to La Jolla Shores. It's nice in a nice part of town. Mission Bay is closest to Mission Valley area but we do not go into that water. That's just something the locals don't do.

    Legoland is fun although my oldest is 9. They do have the water park. I'm not sure if it will be open that late into the year so you may want to check on that if you're interested in the water park.

    If you want to go for a little drive, head up to Julian for some apple pies. Depending on timing, you may even be able to find some apple orchards and do some picking with the family. Julian is a small and quaint little town. We typically go up there in the winter after a day of playing in the snow in the winter and make a day out of it. Find a cafe and eat, eat some apple pies, and bring a couple back for the extended family members. Mom's Pies are great. We like the caramel crumb pies.

    Balboa Park is always a must see for tourist along with the many museums. You could always go to Old Town as that is always a tourist must do too. That's also close to our "best" mall called Fashion Valley. If you want to shop at the best outlet, go to San Ysidro outlet. It's literally right next to the border.

    Good luck with your planning.

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