There is one silver lining during this difficult time. San Diego residents and those who find themselves here can find fun things to do that fit various social distancing comfort levels.

We need to stay busy. The kids definitely need things to do and know that life will eventually get back to normal. They need to stay connected to their friends (so if that means relaxing device rules, think about doing it). Thank goodness for FaceTime.

That being said, sometimes we need reminders of what else we can do which is why I put together this list of resources I have or have seen online. I will add to this list as I think of more things that can be done with a 6′ clearance from other people or at home.

Seek Out Charitable Projects

Look for local charities that you can help during this difficult time be it a project that you can complete at home or a project out in the field that you are comfortable with supporting.

To give you an idea, the San Diego Humane Society provides a list of DIY toys for animal enrichment that you and the kids can make for their animals in residence. We have made many of these projects and they are doable, fun, and rewarding.

We know that Meals on Wheels San Diego is in need of healthy volunteers to deliver much-needed meals to households around the county. This is more of an adult activity and requires a little bit of training but I mention it because organizations like this need help.

Grab a pack of no-sew blankets to make at home from a store like JO-ANN’s. Find a local shelter to donate them to.

Go to the Beach

We have 70 miles of coastline and you can likely take advantage of San Diego beaches without the crowds. Walk your dogs in the morning and evenings (when they are permitted) as the days are longer now. Pick a spot and let the kids run around and play in the sand for a while.

If the sun manages to come out, make it a family beach day. Visit a beach that is new to you. Or, pack a picnic and watch the sunset. We are lucky to have this kind of space and I dare say that since tourism is down that you’ll have no problem isolating your group — isolating is key.

Go Tide Pooling

View of La Jolla from the Dike Rock tide pools near Scripps Pier.
Dike Rock tide pools in La Jolla

Check the tide calendar for low tides during the day and head to one of the popular San Diego tide pools near you. There are some minus tides in the afternoon on March 17–23.

Ride Bikes Around Mission Bay

Did you know that Mission Bay has 12 miles of flat, easy bike paths that are mostly vehicle-free? Here is the map.

Fly a Kite

Turn to Amazon for a beginner kite (if your kids haven’t flown one recently) and head to Mission Bay or the beach where there is space to fly one. They even make pocket kites that are easier to carry around and can likely be flown in your backyard.

Take the 59-Mile Drive

Did you know that San Diego has an organized 59-Mile Drive that hits main sites from downtown San Diego up to La Jolla? While some attractions that you might normally get out and see will be closed, it gives you an organized itinerary so that you aren’t driving around aimlessly, if driving around gives you some peace of mind and something to do. It’s likely that you may pass by some uncrowded parks or beaches where you can safely get out for fresh air.

Visit the La Jolla Seals and Sea Lions (EARLY)

Seals lay on the beach at the Children's Pool.
It’s pupping season at Children’s Pool

Take an early morning (before it gets busy) trip over to the Children’s Pool to see the seals — it’s pupping season so there are babies — and walk over to La Jolla Cove for sea lion viewing.

Lay out a blanket at Ellen Browning Scripps Park in between the two and soak up the sun (if it ever comes out). If it is a rainy day, the La Jolla seals and sea lions head to the water so you’ll want to wait for better weather anyway.

If it gets crowded, it will be hard to avoid people on the sidewalks so go early. Perhaps do a drive-by first to judge the situation.

Take a Hike

We have miles upon miles of hiking trails in San Diego, many of which are suitable for young kids.

Support a Local Business

San Diego businesses, restaurants in particular, are hurting. If you are going to order take-out, use the restaurant’s in-house delivery service so that the restaurant doesn’t lose profits to third party delivery services.

If you’re not ordering take-out or dining out, consider purchasing a gift card or sharing something you love about a business on social media.

Check the Zoo and Safari Park Cams

Check the live animal cams at San Diego Zoo and live animal cams at San Diego Zoo Safari Park to see what the koalas, baboons, giraffes and more are up to. Day time viewing is best.

(The San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park are closed from March 16–31. As they are nonprofit organizations with every dollar going toward conservation initiatives, animal upkeep, and staff, they will need your business when this is all over.)

Take a Virtual Tour of a Famous Museum

This idea has been shared ad nauseam on social media but it’s a good one.

Travel + Leisure put together an awesome list of museums that offer virtual tours so that you can get an idea of what it’s like to visit and see famous works of art outside of a textbook. This includes the British Museum; National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City; and many more of our personal favorites.

Bake the USS Midway Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

USS Midway chocolate chip cookies

Find a favorite family recipe and tackle it in the kitchen with the kids. Have they been to the USS Midway Museum? Do they like chocolate chip cookies? Why not try the USS Midway chocolate chip cookie recipe? It was developed in 1945 and served onboard to the sailors for many years after that. Kids receive this recipe as a souvenir when they take field trips here so they might already be familiar with it.

It’s an enormous recipe so you can turn it into cookie bars, if you like.

Keep Learning Online

A few options off of the top of my head or that have landed in my inbox include the below.


If you have a child interested in learning a language, Duolingo managed to gamify the process and make it fun. My daughter has used it for Mandarin and has friends who subscribe for extra help with Spanish and other languages. You can even learn Klingon and as weird as that sounds, during times when you need to keep the kids busy, why not pitch it as an option?


Speaking of virtual learning, Mathnasium has expedited the launch of the Mathnasium@home platform to provide kids with at-home supplemental learning with live tutors.

Common Sense Media also has a list of apps that act like Math and Science tutors.

Check for Early Show and Movie Releases

If you subscribe to Disney+, you’ll be able to watch Frozen II on Sunday which earlier than planned. I’d put money on Netflix and other subscription services doing the same thing.

Make Your Backyard Extra Fun

Who says that your house can’t be a fun place to be? I have a popular list of outdoor games that includes everything from lawn darts to giant dice.

Bring Out the Board Games and Puzzles

If you’re feeling uninspired by the games collecting dust in your closet, here’s a list of classic and newer family board games to consider.

If your kids are into it, grab one of those 1000+ piece puzzles that take forever to put together. If you can duck into a family-owned toy store like Geppetto’s to grab it great, but if not, turn to Amazon.

I also have a long list of knock knock jokes for kids with a free printable, a list of travel games for kids and car games for kids.

Start Spring Cleaning Early

While this might be the idea that the kids like the least, why not take the time at home to get incredibly organized. Donate the unplayed with toys and clothes that don’t fit to a local charity.

When this is all over, there will be more need than ever in communities all over the world.

See also: Things to Do in San Diego with Kids

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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