Whether you’re looking for a family outing or want to flex your competitive muscles with friends, Belmont Park San Diego is fun for all ages. This historic, free-to-enter, and beachfront amusement park in San Diego’s Mission Beach neighborhood is home to carnival rides, arcade games, popular attractions like mini-golf, go-karting, sweet treats, and even some places to sip adult beverages.

I’ll go over the rides and attractions in detail, including where to eat, what to do, tickets, and important things to know before you go. This list of the best things to do at Belmont Park San Diego is compiled through personal experience and input from my daughter who is an annual pass holder.


The park was built by sugar magnate John D. Spreckels and opened as the Mission Beach Amusement Center on July 4, 1925.

The idea was to draw people to the up-and-coming area as a way for him to sell real estate. Long story short, the park remained popular through the 1950s, fell into disrepair in the late ’60s and ’70s, closed in 1976, and reopened in 1988 as a shopping and entertainment area.

Visionaries helped to restore the landmark Giant Dipper roller coaster and launched other improvements to make it the destination for tourists and locals that it is today.

1. Ride the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster

Belmont Park ticket booth with the Giant Dipper roller coaster in the background.
Ticket booth, carousel, and Giant Dipper roller coaster in the background.

Built during the Golden Age of wooden roller coasters, the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster is one of the remaining attractions from the park’s 1925 opening, making it the second oldest roller coaster in the United States and a San Diego icon.

This star attraction is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and named a National Historic Landmark.

The Giant Dipper provides views of the Pacific Ocean and the city. This historic wooden roller coaster is known for its abrupt turns and dips, reaching speeds up to 48 mph. Not for the fainthearted, riders should prepare for a thrilling, stomach-clenching drop of 75 feet.

  • Type: Big Thrill
  • Minimum Height: Must be at least 50” to ride.
  • Price: $8 single ride or with any Park Pass

2. Tackle the Other Carnival Rides

Aside from the famous Giant Dipper roller coaster, Belmont Park is home to twelve more fun rides, all operated by the San Diego Coaster Company. Here they are and why you’ll love them.

Belmont Express

Belmont Express train rides through the beachfront amusement park
Belmont Express train rides through the park during normal times.


Hop aboard the Belmont Express. This mini-express train has all the bells and whistles of a real train, including a smokestack that shoots fog into the air as it travels down the Midway and along the park’s perimeter.

  • Type: Little Thrill
  • Minimum Height: Must be at least 36” to ride alone, or ride with another rider who meets the minimum height requirement and is at least 8 years old.
  • Price: $5 single ride or with any Park Pass


A fixed interactive ride, Control Freak gives you all the power by letting you choose which direction you’ll flip the entire ride (clockwise or counterclockwise). You and your partner will share control of the ride via buttons on your shoulder restraints. The control switches from one person to the other after a pre-determined amount of time has passed. A loud sound signals the switch of power, so beware!

  • Type: Big Thrill
  • Minimum Height: Must be at least 52” to ride alone. Riders between 48” and 52” can also ride, with another rider who meets the minimum height requirement and is at least 8 years old. The height maximum is 77.”


Suspended in inward-facing cars on inverted seats that form a giant circle, the Beach Blaster is a daring, swirling, frenzied ride of thrilling mayhem. Continually spinning, the ride also swings with irregularly occurring G-forces that reach heights of up to 67 feet, traveling 120 degrees in both directions. This organized chaos will keep you guessing and have your adrenaline pumping.

  • Type: Big Thrill
  • Minimum Height: Must be at least 48.” There are no exceptions.


Set on a track similar to a roller coaster, the Octotron is a thrill ride that spins you around while you use a joystick to spin yourself either forward or backward. Since you control the ride, you can get as dizzy as you want. Spin non-stop or not at all. The choice is yours. At night, neon lights give it a vibrant glow. It earns top reviews from local teens and tweens.

  • Type: Big Thrill
  • Minimum Height: Must be at least 48” to ride. There are no exceptions.


The Tilt a Whirl spins around its wheel.
Always a kid favorite.


A classic amusement park staple, the Tilt-a-Whirl is a spinning good time that is sure to get you dizzy and have you giggling by the time the ride ends. This is a great family ride choice.

  • Type: Little Thrill
  • Minimum Height: 48” to ride alone; under 48” must be with another rider who meets the minimum height requirement and is at least 8 years old.


A Spring Ride, the Vertical Plunge is a stomach-dropping ride that rises three stories before plunging back down to the ground. Each ride is a two-minute cycle where you rise and drop and then repeat. The whole family will love it.

  • Type: Little Thrill
  • Minimum Height: 42” to ride alone and at least 36” to ride with a person at least 42” and at least 8 years old.


A mini-submarine replica, Crazy Submarine features two big mechanical arms that rotate this ride both clockwise and counterclockwise in the air. It reaches a maximum speed of 10 rpm and a maximum height of 20 feet, making it a big thrill for your little ones.

  • Type: Little Thrill
  • Minimum Height: Must be at least 42” to ride alone, or ride with another rider who meets the minimum height requirement and is at least 8 years old.


A day at the park isn’t complete without a ride on the Liberty Carousel. This antique replica takes you back to the Golden Age of Carousels with its 12 paintings depicting San Diego’s storied history. Located near the Giant Dipper, enjoy whirling around this 30-foot-wide carousel boasting 800 twinkling lights as it plays classic tunes.

  • Type: Little Thrill
  • Minimum Height: No height requirement, ages two and younger must be with a rider who is at least 8-years-old.


Providing the thrill of a larger ride while remaining little kid-friendly, the Speedway is a NASCAR-inspired, two-seater, whip-style ride featuring sharp turns as it circles a glittering oval-shaped track.

  • Type: Little Thrill
  • Minimum Height: Must be at least 36” tall or ride with another rider who meets the minimum height requirement and is at least 8 years old.


These classic bumper cars let you chase and bump your opponents around the 2,000-square-foot driving floor in one of their 14 vibrant multicolored cars.

  • Type: Little Thrill
  • Minimum Height: Must be at least 48” to ride alone, or ride with another rider who meets the minimum height requirement and is at least 8 years old.


A twist on the classic bumper car experience, Krazy Kars are inner tube-shaped bumper cars that add a spinning element as you chase and bump into your fellow car drivers across the 1,400-square-foot driving floor. It’s an especially cool experience at night. You’ll cruise around in one of their 13 multicolored cars while listening to some groovy tunes, as black lights and a disco ball create a 1970s vibe that’ll have you feeling electric.

  • Type: Little Thrill
  • Minimum Height: Must be at least 42”


Take a seat with some friends or family and then be raised high above Belmont Park. You’ll bounce up and down to feel the sensation of zero gravity until you reach the ground.

  • Type: Big Thrill
  • Minimum Height: Must be at least 38″ to ride with a responsible paid chaperone at least 8 years old and 42″ tall or 42″ to ride alone. Maximum height is 76.’’

See also: Ultimate Guide for Things to Do in San Diego with Kids

3. Drive the Go-Kart Track (Seasonal)

Two girls drive the Go Karts at Belmont Park San Diego
Photo courtesy of Belmont Park

Visitors to Belmont Park can race with friends and family on the seasonal Go-Kart track that appears during fall festivities. You’ll reach speeds up to 18mph on this fun outdoor experience.

  • Restrictions: Drivers must be at least 56″ tall, and passengers must be at least 40″ tall to ride with a chaperone at least 18 years old.

4. Reach New Heights

Want to reach a new vantage point? You’re in luck! Belmont Park gives you three options to ascend new heights, Sky Climb, Coconut Climb, and Sky Ropes.


You must wear closed-toed shoes with a heel strap for these attractions.


The Rock Wall offers climbers of all levels to scale to new rights on a “mountain” mounted to the historic Plunge building. There are twelve lanes so that you can climb together with friends and family. There are beginner, intermediate, and advanced climbs, meaning there are options for rock climbers of all levels. Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views.

  • Restrictions: Climbers must fit into safety harnesses and weigh between 50 and 250 pounds.


A unique twist on rock climbing, the Coconut Climb is a tropics-inspired activity that brings out a little friendly competition among friends or perhaps strangers. After you get harnessed in, you and an opponent will race to the top of your palm trees to be the first one to ring the victory bell.

  • Restrictions: Must be between 30 and 250 pounds


If you’re looking for a different adrenaline rush from the two attractions above, head to Sky Ropes. This two-story activity features 26 challenging elements, including a zip line. You’ll traverse balance beams, cross tightropes, navigate stairs, and take on other formidable tasks.

  • Restrictions: Must be 48” to climb alone. People under 48” but above 36” can climb with another climber who meets the height requirement and is at least 18 years old. The maximum height is 6’ 7” and the maximum weight is 250 pounds. Climbers must fit into safety harnesses.

5. Zip Line Through the Park

You can soar through the Adrenaline Zone of Belmont Park San Diego on a zip line. You’ll fly through the sky from the Zip Line Tower to the arcade, reaching top speeds of 15 mph. Each person gets two zips per admission fee. Check the calendar as, at the moment, it’s closed starting on July 1, 2022, for the rest of the calendar year. 

  • Restrictions: Must be at least 46” and weigh between 50 and 250 pounds.

6. Bring on the Mini Golf at Tiki Town Adventure Golf

Miniature golf at Belmont Park in San Diego.
Miniature golf is always a hit.

Things get interesting as you enter the Tiki Town Adventure Golf Course. Great for all ages, this course keeps everyone on their game with twists, turns, and surprises.

To get started, choose a putter and a colored golf ball, and then you’re ready to take on the 18-hole mini-golf course doing your best to beat par. Even better, get a hole-in-one on hole 18, and you’ll win a free $5 power card to use at the arcade.

7. Go Mini Bowling

Belmont Lanes is a great place for younger kids to learn bowling and for older kids to play against their friends. The lanes are shorter and the balls are smaller. It’s super fun.

  • Restrictions: Not ideal for kids younger than 3

8. Take on the Arcade

For a taste of classic gaming with a modern twist, bring the whole family to the Arcade. Here you can switch between old favorites like Pac-Man and trying your hand at the newer games like Dance Dance Revolution.

You can also earn tickets to redeem for various prizes. There is no need for change as the arcade runs on a reloadable card system.

  • Restrictions: No Restrictions
  • Price: Range from $0.5 to $5 per game

See also: 15 San Diego Discounts to Experience the City for Less

9. Play Carnival Games

Play carnival games at Belmont Park in San Diego.

Try your best to win a stuffed emoji and other fun prizes by playing various carnival-style games at the Belmont Park Midway.

While they change periodically, you’ll find games like a high striker that will test your strength, a tub toss game that challenges your dexterity, and a balloon busting game that has you working on your aim, among others. The better you are, the bigger and better the prize you’ll win.

  • Restrictions: No Restrictions
  • Price: Prices vary from $1 to $5 per play

10. Have Fun with Lasers


Team players with good aim and a penchant for strategy will love an invigorating game of laser tag at the Arcade. Hiding around corners and seeking out your opponents on this three-level Tron-themed course make laser tag a great activity for all ages.

There are two bases, as well as a third neutral base. They can be used to gain your team extra points, just point and shoot. You can also “deactivate” your opponents for a few precious seconds when you connect with their vests but be warned; they’ll most likely come back with a vengeance.

The arena is located in the same space as the arcade, giving you free rein to move between gaming and laser fun. The Laser Tag vest must fit each participant comfortably to participate.


Will you accept the challenge of the Lazer Maze? This Mission Impossible-style maze is set up in a small room crisscrossed with several lasers. Your goal is to get through the maze as fast as you can. Each beam you hit will add time to your score. Lazer Maze offers you the choice of two modes – classic Lazer Maze, where you dodge beams, or Beam Buster, where you try and hit as many beams as you can in the allotted time.

11. Flee the Escape Room 

No, I’m not talking about the park. I’m talking about the new escape room, Escapology. Put your best sleuthing hat on because you and the gang have one hour to crack the code, pick the locks, and figure out how to escape from this epic puzzle room.

Choose from three room options – Antidote, Budapest Express, and Mansion Murder, or go through all three to keep you on your mental game.

  • Restrictions: Escapology is not recommended for kids under seven. All players under 18 must have a parent/guardian sign a waiver to play.

12. Mine for Treasure at Jungle Gems 

Take a step back in time in the Tiki Town Jungle at Jungle Gems – a mining and sluicing company. Here, you and your little ones will receive a bag of dirt (you choose the size).

You’ll dump the contents and sluice through the water to uncover amazing discoveries like fossils, gems, stones, and even arrowheads and shark teeth from time to time.

13. Become Part of the Movie at Xanadu 7D Theater 

Try your hand at combat in this immersive movie experience. The Xanadu 7D Theater puts you smack-dab in the movie action at this state-of-the-art theater featuring motion seats and incredible digital effects.

You’ll be provided with a blaster gun to shoot down your enemies as your seats move you through the movie. You’ll choose from three themed movies, including Pirates, Zombies, and Aliens. The person who connects with the most opponents by the end of the movie wins the game.

  • Restrictions: All riders must be at least 40” tall (no exceptions) and weigh no more than 350 pounds.

14. Take Pics at the NEW Old Time Photo Booth

Who doesn’t like taking funny photos? At Belmont Park’s newest attraction, visitors are provided with costumes galore. Whether you want to dress up as a pirate, mermaid, or mobster, the sky’s the limit at the Old Time Photo Booth. 

  • Restrictions: Maximum of 10 people are allowed in each session

15. Go Swimming in The Plunge Pool

The Plunge Pool is another historic landmark left over from the original park. It opened in 1925 as the Natatorium, the largest salt water pool in the world, but also fell into disrepair. It’s now a heated fresh water indoor swimming pool, one of the largest in Southern California, open to the public after a lengthy renovation.

Amenities include an inflatable obstacle course, lap swim lanes, water polo cages, keyless lockers, and a retractable roof. You can buy a day pass to The Plunge Pool or a monthly membership.

16. Treat Yourself — Carnival Style

You can have a Dole Whip at Belmont Park San Diego.
Straight from the Dole Whip cart — so, so good.

Belmont Park San Diego features multiple carnival-style food stands and eateries that serve up everything from tacos to funnel cakes, ensuring your appetite is fully satiated by the end of the day.

Here’s a quick breakdown of everything they have. You can eat at tables inside the park or on the sand of Mission Beach.

In fact, one perk of going to the beach in the Mission Beach area is having access to these quick-service spots.

Dole Whip: A cult classic made famous by Disney™ amusement parks, Dole Whips are a tasty tropical treat you won’t want to miss, especially on a hot summer day. Head over to the truck/cart near Sky Ropes to grab yours.

The Sweet Shoppe: Another great spot for a refreshing treat, The Sweet Shoppe features yummy delights like frozen bananas and Monster Waffle Cones. Don’t forget to try their homemade fudge!

Beach Treats: This is one of the eateries for nostalgia buffs. You’ll find shaved ice, soft-serve ice cream, waffle cones, and other classic ice cream shop delights.

Dippin’ Dots: A classic, carnival-style staple, enjoy a banana split with a little polka dot twist.

Draft Coffee: Grab a high-end Italian coffee to sip as you stroll around the park.

El Jefe: Get your grab-and-go tacos at the popular El Jefes Taco Shop, serving everything from fabulous fish tacos to refreshing Mexican fruit cups with Tajin.

Hot Dog on a Stick: Just like its name implies, get your hot-dog-on-a-stick, and pair it with their delicious hand-stomped lemonade. Choose from a wide selection of dogs, including turkey, beef, and veggie. They also serve fries and funnel cakes on a stick.

Belmonty’s Burgers: Get classic American fare fast at Belmonty’s, offering a wide selection of burgers, sandwiches, pizzas, and the traditional funnel cake.

Midway Snacks: Enjoy concession-style snacks such as freshly made pretzels, Tio Pepe churros, cola classics, and flavored ICEE’s.

Round Table Pizza: No intro needed — go here if craving pizza.

17. Brews and Views from Oceanfront Restaurants


While there are several places to eat at Belmont Park, Draft is among the most popular for its ocean views and an extensive list of nearly 100 beers – with 70+ beers on draft.

This is only elevated by their hand-crafted fare, including tantalizing choices like Beach Front Cobb or Salmon Burger. This beachside restaurant is the perfect place to decompress after a day at the park. Or, go before because they now serve brunch daily (with $8 mimosas, no less).


Want to drink on the beach? Beach House restaurant on the boardwalk is as close as it gets in this part of town. With toes in the restaurant’s sand, sip cocktails, listen to live music, gather around a fire pit, and enjoy burgers and salads with friends. Larger groups can rent one of the cabanas.


Cannonball boasts the largest oceanfront rooftop in San Diego and a pretty good Pacific Rim menu with many shareable plates to accompany the beachfront ocean views.

18. Go Shopping 

You’ll need to gear up when you’re this close to the surf and sand. Don’t worry if you forgot your swimsuit or need a last-minute fun souvenir. Between Sun Diego, Wings, San Diego Trading Company, other shops, and the fun Midway carts to browse, Belmont Park has your beachy retail needs covered.

If you like some sit-down dining and drinking, the oceanfront restaurants at Belmont Park are fun. The food and drinks are pretty good, too.

19. Attend Special Events like Harvest Walk (Seasonal)

A girl eats a candy apple at Harvest Walk.
Photo courtesy of Belmont Park

Fall is also an excellent time to visit Belmont Park in San Diego. Offerings change every year but in the past there’s been an open-air market with local food vendors, artisans, and a craft beer garden.

You’ll also enjoy classic movie cars on display, California’s biggest pumpkins, and free modified trick-or-treating — all free to enter and by the ocean.

20. Enjoy Live Entertainment

Check the schedule of events at Beach House. You’ll find a variety of concerts and comedians who entertain guests in the beachfront setting. These experiences are probably best for adults.

21. Rent Bikes to Cruise the Boardwalk

Here’s your chance to hit the boardwalk, which runs in front of Belmont Park and down to the end of Pacific Beach.

You can rent skateboards, in-line skates, tandem bikes, beach cruisers, and kids’ bikes at Mission Beach Rentals inside Belmont Park.


They also have a neat option for a day pass that includes unlimited rentals. So, you can grab a skateboard to ride on the boardwalk. Then, trade that in for a surfboard to hit the waves… the list goes on. They also give a 50% discount to Belmont Park ticket holders for all bicycle equipment rentals.

22. Hit the Beach

My daughter walks from the Mission Beach Boardwalk on to the beach.

While not technically located within Belmont Park, once you’re done exploring all the adventures inside, you would be remiss if you didn’t finish your day enjoying the stunning sunset at Mission Beach or meandering down the boardwalk.

It’s barely even a hop, skip, and a jump from the park entrance and a perfect place to snack on one of the treats mentioned above. After all, with all that running and racing you did in the laser tag arena, you’ve more than earned it.

Mission Beach Rentals For Casual Set-Up

Don’t have gear? No problem. You can reserve portable chairs, towels, and umbrellas at Mission Beach Rentals. They also have wetsuits, boogie boards, surfboards and other gear.

Save Money on Belmont Park Tickets

You can save on tickets, tours, and hotels through my affiliations. If you make purchases through some links in this post, I may be compensated. Our editorial guidelines.

Admission to Belmont Park is free, but you’ll need to spend a little cash to experience the rides and activities.

You can pay at Belmont Park to enjoy a la carte rides and attractions, but it is much more economical to purchase bundled tickets. 


San Diego residents who frequent the park should consider the new Belmont Park annual pass, which provides unlimited rides and attractions at $120.


Visitors also have the option of purchasing the Ride and Play Wristband for all-day unlimited rides and attractions. The Arcade, Escapology, and Midway Games are not included in the Ride and Play Combo. This day pass price is $60 for individuals over 48’’ and $55 for children under 48.’’ If you purchase online at least a day in advance, you’ll save $20.


Groupon usually has a Belmont Park offer, but it comes and goes.

Go San Diego Pass

If you are visiting San Diego, it is wise to consider the Go San Diego pass. This sightseeing pass includes San Diego theme parks and attractions such as the San Diego Zoo, LEGOLAND California, popular museums, and even some tours.

The Go San Diego pass All-Inclusive and Explorer options include the Ride & Play Combo Wristband.

More Tips for Your Belmont Park Visit

Part of what makes Belmont Park great is that you can wrap multiple San Diego experiences into your visit. Go to the beach, rent bikes, take a surfing lesson, and much more. So, below I’ve included some logistics information and places to stay nearby.

Belmont Park’s Location on Mission Beach

Address: 3146 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109

Mission Beach is a gorgeous sandy beach located south of Pacific Beach and north of the Mission Bay jetty.

The Ocean Front Walk boardwalk runs along the two popular beaches in front of popular beach bars and restaurants. It’s where you’ll see beachgoers riding bikes, skating, skateboarding, watching the occasional street performer, and enjoying Southern California sunshine.

Grab a bike at Belmont Park or take a walk down the boardwalk to the pier to enjoy this part of San Diego.

Hotels Near Belmont Park San Diego

If you’re staying in one of the beachfront Pacific Beach hotels, like Tower23 (1.7 miles, 30 minutes) or Pacific Terrace Hotel (2 miles, 40 minutes), it’s very easy to walk down the boardwalk to Belmont Park’s attractions and restaurants.

The same goes for Catamaran Resort Hotel on Mission Bay (a few short blocks inland from the boardwalk). While the timing seems long, it’s a lovely walk we take all the time. It never feels long because there is so much to see, and if you’re walking briskly for exercise, it will take less time.

Visitors can walk from the Bahia Resort Hotel on Mission Bay in about 10 minutes or less, depending on where your room is located on the resort. Visitors staying at Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina (1 mile, 20 minutes) also walk to Belmont Park and Mission Beach to eat out, go to the beach, and play at Belmont Park.

These five hotels are my favorites within walking distance. You can also check Mission Beach vacation rentals.

See also: 8 Best Mission Beach Hotels

Parking at Belmont Park

Four free parking lots surround Belmont Park. They do tend to fill up during the weekends and summer, so arrive early during peak season.

We sometimes take Uber from our house because I don’t feel like dealing with peak season parking.

Check the Calendar Before You Go

It is always wise to check the Belmont Park calendar before you go to see which rides and activities are open. And, also to see what time they open. During winter, for example, the rides are not open daily.

We’ve made the mistake of arriving too early a few times. Besides, in today’s abnormal times, things tend to change quickly, as you know.

What is your favorite activity at Belmont Park in San Diego?

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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