How to Spend a Family-Friendly Memorial Day in San Diego

May 16, 2022

Welcoming more than 35 million visitors to its shores every year, San Diego is a fun, exciting destination, especially over the Memorial Day holiday. From theme parks to family-friendly beaches, this sun-soaked city boasts a huge range of attractions to help you celebrate the start of the summer season. Not sure which activities to put on your must-do list? Below is our list of recommendations for what to do in San Diego during Memorial Day weekend, created especially for guests of Sunrise Inn San Diego.  

Have a Picnic at the Beach

Though it’s brimming with a variety of attractions, San Diego might be best known for its beaches. From those lining the Pacific Coast to the sheltered beaches tucked into Mission Bay, there’s a variety of places to set down a blanket and enjoy a picnic with your crew. 

If you’ve got little ones in tow, head first to spots like Playa Pacifica Park and De Anza Cove Park—these are some of the best family-friendly beaches in San Diego, thanks to calm, shallow waters and no worries about sea creatures lurking below the surface. Enjoy snacks on your picnic blanket while the kids splash just a few feet away. Looking for a sandy spot close to Sunrise Inn San Diego? Check out Grace Beach on Shelter Island, with views of the city skyline on the horizon. 

Check Out Belmont in Bloom

Belmont Park is a must-do when you’re spending Memorial Day in San Diego. With a carnival-like atmosphere, including games and rides, it transports you to the most fun, exhilarating days of summer. This year, the park will host the first-ever Belmont in Bloom, a colorful flower-themed festival of photo opps, tasty treats, and public artwork intended to celebrate all things floral. When you’re not checking out the displays, you can be riding the Giant Dipper historic roller coaster, splashing in the Plunge swimming pool, or playing games in the arcade. 

Attend Summer Movies in the Park

Not every moment of your San Diego family vacation needs to be action-packed. When you need a few hours to relax in the evening, take the little ones to Summer Movies in the Park. On May 28 starting at 6 p.m., the Disney hit movie “Encanto” will be shown on the big screen at Waterfront Park before an audience of locals and visitors. Sit back and enjoy the show in this stunning green space, surrounded by skyscrapers and just steps from the Embarcadero.

Visit the San Diego Zoo

What’s a San Diego summer getaway without a trip to the San Diego Zoo? As one of the region’s top attractions, it beckons animal lovers from far and wide. Get ahead of the dense summer crowds and visit during Memorial Day weekend, when mornings tend to be overcast and daytime highs are manageable. 

Though most people come to catch a glimpse of some of the 3,700 rare and endangered animals the it houses, don’t overlook the beautiful flora—more than 700,000 plants are peppered throughout the zoo’s 100 acres. If walking for hours with little ones sounds overwhelming, opt for the guided bus tour, which gives a great overview as well as drops off guests at various locations. 

Head to Sesame Place in San Diego

Sesame Place is San Diego area’s newest theme park, and it’s the perfect place to spend a warm summer day. In addition to a splash park, water slides, a wave pool, and a lazy river, this park features family-friendly rides, including a roller coaster ride that’s perfect for first timers. 

Sesame Place is located in Chula Vista to the south of San Diego and is open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on the weekend of Memorial Day, with the exception of Monday, when the park closes at 5 p.m. Tickets are $64.99 per guests, but children 23 months and younger are free. 


With excellent bay views, clean guest rooms, and a great location in the heart of Point Loma Village, Sunrise Inn is a standout among San Diego family resorts. Choose this property as your base when you want budget-friendly accommodations near the best attractions in the city. 

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