Seemingly endless sunshine and sandy shores make San Diego the envy of... pretty much anyone not in San Diego. So it’s no wonder that everyone here finds themselves playing tour guide constantly. However, not everyone wants to throw back shots in PB (weird) or loves surfing as much as you do (even weirder). Luckily, here's a game plan for entertaining any guest life might throw your way. THE GUEST: YOUR SISTER AND HER THREE-YEAR-OLD KID When entertaining a friend with young'uns, your usual Gaslamp haunts won't cut it, so here are some fine ways to keep everything kid-friendly while keeping yourself sane. San Diego Zoo Safari Park, 15500 San Pasqual Valley Rd; Escondido; 760.747.8702 After you check out the Cheetah Run and all the lions, tigers, and bears with the kiddo, drop him off at the petting zoo so you can fly down the zipline suspended 160ft above the park.
Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, 1875 El Prado; 619.238.1233
Belly up to the Exploration Bar to get a hands-on experience that won’t cost you a couple of cocktails, or check out the MILFs in the Gallery of Illusions and Perceptions (hey, this place is more like a real bar than you thought).
Fishing at Chollas Lake, 6350 College Grove Dr; 619.527.7683
Pack a picnic and go fishing at SD’s only youth fishing lake. If watching you impale a worm on the hook doesn’t go over so well with the kid, they can always feed the ducks or hit the playground.
Inflatable World, 1640 Camino Del Rio N; 619.216.0199
Take the kid to bounce off some energy in a place with more inflatable playthings than Pandemonia.
Seaport Village, 849 W Harbor Dr; 619.235.4014
Spend the day in Seaport Village with a balloon artist, a carousel, and face-painting for the kid, and you’ll finally have an excuse to buy that badass kite you never admitted to having your eye on. Fine, get your face painted, too.
THE GUEST: YOUR GRANDPARENTS
Repay Grandma and Gramps for all the times they spoiled you rotten and show them the time of their lives with some geriatric-friendly activities.
Cabrillo National Monument, 1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr; 619.557.5450
You can't go wrong with a place that has military history, a beautiful ocean view, whale-watching, and a lighthouse. Old people love lighthouses. It's science.
Coronado Island, Coronado; 619.437.8788
Between the historical tours, the golf course, and the shopping (knick knack alert!), there are plenty of activities to tucker them out just in time to hit an early bird dinner at the Coronado Boathouse.
USS Midway, 910 N Harbor Dr; 619.544.9600
It’s big, it’s historical, and they might even know someone who served on it. It screams America, and old people love America. Almost as much as they love lighthouses. Basically, lighthouses IN America are the sweet spot. But navy ships aren't a bad follow-up.
Balboa Park, 1549 El Prado; 619.239.0512
The park itself is pretty easy on the eyes, and they’ll have their pick of at least 17 museums, plenty of gardens to walk through, and the iconic botanical building. Make a day of it and get lunch at the Prado.
Winery Train Tour, 858.551.5115
If you have grandparents who are more about raging than rest homes, hop aboard a winery train tour. Train tickets are half price for senior citizens, so they can get blitzed on a budget, and you get to hear more family secrets than you ever wanted to know.
THE GUEST: YOUR FRAT BUDDY WHO CAN'T DRINK ANYMORE FOR VARIOUS REASONS
If your buddy who was once the life of the party had to put his beer-guzzling days behind him, take him to these spots to keep him out of trouble while still bringing the good times. But not the Good Times, even though that was a really good show.
The Paintball Park, 1700 Vandegrift Blvd; Oceanside; 866.985.4932
If you've been friends a while, there's almost certainly some lingering issues best resolved by painfully shooting each other with colored pellets in the name of capturing a flag.
Paragliding/ Hang Gliding at Torrey Pines Gliderport, 2800 Torrey Pines Scenic Dr; 858.452.9858
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Wait... it’s a dude strapped to another dude soaring over the ocean and it’s awesome! Not a good play if either of you has issues with heights...
Hike Some SD Trails
If you’re not exactly in college shape anymore, check out Razor Point and Yucca Point Trails in Torrey Pines State Reserve for cliff views of the ocean, but if you’re looking for a real challenge, strap on your CamelBaks and hike the Cedar Creek Falls Trail to the 80ft waterfall at Devil’s Punchbowl. Don’t forget to stop in Julian on the way back to reward yourself with a slice of apple pie.
Flyboard at Aquatic Aviation, 1880 Harbor Island Dr; 888.265.2728
Your buddy may not be able to party like Robert Downey Jr. anymore, but that doesn’t mean he can’t fly like Iron Man.
Snorkel in La Jolla Cove
Slip on your flippers and get up close and personal with some sea lions. But beware of any loose seals.
1. Chollas Lake6350 College Grove Dr, San Diego
2. San Diego Zoo2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego
3. Reuben H. Fleet Science Center1875 El Prado, San Diego
4. Inflatable World1640 Camino Del Rio N, San Diego
5. Seaport Village849 W Harbor Dr, San Diego
6. Cabrillo National Monument1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr, San Diego
7. USS Midway910 N Harbor Dr, San Diego
8. Balboa Park1549 El Prado, San Diego
9. The Paintball Park1700 Vandegrift Blvd, Oceanside
10. Torrey Pines Gliderport2800 Torrey Pines Scenic Dr, La Jolla
11. Aquatic Aviation1880 Harbor Island Dr, San Diego
Chollas Lake is a reservoir and recreational area in San Diego.
The San Diego Zoo is a huge zoo in, well, San Diego... and it's one of the few zoos in the world to house a giant panda.
The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center is a science museum and gallery in San Diego.
Inflatable World is an inflatable amusement park (with bouncy castles and bunch more ) located in San Diego.
Seaport Village is a large shopping and dining center with plenty of cool shops, restaurants, and food stands... and plenty of space to walk off the food from the restaurants and food stands.
Cabrillo National Monument is composed of a lighthouse and a surrounding park that commemorate the first European to set foot on the West Coast of the United States.
The USS Midway has been converted into a museum commemorating its many years of service in the US Navy.
San Diego’s signature slab of urban nature is 40 percent bigger than New York’s Central Park and about 100 percent more wild. Balboa Park is home to a wide range of entertainment options, like the San Diego Zoo (which is exponentially better than the Central Park Zoo), a pavilion with free live pipe organ concerts during warmer months, the Old Globe Theater, museums like the Museum of Photographic Arts and the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, and the world’s first IMAX dome theater.
The Paintball Park at Camp Pendleton is a large outdoor paintball arena in Oceanside, CA.
Torrey Pines Gliderport is a launching site for hang gliding, paragliding, and other aviation pursuits.