If you are like me you have all these dreams about summertime when the kids are in school. You dream of carefree days… the wind blowing in your hair and happy kids with popsicle stains all over their cute faces. These fairy-tales come while you’re knee deep in piles of laundry, homework and projects while simultaneously trying to be a taxi cab driver and prepare dinner at the same time… oh and make lunches for tomorrow and give the baby a bath… You know the routine. But, then what happens? Summer comes and all of the sudden you crave the routines again because all you keep hearing out of every kids mouth is… “I’m Bored!”
Well… let me let you in on a little secret. Just Go!! Get Out There!! Squash the summer boredom blues. It doesn’t even have to cost you much…
Top 5 Practically FREE Things To Do this Summer in SoCal!
1) Head to Annenberg Community Beach House-
This little gem in Santa Monica CA is the perfect day trip. Wake up early and hit the road. Don’t worry about parking… you can pre-pay online (summer runs you $12 for the day) and as long as you get there by 11am the spot is guaranteed. Annenberg has tons of great amenities including: playground, splash pad, beach courts and fields, tables and umbrellas, free wi-fi, beach access and the cleanest beach bathrooms I’ve ever seen. There is a pool too but it’s first come first serve so you have to get there early.
I recommend being on the road by 9am and planning on staying in Santa Monica through dinner so you don’t get stuck in any traffic on the way home. We like to pack a change of clothes and head over to the Third Street Promenade once we’ve finished up at the beach. It was renovated not too long ago and is much more kid friendly now.
We always pack plenty of snacks, cold waters and lunch to keep things affordable! You can opt to purchase from the beach shack there but burgers run about $15. We prefer to splurge on some pizza and ice cream before heading home instead. Joe’s Pizza & Sweet Rose Creamery are great options!!
Info on Annenberg Community Beach House here
2) Hike Torrey Pines
If you follow me on Instagram and Facebook (and if you don’t you really should) you would know this one is a recent find for me. Last weekend our boys were at a football camp in Mira Mesa… I knew the girls would be bored waiting for the boys to finish up so I went on Yelp and searched for nearby hikes. Low and behold I came across Torrey Pines State Reserve.
Guys its GORGEOUS!!! Parking only costs you $15 and they accept credit cards. There are a bunch of different trails, a beach, visitor center and bathrooms (although not the cleanest). We had a 7 year old and a stroller so we chose the Guy Fleming Trail. It is only 0.7 mile loop and my husband was even able to push the baby in the stroller through it!
Again, packing snacks and drinks helps keep costs down. There is also a Panera, Chipotle etc… not too far away.
Info on Torrey Pines State Reserve here
3) Movies Under the Stars
Be creative… there are tons of communities that offer this type of service. We think its fun to go to those within our community like the ones you can find in Temecula here. But, it is also super fun to visit some neighboring communities as well!
We think these ones are fantastic!! All listed are free of charge. Make sure to pack blankets, chairs and read websites for specific instructions. Some allow you to bring in food… others don’t 😉
- Stone Brewery Movie Nights (How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Shrek are coming up soon!)
- Moonlight Movies on the Beach (Long Beach CA)
- San Diego Summer Movies in the Park (we like Waterfront Park)
4) Del Mar Foundation’s Summer Concerts
Who doesn’t love music with an ocean view? Try heading out to Del Mar’s Free Summer Concert series… it’s a great way to end the day after maybe a hike in Torrey Pines 😉 Go ahead mix and match… go crazy with your bad mama planning skills!!
There are neighboring restaurants so you can always grab a meal or a drink before the concert too.
Info on Del Mar Foundation’s Summer Concert here
5) Moonlight Amphitheater in Vista
My friends have told me about their love for the Moonlight Amphitheater and I am excited to try it out this summer. They claim the performances are Broadway worthy and there is even a full orchestra!! We are waiting to go see Shrek!! Parking is free and family night tickets only run $24 for adults and $10 for kids for the lawn seating. We hear those seats are best for little ones!!
Info on Moonlight Amphitheater here