7 San Diego Coaster Day Trip Ideas for Families

Coaster Commuter train on Del Mar beach, California, USA
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Looking for a fun and different weekend activity to do with your kids? Take them out on a "Coaster Crawl." The San Diego Coaster isn't just for commuters. It is also an ideal form of transportation to take the family on a day trip, especially on a busy summer weekend.

The San Diego Coaster is a train that travels along the coast of San Diego County from downtown San Diego up to Oceanside and all stops—with the exception of the Santa Fe Depot—have free parking lots. Trains leave from each station multiple times throughout the day and vary by day. Check the Coaster schedule to figure out which time will work best for your family to start its Coaster crawl. Get off at just one Coaster stop or explore the area around several of them during your day.

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Santa Fe Depot Station

Take the kids to Seaport Village by the harbor, which is only a 10 minute walk from the Santa Fe Depot stop located in downtown San Diego. Ride the carousel and then watch the local artists as they draw and paint portraits and scenery. Children will also delight in the street performers that can be often found entertaining in Seaport Village.

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Old Town Station

The Old Town Coaster stop is within an easy walking distance of Old Town's many historic sites. Children will especially enjoy visiting the Mason School House, a one-room schoolhouse still set up with desks and school objects from the 1800s.

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Solana Beach Station

This is an excellent Coaster stop to grab a bite to eat, as the family-friendly Pizza Port is located right across the 101 Highway from the Solana Beach station. The picnic-style benches inside are ideal for a rambunctious family and mom and dad can enjoy one of Pizza Port's award-winning microbrews while the kids check out the video games at the back of the restaurant.

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Encinitas Station

Did you know there's a botanical garden in Encinitas? The San Diego Botanic Garden is located on the south end of Encinitas in close proximity to the ocean. Take the family for a stroll through the garden and learn about its various plants and flowers. Kids will also love the Hamilton's Children Garden, a garden just for them, which has a tree house they can climb up and explore.

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Carlsbad Poinsettia Station

For a day of shopping, this is a good station to visit the Carlsbad Premium Outlets. It takes about a half an hour to walk from Carlsbad Poinsettia station to the Carlsbad Outlet Mall or is just a short cab ride. In spring, the Carlsbad Poinsettia stop is also an ideal gateway to get to the Carlsbad Flower Fields, which are adjacent to the outlet mall.

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Carlsbad Village Station

This stop drops you right in the middle of Carlsbad's downtown area, affectionately called the Village by local residents. The Village has its own Pizza Port and many other great places to eat. If your children need more room to run around, take them to the beach. The Carlsbad Village station is just a few blocks away from Carlsbad's clean beaches and the waves at the end of Grand Avenue are ideal for boogie boarding.

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Oceanside Transit Center

At this stop, you can take a long walk along the Oceanside pier, enjoy the beach, and even take off on a whale watching tour. Keep an eye out for upcoming events like live music and trivia nights and don't forget to stop by Ruby's Diner for a classic old-fashioned milkshake.

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