Home » Archive by Category "Family Vacation"

Family Theme Park Survival Guide


San Diego Family Theme Parks

If you are planning your San Diego family vacation and have 1 or 2 local theme parks on your itinerary, it’s important to plan ahead, especially when you have young kids in tow. Certainly you are hoping your day will be relaxing and free of stress; however, a theme park trip can quickly escalate into a whirlwind of temper tantrums, crankiness and excess spending if you’re not equipped with these essential Theme Park Survival Tips, provided by the staff at the San Diego Pacific Inn & Suites.

Top San Diego attractions such as SeaWorld, LEGOLAND California and the San Diego Zoo attract tourists in droves. That is why it’s so important to pre-plan your trip to these major parks to get the most out of what is supposed to be a fun-filled day.


The parking lots at theme parks can be some of the most sinister places on the planet. They are expensive, huge, and a terror to navigate with a mini-van full of excited children. Before you go to your theme park, research the layout of the park and know exactly which parking lot will be your best location. If possible, purchase your parking pass ahead of time.

Public Transportation

You could also consider getting a hotel near your desired attraction and using public transportation to avoid all parking lot-related obstacles. For example, if the zoo is on your vacation to-do list, you could reserve a room at one of the hotels near San Diego Zoo, such as the Pacific Inn which is located less than 4 miles away. From Pacific Inn, you can easily take the Blue line bus route #215 from the Santa Fe Depot Transit Center towards SDSU, departing at Park Blvd and Zoo Pl.

Outline Your Day

Before entering the park, ask each child what their number one activity is. Looking at a park map, plan out the best route to make sure that every family member feels like a part of the vacation planning process. This way, no one will leave the park disappointed.

Pack the Essentials

There are some things you must bring to a theme park if you want to avoid paying exorbitant park prices. These items include water, aspirin, sunscreen, sunglasses, diaper items, and snacks. Pack a backpack the day before your theme park trip and leave it next to your downtown San Diego hotel door to ensure you don’t forget it.

These simple tips should help you avoid some common theme park pitfalls during your family vacation in San Diego. The staff at Pacific Inn truly hopes you have a wonderful, fun and affordable vacation. If you’re still looking for local accommodations, don’t hesitate to contact us at (619) 232-6391 if you’re interested in seeing how much money we could help you save during your stay in San Diego.


San Diego Kids Free Month: Best Picks for Downtown Travelers


Free Family Fun in San Diego

In an effort to appeal to families with children, for the whole month of October San Diego is offering free admission for kids to more than 100 activities as long as there is a paying adult. Locals and visitors alike are able to get into some of the city’s biggest and best attractions such as the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld and a variety of hotspots located near family friendly hotels in Downtown San Diego.  Pacific Inn, one such hotel, has compiled a list of the top participating locations near Downtown San Diego.

Hornblower Cruises

When accompanied by an adult, children 12 and under gain free passage on any of the Hornblower San Diego Bay cruises that sail for one or two hours along the coastal waters. Guides offer narrations of the more than 50 landmarks found around the city. Vessels also travel to locations known to feature sea lions and bird species. Each ship also offers complimentary beverages and snacks.

Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

Learning about the human body and looking at demystifying illusions are but some of the exhibits waiting for young guests at the science center. Various hands-on exhibits offer guests the chance to be an engineer while exploring a variety of sensory details. There is no doubt that the Reuben H. Fleet Center actually makes science fun.

San Diego Air & Space Museum

This museum welcomes guests to explore air and space travel through a number of exhibits that include historic planes, an ever fascinating Ripley’s Believe It or Not area, and a specially designed hanger just for kids. See equipment used by real astronauts and gaze in awe at the reproductions of actual Apollo and Gemini space modules.

Japanese Friendship Garden

Located in Balboa Park, the renowned facility welcomes families to tour the picturesque setting and learn a little more about the Japanese culture. The tranquil destination features buildings constructed using authentic Oriental architecture. The gardens boast plant life commonly found in native settings and includes a collection of unusual Bonsai trees. Other exhibits include a Koi pond that is sure to capture the interest of young visitors.

The San Diego Zoo

Also located in the beautiful Balboa Park is San Diego’s world-famous zoo. With at least one paying adult, children 11 years old and younger are granted free admission! Take advantage of this offer by booking a cheap San Diego Zoo hotel and taking your family to enjoy the animals, shows, exhibits and informational tours.

For a complete list of the Kids Free San Diego participants, visit sandiego.org/promotions/kids-free. And for a popular and affordable hotel located close to the above listed attractions, call San Diego Pacific Inn & Suites at (619) 232-6391.


The 2014 Del Mar Horse Racing Season Events



Horse racing is an exciting event that offers guests a chance to enjoy the pageantry that goes along with watching some of the fastest horses and most talented jockeys in the world compete against each other. In San Diego, guests and locals alike have the chance to join the fun at the Del Mar track. The season is almost here so it is time to get your race day hat and choose an event.

Opening Day
This year guests are looking forward to the opening day at Del Mar on July 17th. More than 45,000 guests are expected to arrive to watch the races and enjoy the spectacle. For the fashion forward, on opening day there is the One and Only Truly Fabulous Hats Contest. Contestants will be judged on the beauty, originality and creativity of their hats. Stretch Run admission is $10, while Clubhouse admission is $20. Admission does not include refreshments or bets.

Summer Concert Series
On Friday evenings during the race season, the Del Mar racetrack offers music concerts. The cost of the concert is included in the cost of admission; however, guests who arrive after the last race begins will have to pay a $20 admission fee. The concerts begin at 7pm west of the Grandstand and it is held outside, standing room only. Featured bands scheduled to perform this season include Weezer, Counting Crows and The Cult.

Family Fun Weekends
During the summer race season, Del Mar celebrates enjoying time with the family. On Saturdays and Sundays, admission to the track is only $6 for adults and free for children. The infield area becomes a haven for children looking to having fun. There will be inflatables, bouncy houses, a giant slide, games and of course pony rides. Children can test their skills on the obstacle course and have their faces’ painted by an expert. This is a fun-filled day for children of all ages!

For more fun with animals while you’re in San Diego, stop by Sea World or snag one of the cheap hotels near San Diego Zoo.

Whatever wild adventure you decide to have, make sure you’re home base is set up at the San Diego Pacific Inn hotel. Our family friendly amenities will have both you and your kids satisfied as you settle into the Kids Suite and chow down on the complimentary buffet breakfast each morning.

To make your hotel reservation at the San Diego Pacific Inn, call our reservations hotline today at 1-800-571-2933.


Kid-Friendly Art Studios in San Diego



Finding ways to keep children occupied while traveling can be a bit of a challenge. Children often tire of the typical dining out and shopping excursions that encompass most trips. A creative and fun activity that parents and children can do together is spending some time at an art studio. San Diego boasts several art studios that are kid-friendly and will offer you and your children a fun, interactive and educational experience.

Art Soup is an art studio in Encinitas that caters to children ages 2 to 14. A small fee will allow your children complete access to activity tables, chalk walls, and a huge create-your-own craft bar for an hour and a half.

Bravo School of Art features different activities daily, including acrylic painting, paper mache, jewelry making, and photography. Classes are held in the city of San Diego and are geared towards specific age groups, which is why registration for classes is required.

CeramiCafe Art Lounge offers a huge selection of blank ceramics for you and your children to paint. There is also an extensive mosaic station and clay available if you wish to capture your child’s feet or hand prints during your visit to this La Mesa studio.

Clay ‘N Latte is a full-service art studio with locations in Carmel Mountain, San Diego and one in Vista. They offer pottery painting, glass fusing, mosaics, and clay prints. People of all ages are welcome and specials discounts oftentimes run throughout the week.

Fire & Mud Studios offers classes and workshops, as well as open studio times. Visitors can sculpt their very own piece of artwork out of clay and watch instructors use unique firing techniques to finish off their masterpiece. This studio in San Marcos can accommodate different age ranges and large groups for parties.

Fun Dabbles features an indoor play area alongside its art studio in Carlsbad. Parents and their children can paint their own pottery, make their own candles and scented soap, and paint a beautiful portrait on canvas. There are no studio fees and children can enjoy the play zone for one low price.

If you’re looking to schedule a play date that you’ll enjoy just as much as your children, these art studio will surely provide you with the space and materials you need to make lasting memories. In order to fully enjoy your studio time, make sure you’ve reserved a room at one of the trusted and affordable hotels near Balboa Park in San Diego. Balboa Park is home to several museums and will be a great place to get some art inspiration before heading to one of the above mentioned studios.

To find a coastal hotel that’s within your budget, visit San Diego Pacific Inn and Suites. For more information about our current specials and vacation packages, contact a reservations specialist by calling 1-800-571-2933 today.


Dad’s Day Out: San Diego Father’s Day Itinerary



Father’s Day weekend promises to be a lively one around San Diego, with events ranging from camping with wild animals to a quirky surf competition. Following is a sample itinerary to keep any dad happy, just so long as he has a nice and affordable downtown San Diego hotel to unwind in come days end.

Friday, June 13
Petco Unleashed Surf Dog Competition, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm
Start the day at Imperial Beach cheering on the unusual surfers at this quirky competition. Check out the sand sculpting competition, relax in the beer garden and watch some courageous canines paddle out and hang 20.

Foodie Friday, 6:00 pm
If your guy loves food and theater, Foodie Friday at the La Jolla Playhouse is the place to go this weekend. The cost of a ticket to the rock n’ roll musical “Chasing the Song” includes access to gourmet food trucks and a beer tasting by Stone Brewing Co.

Saturday, June 14 
San Diego Fair, 10:00 am to 11:00 pm
With loads of food, contests, rides, animals, games and exhibits, this is the place to go for some old-fashioned fun. The family-friendly extravaganza features wild and wooly events from a turkey stampede to six magic shows.

San Diego Zoo Father’s Day Sleepover, 4:00 pm – Sunday, June 15, 9:00 am
After the fair, head to the zoo and get ready for an amazing overnight adventure including animal presentations, bus tour, moonlight stroll and morning feeding. This year’s theme is animal superheroes and the price includes tent, dinner, evening snack and a hot breakfast.

Sunday, June 15 
Family Kayak Adventure Center Kayak Tour, 9:00 am
Glide out on the water early for a guided kayak tour of lively San Diego Bay, complete with all equipment and a certified instructor. Paddle along enjoying views of the downtown skyline and Coronado Island while listening to fascinating tales of the area’s history.

San Diego Wooden Boat Festival, June 14, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and June 15, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Wooden boat fanatics will love this annual Shelter Island festival at the Koehler Craft Boat Yard featuring over 80 wooden water craft in various stages of restoration. Take an afternoon stroll around the grounds admiring vessels from rowboats to schooners, along with nautical displays, music, food and crafts.

Concert Humphrey’s on the Bay, 7:00 pm
A perfect ending to Father’s Day weekend just might be the Gavin DeGraw and Matt Nathanson performance at Humphrey’s on the Bay, one of the highlights of the spectacular outdoor venue’s summer series.

A packed weekend full of dad-focused activities is the perfect way to say “I love you.” Dad will also appreciate the top-notch amenities offered at Pacific Inn. We have in-room ESPN/HBO, daily buffet breakfast free of charge and Jacuzzi suites with an in-room whirlpool tub. If you really want to make sure the man in your life feels appreciated, book a room at Pacific Inn & Suites today – our cheap San Diego zoo hotel offers all the frills without excessive bills.

To schedule your Father’s Day room reservation at Pacific Inn, call 1-800-571-2933.

San Diego’s top Arcades



When visiting San Diego, most people think of spending time at the beach or exploring the downtown area. But did you ever think of rallying your friends or family together for a friendly game of laser tag, pool, or air hockey? Arcades and game rooms offer fun for people of all ages, encourage friendly competition and best of all, they’re extremely affordable. There are several game-themed entertainment venues in San Diego, offering different vibes based on the age requirement to get in. So scrape up all the spare change you can find and hit one of these fun establishments for a fun-filled outing:

Rush Laser Tag & Arcade

For a chance to enjoy good old fashioned skee ball or to try your hand at laser tag, Rush’s offers a number of activities for all ages. Located at Belmont Park in Mission Beach, it’s a hot spot that makes it easy to enjoy classic arcade games in a prime location that is next to the rides on the boardwalk. Rock climbing is an additional outdoor feature that is available next to the arcade.

Nickel City Amusement Center

Nickel City Amusement Center is a larger arcade that offers classic games with $2 admission and only nickels needed to play select games. A free play section is even offered for unlimited use to customers. Patrons can enjoy playing on the pinball machine or use new games that are based on the latest Hollywood films. With a large selection in prizes available after collecting tickets, it makes for a great place to visit on the weekend or when hosting a birthday party.

Brewski’s Bar

For adults looking to have a bit of fun on a Friday night, Brewski’s bar offers a free arcade to its customers with video games, air hockey, and plenty of pool tables. Guests can leave their laundry money at home and enjoy the adult playground with classics that will remind them of their childhood. Perhaps the best part is enjoying food and adult beverages while playing in the arcade.

So book your room at one of the city’s top cheap hotels near the San Diego airport today! Pacific Inn & Suites offers everything a budget-conscious traveler is looking for: cheap room rates, discounts, money-saving vacation packages, free in-room WiFi, free parking, and a complimentary buffet breakfast each morning.

Don’t wait until our guest rooms book up during your ideal dates this summer. Call Pacific Inn hotel today at 1-800-571-2933.


Your Guide to the 2014 AirShow San Diego



AirShow San Diego, formerly called Wings Over Gillespie, brings an exciting collection of military aircraft to one location for the show of a lifetime. The event commemorates the 70th anniversary of D-Day with a stunning display of aerial acts, paratroopers, staged dogfights and more. The event is family friendly and even features a free Kid’s Zone for younger visitors.

Guests can also enjoy carnival rides and other entertainment, food and beverage vendors including craft beer, educational displays, and classic cars sponsored by Warriors United. From your littlest aviators to seasoned veterans and everyday civilians, there is something for everyone.

The air show takes place at Gillespie Field in El Cajon, California on June 7th and 8th with gates open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both days. General parking is free as is the shuttle from the Trolley station to the front gate. They’re expecting thousands of guests, so be prepared for a bit or traffic. Another option is to book a room at one of the city’s top cheap hotels near Little Italy for quick and easy access to Gillespie Field via the San Diego trolleys’ Green Line (towards Santee).

Scheduled AirShow events include:

  • Over 55 Aircraft On Display
  • Paratroopers
  • 99′s Female Pilot Parade
  • Red Eagles Formation Flight Team
  • R/C Plane Demonstration
  • D-Day Invasion Dogfight
  • John Collver & WarDog
  • Smoke N’ Thunder Jet Car
  • Mock Battle with Pyro
  • Live Concerts
  • 1940′s Costume Dance Contest (Saturday only)
  • Enter a Raffle to Win a Ride in a Real Warbird!

A variety of tickets are available to suit every visitor’s needs. World War II and Korean Vets, as well as Wounded Warriors are all free with ID. There are family packages and discounts for children, families, seniors, and active military. Those wanting the ultimate experience can opt for the 2-Day VIP pass. Tickets are available in advance through AirShow San Diego’s website at ag1caf.org.

Feel free to dress up in 1940s attire, grab a cold Hangar 24 beer in their 21+ beer garden and enjoy the sky-high aerial stunts and performances all at San Diego’s Gillespie Field.

If you’re looking to save money during your weekend in San Diego, consider booking a room at one of the city’s cheap MCRD hotels like Pacific Inn & Suites. Staying at a budget inn near the Marine Corps Recruit Depot will allow you the opportunity to see the MCRD Museum and experience more of San Diego’s vast historical sights. Another benefit is having a trolley stop right outside the hotel doors to take you to Gillespie Field and all around San Diego eliminating the need for a rental car.

To book your cheap Downtown San Diego hotel room at Pacific Inn today, call 1-800-571-2933. Be sure to let us know if you’re active duty military and we’ll give you an additional 10% off our already low room rates!

Free Family Friendly San Diego Activities


Free San Diego Family Activities

Planning a family vacation can get expensive very quickly if you don’t take the time to look for affordable family-friendly activities that you’ll all enjoy during your time in San Diego. You put a lot of time into planning and budgeting for your dream trip and we know that you want to ensure that your family has a great time. To save money while not skimping on the fun, plan to do some of these free activities that will still provide your family with a fun memory.

On the first Wednesday of each month at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, you and the family can spend some time gazing up at the stars. The San Diego Astronomy Association brings large telescopes for guests so that they can take a turn looking at the night sky in a whole new way. Your children will enjoy seeing the rings of Saturn and the craters on the moon, and you will enjoy the price —free. While you’re in Balboa Park, now is the time to enjoy some adventure at the San Diego Zoo located just steps from the Science Center. Click here for cheap San Diego Zoo hotel information and to see how you can save money when you buy your zoo admission tickets from Pacific Inn & Suites.

Seeking Sea Creatures
During low tide, take the family down to Cabrillo National Monument in Point Loma to explore the tide pools. Here you and your family can spend a fun afternoon seeing all kinds of sea creatures. The pools contain sea life such as flowering anemones, deadpan’s fingers, shore crabs, starfish and a variety of other sea animals. If you are lucky, you might catch sight of a shy octopus. Just let your kids know that touching the living plants and animals isn’t allowed, as it can disrupt the very sensitive ecosystem.

Flying Kites
One of the features of Mission Bay Park is Tecolote Shores – a grassy area that is free of power lines and tress, making it the perfect place for your family to try your hand at flying a kite. Pack a picnic lunch and a blanket to make a day of it. Seeing the smile on your kids’ faces as their kite catches air will make the few dollars that you spent on food and simple kites well worth it.

Walking in the Past
When staying near San Diego Old Town hotels visitors are encouraged to wander through the streets, checking out the old buildings that served the town in the past. Walking through the area is free of charge and there are even a handful of volunteer led tours to enjoy that are also free. Your family will delight at exploring Seeley Stables, an authentic blacksmith shop, and San Diego’s oldest school.

For more ideas on what to see and do while you’re visiting San Diego, just head to Pacific Inn’s website at PacificInnSD.com and click on the “Attractions” tab at the top. When you visit our homepage you’ll also see all of the amazing deals we’re offering. To book a cheap Downtown San Diego hotel room for your upcoming family vacation just call one of our reservations specialists at 1-800-571-2933 and be sure to ask about the convenient Kids Suites.

Spring Welcomes Families to San Diego



Spring break is just around the corner and many families are starting to plan their vacations. If you’ve already booked your cheap San Diego hotel room and have your flight reservations in hand, the next thing to do is pick out fun activities to enjoy while you’re in town. While your trip may include stops at the kid-friendly San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld and Legoland California, take advantage of the season and check out these fun springtime activities that are perfect for individuals of all ages.

  1. Balboa Park – During the springtime, Balboa Parks offers an outdoor adventure unlike any other. Get lost in the parks winding pathways and lush tropical gardens and check out the acres of beautiful flowers that are in full bloom. On Saturday mornings, the park hosts a free hour tour, which is a great way to see the top gardens including the stunning Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden. After enjoying the spring sunshine, head to the Ruben H. Fleet Science museum, a top rated attraction that cleverly combines learning with interactive activities for an afternoon of family fun.
  2. Belmont Park – A beach day wouldn’t be complete without heading to San Diego’s only beachfront amusement park. Belmont Park is located in Mission Beach and offers arcade style games in a carnival like atmosphere. The boardwalk is also home to a giant roller coaster for thrill seeking families, and there are plenty of other activities to enjoy such as miniature golf, rock climbing and laser tag. Admission into the park is free, you simply pay as you go for the activities you want to participate in or opt for their family package which offers tickets and tokens for the various attractions at a discounted price.
  3. Maritime Museum – On a clear day, there’s nothing better than gathering up the kids and hitting the high seas on one of the sailing vessels at the floating maritime Museum. From enjoying the daytime tours where kids are able to experience the sea like a true pirate to overnight adventures on the famed Star of India, there are plenty of family-friendly adventures to choose from. March and April Ocean Adventures Sails are now available so call ahead and make your reservations before they fill up.
  4. Whale Watching – With just a month left of the whale watching season, those headed to San Diego for spring break will be here just in time to hop aboard a whale watching cruise. Most tours have a guide who will explain the migration process and can help you spot the giant creatures of the sea. Depending on which cruise line you go with and how long the cruise is, ticket prices can range anywhere from $25 to $60 a person so if you’re on a budget, be sure to do your research first.

The above activities are catered to families who are staying near downtown San Diego because affordable hotels near the Gaslamp Quarter will offer families the most convenience. However, if you are willing to venture a bit further from the city center, other popular springtime destinations include the La Jolla Cove, the Botanical Gardens in Encinitas and the Carlsbad Flower Fields.

If you are still in need of accommodations for your upcoming San Diego adventure, don’t hesitate to contact the Pacific Inn & Suites in downtown San Diego. We are located within 3 miles of the San Diego International Airport and are in close proximity to a handful of family-friendly tourist destinations. Call 1-800-571-2933 to speak with a Reservation Manager and don’t forget to ask about current hotel specials and deals.

How to Save Money at San Diego Sea World


page 1 How to Save Money at San Diego Sea World copy

Seals and sharks and whales, oh my! Sea World San Diego has a full day’s worth of fun waiting for you and your family. Between seeing amphibious exhibits, going on rides, watching entertaining shows and catching a glimpse of the famous Shamu, there will be little time to think about your vacation budget. Expenses can quickly and easily add up at amusement parks if you don’t plan ahead with a pre-set budget and handy money saving tips and tricks.

We’re all about helping you save money, which is why we put together this list of helpful and easy ways you can keep your wallet padded without missing out on any of the fun.

  • Never pay full price for admission. Getting discounts on SeaWorld admission tickets can take a little footwork and research but it will surely pay off in the end. You can get 20% off up to four tickets if you show your Southwest Rapid Rewards card, which is free to sign up for online. If you’re staying at Pacific Inn & Suites, a Downtown San Diego budget hotel, you can purchase discounted admission tickets from us and get 15% off your hotel stay! You also have the option to save $8 if you print the coupon at available at visitcalifornia.com. Some lesser discounts can be redeemed with proof of AAA membership, HiltonHHonors or California residency.One of the most honorable ways SeaWorld is handing out discounts is by allowing all U.S. active duty military, activated or drilling reservist, or National Guardsman one free admission ticket for themselves and three dependents per year. Just go to wavesofhonor.com to register.
  • Plan smart and pack ahead. Bring your own food to the park unless you want to pay $8 for a hot dog. Although food isn’t allowed into the park, you can pack a full cooler and leave it in your car. When lunch time comes, bring your cooler and enjoy a cheap and delicious meal at the picnic table area in front of the entrance gates.If you don’t want to deal with trekking back out to your car, you can consider purchasing SeaWorld’s All-Day Dining Deal. For adults its $29.69 if purchased in advance online and $16.99 for children ages 3-9. For this price you get a wristband that allows you unlimited access to food and water throughout the entire day at participating restaurants. The only downside is that you’ll likely have to wait in a line.
  • Are you planning on going to more than one San Diego attraction during your family vacation in San Diego? It might be more cost effective to purchase the Go Card San Diego from Costco. This card acts as an admission ticket to 46 of San Diego’s biggest and best attractions like Sea World and the San Diego Zoo. Prices range from $167 for a three day pass to $284 for a 7 day pass and can also be purchased online at smartdestinations.com.Interested in staying at a family friendly hotel near SeaWorld? Downtown is the ideal location. Because of SeaWorld’s location inland, we find that many families prefer to reserve affordable accommodations downtown near the Zoo. This way, you not only have access to all the attractions in the area, you’ll have savings in your pocket to help with the cost of exploring them!

We hope you found this information helpful and shareable! If you would like to pass this post on to fellow family travelers and money savers, just click on the social media icons in the upper right-hand corner. And if you’re ready to start planning your San Diego Sea World vacation you can click here to learn more about cheap SeaWorld accommodations, as well as free live shows, dining options inside the park and the best time of the year to visit.

Rooms & Suites
Rooms & Suites to accommodate everyone.
Free Breakfast, WI-FI, Swimming Pool and more.
Conveniently located near several attractions.

"Nice place to stay in San Diego"
I went for the business trip in San Diego and l stay in Pacific Inn near harbour...

"Clean, comfortable, convenient,inexpensive"
I spent three nights at the Pacific Inn while attending a work-related conference ...

"Wonderfull, Homely, Lovely, Enjoyable, Rememberable Stay"
you get more for what you pay less for. keep it up...


Call: 1-800-571-2933
For Rates and Reservations