San Diego, California - There’s no reason to spend hours online booking flights and hotels or filling up that expensive gas tank to head out of town on vacation this summer.
There are tons of things to do right here in San Diego County.
We’ve put together a list of County of San Diego activities you can do every single day in July. There are campouts under the stars, movies, hikes, cooking demonstrations, even an ice cream social and massive water balloon fight.
There are activities for whole families and residents of all ages. The best news? All events are free or under $3.
Simon the Safety Bloodhound
Free for all ages. Together with his partner, Pam Medhurst, Simon explores all the safety tips while out hiking including, how to plan for a hike, what to take with him, and what to do if he gets lost. Simon also reviews who he can talk to if he needs help. Many times Simon is able to bring a certified Search and Rescue Dog with him for the kids to meet and greet. 1 p.m. Ramona Library, 1275 Main St.
Family Game Night
Free for all ages. Come join us for games, snacks, and lots of fun. Board and card games for all ages will be available. Fun for the whole family! 6 p.m. Santee Library, 9225 Carlton Hills Blvd., #17.
Free for seniors. Have some fun and enjoy a game of Bingo with friends! The ongoing game is open to all retired citizens and is held every Monday and Thursday. 10:30 a.m. Spring Valley Community Center, 8735 Jamacha Blvd.
Free for all ages. The Port of San Diego’s Big Bay Boom July 4th Fireworks Show is one of the largest fireworks displays in the country and the County’s new Waterfront Park should be prime viewing for the display. Get here early though and stake out your spot. Crowds are expected to be large and traffic will be…challenging! 9 p.m. Waterfront Park, 1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego.
Cal Fire Family Day
Free for campers, $3 day-use fee for others. CAL FIRE and Smokey Bear will be visiting with their fire truck. They will educate the public on fire safety, what to do when you’re lost, and what not to do when building a campfire from scratch. Emergency vehicles will be on display flashing their lights and shooting water out of their fire hose. Bring a bathing suit or some attire you would not mind getting wet so the kids can play in the water. 2 p.m. Lake Morena County Park, 2550 Lake Morena Drive, Campo.
QR Fitness Training
Free for all ages. Park staff will demonstrate using a cell-phone to watch an on-line video workout you can follow while you enjoy a hike and the scenic vistas of Del Dios Highlands. Bring your smart phone, training shoes, hat, sunscreen and water. 9 a.m. Del Dios Highlands Preserve staging area, 9860 Del Dios Highway, Escondido.
Hiking & Equestrian Opportunities
Free for all ages. Hellhole Canyon offers a peaceful and interesting place to hike. Visitors can take a short downhill walk to Hell Creek and enjoy the shade of oak and sycamore trees, or continue their way along the abandoned canal and attempt the rigorous climb to the mountain top. Hikes at Hellhole can be strenuous, and temperatures can get very hot, so come prepared. Also taking place on July 14, 21 and 28. 8 a.m. to sunset. Hellhole Canyon Preserve, 19324 Santee Lane, Valley Center.
Food Workshop – Smoothies & Juices
Free for adults. Part of the Summer Reading Club’s healthy food workshop series features Erin Bergfeld of Rocky Peak demonstrating how to use raw, healthy and tasty whole foods to make delicious and nutritious smoothies and juices. 4 p.m., Fallbrook Library, 124 S. Mission Rd., Fallbrook.
Green Teen Garden Program
Free for youth 10-17. The Green Teen Garden Program immerses teens in the local food system. The program teaches life and work skills through tasks such as gardening, health, nutrition and leadership. Teens will get to plant, maintain and harvest seasonal plants and vegetables. Harvested items will be used to teach culinary skills, healthy eating habits, economic savings and the importance of growing locally as a sustainable alternative. (Also held on July 2, 16, 23 and 30). 3 to 4 p.m. Lakeside REC Club, 9911 Vine St., Lakeside.
Bedtime Story and Stuffed Animal Overnight
Free for children. Come dressed in your "jammies" and listen to bedtime stories. Bring a stuffed animal that will "spend the night" in the library. Pick up your animal the following morning and read about their adventures. 6 p.m. San Marcos library, 2 Civic Center Drive, San Marcos.
Tai Chi by Dan Mariano
Free for adults. Ancient exercise involving gentle moves that can combat depression, obesity and heart problems. Learn and practice with an experienced teacher. 1 p.m., Bonita-Sunnyside Library, 2375 Bonita Rd., Bonita.
Night Hike by the Full Hunter's Moon
Free for all ages. Join us for an exciting night hike by the full moon. The July full moon is also known as the buck moon or thunder moon when bucks grow new antlers and thunderstorms are very frequent. As the sun sets and the full moon rises, the nocturnal wildlife comes out to play and hunt. Hear the screeching of a barn owl and the howling of coyotes. You will get a chance to see the park in whole different light. Please wear warm layered clothing, closed-toed shoes, and bring a flashlight. 8 p.m. Potrero Park, 24800 Portrero Park Drive, Portrero.
Hazardous Weather Over the Volcan Mountain Range
Free for all ages. Ever wonder about wind shears, down drafts or up drafts? Pilot and aviation instructor John Randazzo will explain these and more during his talk about turbulent skies over our local mountains. If you’ve ever wondered about flying a small plane in the back-country, this is the talk for you! 10 a.m. Santa Ysabel Preserves, East Side, Highway 79, 1.5 miles north of Santa Ysabel.
Free for children. Book Buddies is an informal reading program. Children "buddy up" with teen volunteers to read aloud. Then things switch up and the teen reads to their buddy. 10 a.m. Solana Beach Library, Earl Warren Middle School, 157 Stevens Ave., Solana Beach.
Comic Lovers Book Club
Free for adults. Join fellow comic fans to talk about graphic novels, manga, comic movies and more. Learn about great upcoming titles or series you might have missed. Bring your old comic media to swap and trade. 6 p.m. La Mesa Library, 8074 Allison Ave., La Mesa.
Dance Around the World with Nikola Clay
Free. Adults and children ages 8 and up are invited to learn how to dance several easy folk dances from around the world with professional dancer Nikola Clay. She will teach El Juego Chirimbolo from Ecuador and more. 1 p.m. Bonita-Sunnyside Library, 4375 Bonita Rd., Bonita.
Kids LEGO Club
Free for children. What can you do with LEGOs? Use your creativity and find out. All materials supplied. 10:30 a.m. Julian Library, 1850 Highway 78, Julian.
Meet the Kid Authors
Free for children. A Girl Scout troop has published a great alphabet book about Alpine. The scouts will be reading the book to children. Meet the authors and find out how they wrote and published their book. 3:30 p.m., Alpine Library, 2130 Arnold Way, Alpine.
Write and Publish Your Own eBook
Free for adults. What are eBooks, why you should write one, and what do you need to know to write and publish your own eBook? Find out how to determine the author and reader motivations, how to select the best subject and more. 11 a.m. Poway Library, 13137 Poway Road, Poway.
Free for all ages. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents LEGENDS! rolls into San Diego this August, and they are getting the party started over the summer with their fun, family-friendly traveling mobile unit. Kids can spin the prize wheel to win fun, circus-themed items, and young and old can get silly taking pictures in the photo kiosk and sending themselves digital copies to keep! The mobile unit also adds an extra level of visual interest with 9 huge HDTV screens playing colorful circus clips. In addition, the ambassadors will teach fun mini-lessons in circus skills like juggling! Lots of fun and interaction for kids of all ages, and a great way to ensure a memorable summer day! 2 to 4 p.m. Waterfront Park, 1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego.
Lincoln Acres Park
Free for all ages. Lincoln Acres is a neighborhood day-use park with a children’s playground, basketball courts, picnic tables and a County library branch. Make it a day to play with your entire family. Dawn to dusk. Lincoln Acres County Park, 2717 Granger Ave., National City.
Sustainable Living with Don Axe from Valley View Urban Farm
Free to adults, teens and families. Don Axe from Valley View Urban Farm in Spring Valley will show examples of his experiences gardening, raising animals and creating a mini-farm in the suburbs. 6 p.m. Vista Library, 700 Eucalyptus Ave.
Ice Cream Social
Free for all ages. Ice cream sundaes, Smile the Clown with face painting and balloon animals, carnival games, chalk art and bubbles. Something for everyone! 6:30 p.m. Fletcher Hills Library, 576 Garfield Ave., El Cajon.
Tracks and Scat – What Animal Left That?
Free for all ages, $3 parking fee. Even though you might not see the wildlife at Flinn Springs, they always leave their mark. Join Ranger Patty on this mission to find clues that will tell us who was at the park last night. Wear weather appropriate clothing, a hat and comfortable shoes. Bring sunscreen and water. 9 to 10:30 a.m. Flinn Springs County Park, 14787 Old Highway 80, El Cajon.
Family Campout and Star Party
Mind and Meditation
Free for adults. Promoting inner peace, happiness and well-being for individuals through yoga and meditation. 11:00 a.m. 4S Ranch Library, 10433 Reserve Drive, San Diego.
Sunday Family Fun Day
$1 per child suggested donation. Looking for something fun to do with kids? Pack them up and head on over to San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center to join us for some fun nature-themed crafts and activities, featuring the TRACK Trail program! The whole family will enjoy exploring the Nature Center exhibits and the family-friendly Nature Center loop trail as well. The tables and chairs on the upstairs observation deck make a great spot for a picnic lunch, too! 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center, 2710 Manchester Ave., Cardiff-by-the-Sea.
Free for ages 10-17. Mixing Monday’s focus is encouraging teens to play outdoors. Mixing Monday activities will consist of outdoor games, relays, water games and sports activities. The outdoor games, food and music will allow teens to interact socially and physically to make lasting REC Club friends. 1 – 5 p.m. Spring Valley REC Club, 838 Kempton Street, Spring Valley.
Mad Science Show!
Free for all ages. The mad scientists of Mad Science will take children and adults on a journey through the exciting world of animals in their new show “Wild About Animals.” Explore how animals disappear using camouflage and more. 3:30 p.m. Imperial Beach Library, 810 Imperial Beach Blvd., Imperial Beach.
Baby Story Time
Free for families. Join Mrs. Marilyn for early literacy tips, stories, rhymes and music for babies. 11:30 a.m. Lemon Grove Library, 3001 School Lane, Lemon Grove.
End of Summer Reading Water Balloon Fight
Free for teenagers. Get wet and cool off in the water balloon fight of the century! Make sure to wear appropriate clothes and bring a towel, because you WILL get wet! 4 p.m. Vista Library, 700 Eucalyptus Ave., Vista.
Free for all ages. The newly opened Waterfront Park, surrounding the County’s iconic Administration Center and overlooking San Diego Bay, is filled most days with families enjoying the water fountains, playground equipment and open spaces. 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Waterfront Park, 1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego.
Open Play at the Spring Valley Gymnasium
Free for youth; adults $1 a day or $5 a month. Ending time varies daily, based on gym rentals and/or scheduled programs. Please call ahead of time to check availability or check the open gym calendar online. To participate, adults must fill out the release form and youth must bring the release form packet completely filled out and signed by parent or guardian. Participants must wear gym-appropriate clothing. No jeans. Kids under 10-years of age must be accompanied by an adult. A photo ID is required to check out equipment. Monday, Wednesday-Friday, 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.; Tuesdays 2:30 to 5 p.m. Spring Valley Gymnasium, 838 Kempton Street, Spring Valley.
Free for all ages. TRACK Trails is a network of family-friendly trails that encourage kids to be “un-plugged,” outdoors and to reconnect with nature for the benefit of their health and the health of our parks. The Lindo Lake TRACK Trail has a series of four brochure-led self-guided adventures – Nature’s Hide & Seek; Birds of Lindo Lake Park; Animal Athletes; and the Need for Trees. All “adventures” are designed to turn an ordinary hike into a fun-filled adventure. Kids can earn prizes for TRACKing their TRACK Trail adventures in their online nature journal on the TRACK Trails website. Sunrise to sunset. Lindo Lake County Park, 12660 Lindo Lane, Lakeside.
Buy locally grown produce at one of the Certified Farmers Markets in San Diego County. There are 53 markets located across the County, including 13 that accept EBT (food stamps) cards. Various times and locations.
Lindo Lake Exercise Path
Free for ages 14 and up. Don’t have the time or resources for a gym membership? No need! Get active, be inspired and have fun at Lindo Lake County Park. The Lindo Lake exercise path has multiple exercise stations, including: stationary bikes, leg presses, lat pulls and abdominal benches. Come enjoy the scenic nature of Lindo Lake County Park the next time you want to get a free, fun workout! Exercise path training guides are available in the Lakeside Community Center Office upon request. 9:30 a.m. to sunset. Lindo Lake County Park, 12660 Lindo Lane, Lakeside.
Summer Movies in the Park
Free for all ages. Summer Movies in the Park are a perfect chance to relax and enjoy a fun, safe family outing under the stars. All movies start at dusk (approximately 15 minutes after sunset). Movies featured this summer include “Frozen,” “The Lego Movie,” “Despicable Me 2,” “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” - and many more. There are 23 movies being shown in July. Various locations and times.
County Library Acoustic Showcase Series
Free for all ages. The showcase series features live performances of a variety of musical types in libraries across the County. The series has put on more than 250 shows at 23 different County library branches since 2010. There are 10 scheduled showcases in July. Various locations and times.