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Got kids in tow? San Diego is designed for family fun; the year-round sunny, warm weather ensures lots of play days. The focus is on outdoor activities, such as surfing or swimming, but be sure to spend a day at Balboa Park's gardens, museums, and IMAX theater. Many hotels let kids under 18 stay free—just ask. And check into kids' activity programs, family-size suites, in-room Nintendo, or kitchenettes. Shop around for hotel packages, which often include tickets to local attractions.
Some of the high-end properties have special programs for kids; most occur in summer, some year-round. The famous Hotel Del Coronado has tons of activities, from surfing lessons and kayak tours to foosball and karaoke in "VIBZ," a year-round hangout for teens ages 13-17. The Loews Coronado Bay Resort has welcome gifts for children, a kids-only pool, a game library, and special menus. Some recreational fun is offered seasonally, such as sunset sails and gondola rides. And kids can bring their pets.
Across the bay, resorts on family-friendly Mission Bay cater to young ones. The Catamaran Resort Hotel holds science camps for kids ages 5-12. Offered daily in summer, the workshops focus on a range of topics, including the diversity of sea life and the physics of beach cruisers. At the Lodge at Torrey Pines' library, kids over age 12 can play pool or watch movies borrowed from the concierge; it's open from 8 am until 11 pm.
Smaller hotels in Mission Valley and La Jolla may not have organized programs but several offer extra amenities for kids and teens; the Courtyard by Marriott Mission Valley has a Nintendo Wii system in the lobby and board games that kids can borrow from the front desk.
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