couple standing on cliff at torrey pines with hanglider in background

Fun and Wallet-Friendly San Diego Date Ideas

Planning to spend some quality time with your sweetie in San Diego? Great choice! Our warm weather, miles of beaches, and breathtaking sunsets make this a dreamy place to do just that. And since much of what makes our stunning seaside city so spectacular comes without much of a price tag attached (if any at all!), San Diego is also a particularly easy place to enjoy yourself without emptying your bank account. So if you’re on the hunt for some fun and affordable San Diego date ideas that won’t break the bank? You’ve come to the right place.

Plan a Picnic at Sunset Cliffs

picnic overlooking ocean

(Photo: @michelledudleyphotography)

There’s just something about putting down a blanket and laying out a spread of delicious food that really makes any date one to remember. Given San Diego’s abundant public park space and endless stretches of beach, there are plenty of places to do just that completely free. However, we suggest the absolutely stunning Sunset Cliffs, a natural oceanfront sandstone formation that provides gorgeous Pacific views, and — of course — breathtaking sunsets. 


Do the Dipper

Belmont Park Giant Dipper

(Photo: @belmontparksd)

Belmont Park is a timeless boardwalk-style waterfront rides-and-games destination located in picturesque Mission Beach, and it features a can’t-miss experience: the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster. The Dipper is a classic wooden coaster with more twists and turns than a mystery novel, and it’s a bucket-lister for any coaster enthusiast. Belmont Park is also home to mini-golf, rock climbing, and classic oceanside dining. Not to mention that it’s all right on the beach, which is always a romantic spot to bring a date!


Visit Our Beautiful Beaches

couple standing on beach at sunset

(Photo: @terrin.anne)

San Diego is world-renowned for its eternally beautiful beaches, and for good reason. With over 70 miles of coastline of varying types (cliffs, beaches, rocky shores, tide pools, etc.), there’s truly a beach for everyone. And since the vast majority are public, the two of you are always welcome to simply take a leisurely stroll and enjoy the warm sea breezes to your heart’s content free of charge. Not sure where to start? This handy guide from our sister property Humphreys Half Moon Inn is a good resource to help you decide.


Mini Golf at The Loma Club 

Couple playing Mini Golf

(Photo: @lilyjava)

Looking for a fun date activity and a little friendly competition? The Loma Club’s nine-hole golf course draws duffers from all over the area. But locals know the club is also home to Tappers Mini Golf & Cocktails, a great place to practice your putting even if you aren’t in the mood for a round of full-sized fairways. Best of all, The Loma Club is located within Liberty Station — just a short trip away.  


Hop on the Ferry

Riding bikes in front of Ferry Landing Coronado

(Photo: @coronadoferrylandingshops)

Take a quick trip on the Coronado Ferry to visit one of the most scenic spots in the city: Coronado Island. It’s a speedy jaunt that offers a visually spectacular and economical option for getting across the bay. You’ll be able to enjoy panoramic water views while you experience one of the city’s most visited areas. For the best eyeful of the water and skyline, locals know to grab a seat on the roof of the ferry during the trek.


Explore Balboa Park

Couple at balboa park

(Photo: @anna_lev_95)

Balboa Park isn’t just a crown jewel of San Diego — it’s one of the largest urban park spaces in the country. In fact, at 842 acres, Balboa Park is even bigger than Central Park in New York! In addition to representing a lushly gorgeous slice of green space, Balboa is home to some of San Diego’s most acclaimed museums, restaurants, and public art — making it the ideal place to enjoy a lovely and leisurely low-cost date for two without having to spend a single cent. 


The Carlsbad Flower Fields

Couple kissing at Carlsbad Flower Fields

(Photo: @the_flower_fields)

Head just a bit up the coast to Carlsbad, and you’ll be able to take in one of the most jaw-dropping views southern California has to offer: the Carlsbad Flower Fields. The lovely landscape here is home to the sweeping beauty of 50-plus acres of vibrantly colorful Tecolote Ranunculus blooms stretching out as far as the eye can see. The Carlsbad Flower Fields are a popular destination for visitors due to their incredible beauty, as well as some engaging on-site activities, perfect for couples. The Flower Fields open to the public on March 1st.


Visit the La Jolla Seals 

Seals at La Jolla Cove aerial view

(Photo: @abstractseagull)

SeaWorld is always a great place to go if you want to check out some marine life. But if you’d like to get even closer to nature, a famous colony of seals and sea lions lives near the Children’s Pool in La Jolla. Be sure to bring your camera to capture these playful animals and special someone to enjoy the views with!


Mount Soledad

Girl standing in front of Sunset at Mount Soledad

(Photo: @danivwc)

If you’re looking for an elevated perspective, you’ll want to head to the peak of Mount Soledad, more than 800 feet above the city. From there, together you’ll enjoy an unobstructed view of the entire area, including cityscapes, lush vegetation, and a sweeping look at miles of coastline stretching out to the edge of the world. It’s also a fantastic place to catch one of our world-famous sunsets.


San Diego Museum Month

Museum Month

(Photo: @thejoshramirez)

Our fair city is home to more than its fair share of truly excellent, world-class museums. And while most usually charge a nominal admission fee, every February here is San Diego Museum Month. During this month, many of our most notable institutions lower the ticket price significantly, and more than a few are completely free. It’s the perfect wallet-friendly date!


Visit Torrey Pines State Reserve

couple standing on cliff at torrey pines with hanglider in background

(Photo: @mariadavisphoto)

For a truly unique San Diego experience you simply can’t get anywhere else, head to Torrey Pines State Reserve. The area is beautiful, the ocean views are spectacular, and there’s lots to check out — including the extremely rare tree from which the park draws its name. The area is criss-crossed with low-impact hiking trails, so there’s absolutely no better spot to take one of those classic, starry-eyed sunset strolls along the waterfront. So why not bring a picnic, a blanket for a little post-sunset stargazing, and your camera to catch the paragliders at the gliderport? 


Grab Some Souvenir Snapshots

couple in front of san diego mural

(Photo: @odysseyoftwo)

Looking for some cost-free souvenirs? We’re sure happy couples will find that San Diego is chock-full of great places to take some “I was there” photos — both to remember their trip, and impress their friends. From lauded local landmarks to uniquely fashionable shops and restaurants, there are vivid vistas around every corner. If you’d like to hit some of the highlights, check out this post (from our sister property Days Inn San Diego Hotel Circle) and get up to speed on where to find San Diego’s Most Instagrammable Spots


Enjoy Shelter Island at Best Western Island Palms 

Island Palms makes our home on Shelter Island, one of the most picturesque areas in the city. Unique points of interest such as our fishing pier, marina, art installations, sailing charters and waterfront walking path all make our little oasis an undeniably fantastic place to enjoy San Diego together. When you’re ready to check it out, be sure to take a look at our comfortable accommodations and exclusive offers (including our Valentine’s Day Dining Package at Blue Wave Bar & Grill!