Take some time away during the Thanksgiving holiday and start ringing in the winter holidays with loved ones surrounded by plenty of sand, sun, water, and fun. The beach towns of San Diego County have something for everyone during a Thanksgiving trip. Relax and unwind indoors or out or find something fun and exciting to do on-shore or off-shore when you spend Thanksgiving in San Diego.

Father Joe’s Thanksgiving Day 5K Run/Walk

Get ready for the meal ahead with some exercise. Run for Hope on Thanksgiving Day in Balboa Park. The annual event benefits St. Vincent de Paul Village – the largest homeless charity in San Diego. The 5K race begins and ends in the park, and all are welcome. Sign up now on their website and start collecting donations! The race is from 6:30-10 a.m. at Balboa Park on November 23, 2023.

Oceanside Turkey Trot

Take your pick of races. Head to Oceanside and take part in their Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot. Options include a 5-mile run, 5K run/walk, or 1-mile “fun run” for the kids. Pass landmarks like the Oceanside Civic Center, Oceanside Harbor, and Oceanside Pier. Race times vary based on the race entered, but all races finish at The Strand near Oceanside Pier.


You can prepare and serve the holiday meal at your or your vacation rental. All of our rentals include a fully equipped kitchen ready to handle any size Thanksgiving meal. If you came to get away from all the fuss, there are a myriad of local restaurants serving up the feast! Check with places like Hotel del Coronado, The Marine Room, or Vigilucci’s Italian Restaurant. Please make reservations in advance.

Laguna Beach Sawdust Winter Fantasy

Enjoy local art, crafts, handmade gifts, and more to start off your holiday shopping. The holiday festival includes all that as well as live music, community performances, puppeteers, and even visits with Santa. This year’s event takes place November 17-19 & 24-26. Other dates available in December include December 1-3, 8-10, and 15-17 for those on an extended break. Hours are 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. each day of the event.

The Parks

Thanksgiving kicks off the winter holiday season, even at San Diego County’s many theme parks. Parks including Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, SeaWorld, LEGOLAND, and more are open 365 days a year – so that includes Thanksgiving. Experience your favorite parks as they gear up for holiday fun. Your favorite characters may be dressed in their holiday best, and their holiday shows and events will be getting underway.

Ice Skating by the Sea

Head to the iconic Hotel del Coronado, or The Del, for some ice skating! The typically cold weather activity takes place outdoors at Coronado Beach. Get a view of the Pacific Ocean while you skate. To top off the winter experience, there will be hot chocolate and other holiday drinks available. More information is available on the hotel website. The event begins November 17, 2023, and runs through January 7, 2024.

The Beach

Enjoy swimming, paddle boarding, kayaking, and canoeing. Switch the calmer activities for some adrenaline-pumping ones like jet skiing, parasailing, or surfing. Bring the adrenaline back down with some sunbathing or a sunset walk on the sand.

Coronado Island

Another can’t-miss experience on a trip to San Diego County, any time of year, is Coronado Island. Miles of beach accompany the historic Hotel del Coronado and other attractions. Get your holiday shopping started at the many unique shops or make reservations for Thanksgiving dinner at one of the many restaurants.

Witch Creek Winery

While the Carlsbad winery doesn’t grow its own grapes, it uses those grapes to create delicious and award-winning wines. The winery also offers live music, open mic comedy nights, a wine-tasting room where you can taste the one- or two-ounce taste, and more. Choose from an array of white, rose, red, and a variety of other specialty wines to make your Thanksgiving meal cooked right at your rental.

San Diego Hop On Hop Off Trolley Tour

When most people think of California trolleys, San Francisco may be at the top of their minds. There’s one in San Diego, too! The trolley isn’t just a fun mode of transportation, it’s an affordable way to get around the city without having to pay for or negotiate busy parking areas at popular attractions. Take a tour of the whole route, which includes 11 stops around the city. Your conductor is also a knowledgeable guide who can fill you in on everything there is to see and do along the route. Hop on or off at any of the stops to explore more.

Celebrate Thanksgiving in San Diego County

While planning all the fun activities and adventures for your Thanksgiving San Diego County retreat, make booking comfortable accommodations a priority! Book a vacation rental with Vacation Rentals By Kimberly has accommodations as small as 1-bedroom for a sweetheart or solo getaway, all the way up to a 7-bedroom home so you and all your loved ones can enjoy a beach retreat this Thanksgiving.

Contact us today!