couple riding bikes near the beach

Wallet-Friendly San Diego Summer Date Ideas

San Diego, with its sun-kissed beaches, lush parks, and vibrant culture, is the ultimate playground for budget-savvy lovebirds looking to spice up their summer dates without burning a hole in their wallets. Whether you’re a San Diego local seeking new adventures or simply planning a visit to this coastal gem, we’ve curated a list of delightful and affordable date ideas that promise to amp up the fun without breaking the bank. From seaside picnics to sunset hikes and everything in between, get ready to explore America’s Finest City in a way that’s as easy on your budget as it is on the eyes. So grab your sunscreen and sense of adventure – let’s dive into some budget-friendly summer date ideas in San Diego!

Chat Over Coffee (1.7 miles)

(Photo: @sandiegofunfamily)

San Diego’s coffee culture is a favorite of locals and visitors alike. Having a warm conversation over a couple of cups of coffee is a timeless way to enjoy that special someone’s company without redlining your debit card. We’re big fans of Better Buzz Coffee around here —  not just for their perfectly roasted, organically grown beans, but for their commitment to maintaining a fun environment for customers to indulge. 

801 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103 

Explore Liberty Station’s Public Market (4.4 miles) 

(Photo: @courtyardlibertystation)

Liberty Public Market is one of those places that could really only happen in “America’s Finest City.” Located on the site of the former San Diego Naval Training Center, Liberty Station is the place to go for unique shops, a public market featuring fresh foods as well as fantastic restaurants, and even a movie theater. Today, it’s a de facto “town square” of sorts for the Point Loma neighborohod, drawing tons of visitors and locals every year. Explore the various food samples throughout the public market, setup a picnic on the public park areas, or bring your pup  for some outdoor fun at this pet-friendly area. Liberty Station is a don’t-miss while you’re in San Diego!  

2820 Historic Decatur Rd, San Diego, CA 92106 


Enjoy the beauty of Balboa Park (4.8 miles)

(Photo: @balboapark)

Balboa Park is a crown jewel of San Diego. At 842 acres, it’s one of the largest urban park spaces in the country — making it an even bigger green space than New York’s Central Park. It’s also home to some of San Diego’s most acclaimed museums, as well as the stunning Japanese Friendship Garden. While you and your date are there, be sure to visit the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages, and take in a free concert at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. *Insider Tip – There is free admission to many of the museums on the Tuesdays of each month- be sure to visit their website and plan your visit accordingly!

1549 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101 

Have Some Tacos On the Beach (5.6 miles)

(Photo: @throughmybrownglasses,  @mikestacoclub)

Tacos are the quintessential grab-and-go street eats, and San Diego has the bar-none best tacos in the entire US — so much so that you really can’t go wrong anywhere in the city. Mike’s Taco Club in Ocean Beach has a menu that’s packed full of hot, juicy, made-fresh favorites, and all at prices that will encourage you to sample a little of everything. So load up on some tacos, head across the street to the beach, and watch the waves crash on the shore as you crush some serious taste. Check out our “Best Tacos in San Diego” post if you’re still hungry for more.  

5060 Newport Ave, Ocean Beach CA 92107 

Have a Blast by the Beach at Belmont Park (5.8 miles)

(Photo: @belmontparksd)

Taking on a few rounds of mini-golf is always a good way to enjoy an afternoon on a budget, and Belmont Park in beautiful Mission Beach has a course that will get you on some teeny greens for just $10. When you’ve sunk your last putt, you’re welcome to experience the boardwalk-style fun in the rest of the park. So, go ahead: play some games. Win some prizes. Have some cotton candy. And enjoy a sunny day out on the beach! Don’t forget to try the world-famous Giant Dipper Rollercoaster if you’re feeling extra adventurous!

3146 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109

Pick Up a Pizza and Watch the Sunset (6.1 miles)

(Photo: @silvergirlphotography_)

One of the greatest things about San Diego is our melting-pot culinary culture. In addition to having the best south-of-the-border flavors, our long-established Italian community has brought some spectacular continental cookery to “America’s Finest City.” In particular, Rosaria’s Pizza in Point Loma makes a pretty premium pie for a very reasonable price. So pick your toppings, grab one to go, and then head to nearby Sunset Cliffs just a block or two away. If there’s a better way to watch the sun go down than sitting on a blanket with a date and a fresh, hot pizza? We haven’t found it yet.  

4719 Point Loma Ave, San Diego, CA 92107 

Seal Of Approval (11.2 miles)


If you’d like to check out some marine life in its natural habitat, 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. While you’re there visit The Cave Store, a popular La Jolla gift and souvenir shop- (and the only entry point to the secret ocean caves along the beach)! The store offers self-guided tours of the cave by reservation for just $10, so call ahead and set up a time to go spelunking.   

850 Coast Blvd, La Jolla, CA 92037 

Hike at Torrey Pines (16.4 miles)


(Photo: @__aleksandar__tomic__)

Torrey Pines State Reserve is one of San Diego’s most beautiful natural places, and the hiking in the preserve only gets better when the weather cools down. You and your companion can expect to discover centuries-old sandstone formations sweeping elegantly across the terrain just adjacent to truly spectacular views of the water. You’ll also find one of the rarest trees in existence: the Torrey Pine — which grows only two places on the planet. 

12600 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, CA 92037 

Fun in the Sun at the San Diego County Fair (18.6 Miles)

aerial view of san diego county fair and del mar

Looking for a budget-friendly yet thrilling date idea? Look no further than the San Diego County Fair in Del Mar! With its vibrant atmosphere, delicious food stands, and a plethora of attractions, this fair promises an unforgettable day without breaking the bank. From heart-pounding rides to adorable farm animals, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Plus, the fairgrounds offer picturesque views of the ocean, making it the perfect backdrop for a romantic stroll. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to create cherished memories together without spending a fortune!

2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014

Pull Up to an Old-Fashioned Drive-In (18.9 Miles)

(Photo: @theclubhouseib)

There is perhaps no more nostalgic slice of Americana than the classic drive-in — and San Diego is home to one of the best still in operation anywhere. The South Bay Drive-In will only run you a ten-spot for an adult ticket, and shows classics and contemporary films alike on their massive outdoor screen — just the way it used to be. So pull in, sit back, grab some popcorn from the snack bar, and revel in the Hollywood magic. You can even bring in your own food and drinks if you like!

2170 Coronado Ave, San Diego, CA 92154 


Stay at Days Inn San Diego Hotel Circle and Save!

Budget-conscious travelers know: you won’t find a better stay for a friendlier price than at Days Inn San Diego Hotel Circle. We’re centrally located, have fantastic guest amenities, and offer competitive rates all summer long. Also, check out our Special Offers page for some fantastic San Diego travel deals!