Mission Trails – Fun, Free, and Educational

Often times when my son and I need to kill an hour or two, but don’t want to venture out too far and/or spend a great deal of money, we head to Mission Trails Regional Park. With a great visitor’s center, nature day-camps, free concerts, family art classes, hiking for all skill levels, and more, there is always something fun going on!


My two year old and I can easily spend an hour exploring the Visitor’s Center. With both indoor and outdoor activities, kids can color, learn about local plants and wildlife, get an un-close look at the park through the telescopes, and find books about bugs, bunnies, and bats in the little library.

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After our full run around at the Visitor’s Center, we usually do a nearby toddler-led hike. Our two favorites are the Oak Grove Loop, an easy .5 mile stroll, and the Visitor’s Center Loop, which is closer to 1 mile and has some minor terrain changes. If you’re up for something a little more challenging, this 7,000+ acre park has a ton to offer for all skill levels. Just check out their trail map, and make sure you bring WATER! Not quite ready to brave it alone with your kiddo?! Find a friend to join you through a local meetup group, or this awesome mom/baby hiking club!


Last on the list, is the need to mention the cleanliness and convenience of the Mission Trails campground, otherwise known as the Kumeyaay Lake Campground. If you’ve been thinking about testing out a camping trip with your little one in tow, this could be an excellent trial run. With it’s proximity so close to town, it’s not out of the question to bail in the middle of the night, or run to the store if things take a turn for the worse. You can pull up right to your campsite and walk to a flushing toilet. Check out this virtual tour to see if it might be a good spot for your family’s next weekend camping trip!

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All in all, Mission Trails is a great way to spend a fun filled family day of hiking and exploring. Go for an hour or spend the whole weekend in this fabulous park!



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