With a perfect-sized playground for toddlers and large grass areas for a picnic with baby, Del Mar Beach is ideal for family gatherings and lazy all-day beach-going. Set on a low bluff with a wide, sandy beach, Del Mar gets an influx of upscale tourists and fans from Del Mar Race Track.

Atmosphere: Del Mar City Beach and surrounding downtown area maintains sophistication with fashionable shops while still appearing laid-back and welcoming. Powerhouse Park and Seagrove Park have an abundant supply of grass for chasing a toddler and teaching baby how to roll over.

Parking and Entrance: Parking can be challenging on a summer weekend. Side streets and pay lots are too small, and areas of metered parking are not adequate. You may have to walk to get to the beach, so plan to stay awhile and enjoy the parks as well as the beach. Entrance to the actual beach is a steep concrete ramp.

Nice Walks and Views: : There are dirt paths along the small bluff; some are exposed. There is also a sidewalk that runs along the railroad tracks. Benches are everywhere, and if baby is sleeping you might even be able to catch a sunset from one.

Activities for Toddlers: Great “starter” playground for toddlers with wide stairs, short slides and baby swings. Trains go by regularly so be prepared for all the children to stop playing to watch. Del Mar is very dog-friendly, so expect dogs on the beach at certain times of year.

Bathrooms: Bathroom has a diaper changer and concrete bench seat. Bathroom and shower are next to the community center building.

Perks for Parents: Kick around a ball on the grass or surf farther north up the beach at Rivermouth.

Where to Stay with Kids: Many of the hotels in Del Mar are quite expensive and fancy, not exactly the type of places to take a crying baby or whining, energetic toddler. Try Del Mar Motel on the Beach, an older motel with a beachfront sundeck and beach gear rentals.

Baby-friendly Restaurants: Skip the fine dining and enjoy a Powerhouse Park picnic where the kids can stretch their legs. Smashburger is there if you need it.

What Else to Do: Del Mar Race Track runs in the summer as does the San Diego County Fair. Other events are held at the Fairgrounds year-round.