San Diego is a great vacation city, with the museums of Balboa Park, the famous San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld, and LEGOLAND and Knott’s Berry Farm nearby—not to mention miles of amazing beaches and outdoor activities in La Jolla. The Go San Diego card from Smart Destinations lets you experience the best of what the region has to offer for one low price. It even includes excursions to Hollywood and Orange County theme parks for visitors who have a few more days to explore.
The card is good for 1, 3, 5, or 7 days and includes all the tours, bike and kayak excursions, amusement parks, art museums, science and natural history museums, animal encounters, and day trips than you could ask for.
Top Included San Diego Attractions
San Diego Zoo
SeaWorld San Diego (on 3,4 and 7 Day Cards)
San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park
Just about everything in Balboa Park
Lots of stuff in Los Angeles too, such as Knotts Berry Farm and the Kodak Theater
See the complete list of attractions and tours in the sidebar.
The biggest news for Go San Diego Card is that it now includes SeaWorld if you buy a longer duration card.
The greatest strength of the Go San Diego Card is the sheer breadth of the included attractions. Almost everything a visitor would want to see in the Greater San Diego area, Carlsbad, Orange County, LA and Hollywood. Also the range of activities from zoos, to science- and historical-related attractions to amusement park ensures that there is something for everyone.
The Go San Diego Card offers good savings for travelers who are planning a fast-paced vacation and want to see as many attractions as possible. For example, a family of four (two adults, two children) who visit SeaWorld, LegoLand, Zoo and do the GoCar tour can save approximately $220 (assuming they purchase 3-day cards at full price).
Because each person has his or her own card, families can split up and visit different attractions based on their interests. Because of this flexibility, individuals or families can easily switch gears if they change their mind about an attraction.
The card also allows you to skip ticket lines at many places like the USS Midway—allowing you to save time, especially during the busy summer season.
In addition, the Go San Diego Card includes discounts to restaurants, including the Prado and Dakota Grill, and retail locations such as Carlsbad Premium Outlets
Lastly, the 150-page guidebook included with the passes is an invaluable resource and can help visitors get the most out of their Go San Diego Card and their visit.
What Could get better?
The card does not include parking fees if there are any. Any attraction near the downtown area is going to have parking fees. Balboa Park has free parking.
It’s nice that you can skip the line at the Midway but you still have to stand in line at the Zoo and some other places.
The one attraction that reviewers wished was included is the Old Town Trolley
Some of the smaller attractions are only opened for limited hours. Make sure you go when they are open.
Get Your Money’s Worth
Generally, the more days you purchase for your Go San Diego Card, the fewer attractions per day you need to visit to get your money’s worth. For example, if you buy a one-day pass, you’ll need to go to three attractions; buy the seven-day pass and one attraction per day is enough to reap the benefits of the Go San Diego Card. I’m also assuming that you will be going to the more expensive attractions such as the Trolley and Aquarium.
Your Go San Diego Card is activated by the first attraction you visit. Your consecutive day passes are not counted in 24-hour increments. For example, if you activate your card at 4 pm, that counts as day one on the length of your card.
The Go San Diego Card is not accepted after 5:30 p.m. Though most attractions will close around this time, plan your days carefully.
If you plan well and are aware of the included extras—like dining, for example—you can save a lot of money on eating out and souvenirs. In most cases, these discounts are “show and save;” therefore you can get these discounts the day before your card is activated or the day after it expires.
If you go to LegoLand make sure it is appropriate for your kids. I have seen a lot of reports that younger kids love it there but older kids get bored quickly. Fortunalyt if you do not like it, your card is still good for the day and there is time to go to the Wild Animal Park or Belmont Park.
Get $25 off your Go Card/Explorer Pass order over $400! via coupon code: BESTSUMMEREVER .
The fine print: Limit 1 Coupon/Order; Must Be Redeemed Online. Not valid on Build Your Own Pass. Travel anytime but book by June 30th, 2015. NOTE: Smart Destinations has been known to expire their coupon codes earlier than anticipated so don't wait.
Where to Buy It
The card is available at many outlets. You can buy it at Expedia, Orbitz or Travelocity or you can buy it once you get to San Diego but these are not great options as you may pay more. The best place the buy the card is at the Smart Destinations website. The 3 5 and 7day cards frequently go on sale. They also have a great return policy. If you are pressed for time, use the voucher option.
All Included Attractions
- SeaWorld San Diego (included on the 3, 4 and 7-day Go San Diego Cards only)
- Belmont Park Unlimited Ride Wristband with Giant Dipper Roller Coaster
- Birch Aquarium at Scripps
- Boomers! San Diego Unlimited Pass
- Japanese Friendship Garden
- Knott’s Berry Farm
- Knott’s Soak City Waterpark – Orange County (seasonal with select dates in May and September, open daily June-August)
- LEGOLAND California
- San Diego Zoo
- San Diego Zoo Safari Park
- Wave House Athletic Club (1-hour FlowRider session or use of gym, pool and group classes)
- Coronado Ferry Ride
- Coronado Kayak Rental (2-persons) or Bike Tour
- Flagship Cruises, your choice of 1-hour Harbor Tour or Seasonal Whale Watch (1 per day)
- La Jolla Kayaking (2-person) or Snorkeling
- Miramar Speed Circuit Race (M-F only)
- Newport Landing whale-watching cruise
- UTC Ice Sports Center
- GoCar tours (2 per vehicle required)
- PETCO Park Tour
- Air and Space Museum (special exhibits may require an upgrade)
- Living Coast Discovery Center
- Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum***
- Mingei International Museum
- Model Railroad Museum
- Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (Downtown)
- Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (La Jolla)
- Museum of History and Art, Coronado Historical Association
- Museum of Making Music
- Museum of Photographic Arts
- Natural History Museum (includes giant-screen films)***
- New Children’s Museum
- Reuben H Fleet Science Center plus one IMAX movie
- San Diego Art Institute
- San Diego Automotive Museum***
- San Diego Hall of Champions
- San Diego History Center
- San Diego Museum of Art
- San Diego Museum of Man
- Whaley House Museum
- William Heath Davis House
LOS ANGELES ATTRACTIONS
- Behind-the-Scenes Hollywood tour***
- Dolby Theatre® Guided Tour (LA Day Trip)
- Hollywood Museum
*** Skip the Line to Enter
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