Go San Diego Card

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Rating: 3.3/5 (36 votes cast)

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.

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Top Included San Diego Attractions

San Diego Zoo
SeaWorld San Diego (on 3,4 and 7 Day Cards)
USS Midway
Whale Watch
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.

What’s Good?

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.

Insider Tips

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.

Coupon Codes

Buy the Pass Now

Get   $10 off your Go Card/Explorer Pass when you sign up for their emails!  

The fine print: Limit 1 Coupon/Order; Must Be Redeemed Online. Travel anytime but book use your coupon by November 30th, 2015.

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.

Go San Diego Card, 3.3 out of 5 based on 36 ratings
  • Tatum Wong Yuen

    Can you use the go San Diego card with kids free October attractions mainly the zoos, sea world and Legoland?