Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

On the quest to visit all of California’s State Parks, I often find myself at parks that I have no information about before I get there, and Old Town San Diego State Park was just that. While I am a planner, it is sometimes just fun to show up and see what is in store for you when visiting a new spot. When I arrived at Old Town San Diego State Park, I was worried it was going to be another updated “historic” area like Calico Ghost Town, but when I arrived, I really did enjoy myself. Here is all the information if you want to check it out.

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  • Free
  • Lots of places to enter and to park
  • Open until 5 PM
  • I wrote this in 2017

The Park

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The park showcases the history of the old town of San Diego and is super close to the Whaley House. It is full of old houses and architecture and maintains the vibe, even though almost all of them have been modernized.

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You can shop here, have something to eat, and even tour the multiple museums; there is something for everyone.


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They have leather stores, cigar stores, and restaurants, just to name a few. I enjoyed the style of the cigar store, which is in a building that has been around since the early 1900s.

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My favorite store of the bunch was the root beer and beef jerky store; I mean, what a perfect combination! I asked for a recommendation and got the butterscotch root beer from their collection of at least 50 different types.

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You can even have it poured over ice cream if you are into that kind of thing!

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They also had a fun candy store and a place to buy plants and succulents that are found all over the grounds.

The Museums

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The museums also cover a wide range of history as well. There are at least three museums on the ground, all of which are free. The first we went in was the visitor center and had a massive diorama that showed the layout of the town in the 1800s.

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We also went to the old ranch house right in the middle, and that was a beautiful house as well, with a lot of well-preserved gardens and rooms.

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Lastly, I went to the stagecoach museum. I was surprised by how awesome this one was. It had at least four old stagecoaches to show the history of the form of transportation as well as how they helped shape this area of San Diego.

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All of these buildings are around the central grass area in the middle of the grounds with its massive flag pole. I am sure there are more places to see here as well, but this is all I have done in the park myself.

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All in all, this is a great park for the whole family. There is a lot of fun stuff for kids to do, and it is a great way to escape the hustle of the city. Check it out and let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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