Baja California Mexico is a great place to visit for a family vacation. With beaches, wildlife, and many more family activities, it’s an easy choice for a trip with kids.
What to do in Baja California Mexico with Kids
Written by: K.C. Dermody of Travel Wise
Where is Baja California?
The Baja California Peninsula of Mexico is home to 1,900 miles of coastline with beautiful beaches that stretch from the southern tip at Cabo San Lucas to the California state border in the north. To the west is the Pacific Ocean, where you’ll find many outstanding spots for surfing, while the eastern side of the peninsula boasts the stunning Sea of Cortez. With its crystal clear turquoise waters, the Sea of Cortez is often referred to as the “world’s aquarium,” its remarkable abundance of marine life making it ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and diving.
Baja California Mexico also features mountainous terrain, including the soaring hot spring and waterfall, filled Sierra de la Laguna Mountains, making it a fabulous vacation spot for all types of travelers, including families with children of all ages.
Unless you’re planning on making a long road trip (it’s about a 20-hour drive from San Diego to Cabo), the best way to embark on this journey is to fly into Cabo San Lucas, which is where most families base their stay.
Where to Stay in Baja California Mexico
While Cabo does have a wild, partying side that tends to center around Medano Beach, there are plenty of great places to stay for families as well. You’ll find everything from budget-friendly to 5-star hotels in Cabo San Lucas. When it comes to luxury, book a stay at the Hacienda Encantada Resort & Spa, which features private balconies that boast amazing ocean views, multiple swimming pools and a variety of restaurants to satisfy all tastes. Its laid-back vibe draws a mix of travelers, including families – kids can take advantage of the kids’ club while adults will appreciate the lavish spa and swim-up bar.
There are multiple Airbnbs throughout the area — renting a home with a kitchen will help you save on dining out while offering plenty of room to stretch out. There are also affordable hotel options, such as the Hyatt Place Los Cabos. While the property doesn’t offer much in the way of resort amenities, it provides an ideal base with spacious rooms — some with ocean views — and an outstanding complimentary breakfast buffet, all at a very affordable price.
What to Do in Cabo
- Lands End Lovers Beach Tour. One of the most popular attractions in Cabo, this tour isn’t just for couples seeking romance but is a must for visitors of all ages, including those with little ones. The Glass Bottom Boat tours depart every hour from the marina and Medano Beach. The short excursion takes passengers to famous rock formations such as The Arch or one that appears to have been carved to look like Scooby Doo, though they’re all created naturally by the elements. You’ll be able to look down into the remarkably clear waters and see all sorts of colorful fish along the way, as well as sea lions that lounge in the sun atop the rocks. You’ll also have the option to hop off the vessel and hang out at Lovers Beach to enjoy a swim and then head back on one of the later boats.
- The Marina: After your boat trip, you can sate your appetite at one of the many eateries around the marina, from casual to more upscale options. It’s a great place to shop for souvenirs, with unique boutiques as well as independent vendors hawking their wares.
- Horseback Riding: Riding horses on the sand is a fun activity for families with many outfitters offering the experience. Cuadra San Francisco is a local family-owned business that provides scenic rides in the desert, canyon, on the beach or a mix of different settings. The one-hour beach ride is especially unforgettable, allowing you to clip-clop across the gorgeous white sands of Cabo Real.
- Whale Watching: If you visit anytime between December and April you’ll be able to take advantage of the whale season, as Baja’s coast, including Cabo, provides a front-row seat for the annual migration of countless whales. Humpbacks and gray whales are most commonly spotted, though you may also see fin, blue, sein and minke whales along with other sea life, including dolphins.
- Go to the Beach: Of course, the main reason for which people visit Baja California is the incredible beaches. Be sure to spend time in the water and on the sand. Check out this list of the best Baja beaches.
Day Trips from Cabo
There are lots of easy day trips from Cabo that make it well worth renting a car, although there are shuttles and tour excursions that depart from the city if you don’t want to get behind the wheel.
- Todos Santos. Just a little over an hour’s drive north of Cabo, Todos Santos is an officially designated Pubelo Magico, or “Magical Town” — and it truly lives up to its name. Discover nearly always empty, long expanses of golden sands and an artsy oasis nestled among ancient orchards of palm and mango trees, with the Sierra de la Laguna providing a stunningly green backdrop. Check out all sorts of colorful street art, galleries and shops tucked between old colonial buildings, and be sure to indulge in the thriving food scene. If you’re here from early December through April, the kids will especially enjoy watching the baby sea turtle release. Hundreds of them are released on the local beach just before sunset each day as part of the process to help save the endangered Pacific leatherbacks. Visitors and locals of all ages watch and can even participate. Watching the tiny creatures slowly and sometimes painfully making their way into the Pacific is a sight you won’t soon forget.
- Agua Caliente. In the Sierra de la Launa Mountains, you’ll find some of the best hikes in Baja. Agua Caliente is easily accessible and less than a 30-minute drive from Cabo, near the town of Santiago. It’s popular for its hot springs and natural pools where you can jump in for a refreshing dip after a trek through the beautiful scenery.
- La Paz. La Paz is a two-hour drive from Cabo. Not only is it well worth the trip to visit this cosmopolitan city as it offers a more authentic, less touristy experience, but also to take part in a variety of wildlife encounters, including with a remarkable array of marine life in the warm waters of the Sea of Cortez. One of the best excursions for families with older kids and teens is the unique chance to snorkel with the sea lions. Baja Sur Tours will bring you out to Isla Espiritu Santo, a UNESCO-listed nature reserve where you can swim alongside some 300 non-aggressive sea lions and a wealth of tropical fish. Don’t forget to bring your beach essentials on this trip, as another option is a visit, on your own or by tour, to Balandra Beach. Considered by many to be the most beautiful in all of Mexico, it’s just a short drive from La Paz and features ultra-soft, white sands that frame a beautiful lagoon with bathwater warm, clear azure waters that look as if it was stolen from the Caribbean. Here is a great guide on things to do in La Paz.
Have you been to Baja California Mexico? What did you think? What were your favorite things to do in Baja? I’d love to hear from you! Email me at [email protected]or get in touch on Instagram or Facebook.