6 Ways Kids Benefit From The Outdoors + 2 Great Family Hikes!

By Courtney Daly-Pavone April 4, 2024

It's no secret that children nowadays prefer staying inside as opposed to going outside. 

Parents, divert your child's screen time and take advantage of San Diego's 40,000 acres of open space and year round beautiful weather. San Diego has more than four hundred parks, twenty-six miles of beaches, and one hundred and thirty-four hiking trails. These outdoor experiences are epic ways to spend the day for free! 

According to The Child Mind Institute, "Kids who play outside are smarter, happier, more attentive, and less anxious than kids who spend more time indoors." 

6 Therapeutic Reasons Why Kids Should Spend Time Outside

Time Outside 

Builds confidence 

Sparks creativity 

Teaches responsibility 

Increases movement 

Improves focus (especially beneficial for children with ADHD

Reduces stress

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five U.S. children are overweight, and depression is on the rise in kids. Outdoor recreation could be the remedy. 

We spent some time at two local trails this week. Both are kid and dog friendly, free, centrally located, and Spring is in full bloom!


Sandrock Canyon Trail- Kobe Way San Diego

If you're looking for an easy scenic hike Sandrock Canyon Trail is it! This 1.6 mile hike takes about 39 minutes to complete. The canyon is located in the middle of the suburbs of Serra Mesa, but don't let that dissuade you. 

It's green and lush with succulents, bougainvillea, dessert wildflowers, and a small creek. My son was delighted by the burgeoning lizard population. 

I took my work-out outside on a lovely day, and enjoyed the incline of a few hills on the trail (adios eliptical). Our dog was in heaven, he didn't want to leave. This is the perfect trail for families with young kids, or novice hikers. Parts of the trail were overgrown, but we still managed to navigate our way around the greenbelt. 

I recommend wearing long pants, sunscreen, and bringing enough water for everyone including your pet. There are no restrooms or trash cans, street parking is available. The entrance we used was unmarked on Genessee.

Marian Bear Memorial Park- 5491 Genesee Ave, San Diego

Marian Bear Memorial Park is truly a special place. It's a favorite spot for photo shoots, and we know why. There are several tree canopies, and natural vine arches.


We were surprised by the four hundred and sixty-seven acres of natural beauty smack in the middle of Clairemont adjacent to the 52. Marian Bear was an environmentalist who fought to preserve this outdoor space, and we're thankful. At the park entrance we were greeted by rabbits. We saw lizards and butterflies along the route. We hiked three miles of mostly flat trails along the length of the canyon, and one of the more challenging trails that lead to the top of the mesa. 

There's a creek, that isn't very deep where my son and dog enjoyed a refreshing dip. It took a little over an hour to walk the trail. We stopped in several sections to take in it's natural beauty. There were plenty of benches, and tree stumps. This park and it's trails are enchanting! Part of the park connects to Rose Canyon. 


Biking is permitted on the maintenance roads in the canyon; no equestrian use is permitted. Major entries to the park are off Genesee Avenue and Regents Road where parking and picnic areas with restrooms are available.

It is my commitment to you to continue to share resources that promote a healthy lifestyle for you and your children.

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