31 Free Things to Do in July

Summer has definitely arrived in San Diego County and that means finding fun activities for your children, out-of-town visitors and even yourself.

There’s always something to do in our region between the beaches, trails and tourist attractions. But we’ve made your planning a little easier with a handy list of 31 free County of San Diego activities for you to do every single day in July.

We’ve got hikes, community celebrations, fireworks, arts and crafts, gardening activities, Tai Chi and even a Quidditch championship you can participate in.

You’ll find things for whole families and residents of all ages, and all events are free.

To find even more events, visit the events calendar on CountyNewsCenter.

Get your checklist ready and plan your month of summer fun in San Diego County!

1 – Spend the day at Rancho Guajome Adobe – Let a tour guide show you around the historic Adobe House Museum or take a self-guided tour (Wednesdays through Sundays). From sunrise to sunset, visitors can hike or bike along the park’s multi-use trails. Along the trails, you may see wildlife such as ring-necked pheasants, roadrunners or red-tailed hawks. The open space wetland habitat also supports a variety of flora such as willows, buckwheat and sage. FREE. Park open sunrise to sunset; Adobe open 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Rancho Guajome Adobe County Park, 2210 North Santa Fe Ave., Vista. (760) 724-4082.

2 – Celebrate the USA – Get ready for the Fourth of July with music, games, crafts and much more. Musical group Rails and Trails will perform. FREE. 11 a.m., Rancho San Diego Library, 11555 Via Rancho San Diego, El Cajon. (619) 660-5370.

3 – Sunday Family Fun Day – Pack up the kids and head over to San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center and join us for some fun, nature-themed crafts and activities featuring the TRACK Trails program. Topics vary by the month so there is always something new to discover. The whole family will enjoy exploring the exhibits at the nature center and meandering along the loop trail. Don’t forget there are tables and chairs upstairs on the observation deck perfect for picnics. FREE, but donations are accepted. 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center, 2710 Manchester Ave., Cardiff. (760) 634-3026.

4 – Fireworks and Star Gazing from Volcan Summit – Hike the Volcan Summit to watch the sunset and hang out until the Fourth of July fireworks light up the night sky! Enjoy being outside in the fresh mountain air for this 7-mile round-trip hike and viewing party. Please dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes and bring a fully-charged flashlight for the hike back down. While all ages are welcome, please be advised that this considered a strenuous hike. Inclement weather will cancel this event. FREE. 6 p.m. – 10 p.m., Volcan Mountain Wilderness Preserve, 1209 Farmer Road, Julian. (760) 765-4098.

5 – Author Talk: Christine Thomas – If Ireland is on your travel bucket list, come hear local author Christine Thomas discuss her new book “Irish Wannabe.” You will experience the art of staying in a B&B, the friendliness of the people, place to go, things to buy and where to eat with locals. FREE. 6:30 p.m., Santee Library, 9225 Carlton Hills Blvd., #17, Santee. (619) 448-1863.

6 – Summer Reading Club: Tai Chi with Rob – An introduction to Tai Chi for active older adults, ages 50+. Experience the health benefits of this ancient Chinese form of martial arts. FREE. 2 p.m., also meets July 13, 20 and 27. Vista Library, 700 Eucalyptus Ave., Vista. (760) 643-5100.

7 – Geocaching – Geocaching is a treasure hunt that utilizes Global Positioning System (GPS) and the Internet to find caches as a recreational experience. You can grab your family or friends and go on a hunt any day of the week, but you must plan your adventure ahead of time with Parks and Rec. Make sure to call ahead as Mt. Gower is subject to closure due to extreme heat. Mt. Gower Preserve, 17090 Gunn Road, Ramona. (760) 788-3326.

8 – Art Reception, Baby Tattoo Art and Magic! – Join us as magicians and sword swallowers welcome in the new library art show:  Baby Tattoo Art and Magic. Light refreshments will be served. Sponsored by the Friends of the Fallbrook Library. 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Fallbrook Library, 124 S. Mission Road, Fallbrook. (760) 731-4650.

9 – Craft Workshops for Adults – Saturdays are “adult days” at the library and this craft workshop is for adults only. Try making a craft and learn tips and tricks. FREE. 10 a.m., Casa de Oro Library, 9805 Campo Road #180, Spring Valley. (619) 463-3236.

10 – Hike Kanaka Flat – You can take a short hike to the Santa Ysabel Creek or keep going for a hike that’s a little more strenuous with the ascent up to Kanaka Flat. The hike, recently featured on Modern Hiker, begins at the staging area on Farm Road north of Julian. You’ll see oak woodlands, native grasslands and fields of wildflowers. FREE. 8 a.m. to sunset, Santa Ysabel Preserves, 500 Farmer Road, Julian. (760) 765-4098 or (760) 814-0208.

11 – Musical Toddler Storytime: Ritmo Latino with Cesar Flores – Songs, movement and rhythm for toddlers ages 1 to 3 years old. 11 a.m., Encinitas Library, 540 Cornish Drive, Encinitas. (760) 753-7376.

12 – Visit the Coronado Farmers’ Market and buy local San Diego produceFarmers Markets provide venues for farmers to sell directly to. Farmers’ Markets are certified by the County Agricultural Commissioner, ensuring that the produce is being sold by the grower, is grown in California and meets all California quality standards. These criteria ensure that you receive the freshest produce for the right price. 2:30 p.m. – 6 p.m., every Tuesday, Coronado Farmers Market,  1st & B Ferry Landing, Coronado. (760) 741-3763.

13 – Create your own puppetThe San Diego Guild of Puppetry conducts a puppet making workshop for the whole family. Create puppet characters from the story “The Jumping Contest.” 2 p.m., San Marcos Library, 2 Civic Center Drive, San Marcos. (760) 891-3000.

14 – Henna Tattoos – To celebrate the end of our Summer Reading event series, henna artist Natasha Papousek will be on-site to provide henna and glitter tattoos for all ages! Yes, they are temporary. FREE. 1 to 4 p.m., Bonita-Sunnyside Library, 4375 Bonita Road, Bonita. (619) 475-4642.

15 – Star Party – Join San Diego Astronomy Association volunteer astronomers and County staff for a night under the stars. View our galaxy using the same technology used by professionals to witness out-of-this-world phenomenon. This program will be held at 13899 Highway 67, accessed only from the southbound direction. Inclement weather will cancel this event. FREE. 8 p.m. – 10 p.m., Goodan Ranch/Sycamore Canyon Preserve, 16281 Sycamore Canyon Road, Poway. (858) 513-4737.

16 – Free Summer Movies in the ParkSummer Movies in the Park is a perfect chance to relax and enjoy a safe and special night under the stars. Inside Out is the story of young Riley who is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco. Her emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness – conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house, and school. There are more than 120 free movies being shown around the County this summer. FREE. 8 p.m., 4S Ranch Patriot Park, 10502 Paseo de Linda, San Diego. (858) 673-3990.

17 – Oakoasis Sunday Stroll – This is a nice, moderately challenging walking opportunity the whole family can enjoy. Be prepared for a few hundred feet of elevation gain and loss on a dirt trail that is steep and slippery in some areas. Please dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes and bring water for this 3-mile loop that features fantastic overviews of the San Vincente Reservoir. FREE. 3 p.m. Oakoasis Preserve, 12620 Wildcat Canyon Road, Lakeside. (619) 561-0580.

18 – Lemon Grove Photo Group – Join photographers of any age from beginners to pros and share photos and tips on how you might improve your shooting. FREE. 9:30 a.m. Lemon Grove Library, 3001 School Lane, Lemon Grove. (619) 463-9819.

19 – Ask a Master Gardener – Bring all of your gardening questions to be answered by a UCCE certified Master Gardener. They will be there to help with planting, watering, pest control, and virtually anything garden related. 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., Escondido Farmers Market, 262 E. Grand Ave. at Juniper, Escondido. (760) 740-0602

20 – Play in the Park – There’s something for everyone in Otay Lakes County Park, a South Bay favorite. A playground, horseshoe pits, hiking trails, lawn area, prime bird watching and a native plant/demonstration garden are a few of the adventures you’ll find waiting. FREE. 9:30 a.m. – Sunset, Otay Lakes County Park, 2270 Wueste Road, Chula Vista. (619) 482-7361.

21 – Mindstorm Robotics – Calling all science explorers! Meet to build programmable robots using Lego Mindstorms kits. Teams of kids build predesigned projects and create their own robots as they learn basic engineering and programming concepts. FREE. 3:30 p.m., Borrego Springs Library, 587 Palm Canyon Drive, Suite 125, Borrego Springs. (760) 767-5761.

22 – Amazing Dana Magic Show – Bring the whole family to laugh and enjoy the Amazing Dana Magic Show. FREE. 3:30 p.m., Alpine Library, 1752 Alpine Blvd, Alpine. (619) 445-4221.

23 – Crafting for Kids – Show off your creativity with easy make it and take it crafts. Preschool and younger kids are in the early session and older kids and teens get to hang out and create an hour later. FREE. 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., Jacumba Library, 44605 Old Highway 80, Jacumba. (619) 766-4608.

24 – Calligraphy Class – All ages can take a beginning calligraphy class with a focus on Chinese calligraphy. Basic supplies are provided. FREE. 11 a.m., Solana Beach Library (in Earl Warren Middle School), 157 Stevens Av., Solana Beach. (858) 755-1404.

25 – Bird and butterfly watching – See birds and butterflies traveling the Pacific Flyway in the new Bird and Butterfly Garden, west of the Visitor Center. Walking paths meander around plants specially chosen to attract these winged creatures. Check off your bird list while you eat your lunch at one of the picnic tables in the park. The Tijuana River Valley Regional Park is home to two dozen sensitive species, and more than 340 bird species have been spotted here. FREE. 8 a.m. – sunset, Tijuana River Valley Regional Park, 2721 Monument Road, San Diego. (619) 428-2946.

26 – Storytime with SDSU Women’s Basketball Team – Children, teens and families join us for a special Summer Reading program story time with the SDSU Women’s Basketball Team. FREE. 1 p.m., Spring Valley Library, 836 Kempton St., Spring Valley. (619) 463-3006.

27 – Inaugural Tabletop Quidditch Championship – Celebrate Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling’s birthday with Wizard Pong! This game mixes ping pong, Quidditch, a Golden Snitch, Hogwarts House Rivalry and a grand prize. For ages 13-17. FREE. 4 p.m., Imperial Beach Library, 847 Encina Ave., Imperial Beach. (619) 424-6981.

28 – Beginning Line Dancing – Adults can come and learn line dancing every Tuesday and Thursday. FREE. 3 p.m., Jacumba Library, 44605 Old Highway 80, Jacumba. (619) 766-4608.

29 – Art Class with Local Artist Mona Mills – Adults can come learn to draw the human body from local artist Mona Mills. FREE. 12 p.m., Del Mar Library, 1309 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar. (858) 755-1666.

30 – Pine Valley Days – It’s fun for the whole family at the Pine Valley County Park and Pine Valley library during Pine Valley Days. Enjoy the craft village, music festival and food (available for purchase) from local restaurants in the park. There’s more family fun with Carmen the Clown, air-brush tattoos, games and crafts at the library. FREE. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Pine Valley Library, 28804 Old Highway 80, Pine Valley. (619) 473-8022. 10:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Pine Valley Park, 28810 Old Highway 80, Pine Valley. (619) 473-8558.

31 – Hullabaloo on the Waterfront – All ages will enjoy a special evening of singing and dancing at the Waterfront Park! Hullabaloo is a free-range, organic, folk concert featuring a foot-stomping, wing-flapping celebration of song designed for kids but entertaining all. Meet at Civic Green 5. FREE. 6 p.m., Waterfront Park, 1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego. (619) 232-7275.

Tom Christensen is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact