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“Fantastic Experience!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of San Diego Sand Castles

San Diego Sand Castles
4306 Ocean Boulevard, San Diego, CA
+1 619-200-0565
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Ranked #4 of 327 Activities in San Diego
Type: Amusement
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Owner description: San Diego Sand Castles isn't a gallery, competition, or "thing to see" for public viewing (please don't come to our address expecting to see sand castles!) In fact, we're a far more interactive reservations-required beachside "thing to do" where your group gets to be the artists! San Diego Sand Castles specializes in sand castle lessons for people of all ages all year-round! Run by JT Estrela, San Diego's resident sand sculptor, our sand castle lessons are a lot of fun, are educational, and a great way to spend time on the beach in San Diego. Each lesson is personalized and special with a focus on having fun with the process in a unique change of pace from theme parks or even just typical beach sunbathing. BOOK EARLY! RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED AND GO VERY FAST! When JT and his partners aren't happily teaching sand castle lessons, they are often working on professional masterpiece commissioned sculptures or you can often find them creating their own unique ideas!
Ottawa, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Fantastic Experience!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2014 via mobile

We had a great time with JT on Del Mar Beach - booked the sunset time slot with a full lesson which is about 2-3 hours. The 3 of us (husband, daughter aged 7 and I) had never taken lessons before, but we learnt a lot! Our lesson started a little later than scheduled (JT was finishing up with another family) but made up for it by staying later. He was very attentive to our daughter making sure she had help when she needed, engaged her in the lessons and taught us all the basics - how to make the foundation using the right mix of sand & water to the next level of techniques of carving out windows, stairs, creating bridges, trees and even "sand balls" (instead if snow). Throughout the lesson JT was helpful, informative and a lot of fun. We definitely garnered a lot of attention on the beach. Definitely book a lesson if you can. Del Mar beach is very family oriented, and clean. We did not get a chance to visit, but there were a lot of little stores around to browse if you wanted. It was a fantastic afternoon and evening! Thanks again JT!

Visited August 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Hudson, Ohio
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Even I made a sand castle...well sort of...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2014

I reserved a one hour lesson for my wife as a gift for our 32nd wedding anniversary (all the longer 3-hour slots were filled for the time we were to be in San Diego). We met Kristine at 8:45 on a beautiful morning at Coronado beach. The morning is a great time as it's not too hot and there is plenty of parking. Much to my surprise, my daughter and I joined in the Quick lesson at no additional charge. For the shorter lesson, we each were able to build a smaller sand castle that was made from a single form. This let each one of us express our individuality (or artistic ineptness in my case)! Kristine did a great job of teaching us the different techniques and my wife and daughter quickly put them in practice and made beautiful castles to house Rapunzel and to ward off invading marauders and their flying cannon balls. I was a bit of a hopeless cause when it came to following directions, but had a great time just the same building my own more industrial looking creation.

Much to our good fortune, the folks for Kristine's next lesson had just cancelled so she spent considerable extra time with us at no extra charge (we tried to make it up to her with a nice tip). If you pick things up quickly, are content with a smaller sand castle, and don't want to learn many of the different techniques, the one hour Quick lesson may be sufficient. If you want the whole enchilada, I would recommend the 3 hour lesson. Overall, we had a great time and came away with the skills to build wonderful sand sculptures. It was very fun...even for me!

Visited August 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Geelong Bellarine, Australia
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
13 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Fantastic”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2014

We came across a sand castle on San Deiago beach, it was of the Disneyland castle, it was just amazing it even had Mickey and Minnie there, the children thought it was super.

Visited September 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edmonton
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Wonderful Beach Day”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2014

My husband thought I was crazy paying someone to build sandcastles with us. It was a wonderful afternoon on the beach. I would recommend this for families with kids 10 and older. It actually required some physical work (filling water buckets from ocean and carrying them), It took us about 4 hours to complete in the warm sun but it was worth it. I think younger kids would get bored quickly. Our kids are artsy so they loved the design and decorating of the castle.

Visited July 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JT-Estrela, Owner at San Diego Sand Castles, responded to this review, September 6, 2014
We're glad you had a wonderful beach day and that your kids loved the design and decorating of the castle. We try to give every group a wonderful afternoon on the beach and we're happy we could do it for you. So what we would like to know is what we could have done better to translate your wonderful afternoon into a wonderful rating. We shoot for a five star experience every time so we feel like we're not doing our jobs right when we fall short. We feel we do a decent job of using information on our website for setting expectations for families with kids and that physical work is involved in building a sand castle, so if you could let us know what you would need to take us to that fifth star rating we would really appreciate it!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mesa, Arizona
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“great service and instruction”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2014

I did not actually use them, but marveled at their expertise and craftsmanship while working with clients at PB to teach them the trade. I talked with them afterward about thier service and vowed I would look them up the next time in San Diego with my family.

Visited June 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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