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Best Hotels for Families in San Diego County, California

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A stay at one of the best kid-friendly hotels in San Diego will make a huge impact on your Southern California vacation. These San Diego hotels cater to kids, but parents will love them, too! As a former San Diego resident who lived in this beautiful beach city for 15 years and returns often with my children, I know which are truly the best hotels for families in San Diego County. I have stayed at all of these properties and personally recommend each one for different reasons. Take a look at this curated list of San Diego hotels and resorts before choosing the one that best meets your family’s needs based on location, amenities, budget, and focus of your trip.

Hotel del Coronado is one of the best hotels in San Diego
Hotel del Coronado in San Diego County (Photo credit: Hotel del Coronado)

1. Hotel del Coronado

Best Beach Hotel in San Diego County

If finding an incredible beach is your primary goal, then look no further than Hotel del Coronado on the Coronado Peninsula. The Del, as it’s known to locals, is a tourist attraction in its own right. This luxury hotel is renowned for its extravagant weekend brunch, high-end shops, and immaculate stretch of beach. Adding to the resort’s glamorous vibe, many movies have been filmed here, most notably Some Like It Hot, starring Marilyn Monroe. In summer, the resort offers family activities like Beach Bonfires and Movies on the Beach. During winter, visitors and guests alike can take a spin on the Del’s outdoor ice skating rink. This hotel was named one of the world’s best beach hotels for kids, too! Reserve your room at Hotel del Coronado today.

Hotel del Coronado Ice Skating Rink
Oceanfront ice skating rink at Hotel del Coronado (Photo credit: Hotel del Coronado)

2. San Diego Mission Bay Resort

Most Playful Hotel for Families

Active families will be happy as clams at San Diego Mission Bay Resort. A palm-lined, zero-entry pool beckons to guests. There’s also a splash pool complete with a fountain for the resort’s youngest guests. Families enjoy dive-in movies, S’mores Nights with all the fixings around beach fire pits, and live bayside music on select nights. Guests can also borrow recreation equipment for volleyball, basketball, ping pong, cornhole, and tennis rackets for play on their onsite courts. There’s a giant chessboard for friendly competitions, too. If that’s not enough, then it’s easy to rent bicycles, surreys, jet skis, boats, and more to explore Mission Bay from water or land. Personally, I prefer the garden rooms to the more expensive water view options. Try to nab one with its own firepit!

I may be a bit partial to this hotel because this is where my husband and I tied the knot. Then again, I think you’ll agree San Diego Mission Bay Resort is a wondrous place to stay and play! Learn more and book your room via Hotels.com.

San Diego Mission Bay Resort zero-entry pool
San Diego Mission Bay Resort zero-entry pool (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

3. LEGOLAND Hotel and LEGOLAND Castle Hotel

Best Themed Hotels for Kids

Kids are the focus at LEGOLAND Hotel and LEGOLAND Castle Hotel in Carlsbad. Located just outside LEGOLAND California, these sister properties provide an immersive amusement park experience. Choose from six colorfully themed rooms: Pirate, Kingdom, Adventure, Pirate, LEGO Friends, or Ninjago. A disco elevator, outdoor pool, and LEGO bricks galore will make children go gaga. In fact, LEGOLAND Hotel is so kid-friendly, it made our list of the best hotels for families in the USA. These kid-friendly hotels in San Diego book up fast, especially during spring and summer peak seasons, so reserve your room at LEGOLAND Hotel and LEGOLAND Castle Hotel right away.

Pirate-themed room at Legoland Hotel in Carlsbad, CA
Pirate-themed room at LEGOLAND Hotel in Carlsbad (Photo credit: LEGOLAND California)

4. Paradise Point Resort & Spa

Best San Diego Hotel for Water Lovers

Located on the sandy shores of San Diego Bay, the Paradise Point Resort & Spa is all about water. There’s plenty of water fun available for rental from the Paradise Point Marina. Enjoy the beauty of the bay via jet ski, sailboat, speed boat, or stand-up paddleboard. You can also book a waterski or wakeboarding adventure. Your family can even take a water taxi to visit nearby SeaWorld San Diego. If pools are more your thing, then Paradise Point Resort boasts five swimming pools and Jacuzzis scattered throughout the 44-acre property. Read my full review of this resort or book your stay at Paradise Point Resort & Spa.

Paradise Point Resort & Spa in San Diego
Paradise Point Resort & Spa in San Diego (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

5. West Inn & Suites

Best Suites Hotel for Kids and Pets

This surprisingly affordable hotel in Carlsbad makes a great pick for parents and pet owners. Fido and the kids are given a warm welcome at West Inn & Suites. A free shuttle takes guests to LEGOLAND California, the Carlsbad Flower Fields, the beach, and anywhere else within a five-mile radius of the hotel. There’s also a complimentary full breakfast every morning, a selection of board games to borrow, a microwave and refrigerator in every room, and complimentary WiFi. Read my full review or book your stay at West Inn & Suites via Hotels.com now.

West Inn & Suites in Carlsbad, CA
West Inn & Suites in Carlsbad (Photo credit: West Inn & Suites)

6. Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa

Most Tropical San Diego Hotel for Families

The Catamaran Resort feels like a trip to Hawaii without a flight over the ocean. The resort boasts a Polynesian theme, with koi ponds and tropical landscape winding their way through the property. They even offer sunset luaus on the bay! Located on Mission Bay, the beach right out front is absent of big Pacific Ocean waves. This makes it a fabulous choice for families with young children. Read reviews of the Catamaran Resort and book your stay via Hotels.com.

Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa in Pacific Beach, San Diego
Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa in Mission Bay, San Diego (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

7. Residence Inn San Diego/Gaslamp Quarter

Best Kid-Friendly Hotel in Downtown San Diego

If you want to stay downtown within walking distance of a plethora of restaurants and shops, then Residence Inn San Diego/Gaslamp Quarter is the place for your family. For a refreshing respite, take a dip in the rooftop pool with a view of the San Diego skyline. Expect suites with full kitchens, an outdoor grill for barbecues, a 24-hour in-lobby market, and an on-site fitness center. Similar to other Residence Inn locations, this hotel offers budget-savers like complimentary evening socials, free hot breakfasts, included Internet access, and discounts for longer stays. They’ll even go grocery shopping for you at no additional charge (besides payment for the groceries, of course). Read reviews of Residence Inn San Dieg/Gaslamp Quarter on Hotels.com.

Residence Inn San Diego/Gaslamp Quarter
Residence Inn San Diego/Gaslamp Quarter (Photo credit: Residence Inn)

8. La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club

Best Family Beach Party Hotel

A vacation at La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club will be long remembered. Its oceanfront suites open right onto the sandy shores of the Pacific Ocean. Despite the luxury price tag, this hotel/private club isn’t all that fancy. La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, however, has bragging rights no other property in San Diego County can claim. This hotel is home to the only oceanfront beach in San Diego where alcoholic beverages can legally be consumed. As a private beach, the local no-drinking-on-the-beach law does not apply. You needn’t be a big drinker to appreciate this detail, either. Each summer evening, this exclusive stretch of sand becomes the best family beach party in Southern California with bonfires galore. Read my full review of this resort or nab your spot at the beach party right away.

La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club in La Jolla, California is one of the most kid-friendly hotels in San Diego County
La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Save Money on Your San Diego Vacation

Want to save money on your San Diego vacation? Of course, you do! Use discount code TravelMamas to get $10 off any two-night or longer Southern California package (hotel and two ticket minimum) when you book through Get Away Today. Also, find San Diego deals including attraction ticket discounts!

Those considering a fall visit are in luck! October is Kids Free San Diego Month, with over 100 deals just for kids. Take a look at which attractions, hotels, and restaurants are offering freebies to families.

It’s also well worth investing in a Southern California CityPass for big savings on bundled attractions!

Lastly, it makes good sense to check Groupon for discounts on activities and restaurants in your destination, and San Diego is no exception. Take a peek at Groupon San Diego deals now.

Learn More about San Diego

Planning a trip to San Diego? Be sure to read our picks for the best San Diego restaurants for families and the top attractions for kids in San Diego!

No trip to San Diego would be complete without a visit to its world famous zoo. Take a look at our tips and itinerary for visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids.

Many vacationers forego Birch Aquarium in favor of glitzier SeaWorld San Diego. But there are many reasons to visit this smaller, educational sea life attraction. Explore all the things to do at Birch Aquarium.

Want to explore more of California? Discover the best California with kids vacation spots.

Dolphin-spotting on the private beach at La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club in California
Dolphin-spotting on the private beach at La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Keep this List of San Diego Hotels for Families

To remember these kid-friendly San Diego hotels for a future visit, simply save the image below to Pinterest. I hope you’ll follow Travel Mamas on Pinterest while you’re at it!

Best Kid-Friendly Hotels in San Diego

Have you stayed at any of these kid-friendly San Diego hotels? In the comments below, share your comments and questions about the best hotels in San Diego for families!

A Note from The Travel Mama: Over the years I have been hosted by some of these resorts. I have paid for personal stays at these San Diego hotels, too. I would never recommend a product or brand I did not truly enjoy myself. All opinions are mine, as always.

About Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of TravelMamas.com. As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show, NBCNews.com, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

Comments
  1. Looks like there are lots of good times to be had in San Diego. Love that pirate room.

  2. I’m bookmarking this! I’ve been trying to get a family trip together to San Diego, and hotels are always a huge priority for me.

  3. Audrey McClelland says

    I love the city of San Diego! We’ve talked about someday taking the family, so this will serve as a great guide!

  4. Bill Sweeney says

    One of our family goals some day is to go to San Diego, especially to visit the San Diego Zoo and Sea World. This hotel guide will help in narrowing down a place that’s close to these and many other attractions.

  5. Stephanie S. says

    I was in San Diego a few years back, and this list definitely would have been handy to have. What a great list of hotels. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Matt Taylor says

    Awesome list of hotels! I live 5 hours from San Diego, love that place!

  7. Legoland Florida Resort looks a lot like the one in San Diego. We are actually staying there for the first time in a couple of weeks!

  8. Ntensibe Edgar Michael says

    Wow…I am still aaawwwiing to the “Hotel de Coronado”! Who doesn’t want to try out ice-skating out in the open-sea? I certainly do.

  9. Ascending Butterfly says

    I have been to California so many times but somehow have not yet made it out to San Diego, I am definitely going to have to remedy that soon! I am a solo traveler with no kids, but most of my friends are traveling with family and always want to know about family friendly places to stay.

  10. I like the pirate room at the Legoland Hotel. My son is about to outgrow such things, and I’m kicking myself for not going sooner.

  11. So many amazing options!! I am saving this for my next trip to San Diego!

  12. katrina Kroeplin says

    great list. San Diego is so much fun. the kids and i love it, we have been a few times. every time we find new things but we always have to go to blue water to eat.

  13. Elicitfolio says

    We have an upcoming vacation for San Diego next month! I will definitely book the Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa!

  14. I heard San Diego is such a family city. I look forward to visiting one day.

    • Colleen Lanin says

      It’s true! I’m so lucky that I got to live in San Diego for 15 years and raise my kids there when they were wee.

  15. Wow! The West Inn & Suites is just perfect for my family. Happy to know that it’s pet-friendly since we usually travel with our furbabies. It is also nice to know that there’s a free shuttle to Legoland. Thank you for sharing this post. Very helpful.

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Clarice – I’ve stayed there twice — once during a romantic getaway with my husband and once with the whole family. I hope you love it as much as we did!

  16. WanderlustBeautyDreams says

    Never been to San Diego but looks like a wonderful place to visit. These hotels look so great.

    • Colleen Lanin says

      There’s so much to love about San Diego…including these hotels! 😁I hope you can visit someday soon!

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