The fifteen best family hotels in San Diego County that I review below are vetted by me, clients, and readers for vacations and staycations. They are beachfront or near the beach and close to attractions. They do an excellent job of striking a balance between fun kids’ amenities and relaxation for parents.

Before you book kid-friendly hotels in San Diego, you’ll want to read this article in detail. There are things to know that only someone like me, who specializes in helping plan San Diego family vacations, can tell you.

If there’s a clear way to book that will give you the best value, I’ve mentioned it. Through me, you have access to great perks at some of these hotels. At others, you can save more with San Diego vacation packages that bundle your stay with theme park tickets or even If it makes sense to book direct, I’ve mentioned it. If you book hotels using the links below, I may be compensated. Do check with the hotels directly to see if offerings are modified during your stay.

See also: Guide: The Best Things to Do in San Diego with Kids

1. Fairmont Grand Del Mar

Neighborhood: Carmel Valley (East of Del Mar)
Kids’ club: Yes. The Explorer’s Club offers half-day, full-day, and evening sessions for kids ages 5–12 year-round. It is free for two hours when parents book a spa treatment, whether you’re staying overnight or not.
Hotel class: Luxury

A girl splashes in the main swimming pool with her father at Fairmont Grand Del Mar, my top pick for kid-friendly hotels in San Diego.
Family pool fun (Photo courtesy of Fairmont Grand Del Mar)

Why go: Fairmont Grand Del Mar is the best hotel in San Diego for families in the five-star category. In fact, this kid-friendly San Diego luxury hotel is one where many stay put to enjoy the amenities. This is my top pick.

Its central location with easy access to the I-5 freeway makes exploring attractions like LEGOLAND California to the north and San Diego Zoo to the south a breeze.

  • State-of-the-art supervised Explorer’s Club with daily scheduled programming or drop-in use for kids ages 5–12, including the latest video games, fully-stocked arts, and crafts center, traditional games, foosball, ping pong and more
  • Horseback riding lessons at the onsite Equestrian Center
  • Children’s pool with wading area and sand play area
  • A family pool with underwater music
  • Personalized family tennis lessons
  • BMW bikes (including kids’ bikes)
  • Children’s menus at Amaya, Club M, the Resort Pool and through in-room dining
  • Junior golf and free junior golf club rentals (kids 12 receive complimentary tee times when playing with an adult while 13-17 play at half-price)
  • Seasonal activities such as s’mores and dive-in pool movie nights
  • Private Tom Fazio-designed golf course with exclusive access for hotel guests
  • One of San Diego’s best spas complete with gorgeous lounging areas, couples treatments, and a private pool
  • Explorer’s Club kids’ club during the day and evenings
  • Free two hours of Explorer’s Club included with resort spa treatments
  • Addison, a culinary sensation that is San Diego’s only Michelin-star restaurants
  • Two pro-style tennis courts complete with instructors and clinics
  • Designer boutiques
  • Guided canyon hikes
  • Courtesy transportation to/from Del Mar, La Jolla, and Solana Beach (must be reserved 24 hours in advance)
  • Top-notch service everywhere

Beach access: Reserve The Grand Beach Service 24 hours in advance, which includes round-trip transportation to Del Mar’s 18th Street beach (fantastic). They’ll take you with chairs, towels, bottled water, and umbrellas.

Good to know: Guests receive twice-daily housekeeping, in-room bottled water, and coffee, free WiFi, daily newspaper, free parking (self-parking) included in a $49/night plus tax resort fee that is charged at check-out. The resort fee usually does not appear in rate quotes.

There is not a lot to do within walking distance so a rental car is advisable for sightseeing off of the resort. I’ve never had anyone complain about this because the resort is so nice and fun for families.

Awards: #1 on TripAdvisor, AAA Four Diamonds, three Forbes five-stars each for Addison, the hotel, and spa. Addison has one Michelin star.

Reservations: You have access to special Virtuoso amenities that add value to a stay and include daily free breakfast for two, an activity credit, upgrades, occasionally a 3rd night free, and more.

*You may need to be on the desktop version of to search rates and book online. To enable the desktop version of a hotel page from a mobile device, scroll down to the navy blue section at the bottom of the web page and click “Full Site.” When searching rates, do not input children ages 17 and under as they will be priced as adults. I’m notified when you book and will add them when I contact you about your reservation.

See also: 10 Reasons Why Families Choose Fairmont Grand Del Mar

2. Hotel del Coronado

Neighborhood: Coronado
Kids’ club: Yes. DelVentures offers 1-hour activities and daily evening activities between 6–9 p.m. so that parents can enjoy dinner onsite in peace at this beachfront resort.
Hotel class: Moderate-Luxury

Del Beach red lounge chairs on the sand in front of the iconic Hotel del Coronado family beach resort in San Diego
The red Del Beach lounge chairs

Why go: The red roof of this historic San Diego hotel has become one of the city’s icons. The roster of Hollywood celebrities, U.S. Presidents, and other dignitaries who have stayed at Hotel del Coronado since its opening in 1888 is nothing short of impressive.

Of the San Diego family resorts on the beach, this is the best because it’s full-service and Coronado Central Beach is considered one of America’s best beaches by the Travel Channel.

  • DelVentures kids’ club for kids ages 5–12
  • A gorgeous flat sandy beach in front of the hotel with (usually) gentle waves and tide pools at low tide
  • A delicious ice cream shop on site
  • Stand-up paddleboard and surf lessons
  • Water toys and fun in the Main Pool
  • Daily roasts (beach bonfires with a private fire pit, s’mores, and more)
  • Spa services for ages 14 and up
  • Bike and surrey rentals
  • 17 shops to browse (Babcock & Story is my personal favorite)
  • Several beachfront dining and cocktail areas that are amazing venues during sunset
  • Yoga on the beach
  • Beachside spin class
  • Mermaid fitness classes (yes, really)
  • San Diego’s best Sunday brunch (temporarily on pause)
  • Family portraits arranged through the Concierge
  • Full-service Spa at The Del
  • Boat rentals and water sports like jet ski and paddle board rentals within walking distance
  • Del Beach rentals (where adult drinks and food items are served)

See also: 15 Things to Do at Hotel del Coronado

Beach access: Coronado beach is right in front of the hotel. It’s gorgeous.

Good to Know: This is a busy resort. Most of the time, the service is very good, and the guests are pleased. During peak seasons, it’s advisable to make spa and dining reservations (including breakfast during winter break) before arrival.

Restaurants and shops on Orange Avenue are within walking distance, and there is a ferry from downtown San Diego to Coronado Island on the other side of the island (a quick Uber or 30-minute walk from the hotel). There is also quite a bit to do during the holidays at Hotel del Coronado, from a fun seaside ice skating rink (on pause for 2020) to other special programming.

I have also written a very detailed guide to Hotel del Coronado that you should read. It addresses how to select rooms and much more. A $400 million renovation is underway, and construction is visible around the resort. You need to know the following before making a reservation for your family trip:

  • Do not book property enhancement view rooms because they face renovation work.
  • Renovated Cabana and Views king rooms have a pull-out sofa beds (so do the Victorian Studio Suites). My favorite rooms are the Ocean View Cabana Terrace Fire Pit rooms.
  • Read what to expect during your visit.
  • If you’re considering a specialty suite at Hotel del Coronado, take a look at Beach Village at The Del as pricing can be similar.
  • Guests continue to book in despite the renovation and limited reopening offerings and have a great time!

Awards: AAA Four Diamonds (2005-2019); Top 10 Best Hotels in San Diego, U.S. News & World Report, 2019; and many more.

Reservations: You have access to Virtuoso amenities that include daily breakfast for two, a $100 food and beverage credit, room upgrade (subject to availability), and VIP status. You will also earn Hilton Honors points (Virtuoso rates are nearly always more advantageous than the Hilton Honors discount).

*You may need to be on the desktop version of to search rates and book online. To enable the desktop version of a hotel page from a mobile device, scroll down to the navy blue section at the bottom of the web page and click “Full Site.” When searching rates, do not input children ages 17 and under as they will be priced as adults. I’m notified when you book and will add them when I contact you about your reservation.

3. Beach Village at The Del

Neighborhood: Coronado
Kids’ club: Yes. Guests also use DelVentures at Hotel del Coronado.
Hotel class: Luxury

The interior of a designer villa at Beach Village, a great choice for luxury and families who need kitchens.
Gorgeous designer villas (Photo courtesy of Beach Village at The Del)

Why go: You want the most luxurious beach vacation possible in San Diego County.

Plus, as the sister property to adjacent Hotel del Coronado, you’d have access to amenities on the main resort mentioned above, but main resort guests do not have access to Beach Village amenities. Only Beach Village guests can access the property’s pools and exclusive Windsor Beach Club. Accommodations here are outfitted like designer residences.

  • Everything listed above at Hotel del Coronado
  • Swimming pools only for Beach Village guests
  • Everything listed above at Hotel del Coronado
  • Dining at the members-only Windsor Cottage
  • Access to the members-only Windsor Beach Club (Memorial Day through Labor Day)
  • Exclusive VIP shopping perks at Fashion Valley Mall
  • Complimentary Del Beach lounge chairs and umbrellas

Beach access: The beautiful beach is right in front of the hotel.

Good to know: Expect prices over $799/night plus $35/night resort fee and tax for a double queen villa room, the entry-level accommodations. Larger families can fit into these accommodations as the double queen Coastal View and Ocean View Villa Rooms have two queen beds and a single sofa sleeper. The Windsor Beach Club is for guests and locals with memberships. It can be crowded due to the latter.

Hotel del Coronado is going through an exciting multi-stage renovation through 2021. If you want to enjoy the main resort’s activities with the least possible risk of disruption, please stay at Beach Village between now and 2021.

Reservations: The Virtuoso amenities you can book in with through me at Beach Village at The Del are the same as Hotel del Coronado. It is usually more advantageous than Hilton Honors rates if you will eat breakfast on the property. You’ll need to request a rate as Beach Village is unable to be booked online through Virtuoso. You will earn Hilton Honors points with either method.

4. Park Hyatt Aviara Resort & Spa

Neighborhood: Aviara (Carlsbad)
Kids’ club: No
Hotel class: Luxury

A child plays in the family swimming pool at Park Hyatt Aviara Resort in San Diego

Why go: You want to base the family in a secluded San Diego luxury resort in North County with exquisite service, excellent golf, and an award-winning spa.

The resort offers suites and connecting guest rooms at reasonable prices. They’ve just finished renovating the guest rooms, swimming pools, lobby, and some dining. It’s gorgeous.

  • Lessons at Aviara Golf Academy
  • Bird watching over the wetlands
  • Seasonal junior tennis clinics
  • Outdoor family swimming pool with underwater lights
  • Shallow wading pool, splash pad, and sand play area (open seasonally)
  • New two-story water slide
  • Poolside cafe with kid-sized picnic tables
  • Surf concierge including transportation to Ponto Beach and 2 hours of boogie board or surf lessons for ages 6 and above
  • Kids DVD library
  • Game room
  • Sand volleyball court, bocce ball court, badminton court, horseshoes and a croquet field
  • Two bed rooms with two king beds!
  • Arnold Palmer designed golf course
  • Six state-of-the-art lighted tennis courts
  • Daily fitness classes
  • Adults-only pool with panoramic views
  • An awesome 15,000-square-foot spa with solarium lounge area, whirlpools, saunas, steam rooms, couples treatment areas, and locker and dressing areas
  • TaylorMade Performance Lab for a 2-hour custom club fitting experience
  • Impeccable, five-star service
  • Exquisite, varied dining between four restaurants, a lounge, and room service
  • Frette robes and pillow-top beds
  • Jogging trails
  • Free shuttle service to the nearby Carlsbad Premium Outlets
  • Reasonably-priced suites

Beach access: The resort offers tound-trip shuttle service to Moonlight Beach in Encinitas or Tamarack Beach in Carlsbad ($10 per person charge).

Good to know: This incredibly beautiful part of Carlsbad is inland of the I-5 freeway, so you’ll need to drive to the beach. Park Hyatt Aviara usually has VERY reasonably-priced suites and can guarantee connecting rooms. Read about our recent stay at Park Hyatt Aviara Resort.

Awards: AAA Five Diamonds, Forbes Five Star

Reservations: I have access to Virtuoso amenities at Park Hyatt Aviara that include daily breakfast for two, a room upgrade at check-in (subject to availability), a $100 food and beverage credit and more. You will also earn World of Hyatt points.

*You may need to be on the desktop version of to search rates and book online. To enable the desktop version of a hotel page from a mobile device, scroll down to the navy blue section at the bottom of the web page and click “Full Site.” When searching rates, do not input children ages 17 and under as they will be priced as adults. I’m notified when you book and will add them when I contact you about your reservation.

5. La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club

Neighborhood: La Jolla Shores
Kids’ club: Seasonally in summers only
Hotel class: Moderate

A family walks out onto the private beach at La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club, a top pick for multigenerational San Diego family vacation spot

Why go: You’d like a unique San Diego, CA experience with access to one of the state’s few remaining private beaches. Or, you’re traveling with a large family or extended family. They have accommodations for up to eight guests in a room. La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club is an exclusive, members-only club with 99 guest rooms and suites, some of which are as close to the beach as you can get in San Diego.

This is one of the best hotels in San Diego for families because the experience is intimate and one that generations of families return for annually. It’s next door to the La Jolla Shores Hotel, and the La Jolla Shores shops and restaurants are a short walk away.

  • A private beach
  • Heated pool
  • Summer kids’ club
  • Kellogg Park playground just steps away
  • Junior golf and tennis programs
  • Swim lessons
  • Food and drink service on the sand of the private beach
  • Free beach chairs, towels, and umbrellas for guests’ use
  • Access to club facilities including the par-3 pitch-and-putt course and tennis courts
  • Yoga and personal training
  • Family beach cookouts
  • Most rooms have kitchens
  • Free parking and no resort fee

Beach access: Beachfront and about as close to the sand as a San Diego hotel can get.

Good to know: This property is incredibly popular for multigenerational trips. The buildings have an older appearance on the exterior, but accommodations have been recently refreshed on the interior. It is considered a three-star property but appeals to luxury travelers because of the private beach and intimate experience.

They also have two-bedroom accommodations for larger families. The beachfront rooms and suites are so close to the beach that you will hear the ocean at night, and the occasional BBQ smoke may waft into your room. Light sleepers may want to book rooms in the garden area.


6. La Jolla Shores Hotel

Neighborhood: La Jolla
Kids’ club: No
Hotel class: Moderate

Aerial view of beachfront La Jolla Shores Hotel, a popular kid-friendly San Diego hotel
My favorite San Diego beach! (Photo courtesy of La Jolla Shores Hotel)

Why Go: You’d like to base the family in La Jolla at a fun beachfront San Diego family hotel that won’t break the bank. Here, La Jolla Shores Beach is one of the best for beach activities like learning how to surf, stand-up paddleboard, or kayaking La Jolla’s rare 600-acre underwater ecological reserve.

It is effortless to take the kids to the beach for an hour or two, rest a little bit in the room, and return to the sand again in the afternoon. We staycationed at La Jolla Shores Hotel a few years ago and loved it, but the rooms have all been refreshed since then.

  • A flat, sandy beach right in front of the hotel
  • Kellogg Park playground is next door with swings, slides, and a huge grassy area for picnics and games
  • Heated outdoor swimming pool and wading pool
  • Ping pong on the patio
  • Gorgeous Pacific Ocean views from The Shores Restaurant and the famous Marine Room restaurant next door
  • Private beach BBQs and s’mores can be arranged
  • It’s an eco-friendly hotel
  • Tennis lessons on two courts by USPTA pros
  • Free beach chairs, umbrellas, and towels for guests’ use
  • Nightly beach BBQs available by reservation (BYO food or order from their beach cookout shopping list for delivery)
  • Small fitness center
  • In-room massages
  • Free shuttle for guests within the local La Jolla area (includes Birch Aquarium)

Beach access: A small boardwalk separates the hotel from the beach. You can run back and forth from your room to the sand with ease.

Good to know: The outdoor swimming pool isn’t huge. It’s not a fancy hotel, but it’s family-owned and operated, which means that things like sandy bare feet are okay when going from beach to room. They want you to have a relaxed San Diego family vacation and not to sweat the small stuff.

The awesome shops and restaurants on Avenida de la Playa are a short walk away, including Piatti, the Cheese Shop, Surf Diva, and more. As the name implies, this great hotel is located in the La Jolla Shores neighborhood and not in the main village of La Jolla. It’s much quieter over here, and the beach is miles better for SoCal sunbathing and swimming — there’s something for nearly everyone to do.

See also: Guide to La Jolla Shores

Awards: TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence


7. Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara, North San Diego

Neighborhood: Carlsbad
Kids’ club: No, but they do have a sizeable game room.
Hotel class: Luxury

Spacious villas make Four Seasons Aviara one of the best kid-friendly San Diego hotels.
A villa living room (Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara)

Why go: Most villas at Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara, North San Diego have kitchens or kitchenettes, separate bedrooms, and living areas. They feel like a home away from home and are excellent for extended stays in addition to large families.

This Four Seasons in Southern California offers upscale touches present in sister properties worldwide and excellent service, which fans of the brand will appreciate. This another top pick for kid-friendly hotels in San Diego County that earns a lot of repeat guests.

  • Kids Club 760 with fun activities like arts and crafts, ping pong, video games, and dive-in movies
  • Board games to check out and use in the villa
  • Child-sized bathrobes and slippers
  • Special bath amenities
  • Two swimming pools and a special children’s pool
  • Childproofing, high chairs and other amenities available upon request
  • Surf Concierge for ages 6 and up who want to shred waves
  • A full-service spa and fitness center
  • Babysitting services
  • Seasons barista bar for gourmet coffee drinks and to-go items
  • Special dining experience like the chef’s table and kitchen counter where guests pull up a stool to interact with chefs to taste bites in the open kitchen
  • Spacious villas with full kitchens (but you can still order room service)
  • Free parking is included with the hotel fee
  • Pets are welcome (with restrictions — they’re generous though)

Beach access: Drive or take an Uber.

Good to know: The Park Hyatt Aviara is next door so guests can enjoy dining there, too. Aviara is located inland from the beach, so a rental car is advised. I’ve only received positive feedback from guests at this hotel. It’s somewhat of a hidden gem, but people love it. They have a $25/night hotel fee that includes self-parking.

Reservations: I can book you in as a Four Seasons Preferred Partner guest, which means that your reservation will include daily breakfast for two, a $100 food and beverage credit, and more. (I lived in a Four Seasons hotel, stay in them regularly, have written for Four Seasons Magazine, and can tell you in detail about nearly every property in their portfolio.)

8. Omni La Costa Resort & Spa

Neighborhood: La Costa (South Carlsbad)
Kids’ club: Yes. They have a nursery for kids ages 6 months–3 years old (two hours only). Kids ages 3 years and older (who are bathroom independent) may join for half-day, full-day, and evening programs year-round.
Hotel class: Moderate

Omni La Costa Splash Landing pool with water slides
Splash pad and water slide (Photo courtesy of Omni La Costa Resort & Spa)

Why go: Omni La Costa Resort & Spa provides a well-rounded kid-friendly San Diego family vacation spot because they do golf, spa, dining, and family activities each extremely well. LEGOLAND California Resort is just minutes away by car, as is the beach. It’s a popular choice for family hotels in San Diego, CA, because of its awesome splash pad and swimming pools.

  • Kidtopia kid’s club, designed by an architect that specializes in theme parks and museums, offers supervised play for infants and toddlers in a nursery and separate programming for potty-trained kids ages 3 and up.
  • Splash Landing Pools with a water play area and water slides
  • Sandy Beach Family Pool with a sand play area
  • Vibz game lounge offering pay-per-play high-tech games and activities for ages 10 and up (teenagers love this)
  • A pretty awesome daily activity schedule that can include anything from reptile shows to s’more roasting
  • Sports courts
  • Kidtopia has evening camp on Wednesday—Saturday evenings for date night on the resort
  • The adults-only Edge Pool
  • Lifestyle boutiques for golf, yoga, and beach gear among other finds
  • Diversions sports lounge to catch a game, smoke a cigar, or read the paper
  • Multiple restaurants, a lounge, and room service
  • Two world-renowned golf courses
  • The Spa at La Costa’s awesome lounging facilities and nature-inspired treatments
  • One- or two-bedroom villas that blend vacation and home
  • Family suites have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a living room
  • Seasonal twilight golf
  • A huge variety of fitness classes on offer throughout the day

Beach access: Drive or take an Uber.

Good to know: It’s more of a four-star property. Many first floor rooms have French doors that open to a nice patio. Signature rooms and La Costa suites are closest to the family pool (location can be requested but not guaranteed). La Costa rooms are a further walk to the lobby and family pool.

I have written a detailed Omni La Costa Resort & Spa review that addresses selecting a room and other important details. Food and drink service at the family pool is seasonal, and the pools can close early during the off-peak season based on occupancy.

Awards: Golf Digest Editor’s Award (2019), Condé Nast Traveler  –  15 Best Hotels in San Diego, 2018

Reservations: I find that most readers prefer to book using Omni sale rates or They would rather pay a low price for the room than pay a bit more for inclusions like breakfast for two that I can offer.

9. Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa

Neighborhood: Rancho Santa Fe
Kids’ club: No
Hotel class: Luxury

Olive Grove Suite bedroom with vaulted ceiling at Rancho Valencia, a popular San Diego family resort.
Olive Grove Suite (Photo courtesy of Rancho Valencia Resort)

Why go: You’d like a luxury family resort with a long list of activities where you can mostly stay put. Rancho Valencia is an all-suite property and a wellness destination due to its famous spa, fitness classes, and yoga pavilion. It’s also a Relais & Chateaux property, which means you can feel confident that the food is outstanding.

  • Complimentary board games
  • Kids ages 14 and older can take advantage of nail salon treatments (16 and older for facials and massages)
  • Main pool (saline)
  • Tennis and basketball sports courts
  • Junior tennis programs that start as young as age 5
  • Recreational games like ping pong, badminton, croquet
  • Fitness classes including spin, TRX, boot camp
  • Personal training
  • A yoga pavilion that hosts multiple yoga classes per day
  • Adults-only spa pool (also saline) with Rein pool bar
  • A fantastic full-service spa
  • Complimentary Callaway golf sets to borrow for use at nearby courses
  • Tennis clinics and lessons
  • Craft cocktails at The Pony Room
  • Complimentary use of Pinarello bikes
  • A private fleet of Bentleys for guest use

Beach access: It takes a bit less than 20 minutes to drive to the beach (depending on which beach you’re going to). The resort does not offer beach service, so you’ll need to drive. The nearby beach is Del Mar City beach.

Good to know: It’s about a 15-minute drive inland from the I-5 freeway to the resort. The swimming pools here are saline. It’s an all-suite property but if you need a fully separate bedroom from the living room, book the Palm Suite or higher.

Awards: #1 Relais & Chateau property in California, AAA Five Diamond award (2018), Forbes Five-Star hotel and spa (2018)

Reservations: I have access to Virtuoso amenities at Rancho Valencia that include daily free breakfast for two, a $100 resort credit, and more.

*You may need to be on the desktop version of to search rates and book online. To enable the desktop version of a hotel page from a mobile device, scroll down to the navy blue section at the bottom of the web page and click “Full Site.” When searching rates, do not input children ages 17 and under as they will be priced as adults. I’m notified when you book and will add them when I contact you about your reservation.

10. Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa

Neighborhood: Pacific Beach
Kids’ club: No
Hotel class: Moderate

View of Mission Bay from Tower at Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa in San Diego
The resort’s bay beach (Photo courtesy of Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa)

Why go: You’d like a casual San Diego family resort near the beach at a (usually) lower price point than most on this list. Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa is located on a waveless bay beach, but it also just a few blocks away from the ocean beach in Pacific Beach. They offer the most activities of any Mission Bay resort. Plus, its Polynesian vibe makes you feel like you’re on a tropical getaway.

  • Ducks and turtles that live in the resort ponds (cute)
  • Resort exotic birds and bird show
  • Game arcade next to the main pool
  • Water sports rentals on the beach include kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, sailboats, bikes, and more.
  • A calm bay beach
  • First come, first serve beach chairs and umbrellas on the bay
  • A fantastic full-service spa and fitness center
  • Ocean Coastal restaurant with outstanding sustainable seafood (and breakfast)
  • Complimentary family hour Bahia Belle sternwheeler cruises
  • Seasonal activities like summer luaus on the beach
  • Easy access to two beach types: bay and ocean

Good to know: Catamaran Resort guest rooms have recently been refreshed, but the building exteriors still have a dated look. Book Bayfront Rooms or Bayfront Suites on the ground floor for direct access to the beach. Bayfront Suites also have sofa beds in the living room and a choice of either a king or two double beds in the bedroom.

Awards: TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

Reservations: The Catamaran Resort offers specials on its own website that are better than many offers online. You can also save with

11. Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego

Neighborhood: Downtown San Diego
Kids’ club: Yes. Camp Hyatt is seasonal and has summer hours.
Hotel class: Moderate

Kids roast s'mores on an outdoor fire pit at Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego.

Why go: You want one of the San Diego hotels for kids in downtown with water views and don’t mind the size. This hotel is huge, with over 1600 rooms spread over two towers.

However, it’s located on the San Diego Bay and within walking distance to some of San Diego’s best restaurants, attractions, the Gaslamp Quarter, USS Midway Museum, Seaport Village, San Diego Convention Center, and PETCO Park ballpark. Balboa Park and San Diego Zoo are also a short drive away.

  • Seasonal Camp Hyatt for kids ages 4–12 which offers arts and crafts, sea life education, and more fun during the summer (check the schedule)
  • Seasonal rooftop cinema
  • Sports courts on the 4th floor include basketball, shuffleboard, volleyball, tennis, and horseshoes
  • Main outdoor rooftop pool
  • Seasonal outdoor activities such as foos ball, table tennis, giant-sized Jenga, kites, and a multitude of arts and crafts
  • The extraordinary views of San Diego Bay from Top of the Hyatt restaurant
  • Four tennis courts by the bay with a USPTA pro available for lessons
  • The full-service Marilyn Monroe Spa
  • 24-hour gym
  • Pool cabana rentals
  • Bayside running trails
  • Adults-only swimming pool
  • Grab-and-go options including Starbucks, open 24 hours
  • Reasonably-priced suites
  • Club Lounge which can be added to any room for an additional fee

Beach access: You’ll need to drive or take a ferry to Coronado beaches. Or, drive to La Jolla. If you plan to spend a lot of time at the beach, downtown isn’t the best spot.

Good to know: Again, Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego is large and a bit corporate due to its location right next to the San Diego Convention Center, but families love having so much to do within walking distance at this downtown hotel.

I’ve written a detailed Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego review that goes over the various room types and more. Guests should not expect personalized five-star service and amenities as the hotel is too big. The Club Lounge can be busy, but overall the hotel is a good choice for a family vacation.

Reservations: I can add Hyatt Prive benefits that include a room upgrade at the time of booking (subject to forecasted availability), daily free breakfast for two, and more. You’ll earn World of Hyatt points, too.

12. Bahia Resort Hotel

Neighborhood: Mission Bay
Kids’ club: No
Hotel class: Budget

View from a double room to the bay at Bahia Resort.
Room on Mission Bay (Photo courtesy of Bahia Resort Hotel)

Why go: Bahia Resort Hotel is voted one of the top 10 best value hotels in the nation and it’s easy to see why. The well-rounded San Diego family resort boasts a convenient Mission Bay location with easy access to water sports and beaches.

Hotel rooms are comfortable and the staff is friendly. Bahia shares some amenities with sister property The Catamaran Resort (mentioned above), and they do earn quite a few repeat guests.

  • A small onsite playground
  • Rescued seals and ducks that live on the resort
  • A game arcade
  • Waveless bay beach
  • Shuffleboard courts
  • Swimming pool
  • Access to the resort spa at The Catamaran
  • Fitness center
  • Tennis courts with loaner racquets and balls
  • Complimentary beach cabanas on the secluded bay beach
  • Bahia Belle sternwheeler cruises along Mission Bay
  • Access to a variety of water sports rentals like kayaks, sailboats, stand-up paddleboards and more
  • A really neat Airstream grab-and-go spot for salads, breakfast, coffee and more
  • Onsite restaurant and bar (with weekday happy hour)
  • Room service
  • Rooms with water views
  • Free parking

Beach access: It’s about a while also being about a 10-minute walk to Belmont Park and Mission Beach.

Good to know: The resort just finished some property and room enhancements and is one of the excellent San Diego resorts for families on a budget.

Reservations: You can check for pricing.

13. Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina

Neighborhood: Mission Bay
Kids club: No
Hotel class: Moderate

Two of the three pools and three water slides at Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina near SeaWorld San Diego.
Three water slides (Photo courtesy of Hyatt Regency Mission Bay)

Why go: You would like a well-priced family-friendly hotel with water slides, beach access, and the ability to earn or redeem World of Hyatt points. Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina rooms have been recently refreshed, and there are water views from many.

  • The most water slides of any San Diego hotel (there are three)
  • Three free-form outdoor pools including a children’s pool area
  • S’mores kits for hotel fire pits
  • Organized seasonal pool activities
  • An eco-friendly, full-service spa
  • Waterfront fitness center
  • Pool lounge with cocktails
  • Grab and go market with Starbucks coffee and room service
  • Private marina with water sports rentals like jet skis, kayaks, and SUP.

Beach access: It takes about 20 minutes to walk to Belmont Park and Mission Beach.

Good to know: It’s our top pick for hotels near SeaWorld San Diego because while it’s still a 20-minute walk, you can walk. There isn’t a bay beach or a Regency Club here. The rooms in The Tower have the best view. Height restrictions apply for the water slides.

Reservations: While I can offer extra benefits at this property through Hyatt Prive, I am finding that people are either booking sale rates directly through Hyatt or on online travel sites like

14. Loews Coronado Bay Resort

Neighborhood: Coronado
Kids’ club: Yes, but it’s offsite at the Crown Cove Aquatic Center and available on certain dates
Hotel class: Moderate

Loews Coronado Bay Resort Suite
Coronado Bay View Suite bedroom (Photo courtesy of Loews Coronado Bay Resort)

Why go: You want to stay at a family Coronado resort near Silver Strand State Beach with water sports onsite. You don’t mind driving to outside restaurants, or you want a fun resort San Diego family vacation or staycation that you don’t have to leave.

Loews Coronado Bay Resort is located on its own San Diego Bay peninsula about 4 miles south of the main Coronado business district. The resort is designed so that guests can experience the best of San Diego without leaving.

  • Onsite water sports and bike rentals
  • Pool deck with outdoor games and Jacuzzi
  • Seasonal activities like movies
  • Nearby Crown Cove Aquatic Center youth camps during holidays and summer
  • Loews Loves Families program with scavenger hunts, board games to check-out and more
  • Full-service Sea Spa
  • Beach yoga and outdoor spin classes
  • Small evening cocktail bar at the back of the market (great drinks)
  • In-room child-proofing kits
  • Farm-to-table dining that integrates some of San Diego’s popular growers, distillers, and fishmongers

Beach access: Silver Strand State Beach (gorgeous) is about a 5-10 minute walk from the resort, where they have seasonal complimentary umbrellas and chairs for hotel guests. A hotel cart shuttles guests to and from the beach at regular intervals.

Good to know: Many families choose this kid-friendly hotel in San Diego because it’s in Coronado and at a lower price point than Hotel del Coronado.

Reservations: Loews online usually has the best packages and rates but I find that with this hotel also people tend to choose

15. LEGOLAND Hotel and LEGOLAND Castle Hotel

Neighborhood: Carlsbad
Kids’ club: No
Category: Moderate

A mom and son play LEGOs on the bed in a Knight Room at LEGOLAND Castle Hotel, a popular kid-friendly San Diego hotel.
Knight Room at the Castle Hotel at LEGOLAND California Resort (PHOTO / LOCK + LAND, Chip Litherland)

Why go: You want to please the LEGO enthusiast in your life by immersing him or her in a land of Minifigures and colorful bricks. You don’t mind that it’s a little (a lot, in some places) chaotic. I’ve put both LEGOLAND hotels together here because which you check-in to depends on the theme your kids prefer (and availability). They are both right next to the theme park entrance.

  • LEGO pits in the lobbies
  • Themed rooms based on favorite LEGO properties
  • Occasional character visits
  • Swimming pools with floating LEGO bricks
  • Onsite LEGO shops
  • Treasure hunts
  • Fun features like in-ground whoopie cushions near elevators
  • Early access to LEGOLAND California theme park 30 minutes before it opens to the public
  • Free breakfast included with the rates
  • A full bar (with happy hour, at least during my last stay) and lounge
  • Rooms that can sleep 5 and suites that can sleep 7

Beach access: You will need to drive to the beach.

Good to know: LEGOLAND Hotel and LEGOLAND Castle Hotel are more of a win for kids than for parents. I would recommend no more than a night or two at the most. It’s a little overwhelming on the senses for travelers who aren’t used to hotels overflowing with kids and all of the sounds that come with that. But it is a fun, kid-friendly getaway. Don’t forget that the resort is made up of the theme park, water parks, and SEA LIFE Aquarium, so there is a lot to do here.

Reservations: Most people book directly through LEGOLAND California, but you can try They’re the only online travel agency that you can book these hotels through.

Kid-Friendly Hotels in San Diego on a Map

This illustrated map will give you a rough idea where these hotels and resorts are located across San Diego County relative to popular kid-friendly tourist attractions like the San Diego Zoo, La Jolla seals, and others.

An illustrated map of the best family hotels and resorts in San Diego and major attractions near them.

You may download a letter-sized printable version of this map here.

FAQs About the Best Family Hotels in San Diego

I spend a good chunk of my days talking to families about where to stay in San Diego with kids. These are the questions that I am asked the most.

Where should a family stay in San Diego?

There are three major factors that weigh into this decision that include:

  1. what you plan to do in San Diego.
  2. what kind of accommodations you prefer.
  3. how important beach access is.

When it comes to choosing San Diego family hotels, you will have to find the right balance between the three. The answer often isn’t clear cut.

As you can see above, some of the best kid-friendly hotels in San Diego are not on the beach. Also, a lot of the most popular tourist attractions in San Diego are scattered widely around the county.

In general, if your plan is to hit most of the city’s top attractions and go carless, look at downtown San Diego hotels (or maybe even Coronado hotels).

If you want to stay right on the beach — and maybe learn to surf — without putting too much of a dent in your budget, then La Jolla Shores is a wonderful choice (though it can get pricey during peak season).

If you want a full-service resort on the beach, Hotel del Coronado and Beach Village at The Del are hands-down the way to go.

Families who prioritize luxury accommodations should check out Fairmont Grand Del Mar, one of the best hotels in San Diego and tops for family-friendly activities. Mission Bay resort hotels tend to provide the most value. Those in search of lower rates at larger resorts should look here.

Where should I stay in San Diego with a baby?

The family hotels in San Diego that I work with (my portfolio is here) provide complimentary cribs or Pack ‘n Plays. Babysitting is available. If you’re looking for a kids’ club that takes babies, guests of Omni La Costa can reserve two hours per day of supervised play for ages 6 months to three years through its Kidtopia nursery (extra fees apply).

Many of these hotels also can provide microwaves and refrigeration for baby milk in addition to babyproofing and other helpful baby amenities by request.

Which parts of San Diego are best for young kids?

If the beach is important to you, the best places to stay in San Diego with young kids are La Jolla Shores or Coronado.

Year-round lifeguards staff both family-friendly beaches. A beachfront location makes it very easy for families to run back and forth from the sand to the room for naps, diaper changes, and snacks. Here are some differences between these very safe neighborhoods.

Two very family-friendly La Jolla beachfront hotels are on this list: La Jolla Shores Hotel and La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. They’re owned by the same family and deliberately very casual, so a little squeal here and there isn’t a big deal. La Jolla Shores here is a gorgeous, wide, sandy beach with designated swimming and surfing areas in addition to seasonal tide pools and a lovely beachside playground.

Coronado is also a popular choice for families. They tend to choose Hotel del Coronado and Beach Village at The Del (they are more upscale choices than La Jolla hotels above) for easy access to lots of hotel amenities, onsite shops, and the stunning Coronado beach. The properties are larger and usually busier, especially when holiday activities are in full swing. It’s easy to take a stroller along Orange Avenue to shops and restaurants.

What baby gear do these San Diego family hotels offer?

The type of baby gear you can request depends on the hotel and isn’t often mentioned on their website. The family hotels in San Diego on this list that I work with all provide complimentary cribs or Pack N Plays.

One common question that I receive is about refrigeration for breast milk. Most in-room hotel mini-refrigerators are not cold enough to preserve it properly as they are designed to keep drinks cold. Some parents aren’t picky about this, but I can tell you that Fairmont Grand Del Mar, for example, will happily refrigerate it in their kitchens. If you ask, other higher-end San Diego resorts for kids can likely do the same.

If your child relies on napping in a swing or if you require specific gear, you can rent it from Toddler’s Travel (tell them I sent you). You can pick it up at their warehouse near the airport, they can meet you at the airport Car Rental Center, or they can deliver to your hotel or vacation rental.

What do you really think are the best kid-friendly hotels in San Diego?

I receive this question almost daily, mostly because families have a hard time weighing the San Diego hotel choices. I try to answer this for readers based on what they have told me are their most important criteria.

However, certain hotels on this list receive consistently rave reviews from readers and clients while also offering fantastic front-facing and behind-the-scenes service (I see the latter when I work with them). These are:

I believe that once Hotel del Coronado is finished renovating in 2021 that I can also put them on this list.

Is there a best time of year to book kid-friendly San Diego hotels?

Hotel occupancy rates hover at around 75% throughout the year (because there’s not really an off-season in San Diego). They can jump as high as 90% during the summer, with many properties completely selling out. You can expect even budget hotels by the beach to price like luxury hotels in other cities in summer.

When deciding the best time to visit San Diego, when it comes to hotels, the months with the lowest hotel occupancy rates tend to be January, September (after Labor Day weekend), early November, and early December (outside of winter break). Your best bet is usually to book as early as possible.

It’s not uncommon for travelers to book a flexible rate and then keep an eye on it to see if it drops so that they can either rebook or have the rate adjusted by the hotel. In the summer and during peak season, you’ll find that rates will usually increase as the check-in date gets closer.

Remember, I can give you access to exclusive VIP amenities at some San Diego family-friendly hotels on this list. You can enjoy extras like complimentary breakfasts, room upgrades, spa credits, and more at no extra cost to you.

Which San Diego family resorts have water slides?

Two San Diego kid-friendly resorts have water slides in their outdoor pool areas. Omni La Costa has a small water slide in their splash pad area while Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina has three water slides, the most of any resort town. Park Hyatt Aviara has a brand new family pool area with a two-story water slide, splash pad, and wading pool.

Which family hotels in San Diego have kids clubs?

Fairmont Grand Del Mar (ages 5–12) and Omni La Costa (ages 6 months–12) are the only kid-friendly hotels in San Diego that offer year-round supervised kids’ clubs. Many of the other hotels and resorts on this list do offer seasonal kids’ clubs and babysitting.

What do you think about Paradise Point Resort & Spa?

The main reason why Paradise Point Resort & Spa is not on this list is that it is transitioning to a Margaritaville property at some point in 2020. While the improvements will likely be welcome, I’m pretty sure they will be kid-friendly but am not certain about it.

There just isn’t a lot of information out there right now about the new resort. Even the employees I’ve spoken with do not know or can’t say much.

Either way, guests must check-in understanding the resort’s location. It’s physically close to SeaWorld San Diego, but the walk from the resort to the park’s main entrance takes about 20 minutes. Paradise Point Resort is a 44-acre island in Mission Bay with little lagoons and activities like water sports and swimming pools, but you need to drive or get an Uber to visit outside restaurants, beaches, and sights. If you are going to book, choose the bungalows on the beach or gardens.

How do I get to San Diego family hotels without renting a car?

If your kids do not require a car seat, it’s very easy to use rideshare apps to get to your hotel from the San Diego International Airport. If you need a car seat, it’s best to arrange a car service as most have car seats. Your concierge can help with this. I also have a guide to San Diego car services that we like.

What is the best kid-friendly hotel near the San Diego Zoo?

The best kid-friendly hotel near San Diego Zoo is Manchester Grand Hyatt. There are no hotels within walking distance of San Diego Zoo so you’ll have to take a car or an Uber from one of the downtown San Diego hotels, which are closest.

What is the best kid-friendly hotel in La Jolla?

The best kid-friendly hotel in La Jolla is the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. Families love the private beach with the option to have your own bonfire, outdoor swimming pool, seasonal activities, nearby water sports, and location.

What is the best kid-friendly hotel near SeaWorld San Diego?

Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina is the best family hotel near SeaWorld San Diego because of its close location and three water slides. Room rates are usually reasonable and you can also book connecting rooms.

What is the best kid-friendly hotel near PETCO Park?

The best hotel near PETCO Park for families on this list is Manchester Grand Hyatt. However, if you’re only in town to go to a baseball game, I would also recommend Omni San Diego which is connected to the ballpark via an elevated walkway.

Should I choose a family-friendly vacation rental instead?

It depends. If you choose a vacation rental, look at the home’s location on a map. I’ve seen many advertised as located in desirable neighborhoods, like La Jolla, when they are actually in an adjacent less desirable neighborhood. Vacation rentals are not well-received here in some places because neighbors are frustrated by the constant turnover of guests.

That being said, neighborhoods like South Mission Beach are well-known for a high density of vacation rentals. The beach there is gorgeous, and you’re a bit insulated from the Pacific Beach party scene. La Jolla is also very popular for those who want mansions with ocean views or to stay in a clean, safe neighborhood.

Browse homes that have been identified as family-friendly in San Diego on VRBO.

Katie Dillon headshot

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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  1. Thank you for the list of hotels! Next year I will travel through the USA and a stop in San Diego is planned 🙂

  2. Thanks for this great article! I am planning a two week trip to SoCal next month for our family of four and want to concentrate on San Diego . It’s hard to find a balance with things for adults and kids. Don’t want to be stuck out in a resort miles from anywhere but also don’t want to be in a downtown hotel with nothing for the kids. This gives me somewhere to start. I am very excited about seeing San Diego, it looks beautiful!

    1. Thanks for your comment! That is sort of the “problem” with San Diego. Deciding where to base yourself can be a tricky decision but it really depends on what your family wants to do.

  3. This post has been very helpful to me! My husband, two year old daughter and I will be visiting San Diego in late May. I will be staying in La Jolla for work earlier in the week and I am debating continuing to stay in La Jolla (The Kimpton), or moving somewhere else. I’m thinking it may not be quite beach weather, so perhaps closer to downtown will be better for us? (Do you agree?) Do you have any other downtown hotel recommendations?

  4. Thanks so much for the great descriptions here! I am visiting San Diego with my two boys ages 7 and 4 in late July and I can’t choose between the Grand Del Mar and La Jolla Shores hotel. Typically my boys don’t love the beach but those are hot, sticky east coast beaches. I know the Del Mar has beach access but I’m wondering if it feels like a porcess to get there. Which would you choose for our first trip out west!

  5. Great reviews! Is there a lot of shopping and coffee shops available around most of these hotels. Coming to visit in February and anticipating cooler weather? Looking to escape snow and walk and eat and shop with a toddler

    1. It will definitely be a little cooler and there may be some rain. I would say temperatures probably range from 50s to mid 60s. Have fun!

    1. Hi Monica. There are not hotels with large villas but there certainly are homes with 7-8 bedrooms, even some on the beach, that you can rent. If you want to email me your dates, I can suggest a few –

  6. Hi there,

    We are planning to head to San Diego the first week of April. Do you know anything about the Welk Resort?

    We have two kids ages 10 and 5. We are probably doing a night at LEGOLAND hotel. Looking for a resort that Isn’t a hotel style room.


  7. Hello! We are looking at traveling to San Diego/Carlsbad late October and are interested in the Omni La Costa resort. You indicate you have an arrangement with the hotel for breakfast and valet parking? Would that still be available and if so, how would we go about accessing it?

    Many thanks,

  8. Howdy, looking for staycation suitable for visiting 7 year old niece with cancer in Southern California for long weekend (with my own 2 autistic kids in tow from Arizona, ages 9 and 13). She is currently in orthotics and uses walker, often has to be pushed in jogging stroller so “accessible” accommodations. She is also on feeding tube so need nearby or outdoor areas for entertainment/lounging for rest of group for a few hours each day so we’re not all “stuck” in small room while she’s tethered to her pole (but not feeling like getting separated / leaving people out ).
    Balboa park and San Diego zoo look amazing and the right type of activities for us, but can’t seem to sort what lodging would suit us to visit there. We’d have two separate cars, they have handicap sticker. Ideas? Help please!
    Aviara looks amazing, love the game room especially, but drive time seems unreasonable to/from certain areas for us? La Jolla doesn’t look particularly universal/accessible in its outdoor adventure type activities…

    Thanks, Aunt trying to make a very special visit

  9. Thank you for your advice. This is a great read. We have a 3 year old boy and will be in San Diego at the end of Feb. Would you choose La Jolla Shores or La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club? Do they both do smores and bbq on the beach and both have heated pools? Also thoughts on Paradise Point? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Sarah! I prefer La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club because it’s a more intimate, unique experience. But if it’s not available or you’re more comfortable at a lower price point you will enjoy La Jolla Shores Hotel. I prefer both over Paradise Point resort (which sometime this year will transform into a Margaritaville).

  10. Hi, my son and I and two grandchildren are planning a trip to San Diego March31 through April 4. We were wondering if you help with planning vacations and how much do you charge? We want to make the best itinerary and think you can help. Thanks and look forward to your reply.