5 Top-Rated Family Resorts in San Diego

Packed with attractions and outdoor adventures, sunny San Diego is one of the most family-friendly destinations in the country. No matter where you stay, you're bound to be only a short drive away from fun things to do. At sparkling Mission Bay, many of the resorts lie close to bike paths, as well as the bay's sandy shores and calm waters, and are a great base for families who want to visit nearby SeaWorld. They are also close to Balboa Park's San Diego Zoo and many museums.

Resorts at Del Mar lie a short hop away from sun-soaked beaches, as well as Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and Birch Aquarium. This area north of the city is also closer to LEGOLAND in Carlsbad. Beach-loving families also enjoy Coronado Island, where the historic Hotel del Coronado presides over a beautiful white-sand beach, a short ferry ride away from downtown tourist attractions. From plush resorts packed with kid-friendly amenities to good-value hotels with homey suites, San Diego delivers on fun places to stay for families.

1 Fairmont Grand Del Mar

Set on 400 acres in the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, this sumptuous Mediterranean-style resort is the ultimate family getaway. This is a place where you can be forgiven for feeling like you've taken the kids on a lavish vacation in Tuscany. The Fairmont Grand Del Mar lies in a central location between LEGOLAND to the north and Balboa Park to the south, yet with all the family-friendly activities here, you'll never want to leave the resort.

Kids can splash around in the wading pool or swim in the sprawling family pool, with underwater piped music, and the resort also offers personalized family tennis lessons as well as a junior golf program on the Tom Fazio-designed course. To explore the wilderness around the resort, you can sign up for a guided hike or a family trail ride at the on-site equestrian center, which also offers horseback riding lessons, pony rides, and kids' day camps. Fancy a family day at the beach? The resort will gladly whisk you down to Del Mar Beach in their private car, with beach chairs and a picnic lunch. During summer, the resort adds family movie nights and s'more roasting to the busy agenda.

Parents can also enjoy a little adult time here. While the kids are at the Explorer's Club creating colorful art projects or enjoying outdoor activities like scavenger hunts and obstacle courses, you can head to the resort's famous five-star spa or bask at the peaceful adults-only pool.

Rooms range from 500-square feet guest rooms and spacious suites to large luxury villas. All the restaurants offer special children's menus, and you can purchase light meals, snacks, and gelato at the on-site cafe. As a special bonus, the resort is pet-friendly, so furry family members can enjoy some pampering, too.

Address: 5300 Grand Del Mar Court, San Diego, California

Accommodation: Fairmont Grand Del Mar

2 Hotel Del Coronado

Beach-loving families will have a blast at the Hotel Del Coronado, one of California's iconic resorts. Capped with its distinctive conical red towers, this National Historic Landmark towers over an inviting stretch of sand and sea on Coronado Island, less than ten minutes by ferry from downtown San Diego's attractions. The beach here is frequently ranked as one of the country's best, with tide pools and typically calm waves, and the resort also has a heated outdoor swimming pool with water toys and a Jacuzzi.

Kids are entertained for hours at the year-round Kid's Club (ages four-12) with arts and crafts, games, and even stage performances. Teens can indulge in Teen Treats at the spa as well as special summer activities, such as pool parties and ping pong tournaments, or relax at the summertime Coast Club Teen Lounge.

Parents can also take advantage of the resort's many activities. Popular things to do include lounging on the beach, relaxing at the spa, and browsing the many specialty shops, plus the babysitting services make date night easy. Other fun family-friendly activities include surfing, stand up paddleboarding, and kayaking lessons; biking around the island; yoga; and beach bonfires. In summer, the resort offers s'more and dive-in movie nights, and if you're visiting in December, you can glide around the hotel's beachfront ice-skating rink.

Rooms range from Victorian-style guest rooms to spacious suites in beachfront cottages and villas, some with multiple bedrooms. Dining options are expansive, with multiple seaside restaurants and a MooTime Creamery with delicious ice-cream treats, but the restaurants and shops of Orange Avenue are also only a short stroll away. Furry family members can also join in the fun at this pet-friendly resort, with special in-room pet dining menus, treats, toys, and even pet bedding.

Address: 1500 Orange Ave, Coronado, California

Accommodation: Hotel Del Coronado

3 Omni La Costa Resort & Spa

Commanding 400 acres of lush tropical gardens, about a ten-minute drive from LEGOLAND, the sprawling Omni La Costa Resort & Spa offers something for every member of the family. The fun begins at check-in, when kids receive a backpack filled with goodies, and it continues with a busy lineup of activities that change each week, from surf camps, fitness boot camps, and nighttime s'more roasting to dive-in movies and seasonal events. Families can also cool off at their choice of eight swimming pools, with fun features such as 100-foot water slides and a sandy beach.

The Kidtopia Kids Club keeps children six months through 12 years old busy with arts and crafts, interactive games, and daily resort activities, and the Vibz Game Lounge is a fun hangout for older kids and teens, with air hockey, billiards, and gaming stations.

In addition to all the kid-friendly facilities here, the resort offers a world-class spa (children's manicures and pedicures are also available); a fitness and weight loss camp; and the Chopra Center for Wellbeing, with wellness retreats and complimentary meditation sessions - perfect for parents who want to relax and recharge. Active adults can tee off on the two championship courses, play tennis on one of the 17 hard and clay courts, or join a group fitness class at the athletic club.

Not surprisingly, the rooms here are also family friendly. They range from spacious guest rooms and family suites with two bedrooms and two bathrooms to three-bedroom villas with full gourmet kitchens. Multiple restaurants and cafes serve up plenty of healthy meal options, and this is also a pet-friendly resort, making it a fun getaway for the entire family.

Address: 2100 Costa Del Mar Road, Carlsbad, California

Accommodation: Omni La Costa Resort & Spa

4 Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa, Mission Bay

Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa, Mission Bay
Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa, Mission Bay

For a kid-friendly location, it's hard to beat the Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa. This sprawling resort overlooks an 18-acre palm-studded park and a sandy beach on Mission Bay. It's also less than a mile from SeaWorld (with a complimentary shuttle to the park) and a short drive from all the family-friendly attractions at Balboa Park and downtown. Basketball, volleyball, tennis, bocce ball, windsurfing, sailing, and paddleboarding are just some of the sports on offer here for active families, and you can also rent jet skis, aqua cycles, and Segways. If you need a little down time from all these fun activities, Mantra Spa offers luxurious body treatments such as the Healing Touch, Zen Power, and Detox Mud Wrap.

The seasonal Kids Kamp will keep kids busy for hours with arts and crafts, sandcastle building, and games. The Sandbox has bike rentals and beach toys, and other fun family-friendly activities include s'mores and dive-in movie nights at the large palm-lined pool. Babysitting services and children's menus are also available. The rooms vary in size and layout but some studios come with private patios and fire pits. Pets are also welcome to join in the fun.

Address: 1775 East Mission Bay Drive, San Diego, California

Accommodation: Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa, Mission Bay

5 Homewood Suites by Hilton San Diego-Del Mar

Homewood Suites by Hilton San Diego-Del Mar
Homewood Suites by Hilton San Diego-Del Mar | Photo Copyright: (c) 2016 Homewood

If you're watching your wallet and want to prepare some of your own meals in a fully-equipped kitchen, the Homewood Suites by Hilton San Diego Del Mar offers excellent value in a homey environment with one and two-bedroom suites. This is a great option if you want a little more space and privacy, or if you're planning an extended stay, as the rooms have separate sleeping and living areas. The hotel lies about a 25-minute drive from LEGOLAND and about 20 minutes from Balboa Park, plus a free shuttle is available to destinations within a five-mile radius on weekdays during certain times. The hotel is also only minutes away from the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, the Birch Aquarium, and multiple beaches, and you can ask the friendly staff for beach toys and umbrellas.

One of the best features of the hotel are the complimentary meals. Included in the rates are a cooked breakfast every morning and light dinners (with a full salad bar) and drinks Monday through Thursday evenings - a huge money and time saver for families. The hotel also has a restaurant serving American bistro classics with a California influence as well as a deli with sandwiches and snacks. If you prefer to make your own meals, you can take advantage of the hotel's grocery shopping service.

Amenities here include a heated outdoor pool, Jacuzzi, fitness center, and a 24-hour convenience store. Playpens, high chairs, and cribs are available on request.

Address: 11025 Vista Sorrento Parkway, San Diego, California

Accommodation: Homewood Suites by Hilton San Diego-Del Mar

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