15 Best Kid-Friendly Hotels in San Diego


The fifteen best family hotels in San Diego that I review below are the most popular choices for vacations and staycations. They are on the beach or near the beach, close to attractions, and balance fun amenities for kids and relaxation for parents.

Before you book any of these kid-friendly hotels in San Diego, there are things to know that only someone like me who specializes in helping plan San Diego family vacations can tell you.

Why This List Is Different

Unlike other online lists of San Diego family hotels, this one is based on my personal experience, feedback from clients and readers, and insight from VIP contacts that I have on these properties. I live in San Diego, CA but I’ve also lived in a luxury hotel so I know what a stay should be like.

Tip: If there’s a clear way to book that will give you the best value, I’ve mentioned it. Through me, you do have access to great perks at some of these hotels. At others, you can save more with a San Diego vacation package that bundles your stay with theme park tickets or Hotels.com. All are noted below. If you book hotels using the links below, I may be compensated.

(In addition to sharing hotel discounts and extras, I’ve also written extensively about San Diego discounts and how to get discounted California theme park tickets so that you can save even more.)

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

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.
Category: 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.

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.

Amenities for kids:

  • 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

Amenities for parents:

  • 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 $45/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.

Book with Virtuoso Amenities*

*If viewing on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Full Site” to access rates and booking. When searching rates on Virtuoso, do not input your children as it will price them as adults. Mention how many kids you’re traveling with (and ages) in the special requests section and I’ll add them when I double-check your reservation.

Book at Fairmont.com

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

Hotel del Coronado

Neighborhood: Coronado
Kids’ club: Yes, however, due to limited space created by the renovation, DelVentures is currently not on offer. Typically, DelVentures offers 1-hour activities and daily evening activities between 6–9 p.m. so that parents can enjoy dinner onsite in peace. We’ll update you when reopening details emerge.
Category: Moderate-Luxury

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

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.

Amenities for kids:

  • DelVentures kids’ club for kids ages 5–12 (temporarily closed)
  • 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
  • Summer s’mores and dive-in movie nights
  • Spa services for ages 14 and up
  • Bike and surrey rentals
  • Adorable two-bedroom family suites with bunk beds and sea-themed decor in the kids’ room

Amenities for parents:

  • 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
  • Family portraits arranged through the Concierge
  • Full-service Spa at The Del
  • Boat rentals
  • Del Beach rentals (where adult drinks and snacks are served)

See also: 15 Things to Do at Hotel del Coronado

Beach access: The 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 very happy. 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 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 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:

  • From September 26, 2019–June 2020, the main pool will be closed for renovation.
  • From September 2–June 2020, the California Cabanas will be closed for renovation.
  • Book into the Victorian Building for the best experience due to construction near the Ocean Towers.
  • Book a partial ocean view or ocean view room if possible (avoid resort view as they may overlook construction).
  • Read the latest updates regarding the renovation here (click under terms and conditions) before booking in.
  • Guests continue to book in 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.


Note: If your stay falls between now and June 2020, please book into the Victorian building due to Main Pool and California Cabana work near the Ocean Towers. Or, ideally, consider Beach Village at The Del (details below).

If you’re considering a specialty suite at Hotel del Coronado, take a look at Beach Village as pricing can be similar. Virtuoso guests looking for staycations before June 30, 2020 can take advantage of a 25% off staycation rate in addition to the typical amenities that include free daily breakfast for two, a room upgrade at check-in if available, and more.

Book with Virtuoso Amenities*

*If on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Full Site” to access rates and booking. When searching rates on Virtuoso, do not input your children as it will price them as adults. Mention how many kids you’re traveling with (and ages) in the special requests section and I’ll add them when I double-check your reservation.

Book on Hilton.com

Beach Village at The Del

Neighborhood: Coronado
Kids’ club: Yes. Guests also use DelVentures at the sister property, Hotel del Coronado. (Note that DelVentures is temporarily closed.)
Category: Luxury

The interior of a designer villa at Beach Village, a great choice for luxury and families who need kitchens.

Why go: You want the most luxurious beach vacation possible in San Diego. Only Beach Village guests can access the property’s pools and exclusive Windsor Beach Club. Plus, as the sister property to adjacent Hotel del Coronado, you’d have access to amenities on the main resort mentioned above. Accommodations here are outfitted like designer residences.

Amenities for kids:

  • Everything listed above at Hotel del Coronado

Amenities for parents:

  • 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 to pay over $999/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 local residents 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 us at Beach Village at The Del are the same as Hotel del Coronado, and 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.

Request a Virtuoso RateBeach Village reservations

Book on Hilton.comBeach Village Hilton reservations

La Jolla Shores Hotel

Neighborhood: La Jolla
Kids’ club: No
Category: Moderate

Aerial view of beachfront La Jolla Shores Hotel, a popular San Diego family 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. La Jolla Shores Beach here 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 very easy to take the kids to the beach for an hour or two, break in the room, and return to the beach 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.

Amenities for kids:

  • 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

Amenities for Parents:

  • Gorgeous 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. Run back and forth from your room to the sand with ease.

Good to know: The swimming pool isn’t huge. It’s not a fancy hotel, and family-owned and operated, which means that things like sandy bare feet are okay when going from beach to room. They want families to feel comfortable here.

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 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.

See also: Guide to La Jolla Shores

Awards: TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence


Check Availability

La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club

Neighborhood: La Jolla Shores
Kids’ club: Seasonally in summers only
Category: 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 experience with access to one of the state’s few remaining private beaches. Or, you’re traveling with a large family or extended family as they have accommodations for up to 8 guests in a room. La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club is an exclusive, members-only club with 99 accommodations, 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.

Amenities for kids:

  • A private beach
  • Heated pool
  • Summer kids’ club
  • Kellogg Park playground just steps away
  • Junior golf and tennis programs
  • Swim lessons

Amenities for parents:

  • 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 beach as a hotel can get in San Diego.

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 does appeal 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.


Check Availability

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 that are year-round.
Category: Moderate

Omni La Costa Splash Landing pool with water slides

Why go:  Omni La Costa Resort & Spa provides a well-rounded 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 because of its awesome splash pad and swimming pools.

Amenities for kids:

  • 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
  • A pretty awesome daily activity schedule that can include anything from reptile shows to s’more roasting
  • Sports courts

Amenities for parents:

  • 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
  • Dining with views at VUE
  • Two world-renowned golf courses
  • A unique opportunity to address inner wellness at The Chopra Center
  • 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 guide to Omni La Costa Resort & Spa that addresses how to select 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: We can add these benefits to Omni La Costa’s best available rate (not sale rates). Given this, check here first to see which rate works best for you. If you have decided on a room and would like the value-added benefits, please use this form. Or, save by combining your stay with theme park tickets.

Save More with a Vacation Package

Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara, North San Diego

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

Spacious villas make Four Seasons Aviara one of the best San Diego family hotels.

Why go: Most of the villas at Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara, North San Diego have kitchens or kitchenettes, separate bedrooms, and living areas. They feel like 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 around the globe and excellent service, which fans of the brand will appreciate. This another top pick for kid-friendly hotels in San Diego that earns a lot of repeat guests.

Amenities for kids:

  • 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

Amenities for parents:

  • 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
  • Free parking is included with the hotel fee

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: Cadence is a Four Seasons Preferred Partner agency which means that we can book you in with additional value-added amenities and services. (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.)

Request Preferred Partner Rates

Park Hyatt Aviara Resort & Spa

Neighborhood: Aviara (Carlsbad)
Kids’ club: Yes. Camp Hyatt is seasonal, usually in the summertime. Hours and days vary so call to check.
Category: Luxury

Aerial view of the family pool at Park Hyatt Aviara, one of the top San Diego Hotels for kids.

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. Suites and connecting rooms are reasonably-priced.

Amenities for kids:

  • Aviara Kids Academy by Camp Hyatt for ages 4–12 during the summer
  • 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)
  • 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

Amenities for parents:

  • Arnold Palmer designed golf course
  • Six state-of-the-art lighted tennis courts
  • 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 Argyle steakhouse, Vivace (Italian) and California Bistro
  • Frette robes and pillow-top beds
  • Jogging trails
  • Free shuttle service to the nearby Carlsbad Premium Outlets
  • Reasonably-priced suites

Beach access: Round-trip shuttle service to Moonlight Beach in Encinitas ($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. Note that they are renovating through June 2020.

Awards: AAA Five Diamonds

Reservations: I have access to Virtuoso amenities at Park Hyatt Aviara.

Book with Virtuoso Amenities *

*If on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Full Site” to access rates and booking. When searching rates on Virtuoso, do not input your children as it will price them as adults. Mention how many kids you’re traveling with (and ages) in the special requests section and I’ll add them when I double-check your reservation.

Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa

Neighborhood: Rancho Santa Fe
Kids’ club: No
Category: Luxury

Olive Grove Suite bedroom with vaulted ceiling at Rancho Valencia, a popular San Diego family 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 which means that you won’t lack for space but also a wellness destination due to its famous spa, fitness classes, and yoga pavilion. It’s also a Relais & Chateaux property which means that you can feel confident that the food is outstanding.

Amenities for kids:

  • 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

Amenities for parents:

  • 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

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.

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.

Book with Virtuoso Amenities *

*If on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Full Site” to access rates and booking. When searching rates on Virtuoso, do not input your children as it will price them as adults. Mention how many kids you’re traveling with (and ages) in the special requests section and I’ll add them when I double-check your reservation.

Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa

Neighborhood: Pacific Beach
Kids’ club: No
Category: Moderate

View of Mission Bay from Tower at Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa in San Diego

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 which is one of the reasons why it’s a popular getaway.

Amenities for kids:

  • Ducks and turtles 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 that include kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, sailboats, bikes and more.
  • A calm bay beach

Amenities for parents:

  • 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 stearnwheeler cruises
  • Seasonal activities like summer luaus on the beach.

Good to know: Catamaran Resort 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 offers specials on its own website that are better than many offers online but you can save even more if you bundle your hotel stay with theme park and other attractions tickets.

Save More with a Vacation Package

Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego

Neighborhood: Downtown San Diego
Kids’ club: Yes. Camp Hyatt is seasonal and has summer hours.
Category: 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 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, San Diego Convention Center and PETCO Park. Balboa Park is a short drive away.

Amenities for kids:

  • 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, or even horseshoes
  • Main outdoor swimming pool
  • Seasonal outdoor activities such as foos ball, table tennis, giant-sized Jenga, kites, and a multitude of arts and crafts

Amenities for parents:

  • 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 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 Convention Center location, but families love having so much to do within walking distance at this downtown hotel. I’ve written a detailed guide to Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego that goes over the various room types and more. Guests should not expect personalized five-star service and amenities as the hotel is simply 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 room upgrade at time of booking (subject to availability), daily free breakfast for two, and more.

Request a Hyatt Prive Rate

Bahia Resort Hotel

Neighborhood: Mission Bay
Kids’ club: No
Category: Budget

View from a double room to the bay at Bahia Resort.

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 to water sports and beaches. Rooms are comfortable (they are in the process of being refreshed) and the staff is friendly. Bahia shares some amenities with sister property The Catamaran (mentioned above) and they do earn quite a few repeat guests.

Amenities for kids:

  • A small onsite playground
  • Rescued seals on ducks that live on the resort
  • A game arcade
  • Waveless bay beach
  • Shuffleboard courts
  • Swimming pool

Amenities for parents:

  • 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 stearnwheeler 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)
  • 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: Bahia is going through a resort enhancement that refreshes all guest rooms and some facilities that will finish in March 2020. The resort is open during this time and one of the excellent San Diego resorts for families on a budget.

Reservations: You can save more by bundling your hotel stay with theme park tickets.

Save More with a Vacation Package

Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina

Neighborhood: Mission Bay
Kids club: No
Category: Moderate

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

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.

Amenities for kids:

  • 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

Amenities for parents:

  • An eco-friendly, full-service spa
  • Waterfront fitness center
  • Pool lounge with cocktails
  • Grab and go market with Starbucks coffee
  • 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: Make Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina reservations with Hyatt Prive benefits (two-night minimum stay required):

  • $100 USD Property Credit
  • Room Upgrade*
  • Breakfast for Two
  • Welcome Amenity
  • Guest Welcome Letter
  • Early Check-In*
  • Connecting Rooms*
  • Free Wifi

* Subject to forecasted occupancy

Send Me Your Dates

Loews Coronado Bay Resort

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

Loews Coronado Bay Resort Suite
Coronado Bay View Suite bedroom

Why go: You want to stay at a family Coronado resort near Silver Strand State Beach that has water sports onsite. You don’t mind driving to outside restaurants or you want a fun resort 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.

Amenities for kids:

  • 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

Amenities for parents:

  • 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.

Book through Loews

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 San Diego family 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 choose really depends on the theme your kids prefer (and availability) as they are both right next to the entrance.

Amenities for kids (the hotels are one big fun kids’ amenity!):

  • 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

Amenities for parents:

  • 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 it is 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 getaway.

Reservations: I would book directly through LEGOLAND California.

Book through LEGOLAND California

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 what you plan to do in San Diego, what kind of accommodations you prefer, and how important beach access is. When it comes to San Diego family hotels, you will have to find the right balance between the three. Often times, the answer isn’t clear cut.

As you can see above, some of the best kid-friendly hotels in San Diego are not on the beach, and 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, which is one of the best hotels in San Diego and tops when it comes to 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.

Both family-friendly beaches are staffed by year-round lifeguards. 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 two 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 and they tend to choose Hotel del Coronado and Beach Village at The Del (they are more upscale choices than the two above) for 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 as is the beach. It’s easy to take a stroller along Orange Avenue to shops and restaurants.

What baby gear do these San Diego family hotels offer?

They type of baby gear that 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 simply 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. 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 on a daily basis mostly because families have a hard time weighing the choices. I try to answer this for readers based on what they have told me are their most important criteria.

However, there are certain hotels on this list that 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:

  • Fairmont Grand Del Mar
  • Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara
  • Park Hyatt Aviara (after their 2020 renovation)
  • Rancho Valencia
  • Beach Village at The Del

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 San Diego family 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. In summer, you can expect even budget hotels by the beach to price like luxury hotels in other cities.

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 where 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.

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?

The main reason why Paradise Point Resort and Spa is not on this list is that it is transitioning to a Margaritaville property at some point in 2020 and 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 for the park’s main entrance takes about 20 minutes. Paradise Point Resort is a 44-acre island in Mission Bay with activities like water sports and swimming pools, but you need to drive or get an Uber to visit outside restaurants, beaches, and sights.

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 do 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.