The Best Kid-Friendly Hotels in San Diego

Check rates and get the insider scoop for the best San Diego family hotels

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If you’re headed to America’s Finest City or have friends with kids who are, you probably want to know where the best kid-friendly hotels in San Diego are. Luckily, fantastic options exist all up and down the coast so I’ve chosen one in each popular part of town.

The San Diego hotels on this list are well-rounded, meaning that they offer something for all ages to enjoy as well as a number of services that are standard in larger or luxury hotels. There are plenty of great hotels in San Diego (and more will appear in future lists) however, these are the hotels that I recommend off-the-cuff when people ask where to stay in San Diego with kids.

I’ve including how to book these hotels directly and through our partner Booking.com site. However, when it comes to the higher-end hotels, you are most-likely better off booking through a travel agent that has access exclusive VIP amenities and preferred rates. VIP amenities can include free breakfast, resort credits, complimentary room upgrades, early check-in/late check-out and many more value-added perks you would not be able to secure on your own.

This is how I personally book our luxury hotel stays and I’m thrilled to be able to now offer these preferred rates and amenities to readers as an independent agent with Worldview Travel. Click on the tabs below each hotel’s detail to learn what might be available during your stay.

Fairmont Grand Del Mar

Neighborhood: Carmel Valley (East of Del Mar)

Why go: For those who love five-star hotels, this is the best hotel in San Diego. In fact, this kid-friendly San Diego luxury hotel is one you may just not want to leave, making it a perfect staycation choice for local couples, families or singles who need pampering. This is my top pick, if budget permits.

Also, its central location with easy access to the I-5 freeway, provides easy exploration of attractions like LEGOLAND to the north and Balboa Park to the south.

Amenities for kids:

  • State-of-the-art supervised Explorers 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, foos ball, ping pong and more
  • Horseback riding lessons at the onsite Equestrian Center
  • Children’s pool with wading area and a family pool with underwater music
  • Personalized family tennis lessons
  • Children’s menus at Amaya, Club M, the Resort Pool and through in-room dining
  • Junior golf programs for kids ages 13 – 17
  • Mother-daughter treatments at the Haim Salon (manicures, pedicures, hair)
  • Seasonal activities such as s’mores and family 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
  • Evening Explorer Club access that enables date night
  • Addison, a culinary sensation that’s regarded as San Diego’s best restaurant
  • Two pro-style tennis courts complete with instructors and clinics
  • Designer boutiques
  • Guided canyon hikes
  • Top-notch service everywhere

Good to know: There is no resort fee, however, guests receive twice-daily housekeeping, in-room bottled water and coffee, free WiFi, daily newspaper, complimentary self parking. There is nothing within walking distance so a rental car is advisable.

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

Reservations (VIP Amenities)
When booking a luxury hotel, it is often more cost-effective to book through an agent who can secure VIP amenities, upgrades and experiences you can’t get on your own. Amenities I can secure for you (at no additional cost) as an independent agent of Worldview Travel at Fairmont Grand Del Mar in 2017 include:

  • Upgrade at time of booking for guest room categories up to Fairway, subject to availability
  • Daily full breakfast for up to two in-room guests (value of up to $50 per room/suite per day)
  • $100 USD Activity credit per stay, valid for golf play, golf instruction, the Spa services, and/or Explorer’s Club fees to be utilized during stay (cannot be combined, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full – not valid towards retail or Haim Salon Services)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Send me your travel dates and I will be more than happy to prepare a quote for you and provide whatever travel advice you need to complete your San Diego itinerary.

Or, book directly on the Fairmont Grand Del Mar website (without the above amenities).

 

Hotel Del Coronado

 

Neighborhood: Coronado

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. Also, it’s a San Diego hotel on the beach—Coronado Municipal Beach. It’s considered one of America’s best beaches by the Travel Channel.

Amenities for Kids:

  • Kidtopia kids club for kids ages 4-12 featuring 2-hour activities and 3-5 hour adventures including games, stage performances, arts and crafts, and more
  • A gorgeous flat sandy beach in front of the hotel with (usually) gentle waves and tide pools at low tide
  • MooTime Creamery ice cream treats on site
  • Stand-up paddle board and surf lessons
  • Water toys and fun in the main pool
  • Summer s’mores and dive-in movie nights
  • Spa packages for ages 13 and up

Amenities for Parents:

  • 17 shops to browse (Babcock & Story is my personal favorite)
  • Full service beach area with luxury lounge chairs, umbrellas, half-moon cabanettes and day beds for full-day rental
  • Several beachfront dining and cocktail areas that are amazing venues during sunset
  • Yoga on the beach
  • San Diego’s best Sunday brunch
  • Family portraits arranged through the Concierge
  • Full-service Spa at The Del
  • Del Beach rentals (where adult drinks and snacks are served)

Good to Know: Restaurants and shops on Orange Avenue are within walking distance and there is a ferry from downtown San Diego to Coronado. The resort can feel busy during peak times as residents and tourists visit the shops and restaurants during the day. There is also quite a bit to do during the holidays at Hotel Del Coronado from a seaside ice skating rink to other special programming.

Awards: AAA Four Diamonds, Top 100 Resort Spas in the United States, Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Poll, 2014

Reservations (VIP Amenities)
When booking a luxury hotel, it is often more cost-effective to book through an agent who can secure VIP amenities, upgrades and experiences you can’t get on your own. Amenities at Hotel Del Coronado that I can secure for you (at no additional cost) as an independent agent of Worldview Travel include (for 2017):

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability (room upgrades are not possible in Beach Village)
  • Daily Buffet breakfast, for up to two in room guests
  • Commemorative Book celebrating over 125 years at The Del – valid for Guest Rooms at either The Hotel del Coronado or Beach Village at The Del
  • $100 USD Equivalent Spa Services credit, valid only for suites in Main Resort and Beach Village (not combinable, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Send me your travel dates and I will be more than happy to prepare a quote for you and provide whatever travel advice you need to complete your San Diego itinerary. Or, book directly through Hotel Del Coronado (without the above amenities).

La Jolla Shores Hotel

 

Neighborhood: La Jolla

Why Go: You’d like to base the family in La Jolla (near UCSD) at a San Diego resort on the beach that won’t break the bank. La Jolla Shores beach is also one of the best places to learn how to surf, stand-up paddleboard or kayak 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.

Kids Amenities:

  • A flat, sandy beach
  • Kellogg Park playground is next door with swings, slides and a huge grassy area for picnics and games
  • Kids age 8 and under eat breakfast free at The Shores Restaurant
  • Heated outdoor swimming pool and wading pool

Amenities for Parents:

  • Gorgeous ocean views from The Shores Restaurant and the famous Marine Room restaurant nearby.
  • It’s an eco-friendly hotel
  • Tennis lessons on two courts by USPTA pros.
  • Complimentary beach chairs, umbrellas and towels.
  • Nightly beach BBQs available by reservation (BYO food or order from their beach cookout shopping list for delivery)
  • Small fitness center
  • In-room massages

Good to know: The swimming pool isn’t huge. 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 area and not in the main Village of La Jolla. It’s much quieter over here and the beach is miles better.

Awards: TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

Hotel website:

Omni La Costa Resort & Spa

 

Neighborhood: La Costa (South Carlsbad)

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.

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, potty-trained 3-5 year olds and 6-12 year olds in separate programs
  • Splash Landing Pools with a water play area and water slides
  • Sandy Beach Family Pool with sand to play in
  • 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
  • Kids fitness bootcamp

Amenities for parents:

  • Kidtopia has night camp on weekend evenings for date night at BlueFire Grill
  • 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
  • Farm-to-table dining at BlueFire Grill
  • Two world-renowned golf courses
  • An opportunity to address inner wellness at The Chopra Center
  • Spa at La Costa’s awesome lounging facilities and nature-inspired treatments
  • One or two bedroom villas 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

Good to know: This kid-friendly hotel was recently sold to Omni so there have been some minor renovations recently. Honey used from bees kept on property is integrated into spa elixirs and restaurant recipes. 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).

Awards: Southern California’s only Gold Medal Golf Resort (Golf Magazine), #1 Wellness Spa in the nation by Spa Magazine, Travel + Leisure’s #4 Spa in North America

Park Hyatt Aviara Resort

 

Neighborhood: Aviara (Carlsbad)

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

Amenities for kids:

  • Aviara Kids Academy by Camp Hyatt for ages 4 – 12 during the summer
  • Lessons at Aviara Golf Academy for ages
  • Bird watching over the wetlands
  • Seasonal junior tennis clinics
  • Outdoor family swimming pool with underwater lights
  • Shallow wading pool and water play area
  • 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

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

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. This kid-friendly resort was once a Four Seasons Hotel and still retains most of the signature feel of its former owner. Read about our recent stay at Park Hyatt Aviara Resort.

Awards: AAA Five Diamonds

Reservations (VIP Amenities)
When booking a luxury hotel, it is often more cost-effective to book through an agent who can secure VIP amenities, upgrades and experiences you can’t get on your own. Amenities that I can secure for you at Park Hyatt Aviara (at no additional cost to you) in 2017 as an independent agent of Worldview Travel include:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability.
  • Daily full breakfast buffet, for up to two in room guests
  • $100 USD equivalent Resort credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary daily Aviara Spa access for two guests including sauna, whirlpool, steam room and indoor solarium lounge.
  • Locally-inspired culinary welcome amenity
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Send me your travel dates and I will be more than happy to prepare a quote and provide whatever travel advice you need to complete your San Diego itinerary. Or, book directly through Park Hyatt Aviara Resort (without the above amenities).

Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego

Neighborhood: Downtown San Diego

Why go: You want a downtown San Diego hotel with water views and don’t mind size… this hotel is huge at 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, Convention Center and PETCO Park.

Amenities for kids:

  • Camp Hyatt for kids ages 3-12 which offers arts and crafts, sea life education and more fun
  • S’mores kits for purchase to use on the 4th floor fire pits
  • 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
  • Sally’s all-day weekend breakfast

Amenities for parents:

  • The extraordinary view from Top of the Hyatt restaurant
  • Four tennis courts by the bay with a USPTA pro available for lessons
  • The full-service Kin Spa
  • 24-hour gym
  • Pool cabana rentals
  • Bayside running trails

Good to know: Again, the hotel is large but it’s well-located and families love having so much to do within walking distance at this downtown San Diego hotel.

Reservations
Book directly through the Manchester Grand Hyatt website or Expedia.

Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara

Neighborhood: Carlsbad

Why go: Most of the villas at Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara have kitchens or kitchenettes, separate bedrooms and living areas so they feel like home away from home. This is your best option for extended stays and multigenerational travel. Many of the main spaces such as Seasons Restaurant have been recently renovated. The Four Seasons here offers upscale touches present in sister properties around the globe, which fans of the brand will appreciate.

Amenities for kids:

  • Kids Club 760 with fun activities such as 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

Amenities for parents:

  • A brand new full-service spa and fitness center
  • Babysitting services
  • Special coastal tours (the kids can come, too) in a vintage Woody, by reservation
  • 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 and taste bites in the open kitchen

Good to know: The Park Hyatt Aviara is next door so guests can enjoy dining there, too. But as mentioned previously, Aviara is quite sleepy so you will need a rental car. On-property offerings like Seasons Restaurant are for the sole use of guests in residence, adding to the property’s exclusivity and quiet vibe.

Reservations (VIP Amenities)
When booking a luxury hotel, it is often more cost-effective to book through an agent who can secure VIP amenities, upgrades and experiences you can’t get on your own. I can secure amenities for you at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts across the globe (at no additional cost to you) as an independent agent of Worldview Travel, an agency with exclusive relationships with luxury hotel brands (like FS) across the globe.

Send me your travel dates and I will be more than happy to prepare a quote for you and provide whatever travel advice you need to complete your San Diego itinerary. Or, book directly through the Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara website.

 

Kid-Friendly Hotels in San Diego – Honorable Mentions

West Inn & Suites in Carlsbad: Incredible value for money and its pet-friendly (no weight limit).

Paradise Point Resort & Spa: I recommend it when people ask for hotels near SeaWorld San Diego, however, I haven’t stayed at the resort recently. Truthfully, I’ve heard from people who love it and from people who think it’s dated. We plan to stay there shortly so I will return with feedback.

Do you have a best family hotel in San Diego that’s missing from this list?

Save this pin for later:

These are the best kid-friendly hotels in San Diego for location and well-rounded amenities.

*Photo credits: Hotel Del Coronado, The Grand Del Mar, La Jolla Shores Hotel, Omni La Costa Resort & Spa, Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego

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5 Comments

  1. Noelle
    June 17, 2015 at 9:54 am — Reply

    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!

  2. Jenni
    March 17, 2015 at 2:42 pm — Reply

    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?

  3. Joanie
    March 5, 2015 at 4:12 am — Reply

    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!

    • March 5, 2015 at 9:37 am — Reply

      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.

  4. July 30, 2014 at 2:02 pm — Reply

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

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