8 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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The best family hotels in San Diego offer something for all ages. They’re scattered across the county, on the beach and off, and are perfect for vacations and staycations.

I communicate with people daily on social media, traditional media and email about San Diego hotels, mostly the ones on this list because of their locations, amenities, reviews and/or service.

If there’s a clear way to book, that will give you the best value, I’ve mentioned it here. If not, there’s a link to check the best price across multiple travel sites.

See also: 40 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. It is complimentary for two hours when parents book a spa treatment, whether you’re staying overnight or simply booking a treatment.

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.

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

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, 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 complimentary 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
  • Addison, a culinary sensation that’s regarded as one of San Diego’s best restaurants
  • Two pro-style tennis courts complete with instructors and clinics
  • Designer boutiques
  • Guided canyon hikes
  • Top-notch service everywhere

Good to know: Guests receive twice-daily housekeeping, in-room bottled water, and coffee, free WiFi, daily newspaper, complimentary self-parking included in a $40/night plus tax resort fee that is charged at the resort. 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.

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

Reservations: I can book readers in with special Virtuoso amenities that add value to a stay and may include breakfast for two, an activity credit, upgrades, occasionally a 3rd night free, and more.

However, Fairmont Grand Del Mar is offering a Grand Experiences package on select dates that is more beneficial than Virtuoso for stays of two nights or longer as it has a daily $150 resort credit. Stays of one or two nights are better with Virtuoso as the rate is a smidge lower (Flexible Daily Rate). Look for the Grand Experiences package on their website.

Book with Virtuoso Amenities
If you book Virtuoso, do not input your children when searching rates as it will price them as adults. At booking, please mention how many kids you’re traveling with (and ages) in the special requests section and I’ll take care of adding 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. DelVentures offers 1-hour activities and daily evening activities between 6:00–9:00 p.m. so that parents can enjoy dinner onsite in peace.

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.

It’s San Diego’s best full-service hotel on the beach—Coronado Municipal Beach is considered one of America’s best beaches by the Travel Channel.

Amenities for kids:

  • DelVentures kids’ club for kids ages 4–12
  • 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 paddleboard and surf lessons
  • Water toys and fun in the main pool
  • Summer s’mores and dive-in movie nights
  • Ages 14 and up are welcome to receive spa services
  • Bike and surrey rentals

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)

Good to Know: This is a busy resort. Most of the time, service is very good and guests are very happy. During peak seasons, it’s advisable to make spa and dining reservations (including breakfast) 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 seaside ice skating rink to other special programming.

Awards: AAA Four Diamonds; Reader’s Choice Award, Condé Nast Traveler (2015 and 2017); Travel + Leisure World’s Best Family Hotels (2016); and many more.

Reservations:

Book with Virtuoso Amenities
If you book Virtuoso, do not input your children when searching rates as it will price them as adults. At booking, please mention how many kids you’re traveling with (and ages) in the special requests section and I’ll take care of adding them when I double-check your reservation.

Book on Hilton.com

La Jolla Shores Hotel

Neighborhood: La Jolla

Kids’ club: No.

Why Go: You’d like to base the family in La Jolla (near UCSD) at a kid-friendly San Diego resort on the beach that won’t break the bank. La Jolla Shores beach here is 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 and loved it.

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 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
  • Complimentary shuttle within local La Jolla area (includes Birch Aquarium)

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

Reservations:

Check Prices on Top Sites

La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club

Neighborhood: La Jolla Shores

Kids’ club: Seasonally (from July 1 – August 31, 2018)

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 people 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. The experience in intimate and one that generations of families return for annually.

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
  • Complimentary beach chairs, towels and umbrellas
  • Access to club facilites including the par-3 pitch-and-putt course and tennis courts
  • Yoga and personal training
  • Family beach cookouts
  • Most rooms have kitchens

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.

Check Prices on Top Sites

Omni La Costa Resort & Spa

Neighborhood: La Costa (South Carlsbad)

Kids’ club: Yes. A nursery for kids ages 6 months–3 years old (two hours only) and ages 3 years and older (who are bathroom independent) may join for half-day, full-day and evening programs.

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 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 night camp on weekend 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
  • An 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

Good to know: 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

Reservations: I have a special arrangement with the hotel where I can add on daily complimentary breakfast for two and valet parking on rooms booked at best available rate (not sale rates).

Request a VIP Rate

Park Hyatt Aviara Resort

Neighborhood: Aviara (Carlsbad)

Kids’ Club: Yes. Camp Hyatt is seasonal, usually in the summertime. Hours and days vary so call to check.

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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Reasonably-priced suites

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

Reservations: Hyatt recently introduced a Hyatt Privé program available exclusively through travel agents which offers benefits such as connecting rooms and room upgrades confirmed within 24 hours and more. It’s awesome so definitely use the link below.

Request a Hyatt Privé Rate

Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego

Neighborhood: Downtown San Diego

Kids’ club: Yes. Camp Hyatt is seasonal (June 1–August 31, 2018, excluding holidays).

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, San Diego Convention Center and PETCO Park.

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 view 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

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

Reservations: Manchester Grand Hyatt also participates in the Hyatt Privé program I have access to, they will guarantee connecting rooms and suites within 24 hours.

Request Hyatt Privé Rates

Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara

Neighborhood: Carlsbad

Kids’ club: No but they do have a sizeable game room

Why go: Most of the villas at Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara 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 here 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 San Diego family hotels.

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 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
  • No resort fee or parking charges

Good to know: The Park Hyatt Aviara is next door so guests can enjoy dining there, too. As mentioned previously, Aviara is 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.

Reservations: Travel Edge is a Four Seasons Preferred Partner agency which means that I can book you in with additional value-added amenities and services. (I lived in a Four Seasons hotel, stay in them regularly, used to write for Four Seasons Magazine, and can tell you in detail about nearly every property in their portfolio.)

Request Preferred Partner Rates

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

These are the best kid-friendly hotels in San Diego for location and well-rounded amenities.
Best San Diego family hotels from beachfront to near LEGOLAND.
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11 Comments

  1. Sarah
    February 22, 2018 at 3:28 pm — Reply

    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.

    Thoughts?
    Thanks!

  2. February 14, 2018 at 10:56 am — Reply

    We’re looking for a hotel or home that has 7-8 BRs. are there any hotels with large villas in the area?

    • February 15, 2018 at 7:07 pm — Reply

      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 – [email protected]

  3. January 19, 2018 at 10:36 pm — Reply

    My next destination is San Diego for travel and its add to my bucket list.

  4. Jennifer
    January 1, 2018 at 7:43 pm — Reply

    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

    • January 2, 2018 at 9:41 am — Reply

      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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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?

  7. 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.

  8. 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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