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La Jolla Mom

17 Best San Diego Hotels on the Beach

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San Diego is one of the best places in the world for a beach vacation. Good San Diego beach hotels are ones you can quickly run back and forth to from the sand which can significantly enhance a stay no matter how old you are.

The hotels and resorts on this list are chosen because of locations on the sand, great amenities and things to do within walking distance. They provide major convenience—no need to struggle with beach parking for starters. One can spend an entire vacation in one of these spots without hopping into a car.

Note that there are two types of San Diego beaches—bay beaches and ocean beaches. Bayside hotels also provide easy access to the ocean beaches, giving guests the best of both worlds. San Diego beach hotels at any level of luxury will skew higher in price during holidays and beach season. They’re worth it. However, they are excellent value in winter, and we still use the beach (albeit a bit differently) in winter.

These best San Diego beach hotels are listed from south to north. Underneath each listing, I’ll give you a little bit of advice in regard to how to book and information based on feedback I’ve received from readers, guests and my own personal experience.

Pier South Resort

 

Neighborhood: Imperial Beach

Beach: Imperial Beach

Why Go: Pier South Resort is a new modern oceanfront beach resort in the up-and-coming Imperial Beach neighborhood. Its a Silver LEED Certified eco-friendly showcase of clean design with its large rooms (650 square feet and up), solar power for heating and cooling, cutting-edge water conservation technologies and even electric car charging stations for guests. It is a Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel.

Beach Amenities:

  • Paddleboard and boogie board rentals
  • Surfing lessons can be arranged

Hotel Amenities:

  • Rooms have spacious open floor plans, balconies, in-room bottled water, in-room coffee and tea, and complimentary premium TV channels
  • Free WiFi
  • Fitness center with classes
  • Onsite spa
  • SEA 180 restaurant
  • Outdoor pool with service
  • Roof terrace

Good to Know: The resort is located south of downtown so consider drive time if you plan an itinerary that involves North County. It is a gentrifying neighborhood but nice around the beach and pier area. I would not suggest that luxury travelers stay here due to its location.

Reservations:

Book on Marriott

Beach Village at The Del (Top Pick)

Neighborhood: Coronado

Beach: Coronado Municipal Beach

Why Go: You want the very best beach vacation possible in San Diego. This is by far the best luxury choice. Beach Village is a private enclave at Hotel Del Coronado with designer cottages and many VIP amenities. Only guests of Beach Village have access to its pools, common areas and breakfast at the Windsor Cottage. It is much quieter than staying on the main resort and popular for groups and multigenerational travel because most cottages have full kitchens.

Beach Amenities:

  • Access to the members-only Windsor Beach club with food and drink service, posh sofas and sand chairs styled by Room & Board (open during summer only)
  • Complimentary use of beach chairs and umbrellas at Del Beach (half-moon cabanettes and day beds are available for rental) where it’s also possible to enjoy drink and food service to the sand.
  • Stand-up paddle board and surf lessons
  • Early morning yoga on the beach and outdoor beachside spinning classes.
  • A beachside boardwalk in front of the hotel perfect for riding bikes and surreys (rentals are available)
  • Private beach bonfires with s’more roasting
  • Boogie board, surfboard, and skim, board rentals

Resort Amenities (in addition to amenities on the main Hotel Del Coronado resort):

  • Personal Concierge service
  • VIP Entrance
  • Private dinners in your cottage prepared by resort chefs
  • Priority reservations across the resort
  • Pools with cabanas and lounge chairs for Beach Village guests only
  • Secluded plunge pools and hot tubs scattered throughout the property
  • Cottages with hot tubs
  • Designer cottages with designer appliances

Good to Know: The cottages closest to the beach border the boardwalk so you will see people on bikes, walking etc.

Reservations: Hotel Del Coronado and Beach Village at The Del are Virtuoso properties. You’re usually better off booking the Virtuoso rate as breakfast alone is roughly a $100/day value as it includes tax and gratuity. The Virtuoso amenities include:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability (room upgrades are not possible in Beach Village)
  • Daily Buffet breakfast, for up to two in-room guests
  • $100 USD Equivalent Spa Services credit (not combinable, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
Book on Hilton Request a Virtuoso Rate

Hotel Del Coronado

Neighborhood: Coronado

Beach: Coronado Municipal Beach

Why Go: You like historic hotels with a big roster of amenities. The red roof of this famous San Diego hotel has become one of the city’s icons. The list 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.

Not only is it one of the best San Diego hotels, it’s also located on one of the best beaches in San Diego. Coronado Municipal Beach is also considered one of America’s best beaches by the Travel Channel. Waves usually break gently here and tide pools reveal themselves at low tides. There is also the famous Sandcastle Man who occasionally builds crazy-ornate sandcastles near the hotel. A mineral in the sand called Mica causes it to shimmer and it’s particularly beautiful to see it glow in the shore break. Expansive, flat sand means it’s possible to enjoy a lovely jog in the morning while picking sand dollars and other shells along the way.

Beach Amenities:

  • Full-service beach area called Del Beach with luxury lounge chairs, umbrellas, half-moon cabanettes and day beds for full-day rental
  • Chairside drink and food ordering available at Del Beach (it’s the only place where alcoholic drinks are permitted, FYI)
  • Stand-up paddle board and surf lessons
  • Early morning yoga on the beach and outdoor beachside spinning classes.
  • A beachside boardwalk in front of the hotel perfect for riding bikes and surreys (rentals are available)
  • Private beach bonfires with s’more roasting
  • Boogie board, surfboard and skim board rentals

Resort Amenities:

  • DelVentures activity center for ages 5-12 featuring, 3-hour evening activities and 1-hour activities on weekends that include Art Labs, Weird Science Adventures and more
  • Sundae’s at the Del ice cream treats on site
  • Water toys and fun in the main pool
  • Summer s’mores and dive-in movie nights
  • 17 shops to browse (Babcock & Story is my personal favorite)
  • Several beachfront dining and cocktail areas with amazing sunset views
  • San Diego’s best Sunday brunch in the Crown Room
  • Family portraits arranged through the Concierge
  • Full-service Spa at The Del
  • Adults-only pool

Good to Know:  The resort has over 750 rooms and can feel very busy during peak times as residents and tourists visit the shops and restaurants, too. It is not a good choice for people looking for a quiet getaway but it is extremely popular with families (kids love it). The hotel is often categorized as a luxury resort, and in many aspects it is, but it’s truly a four-star property. People who are the happiest in residence here book in knowing it can be busy, they want a great full-service beachfront resort with great food, and aren’t fussy about being waited on hand and foot.

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, about a 30-minute walk). 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.

I have also written a very detailed guide to Hotel Del Coronado that addresses how to select a room and much more. A $200 million renovation is underway and construction is visible around the resort. You can read more about it here (click under terms and conditions) but guests continue to book in and have a great time. Book ocean view rooms if possible (avoid resort view for now as they may overlook construction).

Awards: AAA Four Diamonds, Top 100 Resort Spas in the United States, Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Poll, 2015 and many more

Reservations: Virtuoso amenities I can secure for you (at no additional cost) include:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability (room upgrades are not possible in Beach Village)
  • Daily Buffet breakfast, for up to two in-room guests (value is around $100 as it includes tax and gratuity)
  • $100 USD Equivalent Spa Services credit (not combinable, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

More often than not, the Virtuoso rate I can secure for you is far more beneficial than anything else out there.

Book on Hilton Book a Virtuoso Rate*

*If on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Full Site” to access rates and booking. Do not input your children as it will price them as adults. Just mention how many kids you’re traveling with (and ages) in the notes section and I’ll take care of it. Virtuoso is usually always the best rate for Hotel Del Coronado if you plan to eat breakfast on the resort.

(Note: There is also a Loews Coronado which is waterfront on the bay and usually less expensive than Hotel Del Coronado. Note that you need to take a shuttle to the ocean beach or walk 10 minutes and it is a little isolated. If a beach is a priority, stay at The Del.)


Paradise Point Resort and Spa

 

Neighborhood: Mission Bay

Beach: Mission Bay Beach

Why go: You’d like a secluded tropical resort experience that is great for all types of travelers, especially those with families, with a fascinating history. Paradise Point, a Destination Hotel, is a 462-room bungalow-style resort set on Mission Bay that was established in 1962 by famous Hollywood Director Jack Skirball. The 44-acre resort feels like a tropical island and has over one-mile of beach encircling the resort, five swimming pools, tranquil lagoons in addition to lush tropical gardens. Even though it’s quite close to the airport SeaWorld, downtown and Mission Beach, the resort has a secluded feel. The bay beach here is an excellent San Diego beach for kids (no waves).

Beach Amenities:
  • Bonfire pits
  • Beach games like volleyball, bocce ball and horseshoes
  • Beach toys and accessories available for purchase at the Island Market
  • Paradise Surf Academy
Resort Amenities:
  • Five swimming pools including an adults-only pool
  • 462 Balinese-inspired bungalow rooms including 73 suites with private patios, mini refrigerators,  and in-room coffee (suites have wet bars and microwaves)
  • A full service marina with sailboats and ski boats
  • Wakeboarding, waterskiing, kayaks, paddle boats and fishing
  • 18-hole putting golf course
  • Five dining venues including two waterfront restaurants
  • NBA-size basketball court
  • 4 championship tennis courts
  • 9-wicket croquet course and ping-pong table
  • Beach cruisers, quadracycle surreys, and longboard skateboard rentals
  • Award-winning, island-themed spa with kids’ treatments
  • Seasonal SeaWorld water taxi
  • Pet-friendly to 15 lbs or less
  • Seasonal kids’ clubs

Good to Know: You’re also going to read mixed reviews of this resort, like other Mission Bay resorts, many of which were written before rooms were renovated (some are still not renovated so be sure to book rooms or suites that have been). The resort is quite large, so there can be a decent amount of walking though golf cart rides are available. You will have to drive 15 minutes or so to the ocean beach in Mission Bach as it is not walkable from here. It is possible to walk to the front entrance of SeaWorld in about 15 minutes.

Awards: Condé Nast Travelers Readers’ Choice

Reservations:

Check Rates and Reviews

Bahia Resort Hotel

 

 

Neighborhood: Mission Beach

Beach: Mission Bay Beach

Why Go: You’d like a family-friendly hotel near SeaWorld and Mission Beach that is good value for money. Couples will enjoy the resort atmosphere and proximity to Mission Beach’s dining and nightlife as well as downtown.

The Mediterranean-themed Bahia Resort Hotel is Mission Bay’s first hotel. It’s located on a secluded 14-acre peninsula that juts out into Mission Bay and has its private bay beach. It’s a sister property to The Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa (listed below). Guests can walk to Belmont Park, San Diego’s beachfront theme park, as well as the beach and boardwalk in about 10 minutes or less depending on where you are at the resort.

Beach Amenities:

  • Private bay beach
  • Rentals of wetsuits, boogie boards and rafts, paddle boats, kayaks, powerboats, wave runners/sea-dos
  • Seasonal summer beach concerts and clambakes
  • Complimentary cabanas
  • Seasonal kids’ beach activities

Resort Amenities:

  • 314-rooms which include beach-front cottages, studios with panoramic views, and spacious bayside suites
  • Bayfront suites have direct beach access and studios offer full kitchens and dining areas
  • Driver service to The Catamaran Spa
  • Two complimentary lighted tennis courts
  • Heated swimming pool with Jacuzzi
  • The Bahia Belle Stearnwheeler boat which takes guests on family hour and cocktail cruises
  • Pond with ducks and two rescued seals (kids will love them)
  • No resort fees and complimentary parking
  • A Moroccan-inspired lounge with live music
  • Fitness center
  • Lots of summer activities

Good to Know: The hotel has a reputation for fantastic service and great value for money without the fuss. It is a three-star property. Parking is free and, there is no resort fee

Reservations:

Check Rates and Reviews

Blue Sea Beach Hotel

 

Neighborhood: Pacific Beach

Beach: Pacific Beach

Why Go: This is a good choice for people who want to be on the beach, in the middle of the action and in a newly renovated boutique hotel. Simply step over the boardwalk and directly into the sand. It’s not the fanciest option but it’s comfortable and considered good value for its location and amenities.

Resort Amenities:

  • 126 Rooms and suites
  • In-room coffee, mini refrigerators, 37″ TVs, free local calls, free WiFi
  • Most rooms have ocean views
  • Grab-N-Go pantry in the lobby
  • Newly-upgraded pool deck with heated pool and spa
  • Fresh afternoon cookies and water
  • Bike rentals

Good to Know: Pacific Beach is busy here and tends to skew a bit younger, but guests report that noise is low if booking a room away from the street. Guests also say that the partial ocean view is still fantastic.

Awards: TripAdvisor Hall of Fame

Reservations:

Check Rates and Reviews

Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa

Neighborhood: Mission Beach

Beach: Mission Bay Beach (Pacific Ocean beach is across the street)

Why Go: You’d like a laid-back tropical feel and the best of both worlds: A gorgeous San Diego Bay beach with calm water and water sports and the Pacific Ocean just steps away. The Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa with its Polynesian-inspired decor, lush landscaping, koi pond and tiki torches really does feel like a touch of Hawaii in San Diego. This San Diego beach hotel offers the city’s only beachfront spa and more activities than any other Mission Bay resort.

Beach Amenities:

  • Seasonal SUP Yoga on the bay.
  • Summertime luaus and beach movies
  • Beachside Yoga
  • Surfing, sailing and SUP lessons in addition to kayaks and wake boarding
  • Beach chairs and umbrellas for guest use
  • Beachfront restaurant

Resort Amenities:

  • Each guest room and suite has a private balcony or patio as well as water or tropical water views.
  • Studios have kitchenettes
  • The resort’s Bahia Belle Sternwheeler boat takes guests on family hour and cocktail cruises
  • A fantastic spa based on Polynesian, Thai and a variety of other South Pacific traditions
  • Bicycle and Segway rentals onsite
  • Complimentary arcade
  • Pool
  • Excellent dining at Oceana and the onsite coffee shop
  • Tropical bird show with resident birds (kids also love the turtles in the ponds)

Good to Know: Stay in the Towers if you would like an ocean view. The location is walkable to fun and funky restaurants in Mission Beach and even Pacific Beach. Book early as this resort will sell out in summer. They do offer long stay rates on their website.

Awards: TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

Reservations:

Check Rates and Reviews

Surfer Beach Hotel

The Surfer Beach Hotel is in Pacific Beach near the border of Mission Beach. The no-frills hotel sits on the boardwalk, which means that views are spectacular and ocean breezes are guaranteed. Rooms are comfortable and clean. World Famous restaurant is next door (great for fish tacos – make a reservation). The building is older, but this is certainly one of the most affordable oceanfront San Diego hotels.

Hotel Amenities:

  • Family rooms can sleep up to 6 people
  • Suites with kitchens and separate living areas are available
  • In-room coffee and microwaves are available in some rooms
  • Complimentary wireless internet
  • Complimentary hot beverages in the lobby
  • In-room mini refrigerator
  • Ironing boards and hair dryers on request in standard rooms
  • Parking is $17/$10 if booked direct
  • Heated ocean view swimming pool
  • Pets less than 50 lbs are welcome
  • Coin-operated laundry
  • An activity desk

Good to Know: There are incentives for booking directly through the hotel including the reduced parking rate mentioned above, complimentary bottled water upon check-in, and more.

Awards: 2016 Fido’s Favorite Award Winner

Reservations:

Check Rates and Reviews

Crystal Pier Hotel

crystal pier hotel pacific beach

 

Neighborhood: Pacific Beach

Beach: Pacific Beach (Crystal Pier separates North Pacific Beach from Pacific Beach)

Why go: You’d like to sleep over the ocean in one of San Diego’s most unique hotels. Built in 1930, the Cape Cod-style cottages are located on privately-owned Crystal Pier. You will hear the waves roll in and out underneath the pier. The beach below offers expansive flat sand and access to the popular boardwalk for biking and beachside walks. The nearby area is packed with fun bars, restaurants and beach life so staying on the pier provides a little respite. Walk a bit north from the pier to hit the Tourmaline Surfing Park, a local favorite.

Beach Amenities:

  • Easy access to one of the best beaches in San Diego
  • The pier is one of the best places in San Diego to fish (with a valid license)

Hotel Amenities:

  • Cottages have kitchenettes, private patios and individual parking (the latter is handy during peak season)
  • Cottage sizes range from studios to two bedrooms
  • Gated key night entry for safety
  • No onsite dining but you don’t need it. Kono’s is steps from the entrance and a fabulous spot, among others.

Good to Know:  Depending on tides, all cottages may not be over water but either way, because the waves are loud this may not be a good choice for light sleepers. The pier is open to the public during the day.

Awards: TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

Reservations: Reservations are only taken by phone. Summer reservations are recommended at least 11 months out and winter reservations are recommended at least 4-6 out. There is a 2-night minimum in winter, 3-night minimum in summer and 4-night minimum during holidays. Call (800) 748-5894 for pricing and reservations. Rates range between $175 – $525 per night. You can read the reviews online, however.


Tower23 Hotel

JRDN restaurant patio in Pacific Beach

Neighborhood: Pacific Beach

Beach: Pacific Beach

Why Go: You’d like a luxe couples or friends getaway. Tower23 Hotel is for people who want a modern boutique San Diego hotel on the beach with great food, service, and cocktails in a lively part of town. It borders the Strand, a popular walkway alongside the sand for jogging and bike riding.

Beach Amenities:

  • WiFi extends to the part of the beach near the hotel
  • Complimentary chairs and towels

Hotel Amenities:

  • 44 Rooms and suites equipped with “Serenity Beds”, rain showers, flat screen TVs, Xbox centers, private balcony or patio
  • Complimentary WiFi
  • In-room spa treatments
  • JRDN Restaurant – popular also with locals
  • Oceanfront with a raw bar and great cocktails
  • Combine rooms to create a two-bedroom suite
  • Complimentary bikes for all ages

Good to Know: While kids will love the proximity to the beach, this hotel is geared mostly toward couples who would like a lively, upscale beach scene. There is no pool but rather a deck area with lounge chairs facing the beach.

Awards: Best Hotel Restaurant (California Restaurant Association), TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

Reservations:

Tip: Book through Mr. and Mrs. Smith to receive a welcome glass of sparkling wine, plus breakfast vouchers if you’re a SilverSmith or GoldSmith member.

Book with Perks

Pacific Terrace Hotel

Neighborhood: Pacific Beach

Beach: Pacific Beach

Why go: You’d like a beachfront Pacific Beach hotel in an ever-so-slightly-quieter location than the others on this list. This is by far the most upscale choice in the area and popular when the La Jolla Beach hotels are sold out or too expensive.

Beach Amenities (included with the $15/night resort fee):

  • Beach chair and umbrella rentals
  • Boogie boards and sand toys

Hotel Amenities:

  • Complimentary beach cruisers
  • Heated outdoor pool with cabanas and hot tub
  • Massage therapy services
  • Guest laundry
  • Limited room service
  • Breakfast for hotel guests (no onsite restaurant)

Awards: AAA Four Diamonds

Good to Know: It’s situated on a small bluff which but all you have to do is walk down a small stairway to the beach. Pacific Beach draws a diverse crowd that is mostly young-at-heart and doesn’t suit most luxury travlers. This hotel is closer to Law Street beach than the others on this list which is very popular with families. The hotel has a two-room family suite. Extra beds are blow-up beds and not traditional rollaway beds.

Check Rates and Reviews

La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club (Top Pick)

Neighborhood: La Jolla

Beach: La Jolla Shores

Why Go: You’d like a quieter beachfront vacation with the comforts of home or are traveling with a large or extended family and need accommodations to fit everyone. Or, perhaps, you want to drink an adult beverage on the beach, you can on their private beach here. These exclusive accommodations are part of a members-only club located on La Jolla Shores Beach. It’s one of San Diego’s best spots for snorkeling, learning to surf, SUP, kayaking and much more and is also within walking distance to its quiet business district full of restaurants and shops. Go here for a truly unique San Diego beach experience and is VERY family-friendly.

Beach Amenities:

  • One of San Diego’s only private beaches
  • Complimentary use of chairs, towels and umbrellas
  • Seasonal cabanas and beach fireplaces
  • Food and beverage service on the sand
  • Beach barbecues and parties

Resort Amenities:

  • Rooms range from studios to three bedroom suites; many are beachfront
  • Full-size kitchens
  • Extended stay options available
  • Complimentary WiFi
  • Fitness Center
  • Tennis Courts
  • Par-3 golf course
  • Heated pool
  • Summer kids’ club for ages 3 – 10
  • Water sports available from a variety of companies within walking distance
  • Easy access to The Marine Room and The Shores Restaurant, two of San Diego’s best restaurants

Good to Know: This members-only club has 99 rooms that can fit up to 8 people. It books up quickly during the summer but is also incredibly good value in winter. It’s the kind of place that generations return every year for a family holiday. The buildings are a bit dated, but the accommodation interiors have been mostly refreshed. While accommodations are not fancy, they do suit many luxury travelers because they like the special experience and private beach. It’s one of the best places for a big family beach vacation or an extended holiday in the upscale community of La Jolla.

Reservations:

Check Rates and Reviews

La Jolla Shores Hotel

 

Neighborhood: La Jolla

Beach: La Jolla Shores

Why Go: You’d like to base the family in La Jolla (near UCSD) at a San Diego beach hotel that won’t break the bank. La Jolla Shores beach is also one of the best places to learn how to surf, stand-up paddle board 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, take a 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. It is incredibly popular with families.

Beach Amenities:

  • A flat, sandy beach
  • Complimentary beach chairs, umbrellas, and towels.
  • Evening beach barbecues available by reservation (BYO food or order from their beach cookout shopping list for delivery)

Hotel Amenities:

  • 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.
  • Small fitness center
  • In-room massages
  • 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
  • Courtesy shuttle to nearby attractions including Birch Aquarium

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. It’s located next door to the La Jolla Beach and Tennis club and while not fancy, it’s fantastic.

Awards: TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

Reservations:

Check Rates and Reviews

L’Auberge Del Mar

Neighborhood: Del Mar

Beach: Del Mar (across the street from the hotel)

Why Go: L’Auberge Del Mar is a luxury boutique hotel that is reminiscent of a private, coastal estate. It’s the best option for people who want to stay in the heart of Del Mar where many great restaurants and shops are all within walking distance. It is across the street from the beach but has its own walkway to it. The spa is excellent as well.

Beach Amenities:

  • A seasonal beach butler that sets up chairs, umbrellas, towels for guests
  • Beach picnics available for ordering
  • Beach gear like kids, Frisbees, body boards and sand pails

Hotel Amenities:

  • 121 guest rooms including seven suites ranging from 500–1222 square feet
  • All rooms have coastal, garden or village views with balconies or patios, in-room coffee service, complimentary newspapers, WiFi, 42″ flat screen TVs, sitting area/desk, iHome stereo systems
  • Interiors are decorated with a beach casual, upscale chic look by the exclusive Barclay Butera
  • Some guests rooms have fireplaces
  • Fitness facility
  • Full-service, beach house-style spa
  • Dogs are welcome
  • Several excellent onsite dining options, including Kitchen 1540
  • Beach cruisers available onsite
  • Two lighted championship tennis courts

Good to Know: The hotel is an excellent option for families but tends to welcome quite a few couples for romantic getaways. The beach is across the street but easy to access.

Awards: AAA Four Diamond Award, #1 Hotel in Southern California (Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards), U.S. News and World Report’s Best Hotels of 2015, 2016

Reservations:

Check Rates and Reviews

Beach Terrace Inn

Neighborhood: Carlsbad

Beach: Carlsbad

Why Go: This laid-back hotel has been owned by the same family since the 1960s and is the only hotel located directly on the beach in North County. Tucked away at the end of a quiet residential road, they’ve opted to stay a small hotel with big rooms rather than a more prominent hotel with smaller rooms. The property has recently been redesigned with lovely interiors influenced by the beach location. There are not a lot of upcharges here as quite a bit is included in the room rate.

Beach Amenities:

  • A private beach entrance
  • Complimentary beach chairs, towels, and umbrellas
  • Complimentary use of boogie boards and kids toys (buckets, shovels, and sand castle toys)
  • Fitness pack for beach walks
  • Complimentary Sunday morning beach yoga

Resort Amenities:

  • Updated modern-yet-comfortable rooms with 42″ plasma TVs, luxurious linens, complimentary Solar Rain bottled water, in-room coffee
  • WiFi, newspapers, parking and continental breakfast included in rate
  • In-room massages and facials using naturally and organically sourced products
  • Heated pool and whirlpool with ocean views
  • In-room wet bar and refrigerator
  • Eco-friendly bath amenities
  • Pillow menu

Good to Know: I haven’t yet been to this hotel, but I’ve only heard positive feedback. Pay attention to room choice as, for example, the best views are from the rooms labeled Ocean Front (about 80% of inventory) while Cabana Rooms open up to the pool and are not ideal for small children.

Awards: TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

Reservations:

Check Rates and Reviews

Cape Rey Carlsbad, a Hilton Hotel

 

Neighborhood: Carlsbad

Beach: South Carlsbad State Beach

Why go: This is not your average Hilton property. Cape Rey Carlsbad has an upbeat vibe catered to those who are adventurous at heart. It’s wildly popular with families due to its location, friendly staff and long list of activities. The hotel has a modern, California Craftsman”style design to play off of its oceanfront location (it is across the street from the beach).

Beach Amenities:

  • Famous South Ponto surf break is across the street
  • A beach pack available for purchase with an umbrella, two chairs, two towels and bottled water.
  • Seasonal beach butler service
  • Surf excursions available for booking though the onsite Director of Adventure (concierge)

Hotel Amenities:

  • A pretty robust events calendar that even locals take advantage of
  • Chandler’s restaurant, which serves California cuisine
  • Some rooms have partial or full ocean views.
  • Complimentary WiFi
  • Rooms have 42″ TVs with premium channels, Paul Mitchell bath amenities, Hilton Serenity Beds, microwaves, mini fridges, in-room coffee
  • Dogs under 25 lbs are welcome
  • Full-service Ocean Crest Spa
  • Ocean view pool with jacuzzi and cabanas
  • Bike rentals
  • Complimentary shuttle within a 10 mile radius (including to LEGOLAND)
  • Complimentary morning coffee and tea in the lobby
  • Fitness center

Good to Know: It is across a busy street from the beach.

Awards: TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, AAA Four Diamond Award

Reservations: The best way to book this hotel is with a Hilton Honors discount (free to join).

Book on Hilton

Southern California Beach Club

Neighborhood: Oceanside

Beach: Pier View South

Why Go: This is a great oceanfront location in Oceanside that is about a 5-minute walk to Oceanside Pier. Southern California Beach Club is a vacation rental property that is a Grand Pacific Resort (we stayed recently at Grand Pacific Palisades near LEGOLAND) with condos that range in size from studios to two bedrooms.

Condo Amenities:

  • Every condo has a private patio or balcony
  • Units have fully-stocked kitchens
  • WiFi is available
  • All are non-smoking
  • Kids’ club
  • 24-hour room service

Good to Know: This is for people who like the comforts of home. It is an older property and does not have air conditioning (it’s not always necessary near the beach anyway).

Awards: TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

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6 thoughts on “17 Best San Diego Hotels on the Beach

  1. HELP! Your reviews of the best of the best in San Diego has by far been the most informative. However, I am still having a heck of a time deciding where is best to stay. We (2 adults, 1 – 5yo) are planning to visit San Diego in July but are flexible with the dates. From this page and other sites I have reviewed it seems as though the Catamaran and the Hotel Del Coronado are excellent choices. I love the idea of the studio with a kitchenette at the Cat but the HDC sounds lovely too. We will be renting a car to travel to the attractions (Legoland, Torrey Pines, etc.) so we want to be on the beach. I am beyond overwhelmed at making a decision. Is Coronado that much more appealing than La Jolla? Is La Jolla easier and withing walking distance to more family friendly eats, etc. Any insight you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi! The Catamaran is in Pacific Beach which is south than La Jolla. I would say which you choose really depends on budget (factor in parking and resort fees, too) as The Del’s rates are usually higher but it is regarded as a nicer resort. You’ll need a car in either place though as San Diego is quite spread out. Both The Catamaran and Hotel Del Coronado are within walking distance to restaurants… Coronado is slightly more family-friendly. Pacific Beach can be a younger college student or young working professional crowd and while many families stay here, you may notice the demographic is a bit young and eclectic. Many families stay in PB regardless and The Catamaran will sell out as it does have the most activities of any Mission Bay hotel and it prices well for its location. You can always email me with specific questions – katie @ lajollamom . com

  2. Which hotel would you suggest that is on the beach and small dog friendly. I would love to be able to walk my dog on the beach. Any suggestions also for restaurants that are pet friendly. Thanks so much

    1. Hi Jen. Surfer Beach Hotel is small dog friendly as is Paradise Point Resort (though this is on a bay beach). Truthfully, most restaurants with patios are dog-friendly these days (we love our dogs here in San Diego). We take our dog often to PB Fish Shop.

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