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

The hotels and resorts I have reviewed on this list are chosen because of their easy beach access, great amenities, and the wide range of things to do within walking distance. They also provide major conveniences — no need to struggle with beach parking for starters. It’s easy to spend an entire vacation in one of these spots without hopping into a car.

Why This Hotel List Is Different

Unlike other online lists and reviews of San Diego beach hotels and resorts, this one is based on:

  • my personal experience.
  • feedback from clients and readers.
  • insight from VIP contacts that I have at most of these properties that I work with directly.

I live in San Diego, but I’ve also lived in a luxury hotel so I know what a good stay should be like.

What to Know Before Booking Beach Hotels in San Diego

Note that there are two types of San Diego beaches — bay beaches and ocean beaches. Some bayside hotels also provide easy access to the ocean beaches which gives their 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. In my opinion, they’re worth it. It is also possible to find them at an excellent value in winter, and we San Diego residents still use the beach (albeit a bit differently) during these months.

My list of best San Diego hotels on the beach is listed from south to north. Within each listing, you’ll find advice regarding how to book and tips based on feedback I’ve received from readers, guests, and my own personal experience. You have access to VIP perks through my affiliations at some of these properties, too. If you book using my links, I may receive a commission.

Pier South Resort

Neighborhood: Imperial Beach
Beach: Imperial Beach

A king room interior with coastal colors and an ocean view at Pier South Resort, a San Diego beachfront hotel.
Photo courtesy of Pier South Resort

Why Go: Pier South Resort is a modern oceanfront hotel in the up-and-coming Imperial Beach neighborhood. It’s 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 in this location, but it can price well given that it’s oceanfront. Some readers have reported signs of wear and inefficiencies lately.

Reservations:

Book a Vacation PackageHotel + Theme Park Tickets

Beach Village at The Del (Top Pick)

Neighborhood: Coronado
Beach: Coronado Central Beach

Best beach hotels in San Diego: Beach Village at The Del buildings are separated from the beach by a boardwalk.
Photo courtesy of Beach Village at The Del
View of the ocean through the windows of a designer Beach Village residence, a best hotel in San Diego on the beach.
Photo courtesy of Beach Village at The Del

Why Go: You want the most luxurious beach vacation possible in San Diego. Beach Village is a private enclave at Hotel del Coronado with designer rooms, suites, and cottages. Only guests of Beach Village have access to its pools (though Hotel del Coronado guests can use the Beach Village Main Pool through May 2020 while the main resort’s pool is being renovated), common areas, and Windsor Cottage. It is quieter than staying on the main resort and popular for groups and multigenerational travel because most cottages have full kitchens. Accommodations range from rooms to three-bedroom cottages.

Beach Amenities:

  • Access to the members-only Windsor Beach club with food and drink service, and posh sofas and sand chairs styled by Room & Board (Memorial Day through Labor Day)
  • 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 on the sand
  • Access to nearby stand-up paddleboard 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 (main resort guests can use them during Hotel del Coronado’s pool closure through May 2020)
  • Secluded plunge pools and hot tubs scattered throughout the property
  • Cottages with outdoor hot tubs
  • Designer cottages with designer appliances

Good to Know: A $400 million renovation is underway at Hotel del Coronado. Impact on Beach Village guests is limited to closures on the main resort that guests may have otherwise taken advantage of such as the spa and some restaurants that will reopen in June 2020.

The cottages closest to the beach border the boardwalk so you will see people on bikes and walking. There are no connecting rooms here so larger families and groups need to opt for a suite, two-bedroom or three-bedroom. You can read more about why Beach Village at The Del is right for your vacation.

Awards: TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence (2019)

Reservations: You can book into both Hotel del Coronado and Beach Village at The Del with Virtuoso amenities that add value to your stay. You’re usually better off booking the Virtuoso rate because the included breakfast for two 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) — this will be a $100 resort credit while the spa renovates between February 18–May 2020
  • 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 Central Beach

View over the Del Beach chairs to the historic Victorian Building at Hotel Del Coronado, the best San Diego resort on the beach.
Ocean View Victorian Room interior at Hotel del Coronado
Victorian room interior (Photo courtesy of Hotel del Coronado)

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 beachfront hotels, but it’s also located on one of the best San Diego beaches. Waves usually break gently here and San Diego tide pools reveal themselves at low tides. You can learn how to surf steps from the hotel and admire crazy-ornate sandcastles built by the locally-famous Sandcastle Man. 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 also possible to enjoy a lovely jog in the morning while picking sand dollars and other shells along the way. The list of benefits goes on.

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 on the beach, FYI)
  • Stand-up paddleboard 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 behind the resort)
  • Private beach bonfires with s’more roasting (reservations required)
  • Boogie board, surfboard, and skimboard rentals
  • Seasonal movie nights on the beach

Resort Amenities:

  • Sundae’s at the Del ice cream treats onsite in addition to other fantastic dining outlets
  • Water toys and fun in the main pool (reopening after May 2020)
  • 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 (closed until May 2020)
  • Seasonal adults-only pool
  • New Cabana Building rooms, some with fire pits, that are open for booking starting in June 2020
  • Read our list of favorite things to do in the resort

Good to Know:  Before booking, please read my detailed guide and Hotel del Coronado review that addresses how to select a room and much more. A $400 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).

The resort has over 750 rooms and can feel very busy during peak times as residents and tourists visit the shops and restaurants, too. Guests 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.

Awards: AAA Four Diamonds (2015-2019), Top Resorts in Southern California — Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Poll, 2018 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.

Note: If your stay falls between now and December 2020, please book into the Victorian or Cabana buildings due to renovation work near the Ocean Towers. The main pool will also be closed from September 26, 2019 to July 19, 2020.

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

Note: This property will become a Margaritaville resort.

Neighborhood: Mission Bay
Beach: Mission Bay Beach (the ocean beach is about a 15-minute drive away)

An aerial shot of Paradise Point Resort and Spa, a bay beachfront hotel in San Diego.
Photo courtesy of Paradise Point Resort and Spa
A suite at Paradise Point Resort, a San Diego beach hotel.
Photo courtesy of Paradise Point Resort and Spa

Why go: You’d like a secluded, casual tropical resort experience that is great for all types of travelers, especially those with families, with a fascinating history. You also don’t mind a bay beach versus an ocean beach (the rates reflect this).

Paradise Point Resort and Spa 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.

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 (accessible by boat to Mission Beach)

Resort Amenities:

  • Five swimming pools including an adults-only pool
  • 462 Balinese-inspired bungalow rooms including 73 suites with private patios, minirefrigerators,  and in-room coffee (suites have wet bars and microwaves)
  • A full-service marina with sailboats and ski boats
  • Wakeboarding, waterskiing, kayaks, paddleboats, 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
  • Pet-friendly to 15 lbs or less
  • Island Adventure Club, a supervised weekend evening kids’ club for ages 4 and older

Good to Know: 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 Beach as it is not walkable from here. It is possible to walk to the front entrance of SeaWorld San Diego in about 15 minutes.

Awards: San Diego Magazine Readers’ Choice Best Kid/Family Friendly Hotel 2019

Reservations:

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Bahia Resort Hotel

Neighborhood: Mission Beach
Beach: Mission Bay Beach (10-minute walk to Mission Beach)

A bayside room at Bahia Resort Hotel, one of San Diego's best beachfront hotels
Photo courtesy of Bahia Resort Hotel
An aerial view of Bahia Resort Hotel, one of San Diego's best family beach hotels.
Photo courtesy of Bahia Resort Hotel

Why Go: You’d like a family-friendly hotel near SeaWorld San Diego and Mission Beach that is a 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 Sternwheeler 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:

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Blue Sea Beach Hotel

Neighborhood: Pacific Beach
Beach: Pacific Beach

View of the boardwalk and beach from a room patio at Blue Sea Beach Hotel, one of the best beach hotels in San Diego.
Photo courtesy of Blue Sea Beach Hotel
King room interior with neutral contemporary decor at Blue Sea Beach Hotel in San Diego.
Photo courtesy of Blue Sea Beach Hotel

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 contemporary, moderately-priced (for the location) 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.

Beach Amenities:

  • Lessons by Pacific Beach Surf School right in front of the hotel (additional fee applies)

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.

Reservations:

Book a Vacation Packagehotel + theme park tickets

Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa

Neighborhood: Mission Beach
Beach: Mission Bay Beach (the ocean beach is across the street)

A room at the Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa that opens up to the bay beach.
Photo courtesy of Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa
The stunning bay beach at the Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa, a family-friendly San Diego beach hotel.
Photo courtesy of Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa

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 in addition to 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 wakeboarding
  • 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.

Reservations:

Book a Vacation Packagehotel + theme park tickets

Crystal Pier Hotel

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

View of Crystal Pier and one of its cottages over the water in 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.

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 months 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.


The Beach Cottages

Neighborhood: Pacific Beach
Beach: Pacific Beach

Why go: You are looking for cheap beach hotels in San Diego. The Beach Cottages have been family-owned and operated since 1948 offer one- and two-bedroom Cottages and Apartments, Studios, Suites, and Motel Rooms. Every accommodation except for the Motel Rooms has full kitchens, making these a popular extended stay option that is walkable to shops, dining, Crystal Pier, and more fun.

Hotel Amenities:

  • Onsite fire pit
  • Coin-operated washers and dryers
  • Courtyard barbecues for guest use (first-come, first-serve)
  • Shuffleboard and ping pong
  • Complimentary morning coffee and tea

Good to Know: You can rent by the day and get free parking if you book direct. Many repeat guests return year after year.

Awards: TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

Reservations:

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Tower23 Hotel

Neighborhood: Pacific Beach
Beach: Pacific Beach

The interior and tub inside the Tower23 Serenity Suite in Pacific Beach.
Photo courtesy of Tower23
View of Tower23 Hotel in Pacific Beach from the ocean.
Photo courtesy of Tower23

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: TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

Reservations:

Book a Vacation Packagehotel + theme park tickets

Pacific Terrace Hotel

Neighborhood: Pacific Beach
Beach: Pacific Beach

A family suite interior at Pacific Terrace Hotel on the beach in San Diego.
Photo courtesy of Pacific Terrace Hotel
Aerial view over the pool to the beach at Pacific Terrace Inn, one of the best San Diego hotels on the beach.
Photo courtesy of Pacific Terrace Hotel

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

Beach Amenities (included with the $18/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
  • Hot breakfast buffet (no room service breakfast)
  • Poolside bites and room service are available from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
  • Complimentary afternoon cookies

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 some luxury travelers. Compared to other nearby hotels in San Diego on the beach, this one is closer to Law Street beach which is very popular with local families, including ours. Larger families should look at the two-room family suite. Extra beds are blow-up beds ($20/night fee applies) and not traditional rollaway beds.

Book a Vacation Packagehotel + theme park tickets

La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club

Neighborhood: La Jolla
Beach: La Jolla Shores

A family walks out on to the beach at La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club, one of my favorite San Diego hotels on the beach.
Photo courtesy of La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club
Guest bedroom interior in coastal colors at La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club.
Photo courtesy of La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club

Why Go: You’d like a quieter beachfront vacation with the comforts of home or are traveling with extended family and need accommodations that can fit everyone. Or, perhaps, you want to drink an adult beverage on the beach which you can here on their private beach. This members-only club has 99 rooms that non-members can book, some of which can fit up to 8 people. It’s about as close to the beach as a hotel room can get in San Diego as beachfront rooms are steps from or on the sand.

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. You can walk a few blocks to a relaxed business district with restaurants and shops. Check-in here for a truly unique San Diego beach experience and a very family-friendly vacation.

Beach Amenities:

  • One of San Diego’s only private beaches
  • Complimentary use of chairs, towels, and umbrellas
  • Food and beverage service on the sand
  • Beach barbecues and parties
  • Beachfront rooms and suites that are a stone’s throw from the sand

Resort Amenities:

  • Overnight guest access to all club amenities
  • Accommodations range from studios to three-bedroom suites; many are beachfront and/or have full-sized 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
  • No resort fee and complimentary parking

Good to Know: It books up quickly during the summer when many dates have a 7-night minimum stay, but it also can be incredibly good value during off-peak dates. It’s the kind of place that generations return to every year for a family holiday. The buildings are a bit dated on the exterior, but the accommodation interiors have been casually refreshed. While the decor is basic, accommodations suit many luxury travelers because they like the intimate experience and private beach. Beachfront room guests should be prepared to hear the ocean rumble at night and beach barbecue smoke may waft into your room — it’s all part of the beach experience.

Awards: TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

Reservations:

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La Jolla Shores Hotel

Neighborhood: La Jolla
Beach: La Jolla Shores

Interior view of La Jolla Shores Hotel beachfront rooms in a coastal palette.
Photo courtesy of La Jolla Shores Hotel
Aerial view of La Jolla Shores Hotel on the beach in San Diego
Photo courtesy of La Jolla Shores Hotel

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 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, 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. It’s next door to La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club and owned by the same family.

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 next door
  • It’s an eco-friendly hotel
  • Tennis lessons on two courts by USPTA pros.
  • Small fitness center
  • In-room massages
  • Kellogg Park playground 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 popular when La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club is sold out or pricing higher. While not fancy, it’s fantastic and the rooms were recently refreshed.

Awards: TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

Reservations:

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L’Auberge Del Mar

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

L'Auberge Del Mar Coastal King Fireplace Room interior.
Photo courtesy of L’Auberge Del Mar
L'Auberge Del Mar hotel pool with view to the Pacific Ocean.
Photo courtesy of L’Auberge Del Mar

Why Go: L’Auberge Del Mar is a 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, bodyboards 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. Coastal and Cabana Rooms face the interior of the hotel and are not exposed to the street side of the hotel where there can be street noise.

Awards: AAA Four Diamond Award (2015-2018), Condé Nast Traveler Top Hotels in Southern California: Readers’ Choice Awards 2019

Reservations: The Noble House VIP Select Rate includes a $30 Breakfast credit per person (up to 2 people) and a $100 one-time Spa credit applied to the resort’s best flexible rate (which you can check online). To book, I’ll need to know your dates and preferences via the form below.

Request a Noble House VIP Select Rate

Beach Terrace Inn

Neighborhood: Carlsbad
Beach: Carlsbad

A guest room bathroom at Beach Terrace Inn, one of the best San Diego hotels on the beach.
Photo courtesy of Beach Terrace Inn
A view of the pool deck overlooking the Carlsbad beach.
Photo courtesy of Beach Terrace Inn

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 lovely interiors are 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 sandcastle toys)
  • Fitness pack for beach walks
  • Complimentary Sunday morning beach yoga

Resort Amenities:

  • Contemporary rooms with 42″ plasma TVs, luxurious linens, complimentary Solar Rain bottled water, in-room coffee
  • WiFi, newspapers, parking and continental breakfast included in the 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: 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 may not be ideal for small children.

Awards: TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

Reservations:

Book a Vacation PackageLEGOLAND tickets + Hotel

Cape Rey Carlsbad, a Hilton Hotel

Neighborhood: Carlsbad
Beach: South Carlsbad State Beach

The pool at Cape Rey, an oceanfront San Diego hotel in Carlsbad, overlooks the beach.
Photo courtesy of Hilton Hotels and Resorts

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 across the street from the beach, friendly staff, and a 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 through 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
  • Oceanview 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: Connecting rooms are available by request and not guaranteed. It is across the 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

Coastal decor in a bedroom at Southern California Beach Resort a popular San Diego beachfront hotel.
Photo courtesy of Southern California Beach Club
Lounge chair on a deck overlooking the Oceanside beach.
Photo courtesy of Southern California Beach Club

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 with condos ranging 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 San Diego beachfront hotels with 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

Reservations:

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FAQs About San Diego Hotels on the Beach

There are a lot of San Diego hotels near the beach so planning a trip to this coastal city and picking the best spot can be hard to narrow down. To help with your decisions about where to stay and where to play, I’ve answered some of your most frequently asked questions.

Which beach hotels have pools?

All of the beach hotels on my list have pools except for Crystal Pier Hotel, which does not because it is located on a pier, and Tower23. We also have a list of the best hotel pools in San Diego that you can refer to but hotels like Pacific Terrace Inn have beachfront pools that overlook the beach, while the Catamaran Hotel Resort and Spa has a pool next to a game room for kids.

Do any of these hotels offer bikes and or beach equipment for guest use?

Yes, many of the San Diego hotels on the beach offer bike rentals (free or paid), such as the Catamaran Hotel Resort and Spa, Blue Sea Beach Hotel, and Tower23 Hotel. Pacific Terrace Hotel, Beach Terrace Inn, and the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club, among others, offer complimentary beach chairs, umbrellas, and towels for guests. 

Which beach hotels have surfing lessons nearby?

No trip to San Diego is complete without learning to stand up on a surfboard. Many of the hotels on this list are conveniently located near surf schools. Look into the San Diego surf lessons near the following hotels: Hotel del Coronado, L’ Auberge Del Mar, La Jolla Shores Hotels, La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club, and Pacific Terrace Hotel. 

Which beach hotels have nearby watersport rentals?

When you’re looking for an adventure on the water, stay at La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club or La Jolla Shores Hotel, both of which offer easy access to watersport rentals and access to the San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park. Mission Bay hotels like Catamaran Resort Hotel and Paradise Point also offer onsite watersport rentals for use on the bay.

Which beach hotels have free parking?

Avoid parking fees when you stay at La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club or Beach Terrace Inn. 

Do any of these hotels have free breakfast?

Yes! When we book you in as a Virtuoso or other VIP program guest, part of your inclusions at no extra cost to you, is complimentary breakfast for two at Hotel del Coronado and Beach Village at The Del.

Which San Diego beach hotels are near the airport?

The airport is not located along the beach, but Pacific Beach and Mission Beach are only about 7 miles away. For easy access to the tarmac, consider staying at hotels such as Pacific Terrace Hotel, Bahia Resort Hotel, or Paradise Point Resort and Spa. You can also refer to our list of best San Diego airport hotels.

Are there any beach hotels near the San Diego Zoo?

There is no beach located near the San Diego Zoo, but Hotel del Coronado is roughly a 15-minute drive away. 

Which beach hotels in San Diego are good for families?

While most of the hotels on this list cater to families, some of my favorites family-friendly choices include Hotel del Coronado, Beach Village at The Del, La Jolla Shores Hotel, La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club, Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa, and the Bahia Resort Hotel. Refer to my guide to the top family-friendly hotels in San Diego for much more detailed information. 

See also:

Are we missing any of your favorite San Diego beach hotels?

A guide to the best beach hotels in San Diego based on location and amenities.
Want to stay on the beach in San Diego? Here are the very best hotel options.

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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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