It makes perfect sense to base your vacation at one of the hotels near San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido if this popular attraction is the focus of your trip. You’ll also find other things to do in this part of North San Diego County, including wineries, breweries, golf, and other cultural activities.

This list includes one of my favorite boutique resorts, a lakeside resort with brand names you’ll recognize, and a selection of conveniently located budget hotels.


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What to Know Before Booking

The best Escondido hotels near San Diego Zoo Safari Park can be up to 25 minutes away. The closest measures about 10 minutes away from the park. They may be somewhat remote from top attractions in greater San Diego. However, they are perfect if the Safari Park is your main reason for visiting.

Escondido hotels near the Safari Park also work if you’d like to staycation or vacation in a different part of San Diego and take advantage of other nearby activities (more on these below).

Tip: San Diego Zoo Safari Park was known as the San Diego Wild Animal Park until 2010.

We Have Safari Park Vacation Packages!

And there are several to choose from. If a hotel participates in a Safari Park Vacation Package, I indicate that below. If it participates in other San Diego packages that include tickets to Safari Park and other attractions, we encourage you to browse.

Top Hotels Near San Diego Zoo Safari Park

1. Rancho Bernardo Inn

Distance to San Diego Zoo Safari Park: 7.6 miles

The spa pool at Rancho Bernardo Inn, one of the best luxury hotels in San Diego.
Photo courtesy of Rancho Bernardo Inn

Rancho Bernardo Inn San Diego is the luxury boutique hotel option on this list. It is located in peaceful Rancho Bernardo, on a golf course, and near a fantastic winery. 

The guest rooms are furnished with beautiful Spanish colonial decor and artwork. After a fun-filled day of sightseeing, retreat to your spacious, air-conditioned guest room or enjoy your select private patio or balcony. 

This is a destination resort you don’t have to leave if you don’t want to. In fact, I like it as a staycation option for San Diegans. I have enjoyed excellent massages at the spa. The products used there are made from organic and natural food-based ingredients. Before or after a treatment, one can chill at the spa’s adults-only pool in a cabana, enjoying light bites and cocktails from the menu.

Onsite dining is also excellent between AVANT restaurant, the Veranda outdoor lounge, and Cafe Granada. The hotel’s app elevates customer service by assisting with reservations and requests. The resort receives high star ratings and awards from major publications like US News and World Report and Wine Spectator. I think it’s one of the best hotels in San Diego for those who want luxury at a more wallet-friendly price.

Top amenities include: 

  • Seasonal kids’ activities 
  • Daily housekeeping 
  • Pool cabanas
  • Multiple restaurants
  • Golf course
  • Spa with pool and lounging facilities
  • Beautifully-landscaped grounds

2. Hyatt Vacation Club at the Welk

Distance to San Diego Zoo Escondido Safari Park: 18.6 miles

People enjoy a swimming pool at Welk Resorts San Diego at sunset.

Nestled among the majestic mountains in the valley of Escondido, the Hyatt Club at The Welk used to be known as Welk Resorts San Diego. It offers a fun getaway for active families. It’s the kind of resort where you can stay put, if you like, in one- to three-bedroom villas.

After visiting the San Diego Zoo Safari Park Escondido, enjoy a relaxing day around one of the eight pools spread across the five recreation centers. One of the pools has a 120-foot water slide and a children’s pool. If you enjoy golfing, tee off at one of the two 18-hole scenic golf courses. Don’t forget there is also a state-of-the-art fitness center with indoor rock climbing and fitness classes on offer. You can also take advantage of a variety of sports courts, including volleyball, basketball, pickleball, and tennis, in addition to horseshoes and archery.

When you’re not out exploring or enjoying the beautiful view, watch a Broadway-style production at the 339-seat Theatre at The Welk before or after a night around the fire pits.

Top amenities include: 

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi and parking
  • Multiple dining outlets
  • Two golf courses
  • Business center
  • Full-service spa
  • BBQ facilities
  • Swimming pools
  • Sports Yard

3. Lakehouse Resort San Marcos

Distance to San Diego Zoo Safari Park:  14.7 miles

A king room at Lakehouse San Marcos with a view over the lake.

The Lakehouse Hotel and Resort is meant to feel like a summer lake house on San Marcos’ sunny shores. The boutique hotel near San Diego Zoo Safari Park operates a private marina where travelers can check out kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, pontoons, and Duffys for a fun day out on the water.

Rooms in pretty coastal colors offer California king or two double beds. You can also choose the Adventure Suite with bunk beds for the kids. Many rooms offer lake or pool views that you can enjoy in the comfort of your luxe robe, perhaps after an in-room spa service.

An open-grill restaurant offers fine dining breakfast, lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch, as well as a coffee shop and lakeside bar. Pets are allowed if you’re looking to bring your furry family member. The resort fee includes a one-hour kayak, stand-up paddleboard, or bicycle rental, as well as the use of amenities such as tennis courts and a fitness center, parking, and a s’mores kit.

Top amenities include: 

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Fitness center
  • Family room with bunk beds
  • In-room spa services
  • Marina with water sports rentals
  • Pet-friendly
  • Business center
  • Connecting rooms
  • Bicycle rentals
  • Tennis courts

4. The Ranch at Bandy Canyon

Distance to San Diego Zoo Safari Park: 5.7 miles

If you’re looking for unique Escondido hotels near the Safari Park, book one of the unique rustic cottages at The Ranch at Bandy Canyon. The historic ranch in the San Pasqual Valley has roots that date back to 1870 and is another great spot for animal lovers because of the available horseback riding. It’s not fancy, but the reviews don’t lie — guests love the property.

Top amenities include:

  • An equestrian center and petting zoo
  • Outdoor swimming pool and jetted Jacuzzi
  • Family cabins that sleep up to eight people
  • Free parking
  • Pet-friendly (additional fee applies)
  • Kitchenettes with microwaves, mini-refrigerators, kitchen sinks, coffee makers, and a toaster

5. Comfort Inn Escondido San Diego North County

Distance to San Diego Zoo Safari Park:  7.2 miles

A king room at Comfort Inn Escondido San Diego North County, one of the hotels near San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Comfort Inn Escondido San Diego North County is one of the closest hotels to San Diego Zoo Safari Park, located just west of the I-15 freeway near one of the several exits you can take to get to the park and a few minutes away from the awesome San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum.

Premium complimentary breakfast is offered in the mornings so you can fuel up before you start your day of exploring. Each room includes a microwave, a flat-screen TV with premium channels, a mini-refrigerator, coffee maker, and complimentary Wi-Fi.

After a long day, relax by taking a dip in the outdoor pool or hot tub or burn off some steam in the fitness center. Here, you are within walking distance to quite a few places to eat, in addition to Starbucks and Target.

Top amenities include: 

  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Free parking
  • Hot tub
  • Complimentary breakfast
  • Fitness center
  • Swimming pool

6. Springhill Suites San Diego Escondido/Downtown

Distance to San Diego Zoo Safari Park: 7 miles

A contemporary double bed room with seating area and desk at Springhill Suites Escondido near San Diego Safari Park.

Nestled in the heart of Escondido, Springhill Suites Escondido Downtown is a 13-minute drive to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and all suites have been outfitted with stylish West Elm furniture. They’re either in a one king bed plus trundle bed or two queen beds plus a trundle bed configuration.

Each suite is air-conditioned with free Wi-Fi, a flat-screen TV, microwave, mini-refrigerator, coffee and tea maker, and a private bathroom. I suggest beginning your day with an all-American breakfast at the restaurant, and you can pick up snacks and drinks at the onsite sundry. End the day with a swim in the heated outdoor pool.

Top amenities include: 

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Heated outdoor swimming pool
  • 24-Hour fitness center
  • Complimentary hot breakfast
  • Free parking

7. Hilton Garden Inn Rancho Bernardo

Distance to San Diego Zoo Safari Park: 9.3 miles

Double room interior at Hilton Garden Inn Rancho Bernardo.

The Hilton Garden Inn Rancho Bernardo is one of the conveniently located hotels near San Diego Zoo Safari Park, which also provides easy freeway access to downtown San Diego, about 10 miles away.

The hotel offers top facilities like an outdoor pool and fitness center to make your stay more comfortable. The rooms come with a mini-refrigerator, microwave, coffee and tea maker, air-conditioner, and movies on demand. The hotel also hosts a range of recreational activities and has on-site dining,

The Garden Grille and Bar serves California cuisine. Hilton Honors members may use Digital Key, which means that they can use the app as a key.

Top amenities include: 

  • Room service
  • Babysitting service
  • Airport transfers
  • Onsite restaurant and bar
  • Business center
  • Daily housekeeping
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi access
  • Digital Key
  • Swimming pool

8. Best Western Escondido Hotel

Distance to San Diego Zoo Safari Park: 10 miles

The swimming pool at Best Western Escondido, one of the popular hotels near San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Best Western Escondido Hotel is ideal for anyone wanting to take full advantage of the area. The hotel provides you with convenient features, including luggage storage, and Wi-Fi in the rooms and public areas. 

The hotel is tastefully furnished, with air-conditioned bedrooms and reasonably-priced suites that are nice for families. Before starting your day, enjoy a complimentary breakfast at the hotel’s cafe. You can unwind after a day of activities at the outdoor swimming pool or enjoy the hot tub. 

Top amenities include: 

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Hot tub
  • Swimming pool
  • Free parking
  • Business center
  • Free breakfast
  • Daily housekeeping
  • Complimentary 24-hour coffee
  • Pets may be accepted

9. Motel Mediteran Escondido

Distance to San Diego Zoo Safari Park: 5.2 miles

Motel Mediteran Safari Park wins for San Diego Safari Park hotels nearby in terms of distance — it’s the closest! It’s AAA-rated, reviews say the property is clean, and a good choice for a budget hotel in this part of San Diego.

The motel offers a range of amenities in the rooms, such as free Wi-Fi, a whirlpool bathtub (king suites only), a mini-refrigerator, a microwave, air conditioning, and flat-screen TVs in each room. Suites are comfortable choices for families.

Top amenities include: 

  • Complimentary continental breakfast
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Swimming pool
  • Free self-parking
  • Business center

(This is a small motel with an insecure site, so I won’t link to it, but it still gets good reviews!)

10. Quality Inn Escondido Downtown

Distance to San Diego Zoo Safari Park: 7.1 miles

The Quality Inn Escondido Downtown is another top choice for value hotels near San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The accommodation is in the very heart of the Escondido area and provides free Wi-Fi and free Grab & Go breakfast to start your day.

All the rooms are also equipped with premium linens and pillows, a mini-refrigerator, microwave, and a flat-screen TV.

Top amenities include: 

  • An outdoor pool
  • Hot tub
  • Fitness center
  • Complimentary breakfast
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Free parking

10. Hampton Inn San Marcos

Distance to San Diego Zoo Safari Park: 11.6 miles

Double bed room Hampton Inn and Suites by Hilton San Marcos near San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

The Hampton Inn San Marcos is approximately a 17-minute drive away from San Diego Zoo Safari Park, just off the 78 freeway.

The hotel offers an array of premium services, complimentary hot breakfast, free Wi-Fi, and laundry services. 

In addition, each room comes with a flat-screen TV, mini-refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, and air-conditioning. There is a range of recreational facilities at the Hampton Inn, including a fitness center, an outdoor pool, and a spa. Hilton Honors members can use Digital Key to enter their guest rooms.

Top amenities include: 

  • Fitness center
  • Free parking
  • Business center
  • Complimentary breakfast
  • Bar area
  • Hot tub
  • Digital Key
  • Meeting rooms

What to Do Near San Diego Zoo Safari Park

San Diego Zoo Safari Park is located in the San Pasqual Valley, a tranquil part of Escondido in Southern California. Travelers of all ages and backgrounds flock to this special place as it’s also home to the largest veterinary hospital in the United States and research facilities that enable San Diego Zoo Global to continue its conservation efforts worldwide.

I am a San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance member and can advise you on the various ways to save on San Diego Zoo Safari Park tickets (however, using my promo code is currently the best way for park-only tickets) in addition to advice for maximizing your day.)

After spending time with the resident cheetahs, giraffes, rhinos, condors, and the only platypuses outside of Australia (don’t forget to ride the free Africa Tram), you may wonder what else there is to nearby. I’ll outline a few of the best things to do in Escondido.

If you’re traveling with young kids, one of my favorite children’s museums in San Diego is nearby. Take them to San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum for hands-on exhibits and learning (it’s also on my list of things to do in San Diego for kids).

Some of our best local wineries and San Diego breweries are located in the area. You’ll pass Orfila winery and its beautiful vineyards on the way to and from the Safari Park, but there are also about 20 other tasting rooms, urban and countryside. There is also the famous Stone Brewing Co. and its gorgeous, family-friendly gardens.

You can also go hiking and biking amid the rolling hills and trails of Lake Hodges or Dixon Lake. The list goes on and suits a variety of travel styles.

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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