San Diego is one of the most family-friendly cities in the world. Who else throws open their doors to kids, welcoming them to 100+ attractions such as SeaWorld, The San Diego Zoo, and LEGOLAND for FREE during the month of October? In this sunny city, families will find world-class resorts and budget-friendly hotels where they can fully relax and enjoy all that San Diego has to offer. Since this article was first published in 2009, Trekaroo families have weighed in on the places they love and we present the newly updated top picks to you.
Best Hotel in the Heart of Downtown: The Omni San Diego Hotel
Families give this hotel 5 stars in part for its location which just can’t be beat. The hotel sits right next to Petco Park with an aerial walkway which allows guests to have direct, private access in to the ballpark. What’s more, the Gaslamp Quarter is a block away, the Convention Center is across the street, and Seaport Village is a mile away, The New Children’s Museum is a half mile away, and the ferry to Coronado is a short 7 minute walk. Baseball fans will thrill to watch the Padres play at Petco Park with a view from their room. The sunny skies of San Diego can be soaked in at the 6th floor heated pool, outdoor bar, and dining area. The Omni has it all: kid-friendly amenities (including the Omni Sensational Kids Program, luxury accommodations, and one of the best locations in San Diego.
Best Luxury Hotel with Kid-Friendly Perks: The Grand Del Mar
This hotel has received 5 stars from a Superoo, which only compliments their amazing award given by Forbes Travel Guide as one of the world’s six elite Triple Five-Star resorts. Not too surprising are the kid-friendly perks found within this resort. When kids jump into the family pool they can hear the delightful sounds of music flowing through the water. Soak up the sun while enjoying poolside drinks and meals. Visit the equestrian club and kids over seven can take a lesson or go on a trail ride through Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve. The Explorer’s Club welcomes kids ages 5-12 to play traditional and video games, make crafts, and participate in special activities. Parents will enjoy the pampering of the world-class spa, the adventure of taking a guided nature hike, and delicious dining. No matter what activities you choose, kids will feel welcomed by friendly staff, spacious rooms, deep bathtubs, and luxurious accommodations.
Read the full reviews from families on The Grand Del Mar or discover the Perfect One Week Beach Vacation with Kids to San Diego
Best Value Without Compromise Hotel: Catamaran Resort and Spa
The Catamaran Resort and Spa is located a short drive from SeaWorld (9 minutes) and the San Diego Zoo (15 minutes) on the north end of Mission Bay. Mission Bay itself is a treasure trove of water sports and outdoor fun. The Catamaran offers accommodation and facilities that kids will love at affordable prices. With a beachfront location, this resort offers all sorts of water sports like sailing, surf lessons, and water-skiing for rent. Kids will enjoy Catamaran Kids Club with arcade games, mad science camps, and lots of fun. In the evenings, enjoy a cruise on Bahia Belle, the Mississippi-style sternwheeler, on the waters of Mission Bay. Believe it or not, rates start at $155/night. Tip: Mission Bay is a holiday hotspot; stay here during the holidays and explore Christmas and Holiday events for Families in San Diego
Best Beach Front Hotel with Luxury: Hotel Del Coronado
The iconic red peaked roofs rising from the white sandy beach of Coronado Island are a classic picture of luxury and family fun in San Diego. This hotel has gotten rave 5 star reviews from families on Trekaroo for its family-friendly amenities enhanced rich history and Victorian charm. The beach itself has been rated one of the best beaches in the world! Kids will enjoy the beachfront location while mom and dad won’t be able to get enough of the splendid views and their extensive spa services. Their kids program caters to children of all ages with biking, kayaking, sailing, surfing, and all manner of water sports to entertain and amuse. During the holiday season, families will love ice skating on the resort’s beachfront rink. Babysitting can also be arranged through the hotel. Choose from a variety of accommodations, including beachfront cottages and villas and enjoy this beautiful hotel.
Best Beach Front Hotel: La Jolla Shores Hotel
With the many long stretches of beautiful sandy beaches, craggy cliffs, and delicate tide pools of San Diego County, how can we choose just one beachfront hotel? La Jolla Shores Hotel boasts an incredible beachfront with calm waves and clean sand. Borrow a chair and towel from the hotel and enjoy the day at the beach, exploring the nearby tide pools, or playing catch and climbing the playground at Kellogg Park. Kayak and surf lessons can be taken by nearby outfitters. During the summer months, adventurous kids can even snorkel with the harmless leopard sharks which use La Jolla Cove as a nursery. A Trekaroo family enjoyed the delicious food at Shores Restaurant, the continental breakfast buffet, and room service. La Jolla is a favorite beach for families and La Jolla Shores is the perfect place to enjoy a beach vacation.
Best Hotel Near SeaWorld San Diego: Paradise Point Hotel
A tropical paradise hotel situated on a small island in Mission Bay right across the water from SeaWorld is why this hotel gets rave reviews from our Superoos. Families can stay in guest rooms, suites, or bungalows facing the pool, lagoon, gardens, or beachfront location. Spend the day on the sand and toast s’mores by sunset. Other delightful activities include renting bicycles, taking surfing lessons, sailing, tennis, or golf on the 18 hole putting course. One of the best features of this hotel is the water taxi (nominal fee) that takes guests across the bay to the back entrance of SeaWorld. Spend the day with Shamu and cruise “home” to the island of Paradise Point.
Best Hotel Near LEGOLAND: The LEGOLAND Hotel
Even though this themed hotel is not made out of LEGOS (though kids wish it were), there is no shortage of LEGOS to be found inside. While parents check in at the lobby, kids can be found digging through the LEGO “pool” starting their own constructions. A box of LEGOS is found in every room, and completing a fun scavenger hunt can open a treasure chest containing LEGO pieces to keep. A treasure ship play area next to the lobby keeps kids engaged while parents can put their feet up and sip wine in the lounge. Each room is fully decked out in LEGO themes with pirates, knights, and adventurers. Bunk beds, flat screen TVs, and a “semi-suite” (no closed doors) layout is great with kids. Jump in the pool or enjoy a delicious dinner at Bricks Family Restaurant after a fun day at LEGOLAND. With direct access to the front gate and exclusive early access to the park, this hotel is perfect for families visiting LEGOLAND. For families who wish for a less immersed experience in the world of LEGOS but would still like to be within walking distance of the park, check out the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa, also highly rated by Trekaroo families.
Read the full reviews from families on LEGOLAND Hotel or check out Top Tips for a LEGOLAND Adventure with Toddler and Preschoolers
Looking for more? Check out the Perfect One Week Beach Vacation With Kids to Carlsbad, CA
Best Budget Friendly Hotel: Old Town Inn
Families won’t find many better deals than the rates at Old Town Inn, boasting an excellent location, suite and kitchenette options, and complimentary Wi-Fi, parking, and breakfasts. Trekaroo families like the close location to the airport, historic Old Town San Diego, and the San Diego trolley stop across the street. Nearby, explore kid-friendly Balboa Park (home to the zoo and a slew of great museums). Get a great deal on rates starting at $77/night.
Read full reviews from families on Old Town Inn. Grab a bite to eat at the 5 Best Family-friendly Restaurants in San Diego County
Still have questions? We’ve got answers: Everything you need to know about visiting San Diego, CA and the Top Activities for Kids in San Diego, CA – voted by parents
On Pinterest? We’re there too! Pin the best of San Diego.
We love LA too! Check out the Best Kid Friendly Hotels in LA, as voted by Trekaroo families.