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California is an ideal destination for a family vacation, with your choice of everything from beach and desert escapes to mountain, lakeside, and national park getaways, making it easier to please everyone from kids and teens to adults. Of course, you’ll also need a family-friendly base. Fortunately, there are many resorts that are sure to please, from San Diego to the remote northern reaches of the state, including these.
Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton - San Diego
Hotel del Coronado is one of the most iconic beachfront resorts in the U.S., offering something for everyone. It hosts the Ocean Explorers program, which is designed for fun and learning for kids aged five through 12 who will have fun while learning about the underwater world. Enjoy days at the beach building sandcastles and swimming, surf lessons, paddleboard yoga, private beach bonfires, and much more. If you like to cycle, you’ll be steps from the scenic Silver Strand bike path. The property hosts three heated pools and a wide range of dining options. Most rooms are located in the hotel’s historic Victorian building, but all include modern amenities like free Wi-Fi and flat-screen cable TVs.
Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa - Indian Wells, California
The Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa offers nearly an endless list of activities, making it ideal for families, complete with pools that have water slides and the Camp Hyatt kids program. While the younger ones have a good time, the adults can relax with a pampering treatment at the spa. There are opportunities for tennis, bocce ball, golf, and more, while dining includes everything from fish tacos at a casual cafe to upscale dining with panoramic desert views at Lantana, the signature restaurant. All rooms come with balconies, and some have mountain views. For more privacy, you can book one with a separate living area or consider a villa for a luxe escape with gardens, courtyards, hot tubs, fire pits, and butler service.
Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort - Santa Barbara
Located just across from a gorgeous beach and only a half-mile from downtown Santa Barbara, the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort is a great place to bring the family for fun in the sand and playing in the water. There are pools to lounge around and bike rentals available if you want to take a spin along the boardwalk. Head out to Stearns Wharf, and you can watch for the dolphins that occasionally swim by or check out marine life up close at the Natural History Museum’s Sea Center. There are multiple dining options on-site, including a terrace restaurant with sea views and fire pits. Kids’ meals are available too. Rooms come with balconies or terraces, some with mountain or ocean views, along with standard amenities like coffeemakers, mini bars, and flat-screen TVs.
Westin Rancho Mirage Golf Resort & Spa - Rancho Mirage
One of the best resorts for families in the Rancho Mirage area, the Westin Rancho Mirage offers a kids’ club, babysitting services, a game room, and three outdoor pools (as well as one of the country’s best resorts with a lazy river). Parents who want to golf while the kids have a good time can play a round at the on-site golf course. Pampering treatments are available at the full-service spa, and there are multiple bars and eateries too. All rooms come with patios or balconies with views of the resort grounds or the golf course, along with amenities like iHome docking stations, flat-screen TVs, coffeemakers with Starbucks coffee supplied, free bottled water, minifridges, and robes.
Dolphin Bay Resort and Spa - Pismo Beach
Dolphin Bay Resort and Spa offers one- and two-bedroom guest rooms and penthouse suites. You’ll have all the comforts of home here, including a full kitchen, dining room, living room, and laundry facilities. All include private terraces or balconies as well, and some have spectacular features like jetted tubs or fireplaces. On the grounds, there is an infinity-edge pool and a fitness center that hosts yoga classes. Bicycles are available for complimentary use along with beach chairs that you can bring to Shell Beach, accessed view a staircase just north of the property.
Shutters on the Beach - Santa Monica
One of California’s best beach resorts, Shutters on the Beach overlooks the Pacific and a long stretch of sands, opening onto the promenade lined with numerous shops, restaurants, and bars, with the famous Santa Monica Pier and its amusement park only steps away. There are options for two-bedroom suites that are ideal for families with living rooms and fireplaces. Most rooms come with balconies, some with ocean views. On the grounds, there’s a beachfront pool, a lavish spa, and multiple gourmet restaurants. Bicycles are available to rent if you want to go explore, and parents can also take advantage of babysitting services to enjoy some alone time.
The Sanctuary Beach Resort - Marina
Located just outside the beautiful city of Monterey, Sanctuary Beach Resort offers a classic getaway on the California coast atop windswept dunes along Monterey Bay. Its centerpiece is the beach and while the water may be too chilly for a swim, kids enjoy splashing around while parents unwind. It’s the best place to be at sunset where you can relax by the fire pits while watching the glorious colors splash across the water. There’s a heated pool for comfortable swimming while the on-site restaurant, Salt Wood Kitchen and Oysterette, is popular with guests and locals alike. Connecting rooms are available for families who want plenty of space and privacy, and all come with partial or full ocean views, gas fireplaces and private patios or decks.
The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe offers year-round fun from hiking, mountain biking and watersports during the warmer months to world-class skiing, boarding and other snow sports in the winter. There is a special Ritz Kids package that includes a customized itinerary for indoor and outdoor activities for the younger ones and parents can enjoy the massive spa at slopeside with treatments focused around the water and the woods. There’s also a whirlpool, steam room and sauna. In the evening, enjoy dining on rustic California fare at the Manzanita and then take part in the “Marshmology” experience which features the “Art of the S’more,” around the fire pit. Rooms and suites are extra spacious and come with gas fireplaces, deep soaking tubs and balconies with mountain or pool views.
Omni Rancho Las Palmas - Rancho Mirage
Surrounded by palm trees and the San Jacinto mountain range, the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa is ideal for a variety of travelers. Boasting a tranquil, laid-back ambiance, here guests can enjoy on-site services that include 27 holes of palm-lined fairways, 25 tennis courts, and a 20,000-square-foot luxury spa. Home to luxury rooms and suites, guests will be welcomed with Spanish-style accommodation with premium mattresses, private terraces, and balconies that overlook lush greenery. In addition to the adults-only pool and cliff-side hot tub, the resort is also perfect for kids with a two-acre water fun-filled playground, lazy river, and a thrilling 100-foot water slide.
Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa - Lake Arrowhead
Lake Arrowhead Resort is ideal for families who want to enjoy lots of activities and opportunities for relaxation all year round. The lakeside resort is surrounded by a national forest and during the warmer months, enjoy kayaking, waterskiing, mountain biking, hiking, and more. Winter brings opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and ice skating. There’s a heated outdoor pool and hot tub, a serene spa, and a casual eatery available for all-day dining, while the variety of rooms includes options for private balconies or patios with lake views and whirlpool or soaking tubs. All have flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, minifridges, and coffeemakers.
Terranea Resort - Rancho Palos Verdes
A luxury oceanfront resort for families, by booking a stay at Terranea, you can pretty much guarantee the word “boredom” will never be heard. A wide range of activities can be enjoyed, including stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, hiking, and horseback riding. There’s also a 9-hole golf course and four pools, one with a 140-foot waterslide. Dining can be enjoyed at eight different restaurants with ocean views and a focus on farm-to-table fare. Accommodation varies significantly with everything from guest rooms and suites to bungalows, casitas, and villas.
Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite - Yosemite National Park
If you want to explore the quieter side of Yosemite National Park, Tenaya Lodge is ideal. It offers rooms, suites, cabins, and cottages. The cabins all have two bedrooms and kitchenettes that are perfect for families. There’s a kids’ club where the younger ones can play while the adults enjoy well-deserved pampering at the spa or relaxing around the pool. Bicycle rentals are available, and a game room, nature trails, a pond, and a creek are on-site as well.
Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa - Dana Point
Set atop a bluff overlooking the Pacific, Laguna Cliffs offers private beach access and a wide range of facilities, including two outdoor heated pools, a children’s splash zone, whirlpools, walking trails, a spa, and sauna Surfboards and bikes can be rented on-site. The oceanfront restaurant serves highly-rated seafood dishes along with a variety of American fare, while rooms include oceanfront terraces or balconies and flat-screen TVs with movie channels.
Marble Mountain Guest Ranch - Somes Bar
Nestled in the Klamath National Forest and Marble Mountain Wilderness, Marble Mountain Guest Ranch is ideal for outdoor adventure-loving families. A popular all-inclusive family resort in the U.S., those with infants and toddlers can take advantage of babysitting services too. It sits along the banks of the Klamath River and offers an all-inclusive stay with all meals and activities like river rafting, fishing, and trail rides included in the rates. There’s a swimming pool, game room, and sporting clays trap course on-site, while accommodation is in everything from private cottages to luxurious homes.