best California resorts for families

Best California resort for families for a hassle-free vacay

California is crammed with activities to be shared as a family. The Golden State is bestowed with mile-long sunlit coastline, moody desert, raw wilderness and winter snow, and a few of the best cities to have an exquisite cultural soak at! And as if nature was not kind enough, the humans have also built big entertaining spaces like zoos, aquariums, amusement parks, and the queen of it all, the Media Capital of Hollywood to amp up the fun quotient. So we get it when you look at California with confusion – where to begin? And to fan the already burgeoning fire, where to stay with the familia to best binge it all?  Needless to say, we were prompted to prepare this list of the best California resort for families to put out your California vacation anxiety for good!

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With our careful pick, you will get all the top family resorts for each kid-friendly California destination at your fingertips. We have also included activities each property offers to make the stay a unique and memorable experience for the kids. So let’s just jump right in and make your next California vacation a forget-me-not holiday!

1. Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa, San Diego

Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa, San Diego

Starting from the southernmost tip of the state, San Diego is consistently ranked as one of the best cities in the US to live in and travel to with kids. Families flock here, irrespective of the season, to savor its sandy beaches, seafood snacks, an unusual collection of wildlife at the famous San Diego Zoo, a plethora of museums, and marine life at its playful best at Seaworld.  There is literally no dearth of activities once you land up here! And with 70 miles of pristine beaches, our best family resort pick sits right on one.

Located in the eclectic neighborhood of Pacific Beach, what made us choose Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa for the best California resort for families is its wide array of family-friendly amenities. The rooms are generously sized and studios and suites have separate kitchenettes and living or dining areas. Beach beckons just a step away from your room door. Lounge under the beach umbrella by the Mission Bay and tuck in some fresh tidbits from Oasis Snack Shack. The heated pool is large and lush tropical plants lend it a paradisiacal vibe. I

t is open year-round and is a major attraction for kids of all ages. The resort organizes seasonal Polynesian cultural performances and theme games and activities for kids. Adults can do morning beach yoga or simply gorge on some delicious grub from several resort restaurants and pubs. For some dazzling avian show, don’t miss their five exotic feathered residents. From a sunset cruise on Bahia Belle to catching movies by the bay, from gaming arcades to bicycle rentals, there is always a new thing to try every day of your stay!

Website: https://www.catamaranresort.com/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=gmb-listing
Cost: $$

2. Hotel Del Coronado

Hotel Del Coronado
Photo credit: hoteldel.com

If Hollywood didn’t make it to your California itinerary, that doesn’t mean you cannot add a dash of silver screen magic and glam up your vacay! Opt for a stay a la Marilyn Monroe at none other than the historic Hotel Del Coronado. Served steaming and piping hot, straight from Monroe’s 1959 Hollywood hit, Some Like It Hot, this hulk of a resort (it has a whopping 679 recently remodeled rooms plus another spread of 78 cottages at the luxurious Beach Village) is a Victorian vision in red and white. Constructed way back in 1888, it still stands handsome and tall with the ocean gently caressing its feet!

Normally heritage properties with their period décor and vintage vibe don’t interest kids. But this resort begs to differ! Just as you enter the lobby, children will see and love the hand-operated birdcage elevator. It’s best for families to stay at the California Cabanas as they are right between the main Del pool and the beach. Alternatively, the Beach Village cottages come with connected rooms making it easy for larger families to stay comfortably with ample privacy at the same time.  Children can look forward to the kid’s club, Kidtopia Activity Center, and the DelVenture program. The beach is flat and golden and the water is calm, making it an excellent beach as far as kid safety is concerned. Coronado Island is just a 15 mins ferry ride from San Diego and is known for its scrumptious Sunday brunch!

Website: https://hoteldel.com/
 Cost: $$$$

3. Tamarack Beach Resort and Hotel

Tamarack Beach Resort and Hotel

Designed to cater to families with kids especially ranging from 2-12 years, LEGOLAND California is a hub for interactive fun. Together with LEGOLAND Water Park and SEA LIFE Aquarium, this joint has become a firm favorite with families visiting the sleepy and picturesque seaside town of Carlsbad. And all of this is just an hour’s drive north from San Diego! After all the physical activity throughout the day, it becomes equally crucial to find a proper resting nook nearby for the kids to rejuvenate for the next day. And the beachfront property of Tamarack Beach Resort and Hotel offers just that – a clean environment, quality comfort, safe locale, proximity to LEGOLAND, and loads of kids’ activities to keep them charged up and entertained in the meantime!

Armed with a huge heated pool and a hot tub, the resort has a recreational room with activities for families to enjoy together. They offer spacious rooms, big bathrooms, a fully stocked kitchen, a fitness center, and complimentary wifi. But what every guest adores the most is the stellar view from their respective rooms. Grab a delectable sundowner at Dini’s Bistro, the resort’s in-house restaurant where you can sit with your loved ones over a drink and cherish the most beautiful sunset over the ocean. After all, running around at LEGOLAND, check both your children and yourself in for some quality downtime at their spa. They have both adults-only and kid’s spas. Kids can also have fun at their fountain while adults can cook some BBQ in their spacious courtyard.

Website:https://www.tamarackresort.com/
 Cost: $$$

4. Hotel Del Sol, San Francisco

Hotel Del Sol

Giving a tough competition to all the mega-resorts out there is this cute and little trendy budget hotel located rather conveniently in San Francisco’s Marina District! This hip hotel is gaily painted in a bright shade of yellow color that in itself is a joy to behold. Geared towards families where babies are the boss, they practically treat kids like royalty. Right from the beginning, kids are welcomed with a gift hamper. Cribs, highchairs, and babysitting services are available, making this property the most baby-friendly on our list.

Though the hotel itself lacks space for kids to run about, the tykes and tots can check out nearby playgrounds and parks for some open-air exercise. They have a mid-sized heated pool that is open all around the year for families. On top of that, you can also avail yourself of complimentary Friday BBQ over the summer months. The show-stealer is definitely the size of the rooms and their budget rate. A few rooms have a kitchenette and kid-friendly amenities. They call themselves multi-generational, and we can see why. Whether teens, tweens, or tiny ones, the location is so convenient that age-appropriate activities for all ages are within easy reach! And the bus line for other main city attractions is just two blocks away!

Website: https://hoteldelsol.com/
 Cost: $

5. The Waterfront Beach Resort, Huntington

The Waterfront Beach Resort
Photo credit: waterfrontresort.com

With a crazy coastline of 840 miles, California is a beach lover’s paradise. You will find beach towns of every flavor possible. If you want some stunning scenery, Monterey is there with its legendary 17-Mile Drive and Ford Ord Dunes State Park. You want to just lounge around under the sun and brush shoulders with the celebrities, Malibu will please the pickiest. But if riding the waves is what your family wants, bring them to Surf City USA, or as it is known otherwise, the surfer town of Huntington. And luxe it all up by booking a stay at the sprawling oceanfront property of The Waterfront Beach Resort!

With 10 miles of clean sands sitting right in front of the hotel, you don’t have to go far to enjoy some quality beach time. To spunk up your evening, book a firepit at the beach, and don’t forget to grab the Beach Blast Wagon from the hotel that has all the ‘s’mores making essentials. The resort also offers bike rentals and a Shortboard Kids’ Club. Children will be definitely impressed by the long and twisty water slides at the pool. The parents can catch up with some private moments at a nearby cabana or take in the panoramic view from Offshore 9 Rooftop Lounge during scenic sunsets. The resort is located just half an hour away from Disneyland.

Website: https://www.waterfrontresort.com/
 Cost: $$$

6. Terranea, Ranchos Palos Verdes

Terranea

If on your next LA visit you want an escape from the smog-choked and traffic-packed city scenes and wish to give your children’s lungs a much-needed breath of fresh air, come to this breathtaking and quaint coastal town of Rancho Palos Verdes! An hour’s drive from the city and you will find absolute luxury has an address here, at Terranea. This 102-acre property is a full-scale luxury resort armed with 582 rooms of various sizes and amenities, a nine-hole golf course, 50,000 sq ft spa and fitness center, four heated pools with one of them sporting a 140-foot waterslide.

At this resort, size clearly matters! The rooms are one of the largest that you can find in the general LA region. Big families will profit by booking a bungalow, villa, or a Casita. All of them come with separate kitchens, firepits, and living rooms. All rooms have private balconies to chill at and relax and take in the natural beauty of the surrounding. Kids can sign up at Tide Pool Kids’ Club or Adventure Club and participate in various kid-friendly activities. Four on-site gourmet restaurants serve delish international cuisines. Though the rocky beach is not great for swimming, that doesn’t mean you have to forego your nature workout! You can find several hiking trails throughout the property. Exploring the region’s flora and fauna with the family can be a great bonding exercise!

Website: https://www.terranea.com/
 Cost: $$$

7. Evergreen Lodge at Yosemite

Evergreen Lodge at Yosemite
Photo credit: evergreenlodge.com

With the climate crisis practically knocking at our door, we feel that children of any age should be introduced to the abundance of nature and nothing justifies it as much as our US national parks. Yosemite is the undisputed monarch of northern California wrapping its way around the Sierra Nevada mountains. If your fam jam is outdoorsy activities, jungle camping at Yosemite is a must. Oh! And if you think you have to sacrifice comfort and luxurious amenities in nature’s cradle, quit worrying! Evergreen Lodge at Yosemite blends nature living seamlessly with all that you expect from an upscale hotel experience.

What makes it a hit with kids is definitely the cabin in the woods feel, the historic property, a tonne of complimentary age-appropriate activities right on site, an inviting pool, and scrumptious food. The rec center has an ample supply of games and art and crafts material that can keep kids busy when they are not out exploring the park. The well-trained resort guides conduct attractive forest excursions and other experiences tailor-made for the family and their preferences. These hikes change according to the season so guests of all ages can enjoy the best of the forest.

Website:https://www.evergreenlodge.com/
 Cost: $$

8. Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa

Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa
Photo credit: omnihotels.com

No resort list is ever complete without including one from California’s own resort city, Palm Springs. A favorite of posh crowds and Hollywood heartthrobs, this desert oasis has incredible pleasant weather throughout the year. Apart from dry and sublime summer climes that are its biggest plus, the friendly and trendy population, art and design, culinary and cocktail scenes, pool parties, and mega festivals are other coveted experiences. Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa is a luxurious property that imitates the laidback soul of Palm Springs. With 466 rooms nestled in a palm tree-lined compound and a mammoth 27 hole golf course overlooking the desert mountains, this upscale resort offers zillions of family amenities for a truly blissful stay with the brood!

What golfing is to adults, water parks are to the kiddos, and the resort delivers. Their 2-acre waterpark flaunts two 100 foot water slides, a man-made sandy beach, and a cliffside jacuzzi. A 450-foot lazy river borders it all. Kids can also venture to their arcade to play a round of pool, check out their old-fashioned video games, and pinball machine, etc. The property also has 25 tennis courts, of which eight are great for night games. The rooms have triumphed elegant rustic decor so reminiscent of the subdued desert it’s surrounded by. Overall, the ambiance is that of understated elegance!

Website:https://www.omnihotels.com/hotels/palm-springs-rancho-las-palmas 
 Cost: $$$

9. Railroad Park Resort, Shasta Cascade

Railroad Park Resort

Coaxing kids out from the confinement of screen-life is absolutely impossible if not something equally interesting comes along. Our next property is a hidden gem located in an up-and-coming tourist destination of Dunsmuir in North Cal. The stay is unique and both the child and the child in the adult will be smitten by its vintage vibe. With Railroad Park Resort, Shasta Cascade, the family will get to stay in quirky restored railroad car converted cabooses. If not a railfan, no issues, there are rustic cabins and a campground by the creek. The cabooses are comfy and roomy and the largest one can fit a family of five easily! Bid goodbye to claustrophobia folks.

Located not far from the lower Castle Crags section of the Pacific Crest Trail, soulful hiking commences right from the resort’s doorway. You can explore the science museum or go exploring caverns at Lake Shasta. During the summer months, you can use the resort’s pool and the hot tub. The dining is very thoughtfully arranged in The Dining Car of the yesteryear railway glory. The food is mouthwatering but the cocktails are the main converts. You will be a resort loyalist in no time after the first few sips.

Website:https://rrpark.com/
 Cost: $$

10. The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

The Ritz-Carlton
Photo credit: ritzcarlton.com

Lake Tahoe, situated on the border of California and the Sierra Nevada, is a sparkling blue freshwater lake that can easily give all the sand, surf, and sun of southern California a run for money any day. The mountain fineries keep changing with the season. Come winter, snow settles on the slopes attracting ski enthusiasts of any age and any expertise. About nine miles from Lake Tahoe, The Ritz-Carlton is at a convenient point where one can ski-in and ski-out directly to and from the slope. Afterward, they can avail a ski lift back to the resort. The perk of the location remains the same in summer as all the seasonal activities are easily accessible from here!

The brand name itself exudes luxury which many guests have already experienced around the world. Here in the mountains, the property offers every modern convenience imaginable in an eco-friendly setup. The rooms are spacious and made extra romantic with deep soaking tubs and extra cozy with gas fireplaces. The view is to be treasured, complete with looming mountains and stark vegetation.

Children between the ages of 5 and 12 can opt for their Ritz Kids program to participate in an exciting scavenger hunt, make arts and crafts and play local games to experience the location hands-on. To stoke their adventurous hearts further, the resort also offers an indoor camping package. It has mini tents, premium linens, activity books, crayons, and an s’mores kit. Parents can enjoy some quality bonding time at their plush spa. Or with a dip at their heated pool or jacuzzi. The resort offers fine-dining and eclectic cocktails to unwind after a day on the slopes.

Website:https://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/california/lake-tahoe 
 Cost: $$$$
best California resorts for families

Conclusion

Hope our list of best California resorts for families has enchanted you with its offerings and proven mighty helpful in your decision making. We have deliberately created a mix of popular destinations and unique experiential properties so that you can have a taste of the diversity that California embodies.

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