San Diego is the eighth largest city in the USA and packed full of family friendly accommodations and fun. The areas surrounding San Diego have some incredible hotels that serve as an awesome home base for exploring San Diego. Here are my recommendations on where to sleep, eat and play in different areas of San Diego.
Located across the street from the ocean, the Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort & Spa is a dream family destination. The newly built property has large rooms and an incredible courtyard featuring a beach entry pool. By day the pool area is full of families enjoying the sun while at night the same families cozy up by beautiful outdoor fire pits watching the sunset. The onside restaurant Chandler’s is known for its Sunday buffet and the food is incredible.
Just down the road from the Hilton Oceanfront Resort, you will find the Hilton Garden Inn Carlsbad Beach Hotel. This is one of the first Hilton Garden Inns that was built and the hotel recently underwent extensive renovations. At a lesser price point, the Hilton Garden Inn is equally impressive. Not only located directly across the street from the Pacific Ocean and beach, there is a large courtyard with family lawn games, a ping pong table, a gorgeous fireplace and of course a pool and spa. The hotel has a small onsite restaurant where chefs cook to order. Each morning, the kitchen is open with a chef cooking every breakfast staple you can imagine.
What to Do in Carlsbad
Although the hotels can keep your kids busy, there is quite a bit to do in Carlsbad. Down the road from both hotels is the Carlsbad Village, a cute town with lots of shops and restaurants. You can also sample San Diego water sports by visiting the Carlsbad Lagoon for paddle boarding, jet skiing and more. If you want to try surfing, head to Concept Surf Shop in nearby Encinitas where the instructors are known for their work with young children in the community.
Once you’ve checked out Carlsbad, head to Coronado, a famous island off San Diego. When you cross the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, you get an incredible look at the city of San Diego and can see as far as Mexico. If staying on the island, you’ll want to check out the El Cordova, a historic hotel located on the main strip.
Built in the early 1900s, the El Cordova is steeped in history and has a Spanish vibe to it. Families relax in the courtyard while kids swim in the pool or throw coins in the tiled fountain. The suites are sizable and have kitchenettes with all the appliances you need for a comfortable family vacation on the beach.
What to do in Coronado
Coronado is famous for its beaches where locals build unbelievable sandcastles. Orange Street, just off the ocean, is famous for its incredible restaurants, ice cream shops and stores. For fun with kids make sure to check out Moo Time Creamery and Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory.
Also close to Coronado is the famous San Diego Seaport Village which you can reach by car or ferry. Besides the restaurants and shopping, this location is also home to the many companies like Flagship Cruises that head out to sea via San Diego Bay for whale watching and dolphin seeing excursions. A nice touch is to take the Flagship Cruise tour that is run in association with Birch Aquarium. Volunteers from Birch Aquarium spread out along the boat and answer questions about the whales and sea life that are seen.
Family Fun In San Diego
San Diego is a beautiful city that your family will love year round. Whether staying in one location or checking out different spots, Carlsbad and Coronado are two family friendly locations to head to for your next vacation.