9 of the Best California Resorts for Families to Visit
Terranea Resort & Spa pool view with coastline beyond

9 of the Best California Resorts for Families to Visit

If you are heading to California, these are the best California resorts for families you should consider. All are unique in their own way, exceptional above other choices, and offer a variety of family amenities we need to entertain everyone on vacation. No matter their level of luxury, all of them cater to families.

We live in California, so we should know what to recommend. Statistics show that all top 10 vacation destinations for California families are on the West Coast, with the majority in our own state. Take our word for it – there are a lot of really great places in California to take a family vacation. Our suggestions are among the best of our experiences.

9 Best California Resorts for Families

  1. La Jolla Shores Hotel, La Jolla

This is one of the best California resorts for families primarily because of it’s awesome location overlooking the Pacific Ocean. There are tons of family fun activities in La Jolla at or near the La Jolla Shores Hotel. We had a blast just walking out of the resort and on to the sandy beach. There’s kayaking, snorkeling, diving and boating right from this beach. This hotel is well positioned for Southern California beach vacations with a relaxed beachy vibe and fantastic service. And the Shores Restaurant offers spectacular sunset vistas – we almost witnessed the green flash!  Check out our full review.

View from La Jolla Beach Resort looking north
Our room at La Jolla Shores Hotel looked north towards Torrey Pines Golf Course.
  1. Stanford Court Hotel, San Francisco

If your family loves luxury and history, you will not be disappointed with this classic Nob Hill hotel. Stanford Court Hotel exudes understated elegance and impressive amenities. Families will love the approachable form of luxury at this California hotel, where no one needs to feel like they don’t belong. The elegant hotel is only a 7 minute walk from Chinatown and 10 minutes to Union Square. Best of all, it sits at the intersection of the Powell Street and California Street cable car lines. Your family can hop on to a cable car and take a historic ride. Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square shopping and theater, the Ferry Building food hall and more are all a fun ride away. Check out our full review.

Stanford Court Hotel view looking over downtown San Francisco
A corner room at the Stanford Court Hotel offers expansive views of San Francisco.


3.   Brewery Gulch Inn, Mendocino

The Brewery Gulch Inn is a sweet little Bed and Breakfast perched on the craggy Northern California coastline. It is incredibly charming – and it is family friendly. We enjoyed our connecting rooms, because it was easy for our family to spread out. Surrounded by California redwoods, green fields and overlooking cliff and beaches, Brewery Gulch Inn is one of those special places our family will always remember. The environment is cozy with just 12 rooms and great attention to detail is incredible. The Inn has a unique design using salvaged local redwood. This qualifies on our list of best California resorts for families because everything is just impeccable. Design. Style. Cuisine. Cleanliness. We loved it. Check out our full review.

Entrance with flowers at Brewery Gulch Inn in Mendocino
Charming entrance of Brewery Gulch Inn on California’s northern coast.

4. Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort, Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is quite simply paradise, and the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort sits in its center. The quintessential California beach town, Santa Barbara is the ideal place for a family getaway. The Hilton Santa Barbara beachfront resort is great for families, especially after the recent remodel and room upgrades. Across the street from an expansive beach, the hotel is short blocks from the cool artsy Funk Zone neighborhood. Beach boardwalks lead you to Stearns Wharf and State Street, where shopping and restaurants abound. You can also rent bikes or lorries right onsite, and pedal along the paths for a scenic ride. The Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort is one of the best Hiltons we’ve experienced in the US. (And we’ve experienced A LOT!) Read our full review here.

stand up paddle boards near Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara, CA
Looking back towards Santa Barbara’s beachfront from Stearns Wharf.

5. Fairmont Claremont Hotel, Berkeley

The Claremont Hotel, part of the Fairmont Hotels & Resorts group, is an utterly impressive hotel. Nestled into the hills of Berkeley, the regal hotel offers panoramic views of the Bay and San Francisco city skyline. We could even see the Golden Gate Bridge from our luxurious but comfy rooms tucked into the eaves. (Plus the gigantic bathrooms won our entire family’s hearts!) Staff at the historic Claremont Hotel knows how to treat kids too, with sweet attention and little extras. Guests can hang out by the enormous pool or maybe work on their backhands on the pristine tennis courts. Whatever you decide to do, you’ll be pampered along the way. The Claremont should be on your California dreaming wish list. It’s modern luxury with a historic flavor. Read our full review here.

Fairmont's Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, California
The grand tower of the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, California.

6. Hyatt Palm Springs, Palm Springs

Families don’t have to stay on the coast in California to have some fun! Pack up the car and head to Palm Springs to stay at the nicely located Hyatt Palm Springs. You’ll be right downtown on East Palm Canyon Drive in the heart of Palm Springs, perfectly in the middle of it all. The beauty of staying at a hotel like the Hyatt Palm Springs is that you are steps away from the relaxing pool. There is nothing like floating on your back in a Palm Springs swimming pool with nothing to do. From the hotel, families can easily walk to a variety of restaurants, shops, parks, galleries and museums. Even when the weather is chilly on the California coast, Palm Springs usually offers warm weather and star-filled nights. No wonder it’s a retreat for Hollywood celebrities and a favorite California resort for families! Read our full review here.

golf course view with mountains in Palm Springs, California
Golf course and mountain views from our room at the Hyatt Hotel Palm Springs.

7.   Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego

Right in our own backyard, the historic Hotel Del Coronado is a prime example of a family friendly hotel that offers extraordinary accommodations. The hotel was built in 1888 and was the first hotel in the United States to be built containing electric lights. Long known as a vacation destination for many Hollywood celebrities, US presidents and visitors from around the world, it oozes casual California luxury. The hotel also retains one of the only private beaches in California where food and drinks can be served on the sand. So many family activities were at our fingertips on our last visit. We biked along the Strand, hiked the beach north and south and lazed by the pool in our own private cabana. The Hotel Del Coronado is now part of the Curio Collection of Hotels by Hilton. Read our full review here.

Night view of The Hotel Del Coronado tower and pool
The Hotel Del Coronado glows at night from this view at the main pool.

8. The Beverly Hilton, Beverly Hills

The Beverly Hilton enjoys a long and illustrious history as a Hollywood icon. It is located at the intersection of Santa Monica and Wilshire Boulevards in tony Beverly Hills. It is the place to stay to make you feel like a Hollywood star from the Golden Age. Known for hosting the annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony, the hotel offers rooms and suites with a refined vibe. Want to upgrade your luxury quotient? Book one of The Beverly Hilton’s rooms with a fireplace, poolside patio or a balcony with sweeping views of the Hollywood Hills. Save time to hang out at the Aqua Star pool, the largest pool in Beverly Hills. If you are seeking one of the best California resorts for families, this one delivers the whole Hollywood experience.

Entrance to Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California
Red carpet lobby entrance to the legendary Beverly Hilton Hotel.

9. Terranea Resort & Spa, Rancho Palos Verdes

This luxury, 5-star resort was constructed 10 years ago on the former site of Marineland. Overlooking the deep blue Pacific Ocean, Terranea Resort & Spa is a playground for the jet set. While celebrities vacation here often, others are married on the lawns below. Our family loved the pools, restaurants and spa/fitness facilities here. After we took a family yoga class together, we hung out by the pool to soak up some California sun. From there we headed down to the beach for an archery lesson and some tidepooling. Everything about this resort is perfectly maintained, with friendly staff and tons of kids’ activities. Terranea offers golf, tennis, spa and fitness areas, a family pool complete with waterslides and a splash area. There are so many food options we did not even get to sample them all. Impressive!

Terranea Resort & Spa porte cochere in Rancho Palos Verdes
The grand entrance to Terranea Resort & Spa

Go West!

We hope these recommendations have helped turn your family’s California dreaming into a reality! The best California resorts for families are the ones that make both kids and their parents feel well taken care of.

California sunset from La Jolla Shores Beach
Sunset views from the La Jolla Shores Hotel.

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