Great Resorts in California

Home to sunny weather, sandy beaches, first-rate theme parks, world famous national parks, and beautiful mountains, California offers everything you need when planning a family getaway. There is no lack of first-class family friendly accommodations. From San Diego to Anaheim and Lake Tahoe, you’ll find beaches, amazing wilderness, attractions and ski resorts dotted across the state.

Here are our recommendations for the three best family resorts in California.

1# Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

Disney never fails to thrill children, so it makes sense that Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa in Anaheim tops the list of family resorts in California. The resort draws on the varied natural beauty of the state – mountains, redwood forests, and rugged coasts – but also features all the luxurious, modern amenities you want. It not only enthralls kids with all of its magic and charms, but also keeps adults happy with lots of things-to-do. Everybody wins!

Best Family Resorts in California
Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. Source: Hotel Planner

Family-Friendly Features in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

From the themed pools to outdoor movie nights and interactive experiences, the resort will keep all your family member entertained. The rooms, up to a three bedroom suite,  are large enough to accommodate larger families, and the themed pools are open to everyone. If you’re searching for something to keep the kids busy, look into these features:

  • Movie Nights under the Stars

There are special screenings of popular Disney movies on selected evenings. You can bring your own refreshments and watch the quest of Olaf or the heroic act of Princess Merida with your whole family.

  • Get Splashed!

Discover a mix of fun and relaxation with your entire family at the hotels three newly renovated pools – the Mariposa, Redwood, and Fountain. Go for a dip in the Redwood Pool, home to a 90-foot-long, bubbling waterslide that curves around the stump of a giant redwood tree. Retreat to the tranquil Fountain Pool located amid woodsy grounds, bricked walls and rugged boulders. The Mariposa Pool features a companion hot tub.

Best Family Resorts in California
The Pools at the Resort. Source: Hotel Planner

Rent a poolside cabana (available nearby the Fountain and Mariposa pools) if you are tired and lounge the day away in deluxe comfort.

  • Group Activities

Other family activities include the Grand Quest and Trivia Challenges. You can participate in a fun-filled scavenger hunt and collect your booty or test your Disney knowledge at a trivia challenge and win a special prize.

  • Art of Craft Tour

The one-hour tour unveils the mystery behind all the charms and handcrafted artifacts found across the resort. It will also give you a lesson in the Arts and Crafts movement and its influence on the hotel’s decorations.

There is also a luxurious spa, fitness center, and a 2-mile power walk activity for the adults.

If you are looking for other things to do in Anaheim see this One Week in Anaheim itinerary.

2# Loews Coronado Bay Resort

Sitting on a small strip of land near San Diego, Loews Coronado Bay Resort has a little bit of everything for families. With excellent concierge services,  mouthwatering food and wonderful family-friendly activities, you won’t be bored for a single minute!

Best Family Resorts in California
Loews Coronado Bay Resort: Source: Marina’s

Family-Friendly Features in Loews Coronado Bay Resort

Guests will never sit idle in the resort. Play a game of tennis at one of the three courts, soak in the deluxe swimming pools, or enjoy water sports and rentals from the on-site marina.

Looking to discover more family activities? Here’s more!

  • Pools, pools and more pools

The pools here are legendary because there have separate facilities for children and adults. There are three pools with a spacious pool deck:

  1. Adults-only pool and hot tub
  2. Family pool and hot tub
  3. Children’s pool

The Poolside Concierge is ready to pamper you through an afternoon. The concierge service will set up the lounge chairs, hand you chilled hand towels, and bring a spritz of suntan-lotion mist during a hot summer afternoon. They will also provide you with special treats like frozen grape kabobs and Italian ice. There are also cabanas for those who want to get the ultimate pool experience.

While you are relaxing the afternoon away, let your kids enjoy themselves with poolside games including ping-pong, chess, and oversized Connect Four.

aerial shot of the pool deck
Aerial View of the Pool Deck. Source: Lowes Hotels
  • Rentals

There are a wide variety of rental options at the on site marina.

Powerboats: Pilot your own motorboat on the waters of San Diego Bay
Jet Skis: Experience the high-speed thrills of our three-person sit-down personal watercraft
Water-Skiing: Packages include a driver and up to six passengers on board a 22-foot deck boat, along with use of water skis, wakeboard, kneeboard, wetsuit, life vests and basic instruction
Sailboats: Take a leisurely cruise in one of our sloops. Lessons and skippers are available for the less experienced.
Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Boards
Kayaks (single or tandem) and Paddleboats

  • Bonus Action!

Families that crave action can take a gondola ride (yes like in Venice) through the canals and waterways of the Coronado Cays.  As an alternative,  sit back and watch the sailboats and shorebirds in the bay, or go to the beach for shelling, and sunset strolls.  It’s a quick 5 minute walk to Silver Strand State Beach.

3# Rancho Bernardo Inn

Another resort close to San Diego makes our top three family resorts in California, the Rancho Bernardo Inn.

rancho bernardo inn
Rancho Bernardo Inn. Source: Trip 101

Sitting atop a hill, the hotel has picturesque surroundings complete with manicured gardens and meandering walkways. The design and decorations ooze European vibe, and the services and amenities bring guests back year after year.

Family-Friendly Features in Rancho Bernardo Inn

Be ready to have a blast on your vacation with these amazing activities:

  • Family Fun Package

The resort offers various packages for guests planning to stay there for one or two nights. The Family Fun Package starts at $261 per night (exclusive of surcharge, taxes, gratuity, and alcohol) and is suitable for two adults and a child. An additional child can be added for $15.

Services included in the package are Inn-Room camping for kids,  free breakfast, a $50 voucher for nightly resort activities, and welcome snack (milk and cookies).

Dining Room
The Inn’s Dining Room. Source: Rancho Bernardo Inn
  • Pools

The resort has you covered with a saline pool, a family-friendly pool, and an adult-only pool. They have you covered no matter how you want to spend your time.

  • Summer Program

The Kids Rule – Parents Drool summer program is every kid’s dream. Your little ones will be thoroughly entertained with various activities including mini-golf, scavenger hunts, poolside movie events, and a kid’s club.

Kids Rule – Parents Drool Summer Program. Source: Mama Mary Show
  • Take a Fountain Tour

When you’re ready for something different, take your kids on a free, self-guided fountain tour. The resort is home to 21 fountains, which are carefully placed throughout the property. Each of the fountains has a distinctive style, and a fun ritual.

If you want to head further up the coast to Los Angeles,  this post highlights the best of One Week Exploring the Hidden Gems of Los Angeles.

Another family friendly area with great beaches is Santa Barbara.  If you want to explore this area further see the One Week in Santa Barbara itinerary.


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