California is full of so many incredible resorts and family-friendly destinations, it can be hard to choose where to go. I’ve narrowed down a list of California’s Best Family Vacation Hot Spots to help you choose the right destination… from the traditional La Costa Spa & Resort to the exotic Safari West, this list will provide lots of exciting travel choices for your family. Check More 15 Pool Floaties and Accessories You Need for An Epic Summer
Located in gorgeous Indian Wells, the Miramonte Resort & Spa features a spa, two outdoor pools, hot tubs, cabanas, and beautiful gardens. When you book, they have family packages as well as an on-site activities director (Hello Julie!) that focuses on family-friendly fun like Bocce Ball, Cornhole, Ladder Ball and a giant Jenga, an arcade room. The front desk will also assist you with coordinating trips to The Living Desert® Zoo & Gardens, Big Wheel Jeep Tours, Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, Wet ‘n’ Wild Palm Springs Water Park, Children’s Discovery Museum at the Desert and lots of family-friendly hiking.
The Claremont Club & Spa overlooks San Francisco Bay and features colonial architecture, upscale interior design and amazing gardens. Often referred to as the “White Castle on the the Hill”, the Claremont has three saline pools, a spa, ten tennis courts and offers almost 100 fitness classes. They also have a Kids Club (BONUS!) which is an on-site activity center offering everything from daily childcare and holiday camps to Friday Night Movies. Off-site find tons of things to do at Golden Gate Park, Walt Disney Family Museum, street car rides and iconic Pier 39 with the barking sea lions.
North of Santa Barbara, El Capitan Canyon gives families an easy way to enjoy a camping experience in your choice of an upscale cabin, yurt or canvas safari tent surrounded by the beautiful forest with nearby beach access. Activities include ocean kayaking, surfing lessons, segway rentals, guided hikes, winery tours, rock climbing, whale watching and more. All cabins have outdoor picnic table, wireless Internet access and direct dial telephones. You can also upgrade your family-friendly getaway to include fireplaces, Jacuzzi tubs and sleeping lofts. The one thing you MUST do when you visit El Capitan is take a hike to the El Capitan Llama Farm. It’s amazing!
In picture-perfect Laguna Beach, an hour and a half south of Los Angeles, you’ll find the stunning Montage Resort & Spa which offers incredible vacation activities for the entire family. If your family enjoys swimming, kayaking or hiking, there is plenty for everyone in the family to enjoy. For younger guests, try the children’s club for kids 5-12 years old. The club offers arts, crafts, games and activities like hiking, cooking, and fishing in the kids pool. The resort also offers a Kids Night Out, so parents can enjoy some private time. Special events are organized by the resort during holidays like the Kids Cooking Corner, Kids Spa Day, Wiggle Workouts, Garden Tea Parties and the Sandcastles Extravaganza. For even more fun, collect all 12 Montage Merit Badges for completing activities like riding the local trolley or building a sandcastle.
Safari West is a family friendly vacation destination within a real wildlife preserve in Santa Clara, California, located southeast of San Francisco. Spend the night in safari tents imported from Botswana and then customized on-site or choose to stay in a cozy cottage instead. Safari West offers daily safari tours as well as private safaris on the 400-acre wildlife preserve where you can observe 90 unique animal species and 900 animals like lemurs, gazelles and cheetahs.In order to go on a vehicle safari, children must be at least 4, but for younger families there are plenty of walking portions of the safari to enjoy. Be sure to check out the private safari packages as well for some great fun like Twilight Safari Dining Adventures.
In Santa Monica, California, The Fairmont Miramar Hotel has a year-round heated swimming pool, child care services, and a complimentary beach club providing guests of the hotel easy access to the Santa Monica State Beach. Enjoy a picnic, visit the super fun Santa Monica Pierr, or go out for an afternoon of shopping at the incredible Century City Mall only 18 minutes away. Choose from rooms and suites or go all out with one of 32 garden bungalows with private patios. Children 4-12 receive a stuffed animal, child-sized robe, seaside sand toys available at Miramar Beach Club (seasonally), welcome bath sponges (Kids aged 2 – 8), and have access to the healthy snack mini bar.
La Costa Resort and Spa, north of San Diego, has family activities including nighttime s’mores reading, dive-in movies, and Vibz game lounge. Plus, check out Kidtopia for a full or partial day of child care while the adults enjoy on-site amenities. (Woohoo!) Lacosta also features splash landing pools and waterslides, three pools, three waterslides, a waterplay zone and the Splash Cafe. Small children have their own sandy beach pool as well. You can also travel over to Carlsbad Beach, one of the top beaches in the state, just five minutes from the resort. Legoland is also a short distance from the resort.
The Ranch at Laguna Beach was just added to the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World collection. Families have the option of staying in Canyon Rooms, Creekside Studios and Suites, and the coveted Treehouse! Kids can visit the Ranger Station Kids Camp while parents have a picnic at the beach and then take paddleboarding lessons or take an eco-kayaking tour. The Pond Pool & Bar is a heated saline pool and spa with complimentary passed snacks and towels. The resort features three highly rated restaurants and of course, room service.
Terranea is one of my absolute favorite places on earth. It is an incredible family friendly vacation destination in California, located about a half-hour south of LAX airport. The resort has four pools – one dedicated to families with littles, featuring a splash pad and a waterslide. You can see whales and dolphins from the ocean-facing rooms, around the higher elevations. You must check out the water cave down at the beach, where you can also kayak or paddleboard. Including room service, there are four to.die.for restaurants. The newly renovated Catalina room features a wonderful Sunday brunch and a seafood buffet on Friday nights. Terranea also has a kids club, called the Tide Pool Kids Club. Speaking about tide pools, make sure to sign up for the cool tide pool tour!
Which of these ten resorts are you putting on your family travel bucket list? Do you have other fabulous family friendly resort destinations in California that you recommend?
As always, thanks for visiting Sand & Surf!