Southern California Family resorts

tink89

DIS Veteran
Joined
Nov 13, 2017
We are planning on taking a southern CA vacation for spring break. It will be 4 adults 3 kids (11,16,18).
The kids want to stop at Universal for 2 or 3 days and explore maybe Universal, Beverly hills, Hollywood area. A good pool is a must.

But we also want a beach resort like hotel anywhere where the water is warm and there are activities for the kids. again a nice pool is a must. We are ok with booking a hotel by the beach somewhere for a few days then driving somewhere closer to universal and booking another hotel for another 3 days. Preferably both hotels to be in area where we can walk outside and explore.

We live in Northern CA and are either going to fly there and drive back or drive there and fly back.
We had Spring break in Cabo last year so I need something just as fun. Are there any all inclusive hotels in CA?

What areas should we visit?
Which hotels should be look at?
 

PHXscuba

Mouseketeer since birth!
Joined
Jul 7, 2008
I think you'd first have to decide if you wanted to stay in the LA area near the beach, or Orange County beaches.

The Hyatt Regency in Huntington Beach might fit for your beach resort hotel as it is right across from the beach (with an overhead walkway) and local activities you can book through the resort. Plus the community itself. Surfing, fishing, biking, etc. They have a nice pool complex.

I hate to burst your bubble, but there is nowhere in SoCal that I would call "warm water" in spring. The kids might want to be in it but it is not what you'd call tropical by any stretch. 60 degrees would be optimistic.

I am not sure how the car rental rates work with one-way rentals, especially during a busy time of year. You'd have to price out the flights and car as a total to see which way saves you money or has better routing.

PHXscuba
 

tink89

DIS Veteran
Joined
Nov 13, 2017
I think you'd first have to decide if you wanted to stay in the LA area near the beach, or Orange County beaches.

The Hyatt Regency in Huntington Beach might fit for your beach resort hotel as it is right across from the beach (with an overhead walkway) and local activities you can book through the resort. Plus the community itself. Surfing, fishing, biking, etc. They have a nice pool complex.

I hate to burst your bubble, but there is nowhere in SoCal that I would call "warm water" in spring. The kids might want to be in it but it is not what you'd call tropical by any stretch. 60 degrees would be optimistic.

I am not sure how the car rental rates work with one-way rentals, especially during a busy time of year. You'd have to price out the flights and car as a total to see which way saves you money or has better routing.

PHXscuba
We want to do both. The beach does not have to be in the LA area. It could be maybe San Diego. We do not ind being at a hotel by the beach for 3 or 4 days and them moving to another hotel by universal for another 2-3 days. What I am mostly looking for is a resort like hotel/s that the kids can have fun and have meals at or be in a place where we can walk to a place to eat or shop.

I don't need warm water. But a nice beach to relax play and maybe dip our toes.I have looked at Huntington Beach Hyatt and it seems nice. I also looked at the omni at Rancho mirage but I can't seem to find other activities near the hotel. But I am looking for a hotel like that that could have a town we could walk to and explore and do other actives for a day or two. The kids really want to do Universal which is why we are trying to stay in California and not going to warmer water.

I am also not worried about the rental car prices I have already priced everything out. It just depends on the hotel we choose and which cities.
 
  • cruisehopeful

    Wishing I was taking a nap on a ship.
    Joined
    Oct 25, 2015
    There are a few places that I would recommend in San Diego.

    Paradise Point https://www.destinationhotels.com/paradise-point?utm_source=google-local&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=gmb

    Hilton Mission Bay https://www.sandiegohilton.com/

    Hotel del Coronado https://hoteldel.com/

    Grand Pacific Palisades http://www.grandpacificpalisades.com/

    Carlsbad Inn http://www.carlsbadinn.com/

    The only places I've stayed near Universal are the Hilton and the Sheraton there. They are both fine. I consider both to be overpriced, but the convenience makes it worth it to me if I am going to Universal.
     

    DLgal

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 12, 2013
    We want to do both. The beach does not have to be in the LA area. It could be maybe San Diego. We do not ind being at a hotel by the beach for 3 or 4 days and them moving to another hotel by universal for another 2-3 days. What I am mostly looking for is a resort like hotel/s that the kids can have fun and have meals at or be in a place where we can walk to a place to eat or shop.

    I don't need warm water. But a nice beach to relax play and maybe dip our toes.I have looked at Huntington Beach Hyatt and it seems nice. I also looked at the omni at Rancho mirage but I can't seem to find other activities near the hotel. But I am looking for a hotel like that that could have a town we could walk to and explore and do other actives for a day or two. The kids really want to do Universal which is why we are trying to stay in California and not going to warmer water.

    I am also not worried about the rental car prices I have already priced everything out. It just depends on the hotel we choose and which cities.
    You are not going to find the type of beach resort you are looking for in Southern California. You will find chain hotels at varying distances from a beach, but nothing like an all inclusive within walking distance of a town with activities. I mean, there is Seaport Village in San Diego, but that's just a little shopping area near the marina. And it's not near a "beach." There is the Hotel del Coronado, but Coronado is an island that is fairly boring and the spring isn't really warm enough to be going to the Beach (in the water, that is). There are no "all inclusive" style resorts around here, to my knowledge.

    I think you will need to compromise here. The Universal/Hollywood part is easy. Just pick one of the few hotels adjacent to the Universal Studios park and explore by car from there. Take a day trip to Venice beach or something.

    Another option, which may be popular with your kids, is the Great Wolf lodge in Garden Grove. It's a really fun indoor water park hotel, so weather is not a factor. Kids of all ages LOVE it...plenty of fun even for older teens. It is somewhat like an all inclusive, with some activities like an arcade, mini golf, mini bowling, a spa, an interactive quest game, and an ice cream shop...all under one roof. There are several dining options as well. You can turn the kids loose in the waterpark and they will have fun for hours. There is also a couple bars for adult drinks. Food is actually very, very good onsite. It's not just junk food. There is a character buffet breakfast that has amazing, fresh food and it's CHEAP (like under $20/person). You can give your kids charging privileges on their wristbands (like Disney magic bands) so they can buy food and stuff without needing you there every time. Plus, they have some really large suites for very reasonable prices. My trick is book the cheapest standard room (the lowest category rooms sleep 6 comfortably) and then about a week before you check in, they send you an offer to upgrade for practically nothing. We got a $650/night suite for $250 total. It could sleep 8. We were only 4. It was awesome. Plus, the water park is fun for adults too....my husband and I love it. They have some pretty thrilling slides.
     

    tink89

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 13, 2017
    There are a few places that I would recommend in San Diego.

    Paradise Point https://www.destinationhotels.com/paradise-point?utm_source=google-local&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=gmb

    Hilton Mission Bay https://www.sandiegohilton.com/

    Hotel del Coronado https://hoteldel.com/

    Grand Pacific Palisades http://www.grandpacificpalisades.com/

    Carlsbad Inn http://www.carlsbadinn.com/

    The only places I've stayed near Universal are the Hilton and the Sheraton there. They are both fine. I consider both to be overpriced, but the convenience makes it worth it to me if I am going to Universal.
    These look beautiful. Ill look into them.
     

    Disney Dad ADL

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 17, 2015
    We want to do both. The beach does not have to be in the LA area. It could be maybe San Diego. We do not ind being at a hotel by the beach for 3 or 4 days and them moving to another hotel by universal for another 2-3 days. What I am mostly looking for is a resort like hotel/s that the kids can have fun and have meals at or be in a place where we can walk to a place to eat or shop.

    I don't need warm water. But a nice beach to relax play and maybe dip our toes.I have looked at Huntington Beach Hyatt and it seems nice. I also looked at the omni at Rancho mirage but I can't seem to find other activities near the hotel. But I am looking for a hotel like that that could have a town we could walk to and explore and do other actives for a day or two. The kids really want to do Universal which is why we are trying to stay in California and not going to warmer water.

    I am also not worried about the rental car prices I have already priced everything out. It just depends on the hotel we choose and which cities.
    Yeah, I can't think of too many resort-type places in Southern California, like the type you would find in Mexico where you can just do everything there, but I could be wrong. You would be more likely to find stuff like that in Orange County.

    From north to south, some beach cities to consider:

    Santa Monica is going to be a busier place, but there's lots of stuff going on. They have the pier, 3rd street promenade which is like a shopping mall, and is generally more populated than some other beach towns.

    Manhattan Beach is slightly less touristy than Santa Monica and a bit younger/hipper I think (though it's been awhile since I've been there). The beach area is nice, and there is a "town" so to speak where you can find restaurants or whatever, but not as much as Santa Monica.

    Huntington Beach is a pretty classic beach town, though I think there is less to do in terms of walking distance than the other options.

    Newport Beach is just south of Huntington Beach, start to get more upscale as you get farther south. They have a pier (Newport Pier/Balboa Peninsula) here which supposedly has stuff to do but I've never been to the pier. A bit more night life here than Huntington. If the pier interests you it might be a good option, though I don't really know the hotels around there.

    Laguna Beach is quieter and ritzier (though the beach still gets pretty busy). It does have a little town there, though I wouldn't say there's a ton of stuff, it's fine just to walk around a bit. Crystal Cove State park/Crystal Cove state beach is down there, if you like some more naturey exploring. I personally think it's the prettiest of the beaches I mentioned, but that's of course highly subjective.
     
  • tink89

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 13, 2017
    You are not going to find the type of beach resort you are looking for in Southern California. You will find chain hotels at varying distances from a beach, but nothing like an all inclusive within walking distance of a town with activities. I mean, there is Seaport Village in San Diego, but that's just a little shopping area near the marina. And it's not near a "beach." There is the Hotel del Coronado, but Coronado is an island that is fairly boring and the spring isn't really warm enough to be going to the Beach (in the water, that is). There are no "all inclusive" style resorts around here, to my knowledge.

    I think you will need to compromise here. The Universal/Hollywood part is easy. Just pick one of the few hotels adjacent to the Universal Studios park and explore by car from there. Take a day trip to Venice beach or something.

    Another option, which may be popular with your kids, is the Great Wolf lodge in Garden Grove. It's a really fun indoor water park hotel, so weather is not a factor. Kids of all ages LOVE it...plenty of fun even for older teens. It is somewhat like an all inclusive, with some activities like an arcade, mini golf, mini bowling, a spa, an interactive quest game, and an ice cream shop...all under one roof. There are several dining options as well. You can turn the kids loose in the waterpark and they will have fun for hours. There is also a couple bars for adult drinks. Food is actually very, very good onsite. It's not just junk food. There is a character buffet breakfast that has amazing, fresh food and it's CHEAP (like under $20/person). You can give your kids charging privileges on their wristbands (like Disney magic bands) so they can buy food and stuff without needing you there every time. Plus, they have some really large suites for very reasonable prices. My trick is book the cheapest standard room (the lowest category rooms sleep 6 comfortably) and then about a week before you check in, they send you an offer to upgrade for practically nothing. We got a $650/night suite for $250 total. It could sleep 8. We were only 4. It was awesome. Plus, the water park is fun for adults too....my husband and I love it. They have some pretty thrilling slides.
    I think you are right and the type of resort i am looking for is not in California. I might compromise the beach and just have a nice hotel with a nice pool that is near a downtown area or a place like old town San Diego (not necessarily there, but somewhere like that).

    I did think about that one but pricing it out it is almost the same or more than Disneyland. The kids would rather go to Disneyland than GWL. We already have a few Disney trips planned which is why i do not want to include it on this trip.

    Maybe we will just to L.A./universal/ Beverly Hills and call it a trip. Any ideas to what we can add to a trip if we just do the LA/ Universal area?
     

    tink89

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 13, 2017
    Yeah, I can't think of too many resort-type places in Southern California, like the type you would find in Mexico where you can just do everything there, but I could be wrong. You would be more likely to find stuff like that in Orange County.

    From north to south, some beach cities to consider:

    Santa Monica is going to be a busier place, but there's lots of stuff going on. They have the pier, 3rd street promenade which is like a shopping mall, and is generally more populated than some other beach towns.

    Manhattan Beach is slightly less touristy than Santa Monica and a bit younger/hipper I think (though it's been awhile since I've been there). The beach area is nice, and there is a "town" so to speak where you can find restaurants or whatever, but not as much as Santa Monica.

    Huntington Beach is a pretty classic beach town, though I think there is less to do in terms of walking distance than the other options.

    Newport Beach is just south of Huntington Beach, start to get more upscale as you get farther south. They have a pier (Newport Pier/Balboa Peninsula) here which supposedly has stuff to do but I've never been to the pier. A bit more night life here than Huntington. If the pier interests you it might be a good option, though I don't really know the hotels around there.

    Laguna Beach is quieter and ritzier (though the beach still gets pretty busy). It does have a little town there, though I wouldn't say there's a ton of stuff, it's fine just to walk around a bit. Crystal Cove State park/Crystal Cove state beach is down there, if you like some more naturey exploring. I personally think it's the prettiest of the beaches I mentioned, but that's of course highly subjective.

    Thanks. I guess from looking at maps and the area Santa Monica might be the best bet. The only thing is I would book two hotels also. We drove once from Santa Monica back to our hotel in LA and it took about 1 hr.

    As of now i think my best plan would be 2 days Santa Monica. 2 or 3 days Universal area.

    As far a town i wanted something with some culture or history that we could explore.

    Thanks so far for all the info.
     

    DLgal

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 12, 2013
    Thanks. I guess from looking at maps and the area Santa Monica might be the best bet. The only thing is I would book two hotels also. We drove once from Santa Monica back to our hotel in LA and it took about 1 hr.

    As of now i think my best plan would be 2 days Santa Monica. 2 or 3 days Universal area.

    As far a town i wanted something with some culture or history that we could explore.

    Thanks so far for all the info.
    Maybe Santa Barbara? Or Solvang? Although not sure how much your kids would enjoy that. You can also do a visit to some of the Missions in Southern CA. San Juan Capistrano is a nice one and there's a lot of walkable restaurants and shops in that area.
     

    oakleycat

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 19, 2017
    I agree with everyone else that there is nothing like what you are looking for in Southern CA. The water is always cold here and there is nothing close to an all-inclusive resort. I would drive down and do Universal in a separate trip and then hit an all-inclusive in Mexico or the Carribean. But, if you want to make it all one trip, there are a lot of great resorts with great pools. The Omni La Costa in Carlsbad is great (similar to Omni Rancho Mirage but better location - San Diego area), as are the Hilton Waterfront or Hyatt in Huntington Beach or Hyatt Newport Beach. You can do everything on site at those resorts, it will just cost you a lot more than an all-inclusive!
     
  • Ntows

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Oct 17, 2017
    Great thread. I am trying to plan a family vacay and also looking for family resorts.
     

    tink89

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 13, 2017
    Do you have a budget?
    I was just looking at hotels and decide to check back on this board for more info. I still have not decided on a place.
    I have been busy planning our Christmas vacation.

    Do I have a budget? Yes and no. If it is a place where I can see that the family can have fun and enjoy themselves I do not mind paying more. I am noticing that its either beach or theme park. Im still undecided if we just go to San Diego instead. Maybe I just need to go back to a Mexico Vacation.

    I just wish there was a resort with activities and close places to either walk to or drive to.
     

    Miss SD

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 25, 2008
    Have you considered the Hotel del Coronado? Expensive, yes, but the hotel is on the beach and is part of a lovely little town. Check out the website for activities available. Downtown San Diego is just across the bridge, and the zoo and Balboa Park are just a short distance from there. Highly recommend it. I grew up in SD, and DD and I love to bring my mom there (she’s still a local) to have a burger on the outdoor terrace. Then we watch DD bodysurf at the beach. I miss going there at Christmas to see it all decorated.
     

    AdamEfimoff

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 29, 2015
    Have you considered the Hotel del Coronado? Expensive, yes, but the hotel is on the beach and is part of a lovely little town. Check out the website for activities available. Downtown San Diego is just across the bridge, and the zoo and Balboa Park are just a short distance from there. Highly recommend it. I grew up in SD, and DD and I love to bring my mom there (she’s still a local) to have a burger on the outdoor terrace. Then we watch DD bodysurf at the beach. I miss going there at Christmas to see it all decorated.
    https://www.fairmont.com/san-diego/
     

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