With images of sand, surf and surfers, it’s easy to forget about the San Diego area’s must-see tourist attractions: the World-Famous San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park (the latter especially), SeaWorld and, for the grown-ups, Del Mar Race Track and Balboa Park’s museums. While the weather in this salty-air SoCal city may be warm year-round—70 degrees on average—nowhere else captures the summer spirit quite like it. And, thanks to these unbeatable hotel deals—nothing over $200 a night—you can take that dreamy imagery… and place your family in it.
- Glorietta Bay Inn (from $185)
In often-overlooked Coronado, just five miles from downtown San Diego, you’ll find the recently remodeled Glorietta Bay Inn. And each scenic trip over the spectacular Coronado Bridge to get there will feel like sight-seeing in itself. Beyond this upscale boutique hotel’s many amenities—free WiFi, iPod docks, fridges, DVD players, HD TVs, in-room massages, heated pool—its highlight is its proximity to Coronado beach, voted one of the world’s best by the Travel Channel. You and your kids may also enjoy watching pups play fetch in the waves just down the shoreline at Dog Beach with the signature Hotel del Coronado in the background. (There’s even a “Dog Wash” nearby.)
- Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego (from $159/night)
If you want to be front and center—that is to say, waterfront and centrally located—start with the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego. Although it’s on the San Diego Bay (read: no beach), keep in mind that San Diego’s set-up is sprawling; staying downtown means less travel time to more points of interest. This hotel is also within one mile of Seaport Village, Petco Park major league baseball stadium, the Gaslamp District, and the Museum of Contemporary Art. In “The Backyard” of the hotel proper, your kids will enjoy foosball, lawn bowling, giant checkers, and fire pits for roasting s’mores. You’ll appreciate sipping cocktails with a marina view and the stylish guest rooms’ luxurious linens and Portico bath products. And your whole family will love the poolside movie viewings.
- La Jolla Inn (from $99/night)
The La Jolla Inn’s unpretentious European décor and cozy handmade quilts make it a rare find in ritzy La Jolla by the Sea. But it’s the reasonably priced laundry services and complimentary afternoon refreshments—lemonade, hot chocolate, freshly baked cookies—that make it a real winner for parents. Rent bikes from the in-house convenience store, as well as snorkels and boogie boards: sure to come in handy at the beach a block away. Don’t miss Seal Rock at the Children’s Pool cove and La Jolla’s Rodeo-Drive-esque shopping and art galleries. But most of all, impress your kids with this fun fact: Dr. Seuss lived here!
If you’ve been to these hotels or found your own deals in San Diego, share them in the comments below. Prefer the East Coast over the West Coast? No problem! To check out our favorite sophisticated (family-friendly) hotels in Orlando, Florida, click here now.