San Diego is home to the first European settlement on the California coast, one of the largest urban parks in the country, a world-renowned zoo, and 70 miles of beaches. You’ll also find dozens of oceanfront hotels and resorts with elegant interiors, expansive views, and gourmet restaurants. This resort town knows how to pamper its guests.
Located at the southern tip of California, San Diego is a city and county. Dozens of small beach towns dot the coastline starting in the north at Oceanside and ending in the south at Imperial Beach. Depending on your interests, there are large historic hotels that offer a dizzying array of amenities, or small, family-owned accommodations set on quieter stretches of sand. There is something for everyone in San Diego.
1. Paradise Point Resort & Spa
Located in the Mission Bay area of San Diego, Paradise Point & Spa sets it apart from many other resorts in the area. In fact, there are 44 resort acres to enjoy during your visit, which includes five swimming pools, a marina, basketball and tennis courts, and 14 miles of waterfront trails perfect for running or biking. This is the place to check in and stay for days.
Accommodations include large guest rooms, suites, and bungalows, many with ocean views. And no matter where your room is, you’re just a short walk from the beach.
There are three restaurants in the resort ranging from casual to luxurious. Popular with guests and locals, Barefoot Bar & Grill is known for its beachy cocktails and comfort food while Tidal serves up great steaks and seafood.
Pro tip: Thanks to the wide range of activities, this is a popular multi-generational family vacation destination.
2. Hotel del Coronado
Perhaps the most famous and historic hotel in Southern California is the Hotel Del Coronado. Famous for its white facade and red conical ceilings, the hotel is a favorite with visitors and residents alike. Built in 1888, it has hosted US presidents, royalty, and celebrities.
While most people imagine the original Victorian building when they think of the Hotel Del, it has become a sprawling resort made up of “neighborhoods,” and guests can choose from Cabanas, Beach Village, and Shore House, each with their own amenities. Its location on Coronado Island promises excellent ocean views stretching from Point Loma to Glorietta Bay.
The list of activities available to guests is long. Relax by one of the many pools, enjoy a massage at the spa, learn to surf, bike along the beach, or take a yoga class in the morning. If you prefer shopping, there are half a dozen shops selling beach clothes, gifts, and leather goods.
With eight restaurants and cafes, there are plenty of dining options. For something quick and spontaneous, there’s Eno Pizzeria or Beach & Taco Shack. For an upscale seafood feast, be sure to make reservations at Serẽa. The sun terrace is a romantic place for couples to enjoy a cocktail while watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.
Pro tip: The ghost of Kate Morgan, who was a housekeeper at the Del Hotel, is said to haunt room 3327. Very brave guests can request to stay in this spooky room.
3. Loews Coronado Bay Resort
Not as well known as the Hotel Del, but with equally great views is Loews Coronado Bay Resort. This 15-acre resort is located on its own small peninsula, away from the hustle and bustle of traffic. Many guest rooms and public areas feature views of the bay and downtown San Diego from afar.
Guest rooms and suites feature simple, elegant décor in blue and light green, and many have balconies overlooking the bay or the marina. Step out your room door into the landscaped pool area or take a shuttle bus to Silver Strand State Beach.
Many activities are centered around the ocean and include boat and water bike rentals, as well as surfing and sailing lessons. If you prefer to relax in the sun, you can venture out in one of the three pools, book a cabana, and enjoy an iced cocktail.
When it’s time to dine, head to Crown Landing for fine dining or choose one of the lounges for a quick and casual meal.
Pro tip: While both Coronado Island resorts offer great food and shopping, the charming downtown area offers more options. Take a few hours to stroll Orange Avenue – the island’s main thoroughfare where you’ll find shops, galleries, restaurants, and theaters.
4. Crystal Pier Hotel & Cottages
Among San Diego’s most unique beach accommodations is the Crystal Pier Hotel & Cottages in the city’s Pacific Beach neighborhood.
Built in 1927 and originally known as Pickering’s Pleasure Pier, it was once home to carnival-like attractions and a ballroom. Today, it is a popular destination for vacationers and fishermen. In addition to the accommodations, there is a pier bait shop and plenty of space for fishing, picnicking, and relaxing.
Each cottage offers guests stunning ocean views and an overwater sleeping experience. They all come with fully equipped kitchenettes, separate bedroom and living spaces, and a private deck over the water. While the pier is open to the public during the day, only hotel guests are allowed to enjoy it in the evening and early morning.
There is no restaurant available, but there are several dining options within walking distance.
These cottages book up to one year in advance for summer stays, so if this piques your interest, book as soon as possible. There is a minimum night requirement of two to four nights depending on the season.
Pro tip: One of the best ways to explore this part of the city is by bike. There are several rental stores within walking distance and there are miles of flat trails across both Pacific and Mission beaches.
5. La Jolla Shores Hotel
La Jolla is one of the most upscale neighborhoods in Southern California, and within this beautiful enclave of San Diego are several resorts perfect for a weekend getaway. Perched on the edge of a 600-acre underwater ecological preserve, La Jolla Shores is the perfect place for relaxation and adventure.
The resort offers 128 rooms, many of which overlook the ocean and distant cliffs. Other rooms feature views of the property’s lush tropical gardens. Most rooms have balconies or lanais, perfect for enjoying the sea air.
If you’re keen to unwind, lounge by the pool or grab a beach chair and sit on the sand while watching the waves roll in. For the more adventurous, consider booking a snorkeling trip or kayaking tour. Several tour companies are located nearby and will lead divers through the ocean waters rich in marine life. Kayakers will enjoy the nearby sea caves.
For on-site dining, The Shores Restaurant serves comfort classics for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you’re ready to splurge and want an unforgettable dining experience, head to The Marine Room nearby. Upon reaching high tide, you will be stunned by the waves crashing on the large windows.
6. La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club
Located near the La Jolla Shores hotel is its companion property, La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club. Here you can combine your love of the ocean with your enjoyment of tennis. Despite being a part of town for more than 80 years, this resort is less well known and still feels like a secret to many visitors.
Choose from rooms, studios or suites with ocean view or interior view. For the ultimate in privacy, consider booking one of the cottages. All accommodations are tastefully decorated in neutral colours.
When it’s time to play, you have a lot of options. The resort has 12 championship tennis courts that have hosted dozens of national tournaments and hundreds of international players. Book a playground and play some games or book a lesson with a pro to set your swing. If you’re not a tennis player, borrow some chairs and umbrellas and head to the beach and lay down by the pool.
The Club Dining Room and bar are open all day for food service, but for something unique, book a beach barbecue. Reserve your spot at the beach, order your favorite barbecue items, and simply turn up to cook.
Pro tip: While it is possible to check in to your hotel and stay in place for a few days, be sure to allow time to explore La Jolla. Head to Prospect Ave. For some shopping, catch a glimpse of sea lions at La Jolla Cove or head to Torrey Pines State Park for an ocean walk.
With 266 days of sunshine each year in San Diego, your trip is practically guaranteed to be a great one. So pick your dates, make your reservations (well before summer), and head to one of the most relaxed cities in the US
San Diego is a year-round destination with some great locations. paying off: