Our Vote for Best Resorts in Southern California from San Diego to Santa Barbara

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15 best resorts in southern california

From San Diego to Santa Barbara, southern California is home to beaches, mountains, valleys and deserts. That’s a lot of ground to cover, but fortunately there’s a wide assortment of the best resorts in southern California to serve as home base. Whether you’re looking for a woodsy retreat or coastal resort – and anything in between – we’ve got you covered. Here are 15 of the best resorts in Southern California for your next getaway.

The family friendly L'Auberge Del Mar is among Southern California's best resorts
L’Auberge Del Mar is a luxury coastal resort. Photo credit: L’Auberge Del Mar

1. L’Auberge Del Mar

1540 Camino Del Mar 
Del Mar, California 92014
(858) 386-1336

A family-friendly luxury resort, the award-winning L’Auberge del Mar overlooks the Pacific Ocean and is close to a popular coastal village. The beachfront resort has 121 rooms that range from guest rooms to suites. They feature elegant furnishings like marble bathrooms and have private balconies or patios with ocean, garden or village views. Some rooms have a fireplace.

Resort amenities include a year-round heated swimming pool, fitness center, two tennis courts and the 5,000-square-foot Spa L’Auberge. The beach is just a short walk away down a landscaped path from the resort to the sand.

L’Auberge Del Mar Highlights

  • Spacious, comfortable rooms
  • Youth ages 17 and younger stay free in their parents’ room
  • Year-round heated pool and hot tub
  • Easy beach access
  • Use of complimentary beach bikes
  • A short walk to shops and restaurants in the picturesque coastal village of Del Mar
Hotel del Coronado is among the best resorts in southern california
The Dell sits on one of the prime beaches in San Diego. Photo credit: NathanHill0070 on Pixabay

2. Hotel del Coronado

1500 Orange Ave.
Coronado, California 92118
(619) 435-6611

Built in 1888, the historic Hotel del Coronado is a beachfront resort on Coronado Island. It’s an iconic San Diego family resort with one of the best beaches in San Diego and an extensive selection of accommodations. Many people like to stay in the original Victorian building where no two rooms are alike. Contemporary furnishings and features are found in the Cabanas, Views, Beach Village and Shore House.

With its prime spot on Coronado Island, the resort is a destination in itself. In addition to the beach, guests have access to swimming pools, yoga, golf, bike rentals, tennis courts and a surf academy. The Dell has six restaurants and three bars/lounges.

Families can enjoy a private beach bonfires and s‘mores. The resort‘s children‘s program, Ocean Explorers, for ages 5 – 12, offers half-day and full-day sessions with a boatload of activities.

Hotel del Coronado Highlights

  • Variety of lodging options
  • Best beach in San Diego
  • Children’s programs for ages 5 – 12
  • Many onsite activities
  • Swimming pools
  • Surf academy
  • Bike rentals
  • Private beach bonfires
  • Short drive to the San Diego Zoo
Omni La Costa Resort & Spa ranks among Southern California's best resorts
Omni La Costa Resort & Spa is an upscale resort in Carlsbad. Photo credit: Omni La Costa Resort & Spa

3. Omni La Costa Resort & Spa

2100 Costa Del Mar Road
Carlsbad, California
(760) 438-9111

The world-class Omni La Costa Resort & Spa spoils families from the moment they check in and kids receive a backpack stuffed with goodies. Situated on 400 acres of lush gardens with paved pathways, the pet-friendly resort has 607 units that range from guest rooms to villas and family suites. Up to four kids ages 17 and younger stay free in their parents’ or guardian’s room.

Amenities include seven restaurants, eight swimming pools, a free waterpark, cabana rentals, 17 tennis courts and two championship golf course. For children 6 months through 12 years old, Kidtopia Kids Club offers a range of activities. Meanwhile, adults can enjoy treatments at the full-service luxury spa.

More activities include dive-in movies and evening s’more roasting. There’s also a free beach shuttle. Another perk: The resort is a short drive to LEGOLAND California in Carlsbad.

Omni La Costa Resort & Spa Highlights

  • Kids ages 17 and younger stay free in parents’ or guardian’s room
  • Kidtopia Kids Club
  • Eight outdoor pools, waterpark, waterslides and a sandy beach
  • World-class spa
  • Free beach shuttle
  • Short drive to LEGOLAND California

4. La Jolla Shores Hotel

8110 Camino Del Oro
La Jolla, California 92037
(855) 923-8058

The laid-back, beachfront La Jolla Shores Hotel has 128 guest rooms, including 19 with kitchenettes. The family-owned hotel has a private beach, year-round heated outdoor pool, onsite restaurants, fitness center and two tennis courts.

TripAdvisor reviewers give this beachfront hotel a thumbs up for location, cleanliness and friendly service. Plus, it’s a short drive to the Birch Aquarium and other San Diego attractions.

La Jolla Shores Hotel Highlights

  • Beach location
  • Heated swimming pool
  • Casual beach resort
  • Near popular San Diego attractions
best hotels in southern California: Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club
The Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club has three pools, including a family pool. Photo credit: Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club

5. Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club

1 Monarch Beach Resort N
Dana Point, California 92629
(949) 234-3200

Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club is an upscale property on 175 acres atop a 150-foot seaside bluff with access to a private beach. For travelers, it’s a good location between San Diego and Los Angeles. Accommodations include a variety of guest rooms and suites.

Traveler reviews rank the resort high for service, dining options and amenities. The resort has seven restaurants, three swimming pools, a championship golf course, tennis courts and a children’s program (surcharge).

Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club Highlights

  • Private beach
  • Children’s program
  • Three swimming pools
  • Good central location in southern California
Located in the desert, JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & spa is among the 15 best resorts in southern California
A group of flamingos greet guests at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa. Photo credit: Mimi Slawoff

6. JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa

74-855 Country Club Drive
Palm Desert, California 92260
(760) 341-2211

Situated on 450 acres of desert gardens, the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa is a laid-back luxury resort in the Greater Palm Springs Area. The family-friendly resort has 884 guest rooms including 101 luxury suites. Rooms are spacious and many have mountain and pool views. The property has landscaped pathways, waterways and lakes. Guided, private electric boat rides are available for guests. These boats cruise along the lake and under a bridge to the onsite Mikado Restaurant and The Spa at Desert Springs.

The resort’s amenities include five pools, two golf courses and several restaurants, many with lake views. Families can spend hours in the 12,000-square-foot arcade – the JW Entertainment Zone that has fun retro and modern games for all ages. Adults should be sure to book a treatment at the 38,000-square-foot Spa at Desert Springs.

JW Marriott Desert Hot Springs Highlights

  • Spacious guest rooms and suites
  • JW Entertainment Zone with retro and modern games for all ages
  • Five swimming pools
  • Electric boat rides
  • Near The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens
Southern California's best resorts always include the Montage Laguna Beach
The Mosaic pool includes an adjacent children’s pool and play area. Photo credit: Montage Laguna Beach

7. Montage Laguna Beach

30801 South Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, California 92651
(866) 271-6953

Situated on a coastal bluff above the Pacific Ocean, the five-star Montage Laguna Beach pampers guests with luxury accommodations and amenities. Guest rooms, suites and villas all have 24-hour room service, premium bedding and pillow menus. Free infant beds are available.

TripAdvisor reviewers rave about the resort’s excellent service, three ocean view restaurants and Sunday afternoon tea. The beachfront resort has two outdoor pools, a children’s play area, cabanas, pool umbrellas and a poolside bar. There’s also a 20,000-square-foot spa, fitness center and yoga classes. For a surcharge, guests ages 5-12 can participate in Paintbox, a themed activities-based children’s program.

Montage Laguna Beach Highlights

  • The Mosaic pool includes an adjacent children’s pool and play area
  • Poolside cabanas are available for rent
  • Larger suites include a fully equipped gourmet kitchen
  • Children’s program (surcharge)
  • Easy beach access
  • Pet friendly
  • Free WiFi
The Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach's location ranks it among the best resorts in southern California
The Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa. Photo credit: Hyatt.

8. Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa

21500 E. Pacific Coast Highway
Huntington Beach, California 92648
(714) 698-1234

The Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa is a good choice for travelers looking for a laid-back oceanfront resort. The pet-friendly hotel has 517 guest rooms and suites with private terraces. Most have ocean views. From poolside to casual and elegant, the Hyatt Regency offers a variety of dining options. There’s also an onsite grocery store.

With its beachfront location, two outdoor pools, a children’s pool, fitness center and full-service spa, the resort caters to couples and families.

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa Highlights

  • Prime beach location
  • Variety of guest rooms and suites ideal for multi-generational families
  • Several onsite restaurants and a grocery/convenience store
  • Two swimming pools and a children’s pool
  • Pet friendly
A best resorts in southern california list is not complete without the Terranea
The Terranea Resort has a coastal bluff location with access to a private beach. Photo credit: Terranea Resort

9. Terranea Resort

100 Terranea Way
Rancho Palos Verdes, California 90275
(855) 938-4047

Perched on a coastal bluff along the Palos Verdes Peninsula, the five-star Terranea Resort is a luxurious, secluded getaway in Los Angeles. All 360 rooms, which include guest rooms, suites, bungalows, casitas and villas, have premium bedding and 24-hour room service.

Resort amenities feature eight dining options, a nine-hole golf course, four heated swimming pools and a waterslide. Guests also have access to a private beach cove, a nature trail, paddle boarding and kayaking.

The Terranea Kids Club entertains ages 4 – 12 with outdoor games, arts and crafts, science-based activities and more. This gives parents a chance to relax and enjoy massages at the 50,000-square-foot spa with 25 treatment rooms.

Terranea Resort Highlights

  • Assortment of accommodations
  • Private beach cove
  • Terranea Kids Club
  • Four heated swimming pools, a 140-foot water slide, splash pad, private cabanas, fire pits and poolside games
  • Kayaking
  • Nature trail
A coastal bike path runs in front of Shutters on the Beach
A coastal bike path is accessible from Shutters on the Beach. Photo credit: Shutterstock

10. Shutters on the Beach

1 Pico Blvd.
Santa Monica, California 90401
(310) 458-0030

With its beachfront location and proximity to the Santa Monica Pier (which anchors the Pacific Park amusement park), Shutters on the Beach is a great place to stay and one of our favorite Santa Monica hotels with ocean views. Room options vary from studios and standard guest rooms to suites. Onsite restaurants, an outdoor pool, spa tub and a full-service spa are among the amenities. The pet-friendly hotel also offers a children’s menu, 24-hour room service and free WiFi.

Bike rentals, swimming and beach yoga are among outdoor activities. Plus, it’s a short walk to Downtown Santa Monica.

Shutters on the Beach Highlights

  • Oceanfront location
  • Swimming pool
  • Onsite restaurants and a children’s menu
  • Short walk to the Santa Monica Pier and Pacific Park amusement park
  • Pet friendly
  • Free WiFi
best hotels in southern California: Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles At Beverly Hills
A swimming pool and kid-friendly amenities welcome families at the Four Seasons. Photo credit: Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles At Beverly Hills

11. Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills

300 S. Doheny Drive
Los Angeles, California 90048
(310) 273-2222

For a luxury urban experience, check into the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. The five-star hotel puts you in the middle of the action for sightseeing, shopping on Rodeo Drive and exploring the Hollywood Hills.

Guests get the star treatment starting with luxury guest rooms and suites. Kids are pampered with a special welcome gift, child-sized robes, children’s menus and complimentary coloring book and crayons. Meanwhile, parents can enjoy the full-service spa before heading out for a night on the town. Babysitting services are available for a fee.

Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills Highlights

  • Luxury room options include guest rooms and suites, some with soaking tubs.
  • Kid-friendly amenities like kids menus, welcome gift and child-sized robes.
  • Concierge available to book family dinner reservations or babysitting services.
  • Swimming pool.
  • On-site dining options offer American cuisine and Italian culinary experiences.
Mountains are where you'll find some of the best resorts in southern california
Balcony rooms overlook the pool, lake and private beach. Photo credit: Mimi Slawoff

12. Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa

27984 CA Hwy. 189
Lake Arrowhead, California 92352
(909) 336-1511

Nestled in the San Bernardino National Forest (about 90 minutes from L.A.), Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa is a breath of fresh air away from the city. The lakeside resort has spacious balcony rooms, onsite restaurants, a small theater and a private beach. The pet-friendly resort also offers yoga, meditation and other wellness activities.

Things to do include boat rides, fishing, hiking and mountain biking. Plus, it’s a short walk to the pretty lakeside village and marina.

Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa Highlights

  • Family-friendly mountain resort with comfortable amenities
  • Lakeside location
  • Private beach and marina
  • Theater showing family movies
  • Pet friendly
  • Onsite restaurants
  • Short walk to Lake Arrowhead village and marina

13. Rosewood Miramar Beach

1759 S. Jameson Lane
Montecito, California 93108
(805) 900-8388

The oceanfront Rosewood Miramar Beach accommodates travelers with an assortment of guest rooms, suites and bungalows. Guests are pampered with beach butler services, beach activities and the complimentary use of chairs, umbrellas, beach toys and water sports equipment.

When you’re not lounging or playing on the beach, enjoy the resort’s adults-only and family pools, onsite restaurants, poolside bar and fitness center. At the Forbes five-star spa, Sense, guests will enjoy a variety of treatments from deep tissue massages to rejuvenating facial therapies.

Rosewood Miramar Beach Highlights

  • Prime oceanfront location
  • Beach butler services and complimentary use of chairs, umbrellas, beach toys and water sports equipment
  • Dog-friendly resort

14. The Ritz Carlton Santa Barbara

8301 Hollister Ave.
Santa Barbara, California 93117
(805) 968-0100

The elegant Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara is a five-star property with direct access to miles of pristine beach. Spacious suites with Mediterranean-style decor have ocean or garden views, deep soaking tubs and marble showers.

Guests can also enjoy three zero-edge saline swimming pools with cabana rentals, six onsite restaurants and a 42,000-square-foot spa and wellness center. Electric bike rentals for ages 18 and older are available to explore the surrounding area. In addition, guests have access to the adjacent 18-hole championship golf courses at the Sandpiper Golf Club.

Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara Highlights

  • Spacious suites with garden or ocean views
  • Direct beach access
  • Three swimming pools
  • About a 20-minute drive to the Santa Barbara Zoo
some of the best resorts in southern California are situated in valleys
Ride a bike to explore Ojai serene landscape. Photo credit: Michael McFadden

15. Ojai Valley Inn

905 Country Club Road
Ojai, California 93023
(855) 697-8780

One of the best resorts in southern California is a hidden gem in Ventura – the Ojai Valley Inn.  Built in 1923, the award-winning resort is located in a unique coastal valley about 12 miles from the ocean. The five-star resort is a great home base for exploring Ojai’s enchanting art galleries, farmers markets and shops. TripAdvisor reviewers call Ojai and the Ojai Valley Inn a magical place and recommend the destination for a long weekend getaway.

Choose from luxury guest rooms, suites or penthouses – some with fireplaces. All rooms have a courtyard, garden, golf course or mountain view. Dining is a pleasure at the four onsite restaurants. There’s also an onsite artisan market. Enjoy poolside dining at two of the four swimming pools. Indigo is the adults-only pool and Pixie Pool is for families. Cabana rentals are available.

Additional resort activities include tennis, guided hikes (surcharge) and art classes in the Artist Cottage (surcharge). Camp Oak (surcharge), for ages 4-12, offers arts and crafts, science experiments and other activities.

Ojai Valley Inn Highlights

  • Various luxury room options
  • Camp Oak children’s program (surcharge) for ages 4 – 12
  • Four swimming pools including a family pool
  • Pet friendly
Native Angeleno and seasoned travel journalist Mimi Slawoff writes for numerous print and digital publications. She is also the author of Oldest Los Angeles (Reedy Press, 2022). A lifelong world traveler, Mimi is an award-winning journalist who writes about outdoor adventures, cruises, Europe and cultural activities. Mimi has three grown kids and lives with her husband and their dog, Maya, in Los Angeles.
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