Trying to decide where to stay in LA? You've come to the right place! For families traveling to the Los Angeles area, which includes Orange County about an hour to the south, there is an abundance of hotel options at every price point. While this is a good thing, it can sometimes make the decision of where to stay in Los Angeles even more difficult.
Lucky for you, this Frog Family hops over to LA quite a bit for our many visits to Disneyland Resort. (By the way, we can save you a bundle on theme park tickets and rental cars too!) Personally, we like to stay as close to the parks as we can if we're just visiting the resort — that saves time on the road and parking fees.
But if we have a few days in LA, we like to explore the hotels near other major tourist spots and beaches, as well. Sometimes it pays (in time and money) to hop around! We like convenience, and a hotel that offers free breakfast is a bonus that helps save money and time.
How to Decide Where to Stay in Los Angeles
Courtesy of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board
If you’re visiting multiple attractions across the Los Angeles area, expect to do a lot of driving no matter where you are. Visitors may want to consider booking a couple of hotels nearest to their itinerary destinations. Guests planning a few days in Disneyland and then the rest of the vacation elsewhere might want to split up the hotel stay. You can spend a few days in Anaheim and a few days in Los Angeles. If you are only planning to spend a day or two at Disneyland and the rest of your time among the other attractions, it may make sense to book a hotel in an area that offers an abundance of entertainment and dining options for the kids.
Where to Stay in Anaheim
Most of the Anaheim-area hotels located near Disneyland are spread along Harbor Boulevard. A few of them are right across the street from the Disneyland Esplanade. The Esplanade connects Disneyland Park with Disney California Adventure Park. It's a five-minute walk, making these locations as convenient as some of the Disneyland Resort hotels.
Some offer family-friendly pools with waterslides, perfect for cooling off in the middle of the day before heading back to the parks, such as the Howard Johnson Anaheim or the Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park Entrance. Many others along Harbor Boulevard are still within walking distance, and many offer shuttle services, such as Delta Hotels Anaheim Garden Grove. The Holiday Inn & Suites Anaheim is one block from Disneyland and has a splash zone. The Pirate-themed suite can accommodate up to eight guests.
Of course, Disneyland also has three on-site hotels that range in price and accommodations. Did you know that you can now book discount rooms for Disneyland hotels through Undercover Tourist? You can stay at the luxurious Disney's Grand Californian Hotel (for as low as $554 per night) with a special entrance right into Disney California Adventure Park!
You can book the original Disneyland Hotel for as low as $480 a night. All the rooms were recently refurbished and have light-up headboards. Disney's Paradise Pier offers beachin' accommodations as low as $380 a night (but do your research before you book as there are no restaurants open at Paradise Pier, and some areas are undergoing refurbishment as this hotel is transformed into the Pixar Place hotel). Many rooms at those hotels have a pull-down bed that is perfect for a fifth-room guest. All three on-site hotels are within walking distance of the parks and have pools with waterslides. You can enjoy two character breakfasts/brunches at Disney's Grand Californian and a character breakfast/dinner at Disneyland Hotel.
Read more about these hotels and see photos from our recent stays:
- The Frog Family's Guide to the Disneyland Hotel
- The Frog Family's Guide to Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
- All of the Magical Reasons to Stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel
Some hotels on Harbor Boulevard south of Katella are within walking distance of the free Toy Story parking lot shuttle bus, getting you as close as you can to the Esplanade, such as the Hyatt Place (as low as $182 a night). Homewood Suites by Hilton (as low as $174 a night) is next door to the Toy Story lot as well. This hotel has suites with kitchens, poolside grills and breakfast included.
Most guests will want a car for their vacation in the Los Angeles area. Should you decide not to rent a car, Lyft and Uber are options for getting to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Orange County. We do have one trick for saving on a rental car. Add the rental car to your cart when booking a hotel stay or theme park tickets and unlock even deeper discounts for 50 percent off the rental car!
Where to Stay in Los Angeles — Near the Beach
Visitors who are looking for the quintessential California beach experience for splashing in the waves and enjoying beautiful sunsets will find a number of options nestled along the beaches of Orange and Los Angeles Counties, most notably Dana Point, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Long Beach and Manhattan Beach, including the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa in Dana Point and the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach (as low as $165 a night).
The Marriott Newport Coast Villas offer spacious accommodations with coastal breezes and nearby golf courses. It has walking trails, pools, barbecues, fire pits, sports courts activities and more. Plus, you can walk to the beach at Crystal Cove. In Huntington Beach (aka "Surf City USA"), the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach (as low as $269 a night) is just across from the beach and has miles of beach trails. Hop over to our post on our favorite SoCal beach hotels for more beach getaway suggestions.
©Travis Conklin 2008 Courtesy of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board
While it’s a little more expensive, we like Santa Monica. It has great proximity to the water and the Santa Monica Pier. The pier boasts an amusement park, arcade, aquarium and more. The Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel has a heated pool and is within walking distance of the pier. There is also a great shopping, dining and entertainment area along the Third Street Promenade. Wide, paved sidewalks run along the beach to the south toward Venice Beach, perfect for a family bike ride. Along the way, you can take in the street performers, souvenir shops, graffiti walls and sports equipment. A little bit of paradise for the whole family!
The Long Beach harbor area places you between Orange County and the heart of Los Angeles. A good option in the area is the waterfront Hyatt Regency Long Beach (as low as $223 a night), with its ocean-view suites and pool. You can explore the coast by bike path, go on a dolphin excursion, discover sea life at the Aquarium of the Pacific, visit the famed ocean liner The Queen Mary and enjoy shopping at the waterfront Shoreline Village.
Where to Stay in Los Angeles — in the Heart of Tinseltown
Visitors wanting to be in the heart of Hollywood will find an abundance of places to stay along Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, many of which cater to children and families, including the famed Beverly Hills Hotel. The location is ideal for sightseeing. It's near many of the most famous locations in Los Angeles, including Melrose Boulevard and Rodeo Drive, and the nearby Hollywood Walk of Fame.
You can still access the beach from these areas. The Big Bus Los Angeles tour has a Beach Loop from Beverly Gardens Park that drops you off at the Santa Monica Pier. Plus, you can use the bus to see other iconic sights around Los Angeles.
Close accommodations to Universal Studios include two mid-priced hotels on property that offer shuttle service: the Hilton Universal City (as low as $252 a night) and the Sheraton Universal Hotel. Both are a short walk to the entrance of Universal Studios and CityWalk. The Sheraton is a little further away and down a steep hill, but you can take the shuttle.
We hope you've found this overview of where to stay in Los Angeles hopful as you plan your visit to LA and its surrounding areas. You'll find more resources and tips inside our Los Angeles Planning Guide.
Related: Best Los Angeles Hotels for Large Families
Related: Our Favorite Hotels for a Low-Key Beach Getaway in SoCal