Since most families who visit San Diego will be a renting a car, deciding where to stay in San Diego is a fairly painless task. We love that there are plenty of affordable options in the most-visited parts of town and near the major attractions. When deciding where to stay in San Diego, it comes down to personal preference.
Where to Stay in San Diego - On the Water
As the Frog Family, we’re naturally drawn to water. If we have the chance to stay near the beach or the bay, we always take it. Mission Bay is a popular destination among families, because it offers plenty of water sports and outdoor activities and a number of resorts. It’s also just a hop, skip and a jump from neighboring SeaWorld San Diego.
Guests will find plenty of accommodations along the coast to suit every budget. There are pricier options in La Jolla and Coronado. These are two of the most spectacular areas near San Diego, and you just might find that paying a little more for them is worth it.
La Jolla is home to the famed PGA Champions Torrey Pines Golf Course and the Torrey Pines State Reserve. The town features a number of standout hotels and resorts, including the AAA Five Diamond Award-winning Lodge at Torrey Pines that overlooks the course. The downtown area, with its upscale boutiques, shops and restaurants, is a good place to explore. La Jolla Cove and La Jolla Shores are both great destinations for families because of their calm waters. Those looking for more affordable options will find a Holiday Inn Express and Travelodge a block from the beach.
Consistently named one of the top beaches in the country, Coronado makes an ideal location for lodging, if you can afford to pay a little more. This peninsula across the San Diego Bay boasts three major resorts, including the recently renovated Victorian-era Hotel del Coronado, which boasts 28 acres of oceanfront property and sumptuous décor.
Where to Stay in San Diego - Downtown
If Coronado is out of price range, families will find more affordable options in downtown San Diego. The prime location puts you within a few blocks of the Gaslamp Quarter, a 16-block historical neighborhood that is also home to some of the city’s best dining, shopping and entertainment destinations. A few blocks west is the New Children’s Museum and Seaport Village, a waterfront shopping and dining area next to San Diego Bay. A few blocks northeast of downtown lies Balboa Park, a 1,200-acre cultural preserve that is home to the city’s best museums as well as the San Diego Zoo.
Where to Stay in San Diego Near the Major Attractions
Families will find a handful of choices near the major attractions themselves, including the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld San Diego and Old Town. LEGOLAND California has its own resort hotel that features guest rooms themed to pirate, kingdom or adventure in Carlsbad, about a 30-minute drive from downtown San Diego.
We hope you've found this overview of when to visit San Diego helpful in planning a visit to San Diego. You'll find more resources and tips inside our San Diego Planning Guide.