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Guide to San Diego Hotels for Families and Children

  • Hotels for Families with Children Video
  • Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa
  • Manchester Grand Hyatt
  • Holiday Inn Express & Suites Wild Animal Park
  • Crown City Inn
  • Best Western Stratford Inn & Spa
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This time of year rock legend Alice Cooper may croon “schools out for summer. No more pencils. No more books. No more teacher’s dirty looks”, but you’re probably thinking, "what am I going to do with the kids for the next few weeks, or months?" Never fear. A battery of San Diego hotels cater to the little darlings, with packages to entertain all age groups. So, pack the swim trunks, inflate the floaties, slather on the sunscreen and check-in to one of the following “kid centrals.”

Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa
1775 East Mission Bay Drive San Diego, CA 9209 (619) 276-4010
The above video is a mere snippet of Hiton’s warm clime merriment. Children are paramount with the fun and games department. Offerings for your offspring start with the Kids Klub. Vacationers ages 5 to 12 congregate for hours of arts, crafts, scavenger hunts, fish feeding, et al. More pampered princesses indulge at Spa Brezza with Tutti Frutti mani/pedis or a Cutesy Cut. The nearby Fun Zone speaks for itself. A conga line of surreys and beach cruisers wait for riders at the seaside shack. Youngsters wile away hours with sand castle contests, water balloon tosses, and kayak lessons. Continue on into the evening with poolside Dive-In Movies complete with free popcorn. Or, Kids Night Out with front row bean bag seating to the flick, complete with pizza and drinks, while Mom and Dad enjoy a nice dinner at Acqua restaurant. Yahoo!!! (Room rates start at $179 per night. Kids Klub $12 per hour. Summer Value Package starts at $259 per night with a three night minimum and includes Kids Klub, breakfast, and Kids Night Out.)

Manchester Grand Hyatt
One Market Place San Diego, CA 92101 (619) 232-1234
Don’t let the fancy façade fool you. This bayside high-rise gleefully gives rein to their inner-child. Camp Hyatt grants the whole family happy, happy, joy, joy! Enroll kids ages 3 to 12 in a morning, afternoon or all day session, and get a 20 percent discount at Kin Spa.The 4th floor pool deck features foosball, ping-pong and giant checkers on the grassy “backyard.” Poolside Cinema lets the brood watch films while roasting s’mores around the firepit. Finicky eaters love the kid’s menu with requisite fare of pancakes, hamburgers, and snacks. (Room rates start at $254 per night. Sunshine on Sale Package, stay two nights and the third night is free; kids 12 and under eat free. Camp sessions: morning with lunch $65, afternoon with snack $55, evening with dinner $65, all day with lunch $85.)

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Wild Animal Park
1250 West Valley Parkway Escondido, CA 92029 (760) 741-7117
Vicinity to the newly renamed San Diego Zoo Safari Park is this hotel’s selling point. A four mile jaunt will transport families to 213 acres where gazelles spring across plains, giraffes slowly lumber, and herds of white rhinos rest under trees. Fly like the wind on their new Flightline zip line or mimic monkeys on the Samburu Jungle Gym. Wildlife enthusiast get close to animal’s habitat on the African Tram. The Holiday Inn Wild Animal Park Package includes two adult admission tickets and free breakfast for the family. (Room rates start at $103.95 per night. Wild Animal Park Package $139.95 per night.)

Crown City Inn
520 Orange Avenue Coronado, CA 92118 (800) 422-1173
Widely-traveled Doctor Beach named Coronado one of the most child-friendly beaches in America. Crown City Inn certainly won’t argue with the expert. Families flock to the boutique hotel one mile from the sparkling sand. Upon check-in, kids receive a goody bag filled with stickers, jump ropes, coloring books, whatever fun treats the owners find. Cribs and rollaway beds are available. Loaner beach pails, shovels, and troughs transform tykes into seaside architects. Shortbread and oatmeal-cranberry cookies are served in the lobby daily from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Board games and books fill the nearby shelves. They also offer a list of nearby children’s activities, and a family friendly bistro is attached to the inn. (Room rates start at $129.99 per night.)

Best Western Stratford Inn & Spa
710 Camino Del Mar Del Mar, CA 92014 (858) 755-1501
Location, location, location propels this seemingly benign property into a coveted hostelry. Six fecund acres on bluffs high-above the Pacific Ocean shelter 94 recently renovated guestrooms. It’s the best of both worlds, nestled in the heart of Del Mar Village with quaint shops and restaurants, yet a stones throw from numerous “kiddielands.” The Del Mar Fairgrounds is one mile north. During any given season the venue has something cool for tots and their relatives. Three weeks every summer the San Diego County Fair sets up dodge ‘em bumper cars, the barf-inducing mega drop, corrals of barn animals, booths of deep fried Twinkies, and throws open the doors to thousands of fun-seeking families. Pumpkin Station and The Scream Zone haunt visitors in the fall and Christmas lights entertain car loads of wide-eyed scions as parents drive through a maze of flickering color. Educational minded visitors opt for the Steven Birch Aquarium four miles from the hotel. (Room rates start at $159 per night.)