School may be back in session, but it’s never too early to start planning your next family trip — especially when talking about a state as large and diverse as California. To do our part, we’ve scoured the state for some of our favorite California family hotels from Los Angeles and San Diego to San Francisco and Lake Tahoe.
HOTEL ERWIN — Venice Beach
A Hotel For Binge-Watching
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Venice Beach is a staple of American subculture, ranging from rockers and skaters to muscle-heads and beach bums, and Hotel Erwin promises a “window into this wonderfully weird world.” That basically boils down to excellent people-watching potential for the parents, but kids will be focused on the access to one of the country’s most popular beaches.
A massive mural painted by a local tattoo artist greets you at the hotel entrance before you ramble down the halls decorated with photographic homages to the legends of 60s and 70s music. Plop down on your bed to swim in the majesty that is pillow top mattresses and deluxe linens that spell “lights out” after a long day at the beach. Rooms are available with double queen configurations to keep your nuclear family together.
Health-minded families will want to dive straight into the Whole Foods-curated honor bar for the array of gluten-free and vegan snacks which get updated seasonally.
RESIDENCE INN LOS ANGELES L.A. LIVE — Downtown
Rooftop Pool and Free Breakfast
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Free breakfast and a rooftop pool? It’s a parent’s prayers answered to keep the kids fed and entertained without destroying the bank account. The Residence Inn Los Angeles L.A. Live is all about bringing smiles to busy families by bringing the comforts of home to their prime location in Downtown Los Angeles.
When you’re ready to venture out into the city, you’re a short jaunt away from the Museum of Contemporary Art to soak up a bit of culture with the kids. If you want to make the most out of your time, leave a grocery list with the hotel and they’ll bring everything you need for a home-cooked meal later in the day.
OMNI RANCHOS LAS PALMAS RESORT & SPA — Rancho Mirage
Stretch Out Poolside with Custom Cocktails
At Omni Ranchos Las Palmas Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage, you’re in the greater Palm Springs area. That means all the dry, desert heat and sunshine that comes with it. The resort itself has taken measures to ensure the care and comfort of guests throughout the day’s massive swing in temperatures. Cliff-side jacuzzis will keep you warm once the sun goes down and the desert starts to feel like a different planet all the while you’re enjoying the dramatic views of the surrounding oasis. Just don’t spill that custom cocktail in your hand. During the day, you can stretch out poolside while the kids burn every last bit of energy they have on the 100-foot water slides. (Nobody will judge you if you sneak over to the adults-only pool once you’ve tucked in the little ones for a nap.)
LOEWS CORONADO BAY RESORT — San Diego
Surf’s Up, Pup
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Ask anyone with a pet dog and they’ll tell you that their little canine is just as much a part of the family as that weird uncle who only shows up during Thanksgiving. With that in mind, Loews Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego makes our list with its exceptional nod to families traveling with dogs — namely the Coronado Surfing Academy at Coronado’s Dog Beach where wave-seeking pups can learn to surf. But of course, you have to keep the kids happy, too, so send them to the Kids’ Club for planned activities. Too cool for school teenagers can hang out in the Teen Lounge where comfy sofas and video games await.
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES FISHERMAN’S WHARF — San Francisco
Prime, Convenient Location
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San Francisco is synonymous with expensive, so most traveling families will keep a tight budget when heading out to this California favorite. The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Fisherman’s Wharf has everything your family will need coupled with a prime, convenient location from all the attractions of Fisherman’s Wharf. You’re also right around the block from light rail, making it a breeze to get around the city once the kids (or perhaps your significant other) start complaining about tired legs and feet. And true to Holiday Inn Express form, you’ll have a free, all-you-can-eat breakfast to look forward to each and every morning. So load up on those calories and we won’t judge you if you grab some extra fruit (and biscuits and jelly) to go.
—- Want a more in-depth look at San Francisco?
THE RITZ-CARLTON — Lake Tahoe
Ski-in and Ski-Out
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The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe gets bonus points for skiing families with their ski-in, ski-out access. But the Ritz isn’t just about rolling around in the snow. The gondolas are open year-round to make use of the stunning natural landscape with miles of hiking surrounding the property. You’re also within six miles of the Northstar California Golf Course for those of us who find it relaxing to take on the definitely-not-frustrating-challenge of putting a tiny white ball into a tiny hole in the ground, a few hundred yards away. (If you start cursing and breaking clubs, maybe try the Kings Beach Miniature Golf and Ponderosa Golf Course instead.)
Of course, this all only matters if you can peel yourself away from your room, all 170 of which come equipped with a fireplace and deep-soaking tubs.