Stunning beaches, the shining sun, and some of the best amusement parks in the world – California is a dream vacation spot for adults and children alike. In this article, we’re introducing 15 of the best family resorts in California.
From enjoying a relaxing time at the spa to taking part in fun activities and classes with your kids, there’s something for everyone in the family at these fantastic resorts.
15 Kid-Friendly Resorts in California
Great Wolf Lodge, Anaheim
Located in Santa Ana, this resort is one of the most recommended ones for family vacations.
The most popular feature at Great Wolf Lodge is its on-site indoor and outdoor water park. With tube rides, water slides, and a 4-story treehouse, it’s the perfect place to have fun all day. Smaller slides for toddlers are also available, making them suitable even for the little ones.
If you feel like switching up the activities, there’s also a bowling alley, arcade, laser tag game, and more available for some family fun time.
It’s also in the center of Anaheim and a 10-minute drive away from Disneyland, so there’s plenty to do in the area if you decide to leave the fun resort for a bit.
The Waterfront Beach Resort, Huntington Beach
With many outdoor adventure activities to choose from, kid-friendly restaurants, and a large main pool on the first floor facing the beautiful ocean, this Hilton resort in Surf City makes a great family getaway.
The grown-ups can enjoy a relaxing massage and de-stress in the eucalyptus-infused steam room of the spa, as well as get a drink or two at the Offshore 9 Rooftop Lounge on the 9th floor with a great view of the ocean.
Rent a cabana for some quality family time on the beach. With beach equipment, a flat-screen TV, and a fire pit, you can enjoy the pristine beach during the day and roast some s’mores with your little ones as you watch the sun go down together.
Terranea Resort, Rancho Palos Verdes
Located on the Southern Californian coast, this luxury destination is packed with extraordinary experiences and world-class service that will make both parents and kids very happy.
This resort has endless activities for your little ones. Sign them up for Kids Club Discovery Garden, a two-hour session where they explore the natural beauty of Palos Verdes and engage in an arts-and-crafts project. For adults, there’s the spa, golf course, and bars where you can enjoy happy hour without interruptions.
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Other than everyday resort activities, Terranea has countless unique experiences that will make your stay truly special. Kayaking, paddleboarding, and horse riding are all available. Go on a whale watching tour, experience falconry, and stargaze before retiring for the night. You’ll never run out of things to do here; the real challenge is deciding what to do.
Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club
The beautiful Monarch beach resort caters to both adults’ and kids’ ideas of fun, making it perfect for families. For adults, a spa and a golf course are available, as well as over 40 fitness classes weekly for you to attend, including beach hikes, aerial yoga, and meditation.
If you have kids between the age of 5 to 12, Coastal Caterpillar Club has games, entertainment, and activities designed just for them. There are also half-day, all-day, and nightly programs you can sign them up for with a fee and get more alone time to yourself.
For family fun, try taking water sports lessons together to add a rush of adrenaline to your trip, or simply have fun together in its two pools. Booking a whale watching tour at Monarch Beach Resort is highly recommended. Dana Point is a world-class whale watching spot all year round, so you can hop on a boat to catch the waves with blue whales and dolphins.
Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa, San Diego
Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa is one of the best kid-friendly resorts because of its family-friendly menus and activities. The pool bar and restaurants all serve food your kids can enjoy, and there are many activities for family fun. Plus, the view is just great.
For your little ones, the Kei Kei Kids’ Club will keep them entertained. There are also free arcade games for them, so they’ll have plenty of things to do. If you’re a fan of exotic birds, don’t forget to catch Catamaran’s unique experience at 3 pm every day, where you can hang out with three colorful talking macaws.
Hop on the 45-minute Bahia Belle Cruise to see the beautiful Mission Bay on a classic white sternwheeler boat. A range of outdoor equipment is available at the resort for something more exciting, including standup paddleboarding, kayaking, sailing, and biking.
Book a bonfire to make some s’mores and enjoy some relaxing family time together on the warm sands – a perfect way to end the day.
Omni Ranchos Las Palmas Resort & Spa
In the searing heat of the desert, the Omni Ranchos Las Palmas Resort & Spa is the perfect place to get away from the hot summer days for families.
The on-site Splashtopia Water Park will be the highlight of this resort for your kids (or you too). They’ll enjoy sliding down the two 100-foot water slides, floating in the lazy river, and having fun with fountains and sprinklers, making it a great place to escape the desert heat.
Getting to Las Palmas by car? Be sure to check out these Road Trip Scavenger Hunt for Kids! These activities will keep the kids engaged and entertained during the ride.
The resort has a golf course, spa, tennis courts, and large pools to keep you busy. If you feel like exploring its surroundings, it’s near a shopping center and an outlet, so you can shop until you drop here. There are museums, a desert zoo, and botanical gardens nearby, making it a perfect destination for families looking for a good time.
Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort
The Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort doesn’t disappoint. This family resort will satisfy members of every age group.
With a massive tree-lined swimming pool, you’ll spend lots of time in the water without going to the beach, which is only a few steps away from this waterfront beach resort. Ask the concierge team to arrange water sports experiences for you and your family to have some fun.
You can kayak together, rent a bike to explore the area or go on a coastal cruise to see the view on the water.
Golfing can be arranged. A spa and tennis courts are also available at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort. State Street nearby is home to many of the best restaurants in the area, and the Santa Barbara Zoo is a 10-minute walk away. With a miniature train ride, hundreds of animals, and picnic spots, it’s a great place to spend a day before returning to your hotel rooms.
Loews Coronado Bay Resort
You can count on Loews Coronado Bay Resort to have something for everyone. This resort provides almost all types of water sports equipment for rent, including kayaks, paddleboards, jet skis, motorboats, and more.
All the suites offer a great view, and its spacious rooms are optimal for relaxation. A spa and fitness center are available. For a more relaxing experience, take a gondola ride through its colorful canals and enjoy the stunning view of the sea.
The Kids’ Camp has lots of activities that’ll keep your little ones busy and entertained. The resort also offers babysitting services. There’s also a Teen Lounge where your teen can chill with video games, movies, free wi-fi, and other teens.
For more family fun, enjoy a game of chess with oversized pieces outdoors, challenge each other to a Ping-Pong duel, or take cooking classes together to make great food and wonderful memories. Many family dining options are available, so you can have a meal together or enjoy some alone time with some drinks.
Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa
The Regency Huntington Beach Resort is also an excellent option for a family getaway in California. Don’t miss its Slyders Water Playground, where you can have fun together with water slides, splash pools, hot tubs, and a children’s wading pool. There are even spectacular laser shows with music here on Saturdays, which is definitely something you and your kids will enjoy.
Huntington Beach is known for its surfing scene, making it the perfect place to take surfing lessons. Both private and group lessons are available, and you can rent wetsuits and surfboards at the Surf Shop.
If you feel like staying indoors for a day or two, this resort still has lots to offer to keep you entertained. There’s a video arcade for all to enjoy as well as a retail plaza where you can shop to your heart’s content.
Railroad Park Resort, Dunsmuir
How does sleeping in an actual train sound for a memorable family vacation? Whether you’re a train enthusiast or not, staying at Railroad Park Resort is a unique experience that you won’t forget.
This resort has a dozen different colorful cabooses converted to rooms where families and pets can stay. For family dining, head to its onsite restaurant for a meal inside authentic, vintage rail cars. Children’s menus are available as well as vegan and vegetarian options, making it a restaurant for everyone.
Surrounded by mountains and forests, this is a great place to reconnect with nature. The Castle Crags State Park is only 5.5 miles away, and you can marvel at the Beautiful Siskiyou Lake, go on an easy hike to see Hedge Creek falls, and find more natural wonders waiting for you to discover.
The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe
This luxury resort nestled in the mountains is a place all ages will enjoy. Indulge in its spa, outdoor pool, and breathtaking view of nature. The property is surrounded by an endless green expanse of forests and the beautiful Lake Tahoe is only minutes away.
You can explore trails on foot or by bike, try a wide range of water sports on Lake Tahoe, or simply enjoy a peaceful afternoon and the view at the exclusive Lake Club. This is also a great place for a ski trip if you visit in winter.
The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe also offers a vibrant kids’ program for your little ones. The resort organizes both indoor and outdoor activities like arts and crafts classes and outdoor adventures for them, so you don’t have to worry that they’ll get bored.
Looking for more things to do around the Golden State? Be sure to check out our list of the best water parks in California!
The food department does not disappoint either. There is the Highlands Bar for adults to enjoy a drink or two, a café where you can enjoy light meals, as well as fine dining and laid-back outdoor dining options for the whole family.
Sanctuary BeaSurf & Sand Resort, Monterey
The Sanctuary Beach Resort at Monterey is packed with a great view of the sea, a relaxing atmosphere, and a family-friendly environment.
There’s a pool that everyone can enjoy as well as a spa. You can also try beach yoga here. There are fire pits on the beach, and the resort arranges bonfires every evening. With a s’mores kit in the mini bar, you can roast some with your kids as you enjoy a relaxing evening by the fire.
If you decide to venture out, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is only a 15-minute scenic drive away, a great place to spend a day with the family. You can also rent bikes and explore the resort’s surroundings together or go on a nature walk arranged by the resort. Whatever you do, you’re bound to have a great time.
The Cassara, Carlsbad
Another one of the best kid-friendly resorts in Southern California is The Cassara, Carlsbad.
The Cassara has two main pools. One is the family pool and splash pad where you can have some fun in the sun, while the other is the adults-only pool where you can just relax and enjoy the breathtaking view of the California coast and crashing waves.
Adults can unwind at the Ocean Pearl Spa or play a round at The Crossings Golf Course at Carlsbad. The resort offers shuttles to both of them.
Some great theme parks are also just around this resort. Legoland California is next door, being only a 5-minute drive away. San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld are only a little over 30 minutes away, so you won’t run out of fun things to do here.
Disneyland Hotel, Anaheim
If you’re looking for a kid-friendly resort in California, you can’t go wrong with the Happiest Place on Earth. The location is perfect for a family vacation.
Being steps away from Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park, your whole family can easily get to the Happiest Place on Earth and enjoy a magical time there. In this family-friendly hotel, there are spas available for relaxing as well as themed pools with two towering waterslides that will have your kids (and maybe you) keep going back for more.
There are lots to offer in the culinary department as well. From a Jungle Cruise-inspired bar to Goofy’s Kitchen, many themed restaurants are available in the resort hotel, and of course, they offer kids’ menus too. Some famous characters might even come to visit as you’re enjoying your meal.
Surf & Sand Resort, Laguna Beach
Last but not least, Surf & Sand Resort on Laguna Beach is also a great place for an unforgettable family holiday.
The resort regularly plans family-friendly events, and there’s something new every season. Have fun together in the pool surrounded by cabanas. Soak up the sun on Laguna Beach in front of the resort, or try water sports like surfing, paddleboarding, and bodyboarding to add a splash of excitement to your vacation.
You can also plan a hiking trip to Crystal Cove State Park for the outdoor enthusiasts, just a 5-minute drive away. Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm are only about a 30-minute drive away, and these places will bring a big smile to your kids’ faces.
More From Great Wolf Lodge
There you have it. Fifteen of the best family resorts in California that all ages will enjoy. Whether you want to get some relaxing alone time by the pool or create unforgettable memories with your family, you can do all that in these fantastic resorts.
If you’re heading up north, don’t forget to check out our newest lodge. Our Manteca location provides all the familiar favorites, from our famous waterpark attractions to our wolf den suites and more.If you don’t have plans to travel this year, be sure to check out our blog.
There, you’ll find tons of things you can do at home with the whole family. From scavenger hunts, crafts, recipes, and more, you’ll be sure to feel the spirit of Great Wolf Lodge!
What is the price for family resorts in California?
According to Trip Advisor, the average price per night for a family-friendly resort is around $157. Of course, the price changes season to season, and the summer months tend to be the most expensive. However, for a luxury resort or five-star resort, the price could go up to over $300 per night, but you’ll be paying for unparalleled quality and an unforgettable time.
Do any family resorts in California have a pool?
Almost all of them do, as it’s considered a standard amenity. Some resorts have more than one swimming pool, and some of them even have water parks. Every resort on this list has at least one swimming pool, so you can make a splash with your kids in all of them.
What attractions are open for kids in California?
All amusement parks are open for kids. Even Six Flags Magic Mountain has kid-friendly rides. Of course, Great Wolf Lodge specializes in creating memories for even the youngest members of the pack. Famous landmarks, national parks, museums, zoos, and more all welcome kids of all ages, so you can enjoy family fun at most attractions in Cali.
What is the best beach in California for families?
Huntington Beach, Carlsbad State Beach, Kings Beach at Lake Tahoe, Santa Monica, just to name a few, are all great options for families. It would be easier to list beaches in California that are not family-friendly. Beaches near the resorts in this article are family-friendly beaches, so you can soak up the sun and have a great time together.