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9 Best Resorts In Southern California For An Unforgettable Stay

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Personally, living the dream would be soaking up that Southern California lifestyle. Nothing beats immersing yourself in surf culture and digging into mouthwatering Mexican or coastal food.

Each day greets you with the warm sun and the most perfect weather you can imagine. Southern California provides an experience that you can’t get anywhere else. Where else can you tour around in a vintage VW van and surf the waves?

All-inclusive resorts in Southern California differ from those you’re used to in Mexico and the Caribbean. Most resorts typically include a solid price for lodging, activities, and access to swimming pools.

Some resorts may offer package deals, including parking, meals, and fitness center classes. Each resort may operate differently. It’s always best to check in advance so there are no surprises.

Before booking your bed and board and heading out, purchase quality travel insurance. World Nomads is one of my go-to picks, and TravelInsurance.com is the place to find great alternatives.

Also, speaking from personal experience, if you’re flying into San Diego or Los Angeles airport, take advantage of the airport transfer services. If you’re on vacation, don’t torture yourself with driving around SoCal.

Maybe you’re looking for luxurious accommodations or are planning a fun-filled vacation with the kids. Have you decided if you want a sunny San Diego adventure or a thrill-seeking Los Angeles vacation?

No matter the reason or location, we have the perfect resort. Let’s take a trip down to the West Coast of the United States to see what it has in store for you.

TL;DR

Luxury Resort: Montage Laguna Beach
Family-Friendly Resort: Hotel del Coronado
Spa and Wellness Resort: Post Ranch Inn
Beach Resort: Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort

Best Resorts in Southern California

1. Legoland California Resort

Legoland California Resort guest room
Legoland California / Booking.com

Address: 1 Legoland Drive, Carlsbad, California, 92008

If you’re looking for one of the best and unique family resorts in Southern California, check out Legoland California Resort. The hotel is right next door to the iconic Legoland.

Choose from five different rooms, including a pirate or kingdom Lego theme. Kids get their sleeping area packed with a TV and building area. Accessible rooms are available by advanced request.

Kids of all ages will go nuts for the hotel treasure hunt to unlock the treasure chest in their guest rooms. The nightly-themed entertainment will keep them occupied until bedtime. Guests will love the early park access and free buffet breakfast.

After a long day of fun, splash and play at the family pool with soft Lego bricks at your disposal. Hopefully, you won’t be sick of Legos by the end of your stay.

To see more tourist attractions with the fam, head to San Diego. It’s only a half-hour drive from Carlsbad.

Things to Do Nearby:

Pros:

  • Tons of activities for all ages
  • Legoland is minutes away
  • Unique guest rooms

Cons:

  • No pets allowed
  • Expensive
  • Very busy and loud resort
  • Does not offer childcare

See Related: Best Resorts in San Diego for the Perfect Getaway

2. Rosewood Miramar Beach

Rosewood Miramar Beach Resort sunset view
Rosewood Miramar Beach / Facebook

Address: 1759 South Jameson Lane, Montecito, California, 93108

If sun, sand, and tan are on your to-do list, check in at Rosewood Miramar Beach. You deserve to stay at one of the best California beach resorts.

The beachfront location in the Santa Barbara area provides plenty of rooms with a stunning waterfront view. Nothing beats kicking your feet up on the private terraces as you soak in the view.

Accessible guest rooms are available upon request. With guests’ private beach access, you’ll be right on one of the best beaches in Santa Barbara, Miramar Beach.

Weekends are a blast with the resort’s Beach Activities Coordinator. From kayaking to sand castle building, there’s something for everybody.

Feel like kicking back? You’ll love the complimentary beach chairs available at the beach and pool. Quiet afternoons at The Cabana Pool are one of a kind. Sink into one of the private cabanas at this adults-only swimming pool.

For a top-dollar experience, you’ll want to join Miramar Club, the resort’s private beach club. Experience the beachfront resort in a new light with a private dining room, beach butler service, and a personal concierge.

Rosewood takes pride in sustaining the environment with eco-friendly operations. Reusing and recycling materials are a priority, and water waste is minimal.

Things to Do Nearby:

Pros:

  • Best beach in Santa Barbara
  • Access to private beach
  • Lots of dining choices

Cons:

  • High resort fee ($75/day)
  • Very expensive
  • Not many activities/attractions in the area

See Related: Northern California vs Southern California: What’s the Difference?

3. Ojai Valley Inn

Ojai Valley Inn Building Exterior
Ojai Valley Inn / Booking.com

Address: 905 Country Club Road, Ojai, California, 93023

If a quiet and serene retreat is on your bucket list, Ojai Valley Inn should be a priority. Relax as you work your way down the menu at the full-service spa. There are so many services to choose from!

The resort is a top destination for physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. The spa offers unique services such as Meditative Sound Baths, Crystal Healing, and Reiki. Pamper yourself with body polishes, massages, and facials.

Bring the spa experience back to your room with the deep soaking tubs. You can also finish off the day by dipping in the Pixie Pool’s hot tub.

Feed your mind, body, and soul with complimentary classes at the fitness center. Try your hand at yoga, meditation, spinning, or body conditioning.

You’ll love hiking in the surrounding nature and mountainous region. Break a sweat by improving your game on the tennis courts. Work with Dimitar Yazadzhiev. He has over 3o years of teaching experience and can show you the ropes.

All that maxin and relaxin can work up quite the appetite. You won’t run out of dining options! Ojai Valley has eight on-site restaurants to choose from.

Being a genuine retreat destination, it’s a little divorced from major transportation hubs. For your convenience and sanity, book an airport transfer through GetYourGuide.

Things to Do Nearby:

Pros:

  • Quiet and secluded resort
  • Award-winning spa
  • Great area for nature and hiking

Cons:

  • Not many tourist attractions nearby
  • No vibrant nightlife
  • Almost 2 hours from Los Angeles Airport

See Related: Things to Do in Ojai

4. Terranea Resort

Terranea Resort guest room
Terranea Resort / Booking.com

Address: 100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes, California, 90275

Terranea Resort, owned by Lowe Enterprises, is a 102-acre phenomenal luxury establishment in Rancho Palos Verdes. Built in 2009, this five-star resort is perched on a cliff overlooking the ocean.

Terranea is the perfect getaway for golf enthusiasts. They can soak in views of the Pacific Ocean while putting the day away at the nine-hole golf course.

Sprawl out in the spacious guest rooms. Bathe in the warm California sunlight as guestrooms have private patios or private balconies.

The Villas are a dream come true. Enjoy a private outdoor hot tub, a full kitchen, and a spectacular view of Catalina Island and the ocean.

Each outdoor swimming pool has a different vibe and age limit. The Cielo Point outdoor pool has a DJ every Saturday and is only open to guests 21 and over. Bask in the sun as you enjoy views of the Pacific Ocean.

Things to Do Nearby:

  • Abalone Cove Shoreline Park
  • Los Angeles Shoreline Helicopter Tour
  • Terranea Discovery Trail

Pros:

  • Oceanfront golf course
  • Secluded and private resort
  • Each outdoor pool caters to different guests
  • Very accessible for all guests

Cons:

  • Not many tourist attractions in the area
  • Not suitable for those looking for excitement

See Related: Best Vacation Rentals in California

5. Hotel del Coronado

Hotel del Coronado Building exterior
Hotel del Coronado / Booking.com

Address: 1500 Orange Ave, Coronado, California, 92118

Located on Coronado Island, Hotel del Coronado is one of the top beach resorts in Southern California for families. The hotel is one of the most iconic resorts in California and a vacation your family will remember for a lifetime.

Hotel del Coronado is one of the most bustling resorts in California – it always has a jam-packed event calendar. There’s no shortage of activities at this stunning beachfront resort. Seasonal activities, such as pumpkin carving and holiday ice skating, are perks during special holidays.

Spend the day at the Cabana Pool, the heated outdoor pool, or dip in the hot tubs. Roast smores at a cozy beach bonfire. Guests will love the private beach access.

Adventure seekers will love kayaking, jet skiing, or sailing. While you can’t play golf at the resort, there are tons of golf courses in the vicinity to get your fix. If you feel like exploring off the resort, San Diego is just a short drive away.

With six different dining options, you’ll satisfy every palate, even the pickiest ones. You have to try the fresh seafood at Serẽa Coastal Cuisine.

Things to Do Nearby:

Pros:

  • 15 minutes from downtown San Diego
  • In-room babysitting
  • Tons of resort activities
  • Lots of dining options

Cons:

  • Tourists are allowed to wander the grounds
  • Busy/noisy resort
  • Daily parking fees
  • No golf at the resort

See Related: Where to Stay in Morro Bay, California: Best Areas

6. Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort

Aerial view of Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort
Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort / Booking.com

Address: 1 Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point, California, 92629

The Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort is one of the best Southern California resorts on the beach. Thousands of TripAdvisor guests rate the hotel a solid five stars and compliment its many features.

You will fall in love with the elegant property and views of the Pacific Ocean. After your stay, you’ll understand why it’s one of the top-rated resorts in California and Dana Point.

Much like the property, the guest rooms are stunning. The Ocean Grand Penthouse Suite is dream-worthy as the rushing California waters greet your daily wakeups.

For a cozy experience, I recommend the Fireside Terrace Rooms. These private terraces come with your firepit.

There are loads of activities both in and out of the water. The resort offers three swimming pools where you can cool off. Dive into the Monarch Pool, where you can splash the day away while gazing at the ocean.

Rent a surfboard, snorkel gear, or paddleboard to explore the Southern California waters. If you prefer to be out of the water, the fitness center offers 40 weekly classes. You can also enjoy complimentary access to the tennis courts.

If you’re coming from San Diego, I’d recommend booking an airport transfer. Your vacation is about relaxation, not traffic.

Things to Do Nearby:

Pros:

  • Oceanfront golf course
  • Award-winning spa
  • Variety of on-site restaurants
  • Private beach club

Cons:

  • Daily parking fees
  • Not many tourist attractions nearby
  • Not many off-site restaurants within the vicinity

See Related: Things to Do in The Bay Area

7. Post Ranch Inn

Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur
Post Ranch Inn / Facebook

Address: 47900 Highway 1, Big Sur, California, 93920

Post Ranch Inn is one of California’s most serene and romantic resorts. This adults-only resort overlooks the Pacific Ocean and is an breathtaking marvel. It’s one of the best resorts in California for couples.

The resort is all about sustainable practices. Post Ranch Inn proudly exhibits many methods to preserve wildlife, natural resources, and the surrounding area. Due to their remote location, nature resorts in Southern California may have limited cell service.

Relax and rejuvenate at one of the best spa resorts in Southern California. The onsite spa offers many unique services, such as reflexology, lymphatic massages, and aromatherapy massages.

The resort offers many complimentary activities to heal your mind, body, and spirit. Take part in guided nature walks, morning yoga, forest meditation, or an edible garden tour to tickle your senses. Soak at the heated swimming pools overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

The guest rooms allow you to reconnect with nature and your spirituality. Wake up to the ocean or mountains, or sit high on the treetops. The private balconies are spacious, and the views are enchanting.

Things to Do Nearby:

Pros:

  • Secluded and tranquil resort
  • Complimentary breakfast, mini bar, and snacks
  • Resort offers Lexus vehicles for guest use

Cons:

  • No televisions or alarm clocks in guest rooms
  • Limited dining options
  • Not many tourist attractions nearby
  • Small fitness center

See Related: Best Hotels & Rentals In La Jolla

8. Omni La Costa Resort

Aerial view of Omni La Costa Resort & Spa
Omni La Costa Resort & Spa / Booking.com

Address: 2100 Costa Del Mar Road, Carlsbad, California, 92009

Omni La Costa Resort is one of the top golf resorts in Southern California. It’s also a top choice for family vacation resorts.

Omni La Costa has two golf courses for you to explore. Kids can rent and play all day for free. Lessons are available if you need them.

The resort has a jam-packed events calendar that changes weekly, so you’ll never be bored. During the holidays, partake in special events like Brunch with Santa and Christmas Dinner at the on-site restaurant.

There’s a swimming pool for everyone at Omni La Costa. Kids will love the 100-foot waterslide, where adults can dip in the hot tub.

Things to Do Nearby:

Pros:

  • Championship golf course
  • Kids receive a goodie bag
  • Lots of family activities
  • Close to Legoland

Cons:

  • Not near beach
  • Busy/loud resort
  • Fees for fitness center, tennis, and golf

See Related: Best National Parks in California

9. Montage Laguna Beach

Montage Laguna Beach Room Interior
Montage Laguna Beach / Booking.com

Address: 30801 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, California, 92651

This luxury resort is one of the top resorts on the beach in Southern California and one of the most stunning five-star resorts in Southern California. Guest rooms, suites, and villas all have stunning views of the area.

Each with a marble bathroom and deep tubs for the ultimate luxurious experience. Accessible rooms are available upon request. These rooms include adapted doors, braille door numbers, bathroom bars, and more.

Get ready for some top-tier dining. Indulge in California cuisine at the Loft Restaurant. Enjoy panoramic views as you feast.

Try the Prime Filet Mignon “Cacio E Pepe”. Finish off with the Deconstructed Black Forest Cake. You won’t regret it. For a more casual and laid-back meal, check out the Mosaic Bar & Grille. It’s perfect for a quick bite.

Visit the state-of-the-art fitness center for complimentary classes. You’ll love yoga, meditation, or a leisurely beach walk. You’ll feel rejuvenated after a luxurious and refreshing stay at Montage Laguna Beach.

Things to Do Nearby:

Pros:

  • Near iconic beaches
  • Lots of family activities
  • All guest rooms have incredible views

Cons:

  • Busy resort
  • $75 a night for parking
  • Not many tourist attractions nearby

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