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Guide to Beach Resorts In
Southern California 

Six Top Choice Resorts

Look into staying at one of these Southern California beach resorts when you really want to splurge and be pampered on your romantic getaway or family vacation.  Most resorts offer at least one extraordinary swimming pool, usually more, and often have beach equipment for use or to rent.  Some offer activities for the kids. Just double check to see if your resort of choice has all the amenities that you personally require for a spectacular beach vacation holiday.

The Bacara Santa Barbara

Bacara Santa Barbara on TripAdvisor

Starting at the northern end of Southern California in Santa Barbara, there are two favorite beach resorts and the first is the stunning, relatively new Bacara.  This ocean front luxury resort is in an incredible location with the Santa Ynez Mountains rising behind, and a two mile sandy beach spread out in front.

Among the amenities included are two 18 hole golf courses, a tennis center, three swimming pools and a thousand acre hilly ranch for hiking or picnics.  Avocado trees and an organic garden cultivated for the resort grow on a section of the ranch. 

Four Seasons Santa Barbara

Biltmore Santa Barbara on TripAdvisor

Also in the Santa Barbara area, a second superb choice of the ocean front resorts is the newly renovated Four Season’s Resort Santa Barbara Biltmore.  It is actually located just south of Santa Barbara in the small exclusive community of Montecito.  The Four Seasons Resort can’t be beat for the sheer pleasantness of its beachside location, expansive grounds and Spanish Mediterranean splendor.

They really welcome kids with things like child size bathrobes, children’s own toiletries, and children’s menus. Babysitting is available, but they also have a kid’s club.

Complementary resort amenities include a fitness center and spa with steam room, saunas and a whirlpool. A croquet lawn, putting green and bicycles are also available for recreational fun. The swimming pool has poolside food and beverage service. 

Embassy Suites
Mandalay Beach Resort Oxnard

Embassy Suites Mandalay Oxnard on TripAdvisor

There is a wonderful hotel in Oxnard just south of Ventura called the Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach Resort.

This all-suites resort is right on the beach. It is just a short drive to Channel Islands Harbor. Full, hot breakfasts are included. They also offer children’s activities and babysitting services.

Some of the recreational activities include a swimming pool, tennis court, fitness room, ping pong table and pool table. Boogie boarding and other beach equipment is available, but check if it is off season. 

Montage Resort Laguna Beach

montage resort and spa in laguna beach california

Of the vacation resorts in the Laguna Beach area, there is the Montage, which is spread out along the bluffs overlooking the ocean. Read more... 

Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel Dana Point

Ritz Laguna Niguel on TripAdvisor

In Dana Point, just south of Laguna Beach is another: the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel. This resort is located on the bluff above the ocean. It features suites and a club level room in addition to their guest rooms. Two miles of beach and eighteen splendid acres of garden courtyards grace the property.

There is complementary shuttle service to the beach below and to the adjacent golf course (but it’s a nice walk if you are so inclined).

Their fitness center overlooks the Pacific ocean as well. Among the spa’s many features is an eucalyptus steam room, a wall of cascading water and fountains. There also are tennis courts, two outdoor pools and 2 outdoor spas.

A unique program they offer for those on a family beach vacation is "Kid’s Night Out" on Friday and Saturday nights. They also have a program for kids full of fun activities.

Other recreational activities include croquet, volleyball, badminton, and biking. The Dana Point Harbor is just a few minutes down the coast. 

Hotel del Coronado San Diego

hotel del coronado on tripadvisor

One of the best and oldest California beach resorts is in the San Diego area, called the Hotel del Coronado, or "Hotel Del".  Built in 1888, this Victorian hotel is a National Historic Landmark. There is an old world elegance to this place that makes one feel they are "on holiday at the seaside" rather than "on a beach vacation." It is right on a white sandy beach and just a short walking distance to Glorietta Bay Marina, where the Boathouse offers rentals of various watercraft.

Coronado itself has a charming, small village atmosphere, and is a mere ferry or bridge trip away from the excitement of downtown San Diego.

The Hotel del Coronado is unique in that it has a Coast Club Teen Lounge in addition to a kid’s camp. Teens can also take surfing or kayaking lessons if they so choose.

Other amenities offered include an oceanfront fitness center, private poolside cabanas to rent, and yoga and surfing lessons for adults. Beach chairs are offered to guests at no charge, but other beach equipment including surfboards, wetsuits and bicycles can be rented. Get rates and reviews.

These are just a few of the many fabulous Southern California beach resorts, and you will find more listed in the accommodation sections of the individual beach town vacation guides on this website. Here is a good place to start.

Special Mention...

California beach resorts that have won AAA prestigious five diamond awards in the past include:

  • Four Seasons Resort Aviara
  • Island Hotel Newport Beach
  • Lodge at Torrey Pines
  • Montage Laguna Beach
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel
  • The St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort

By reserving your next beach vacation resort now, you can spend the next few weeks or months basking in delightful anticipation. 

Full disclosure:  Some links on this page may go to, from whom I do receive a small commission. I think they have a really cool site with useful reviews and price comparisons.

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