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If you’re visiting San Diego, chances are you’re going to want to go to the beach. Why not take your trip to the next level and stay right by one of San Diego's best beaches? San Diego has a plethora of hotels that are located next to the sand. Some are adjacent to boardwalks; some involve stepping from the hotel patio directly onto the sand; some are small hotels; and some are massive resorts; but they all have one thing in common: stunning views of that sweet San Diego surf. If you want to maximize your time sunbathing and wave watching in San Diego, rest your head at a beach hotel. Here are the best oceanfront hotel options in San Diego split into more specific categories depending on exactly what type of accommodation you want for your dream trip.
La Valencia Hotel
La Valencia Hotel has been a staple in La Jolla since 1926, and it’s an attention-grabbing one at that thanks to its pink exterior and historic elegance, which has resulted in the nickname The Pink Lady. Inside all that pink, you’ll find luxuriously appointed rooms, many of which have views of the La Jolla Cove and overlook La Valencia’s relaxing terracotta-tiled patio that has a sparkling ocean view pool.
Crystal Pier Hotel and Cottages
Stay on the other side of the beach at Crystal Pier Hotel and Cottages. How does that work? Because this hotel is built right on top of the Pacific Beach Pier, and you’ll literally be sleeping over the ocean. Each room is actually a tiny cottage, and you’ll have views of the beach and the wide open ocean from the windows. It’s a cool experience; just keep in mind that the pier is open to walkers from 8 a.m. until sunset, so it may be loud at times – luckily the sound of the crashing waves will help to muffle a raucous passerby.
If you like your hotels to feel fun and trendy with a hip element or two thrown in, Tower23 Hotel is calling your name. Located in Pacific Beach, which is moving beyond just dive bars and beach clubs, Tower23 is still the original place to head when you’re looking for an upscale break from the bars of party-hearty Garnet Street in Pacific Beach. Platinum coloring with mood lighting greets you in the lounge. The rooms are light-filled and have balconies or patios. Guests can also enjoy a rooftop sundeck with lounge chairs.
Hotel del Coronado
This historical hotel is one of San Diego’s most prominent landmarks thanks to its whitewashed façade and red-orange roof. It also has some of the best real estate around, facing the long, wide, pristine beach. Hotel del Coronado has 5-star onsite dining, a myriad of bars with different views, a spa, upscale shopping, and a fabulous pool area. Guests can learn about the hotel's interesting history, complete with haunted rooms, during the stay, but book early if you actually want to stay in one of the haunted rooms. There are immaculately-groomed grounds with ocean views – some of which are even covered by a fantastic ice skating rink in December, though it’s a memorable stay no matter what time of year you go.
Blue Sea Beach Hotel
Blue Sea Beach Hotel is located south of Garnet Street in Pacific Beach, providing a short walk to the bars and clubs of PB or a short, cheap taxi or Uber ride to the laidback bars of Mission Beach. Blue Sea Beach Hotel was recently renovated and has décor with crisp lines and soothing blues reminiscent of the outside sea. There is also a heated pool (perfect for evenings when the ocean breeze makes things cooler) overlooking the sand and sea.
La Jolla Shores Hotel
With the guest rooms wrapped around a central outdoor pool area and quick access to the beach since the hotel's back entrance is on the sand, the La Jolla Shores Hotel is an excellent stay for a laid back family vacation. You’re also right near the many activities offered at La Jolla Shores beach, including kayaking, snorkeling, surfing, and more. There is also a delicious on-site restaurant and bar with large windows overlooking the surf.
Loews Coronado Bay Resort
You’ll probably want to take the kids to the San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park, but otherwise, you may never want to leave this family-friendly resort on Coronado. With a fabulous beachfront that overlooks the bay to the downtown skyline and Coronado Bridge, several onsite restaurants and bars, kid camps during most of the year, and a variety of suite rooms to give families more space, it’s an oasis for families in one of the prettiest parts of San Diego.
L’Auberge Del Mar
The location of this hotel has an interesting past. The original hotel on the site was built in 1910 and was often visited by big movie stars of the time who were usually in Del Mar to attend the horse races. After the old hotel fell into disrepair, it was torn down and a new, luxury hotel was built in 1989 and then impressively renovated in 2008. It still has a connection to the horse track, since its popular Opening Day After-Party takes place there each year. L’Auberge Del Mar also has a stunning pool area, an opulent spa, and is right next to Del Mar’s charming downtown called Del Mar Village.
The Inn at Sunset Cliffs
The Inn at Sunset Cliffs is located right by the golden brown cliffs of the same name sandwiched between Point Loma and Ocean Beach that gorgeously jut up from the ocean floor while the waves crash against them below. The hotel has terraces and a pool overlooking this beautiful scenery, while inside you’ll find a pleasant lobby and a variety of differently outfitted rooms, including ones with kitchenettes.
Scripps Inn in La Jolla is right by the ocean but situated up on the cliffs. It’s still a little walk down to the beach, but the panoramic ocean views are incredible. There’s a relaxing lanai overlooking the sea, and the rooms are bright and decorated in peaceful sea tones with charming tables, chairs, and beds that look perfectly fitting for a beach house.
Ocean Beach Hotel
The nightlife in Ocean Beach (OB) is a bit more chill and funky, and it is ideal for those looking for some local flavor while staying in San Diego. The Ocean Beach Hotel offers easy access to the restaurants and nightlife of OB while enjoying direct views of the sandy beach and OB Pier. Parking comes at a premium in OB, but Ocean Beach Hotel provides free parking. It also has pet-friendly rooms available.
Bahia Resort Hotel
Bahia Resort Hotel will provide you with relaxation and nightlife. You’ll be staying in the peace and quiet of Paradise Island, which you can enjoy during the day and once you’re ready to go to sleep. However, you also have easy access to the fun beach bars of PB thanks to the Bahia Belle, a turn of the century Mississippi Sternwheeler ferry that runs most evenings between the Bahia Resort Hotel and its sister hotel in PB, the Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa. You may even find yourself having so much fun on the Bahia Belle that you don’t want to get off the ship – and you don’t have to until the end of the night since you can ride back and forth between the two hotels as much as you desire for free if you’re staying at the Bahia Resort Hotel.
Manchester Grand Hyatt
The Manchester Grand Hyatt is more waterfront than beachfront since it’s right by San Diego’s beautiful harbor, but if it’s water views and nightlife you mainly care about, it still may be your best bet even without sand close by. Plus, thanks to its Top of the Hyatt bar (located on the 40th floor), you can pretty much see the entire coastline stretching from downtown San Diego, beaches included. The Manchester Grand Hyatt is also within walking distance or a short cab ride to some of San Diego’s hottest nightclubs, including Omnia and Fluxx.
Wyndham Oceanside Pier Resort
Wyndham Oceanside Pier Resort has clean, modern furnishings and a streamlined aesthetic, plus a pool and wide ocean views. It’s located directly across from the Oceanside Pier which makes for a gorgeous walk (take a break at Ruby’s Diner at the end of the pier for an old-fashioned milkshake), or you can opt for walking with your feet in the sand upon the miles of golden coastline stretching from either side of the pier. The restaurants and bars of downtown Oceanside are also within walking distance.
Beach Terrace Inn
Beach Terrace Inn isn’t just oceanfront; it’s located directly on the sand in Carlsbad. You can literally walk from the pool down a few steps and be right on the sandy beach with the waves of the ocean directly in front of you. Kids will love the triangular pool at this hotel, while adults will love that it’s close to the Carlsbad Village for easy access to dining and shopping.
PB Surf Beachside Inn
Located along the western edge of Mission Beach Boulevard in Pacific Beach, the PB Surf Beachside Inn provides great rates for a hotel right by the sand. The rooms are nicely furnished with sea-inspired décor and mini fridges. Though you won’t find direct ocean views from the hotel, you’re literally 30 seconds away from a walk to the waves, which is hard to beat at the price.