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An All-Family Guide on Where to Stay and Play in California

Planning a family vacay is hard. We know. We hear you. But we’ve got some good news: we’ve planned your family’s California vacation for you. From where to stay to how to spend your day, we scoped up and down the coast to find the Golden State’s famous must-sees and hidden gems the whole family will enjoy. You, the little ones, your parents, your aunts and uncles—whoever is hitting the road with you, they’re going to love this trip. Explore Southern California’s wine country, take surf lessons at a vintage motel, even take the fam glamping in the California wilderness, we seriously covered it all. Inhale, exhale...now keep reading, adventure is calling! 

Reporter: Erica Nichols

 

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$139 avg. room rate
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Cambria Beach Lodgelearn more

Inspired by the quintessential California road trip, Cambria Beach Lodge wraps up everything coastal cool into one incredible stay. Take advantage of the cozy communal spaces, direct access to great surf breaks and close proximity to Big Sur and Morro Bay for fun day trips.
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Rent a house! Skyfall by AvantStaylearn more

    Want to keep it just with the fam? Skip the hotel and rent a house instead! At this 20-acre property nestled in the outskirts of Temecula, you can experience wine country living at its finest—expansive views, a private pool and your very own vineyard. With four bedrooms and plenty of fun amenities, everyone in your family can vacation their way.
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    Mendocino Grovelearn more

    Mendocino Grove was made for the outdoorsy family, creating a modern camping experience that offers comfortable amenities just steps away from the peaceful solitude of nature. Family tents are fully outfitted with comfortable beds, leather butterfly chairs, chic lanterns and more for glamping done right!
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    4 / 10
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    Surfhouselearn more

    Celebrate the Southern California lifestyle at this mini-boutique hotel with eight surf-inspired rooms. Located off the historic Highway 101, Surfhouse offers prime beach access with surf lessons and yoga on the beach for the active ones in the group!
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    San Diego Zoo Safari Parklearn more

      Immerse yourself among the wildlife at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. This fun outing has something for everyone, including behind-the-scenes tours and animal encounters throughout the park. Want to make your visit extra memorable? Look into planning a roar & snore safari, where you can glamp overnight in the park!
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      6 / 10
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      $520 avg. room rate
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      Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotellearn more

      In addition to its jaw-dropping oceanfront views, Loews Santa Monica offers quintessential LA vibes with close proximity to the famed Santa Monica Pier and Third Street Promenade. Spend the day out and about around town, but be sure to back in time to soak up sunset views from the hotel pool.
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      7 / 10
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      Pioneertown Motellearn more

      For an “Old West” experience, look no further than a stop at the Pioneertown Motel. This charming time capsule comes with cool outdoor furnishings, communal lounge areas and a truly one-of-a-kind stay. Bonus Points: The motel is just outside of Joshua Tree, so a day trip to the national park is a must!
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      8 / 10
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      The Holidayslearn more

      Trailer living never looked so good! The Holidays celebrates the vintage charm of a bygone era with 1960s-style campers situated in the sleepy surfer town of San Clemente. Inside your humble abode, you’ll find sleek finishings and modern amenities to keep you and your fam connected.
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      9 / 10
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      Coachman Hotellearn more

      The Coachman Hotel is the perfect blend of indoor/outdoor living, nestled into the heart of South Lake Tahoe. Designed with communal gathering in mind, your family can reconnect by the fire, play in the pool or soak in the hot tub underneath the stars after a full day of exploration.
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      10 / 10
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      Noon Lodgelearn more

      Situated in the quiet alpine town Big Bear Lake, this fun, funky cabin retreat offers a cozy stay that’s close to some of your favorite California destinations. Cabin sizes accommodate up to three-bedroom layouts and the property is within a two-hour drive to LA, Orange County and San Diego.
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