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 Loews San Diego FamilyTravel.comWhen the temperatures creep toward triple digits, those of us who make sunny Scottsdale our home, often hightail it to our breezy, beachfront neighbor to the West. 

You don’t have to be a desert dweller to appreciate San Diego’s year round appeal!  

Here are six places we like to stay and think you will too:  

Visit San Diego

1. The Hotel del Coronado, California 

We’ve loved our visits to the Del! The iconic hotel, with its signature red and white Victorian architecture, sits on a wide, sandy stretch of beach, a perfect blend of old and new. Since the doors opened in 1888, the Hotel Del has played host to celebrities, dignitaries, and reunions of every sort.

Family members will love the spa, the teen and kids club, beach volleyball and an assortment of seaside activities, Get out your boogie board, take surfing lessons or watch Navy seamen from the nearby base train along the beach. 

2. Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina 

 This 17-story, 429-room hotel offers views, views and views. Kids love the water wonderland where slides are plentiful and everyone has a splashing good time in the heated outdoor pools and hot tubs. 

The proximity to sea-faring fun is a plus too. The expansive marina provides easy access to kayaks, fishing trips, sailboats, jet skis and whale watching excursions. The adults will want to check out the eco-savvy spa and enjoy a waterfront cocktail while the youngsters look forward to sundown s’mores. 

La Jolla Beach and Tennis

3. La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club

 Another family favorite, this iconic hotel offers oceanfront guestrooms and suites that make managing the clan’s vacation time a breeze. Do have hungry teens and toddlers? The mini kitchenettes solve that challenge. And with beachfront access, comped WiFi and a great location, everyone is happy.

I once enjoyed a great girlfriend getaway at this sunny spot, making great use of the 14 championship courts.  You’ll also want to plan for a romantic evening at The Marine Room where award-winning cuisine will provide the perfect topper to a terrific day.

4. L’Auberge Del Mar 

 You deserve to treat yourself, right? So if a luxury beach stay is on your bucket list, this plush spot is sure to please. The sea-salty air will envelope you upon arrival in the open-air lobby.  Make your way to your lavishly appointed guest room where you’ll find it challenging to choose between lounging by the pool, an afternoon at the spa or time on the tennis court. 

Loews Coronado

 5. Loews Coronado 

 Loews knows how to make kids and families feel welcome. With their handy location by the Bay, you can take advantage of movies and marshmallow roasts by the pool, as well as a comprehensive kids camp and well stocked game room. Youngsters can opt in for yoga classes and ride bikes along the water’s edge.

Eager for a day at sea? No problem! There are sailboats for hire. 

 6. Residence Inn San Diego Downtown 

 Are you looking for a family-friendly downtown option?  You can’t go wrong with Residence Inn where one and two bedroom suites make it simple for the family to spread out and get comfortable.  It also makes it easy to manage meal and snack time. Access a complimentary full breakfast before your day’s excursions and know that an in-room, completely outfitted kitchen (plus a grocery shopping service) means the gang will have options a plenty.  And of course, when it comes to pool time, you’ll head out to enjoy the sparkling water and steamy Jacuzzi.  


This post was sponsored by TripAdvisor and

mb swimming  floating

Did you know you can camp in one of the top family and beach vacation destinations on the East Coast?

The oceanfront resort of Myrtle Beach, SC is famous for miles of white sandy beaches, water sports, fantastic golf courses, amusement and water parks. You’ll also find great shopping and a wealth of dining options.

It’s also considered the “Camping Capital of the World!”

With warm sea breezes blowing and water temperatures around 80 degrees, a seaside camping adventure in Myrtle Beach provides the best of a sought after resort destination at rates you’ll want to write home about.

Camp Myrtle Beach

Choose from six family-friendly camping locations that offer amenities to suit your camping style ranging from hook-ups for your RV or a place to pitch your tent. 

No RV?

Not ready for the full camping experience?

Then the cottage or villa rental units might be the perfect fit for your family. You’ll have the option to enjoy all the facilities and amenities of the campground, and then retreat to the comfort of your fully furnished rental property for the evening.

There will be no shortage of onsite activities to entice your clan. Look forward to swimming pools and hot tubs, fishing from a pier or on the lake, water parks with lazy rivers, bike paths and evening hayrides.  Stay active with an afternoon of basketball, volleyball, bocce ball or miniature golf.

Families also like to take a break from the beach and paddle a kayak or canoe across one of many picturesque lakes. And the kids often go home with new friends made while enjoying the landscaped playgrounds and recreation areas.

mbcamping oceanfront

From the “trees to the sea”, each of the six campgrounds offers its own blend of family-friendly amenities:


pool side  Myrtle Beach Camping

No matter how you choose to stay, your family will enjoy sunny days in a fun-filled beach destination and warm nights under a star-filled sky.

ranch vacations

Ranch vacations are a great way for families to learn new skills, seek adventure and relax in the great outdoors. In the next few days we'll be sharing stories from our exploration of some of Colorado's best guest ranches.

Stay tuned!

apps for geocaching The right app can keep you and the kids happy. Whether you take family trips by car, boat or plane, add value to your family adventure with educational, problem solving and travel-friendly apps. 

Here are five to consider: 

The Oregon Trail.

Which supplies will you bring? How will you choose the best route? Kids will learn about the triumphs and challenges of life as a western pioneer in the late 1800s through this engaging app.The adventure begins in Missouri, and brave trailblazers make all the decisions that might be required for safe passage to Oregon via wagon train. Educational and compelling, players can talk to characters and opt in for minigames along the way. 



Real-world treasure hunts take place around the world, and your family can join in the fun. This app provides a great way to blend the use of GPS technology with the mission of finding caches. 

Choose your outing based on terrain difficulty, points of interest or the level of challenge.



Families on the go can access user-rated intelligence regarding diaper changing stations, kid-friendly restaurants, parks and play places. Tips regarding medical facilities including pharmacies and urgent-care locations are also available. The developers have tapped parents across the country to create an impressive database of locations. Available free for Android and iPhone.


Dr. Seuss Bookshelf. 

For a wealth of literacy-enhancing rhymes, games and stories, access this collection of Dr. Seuss’ whimsical wisdom. Kids of all ages will enjoy the interactive illustrations and the opportunity to hear some of the classics read aloud. 


Games On the Go.

For colorful, educational fun with planes, cars, trains, fire trucks, dinosaurs and ponies, access these beautifully illustrated apps designed to engage children ages 2 to 6. Through puzzles and other interactive play, kids will be entertained while they learn letters, numbers, patterns and relationships.


Scottsdale Princess

Choose an off-peak package. 

Whether you visit midweek or off-season, you’ll save. For example, the Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa offers a Drive, Dine and Dream package, available for stays Sunday through Thursday. Located in Southern California’s San Bernardino National Forest, guests receive room discounts and resort credits as well as guided hikes, mountain bike adventures and s’mores on the beach. 

Or, check into the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess during Arizona’s warmer months for value-rich family activities including the new Splash Rider X-treme water ride, dive-in movies, tennis, golf and zip-lining.


Your next family vacation: Wyoming

At Brooks Lake Lodge, the vast Wyoming wilderness is right outside your door. High mountain lakes, miles of hiking and horseback trails and magnificent views will enhance your experience. One and two bedroom rustic but restored cabins are nestled among the Spruce and Pine trees of the Pinnacle Mountains. Enjoy the sweet smell of the forest from under your goose down comforters. (307) 455-2121;;

Family Vacation Family Travel Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park.

It’s a must see: stunning vistas, more than 200 lakes, 175 named mountains and 40 glaciers, tucked within one million acres of natural beauty. That’s Glacier National Park.

The last time I visited it was a multi-generational outing - my Dad, my son and my niece and it was a great destination for all of us.

Established in 1910, by an act of Congress, this extraordinary recreational playground is also home to more than 350 structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

With so much to see, if you go, it is important to plan in advance.

Here are a few suggestions to jump start your visit:

Ride the Red Bus.

The historic red buses are a symbol of another age, providing a commanding overview of the park’s magnificent history and scenery. The vintage vehicle carries 17 passengers. Tours range from three hours to a full day. Children under 12 are half price.

Contact: Glacier Park, Inc. ;; 406.892.2525.

Explore on foot.

With more than 800 miles of maintained hiking trails, there are plenty of opportunities for families to learn about the flora and fauna. A favorite among families, we enjoyed the beauty of the Avalanche Lake trail. Within four miles round trip, and a gain of just 500 feet in elevation, trekkers will enjoy a rich forest environment, tumbling waterfalls and a majestic lake with more waterfalls at the turnaround point. Take a picnic and enjoy. Easily accessible, the trailhead is five miles beyond the Lake McDonald Lodge.

Scenic Boat Tours.

Step aboard historic boats and glide across the pristine alpine lakes nestled amid majestic peaks. Enjoy the colorful commentary provided by the skilled crew. Available from four locations. Fares under $20. Children under four are free. Children 4-12 are half price.

Contact:; (406) 257-2426.

Float the River.

Venture down the wild and scenic middle and north forks of the Flathead River with professional guides who will share their knowledge of the river. Half and full day scenic floats or whitewater adventures. Paddle a raft or an inflatable kayak. Contact:; 1 (800) 235-6781.

Base Camp.

Glacier Outdoor Center’s log cabins provide a comfortable and well-located retreat just outside the gates at West Glacier. One and two bedroom cabins sleep from six to fourteen people. Enjoy full kitchens, covered decks, a gas grill and full guide services on site.

Contact:; 1(800) 235-6781. For reservations inside the park; (406) 892-2525.


For additional information about Glacier National Park contact:; 1 (406) 888-7800.

fttswhale sharks

Get close to creatures of the sea for a wild family adventure.

Here are five ideas to consider:

1.Swim With Whale Sharks.

Swimming with the largest fish in the sea is a thrill worth seeking. Whale sharks are massive, reaching lengths of 40 feet and 15 tons. Despite their imposing presence, the gentle creatures peacefully share the warm seas with visitors who arrive via boat from the shores of nearby Cancun. Two at a time, along with a guide, you’ll don a life jacket or wet suit and fins, before jumping in for a swim with these plankton slurping vegetarians. No touching is allowed (the mega-fish are considered a “vulnerable species”) but you can swim alongside as they thrust forward their super-sized square jaw and begin filtering everything in their path like a water-born vacuum cleaner. It might look a little scary, but trust me, it's an adventure to remember.

Contact:; www.

2.Snorkel with Jellyfish.

Visitors to Palau, an archipelago of more than 586 islands in the westernmost corner of Micronesia, often put swimming among the Moon and Golden jellies of Jellyfish Lake at the top of their adventure list. A short hike brings snorkelers to the 12,000 year old brackish marine lake where millions of the mystical creatures waft through the water each day following the arc of the sun. Void of the sting normally associated with these gelatinous floaters, you’ll marvel at the colorful underwater display as you observe the graceful migration.


3.Swim with Stingrays.

Wade into the warm Caribbean Sea at the Stingray City Sandbar for your family’s chance to pet the dozens of sea creatures who visit the area for a little love and a few tasty treats. Today tour operators will assist in your introduction to the Southern stingray, taking over for the fishermen who originally attracted the rays to the area by cleaning fish and tossing the remnants into the water. Soon the stingrays associated the sound of boat motors with breakfast. For a more pleasurable experience, avoid visiting when cruise ships are in port.


 4. Alaska up close.

Kayak among whales, sea lions and past puffins when you explore Alaska with Inner Sea Discoveries and American Safari Cruises. With only 22 to 86 guests on board on their well-planned vessels, you’ll wind your way into narrow passages and into wilderness areas that the bigger ships cannot access. The adventuresome in your clan can don a dry suit and use a Stand Up Paddleboard to get even closer to Alaska’s extraordinary wild riches.

Contact: 888-862-8881;

5.Adventures with alligators.

No one wants to get too close to an alligator. But at this park, home to more than 800 gators ranging in size from eight inch babies to 15 foot, one thousand pound adults, you’ll learn about the ways of these fierce creatures, from a safe distance. As you wander through natural swamps and marshes you’ll also encounter turtles, lizards, giant frogs and exotic birds. Lectures and live shows add to the experience.

Contact: 843-361-0789;

USA TODAY Ten Best FamilyTravel Bloggers Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

We feel fortunate to be in some grand company.

Thanks to enthusiastic band of readers and friends we were voted into the top THREE on USA TODAY'S Ten Best Family Travel Bloggers list.

Our adventure and outdoor focus, combined with a commitment to provide healthy, smart and off-the-beaten path family travel options, is a passion we hold dear.

Thanks to those of you who took the time to vote for us.

And thanks for being a part of and for your own commitment to family and travel!

You can see more here!

 RV Fun at Death Valley and Furnace Creek Resort

Does your family travel in an RV?

Visitors to Death Valley National Park now have options thanks to the Furnace Creek Ranch.

The Fiddler’s Campground offers 35 RV sites (but no hook-ups). Located at The Ranch, the Furnace Creek RV Park offers 26 full-hookup RV sites and can accommodate RVs up to 50 feet.

Guests enjoy swimming in the nearby spring fed pool, laundry and shower facilities, complimentary wireless internet and easy access to restaurants.

For those who like to spend time on the links, the Furnace Creek Golf Course is directly adjacent to the Campground. As the lowest elevation course in North America, it’s one for your bucket list.

Both sites provide the perfect jumping off place to enjoy Death Valley National Park and the extraordinary night sky.

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