Sweeping Pacific views, superb sandy beaches and absorbing history – this corner of California around San Diego is a classic. Book your next stay here with Culture Trip.
At the tip of Point Loma, just a few miles southwest of downtown San Diego’s cityscape, Cabrillo National Monument memorializes the first European explorer to navigate the Californian coast. There’s more to this attraction than just a traditional statue – you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the city, Coronado and Mexico, a scenic walking path and lively tide pools. The best hotels close by are all on our curated San Diego list.
On Shelter Island, Kona Kai Resort & Spa has one of California’s only privately owned beaches, guaranteeing a horde-free holiday on the shores of the Pacific. The property is Polynesian-inspired, with dashes of tropical color in tangerine terrace plant pots and azure low tables. The complimentary bikes are popular – grab one early to explore this salt-breezy outcrop, or throw in the towel and commit to doing nothing except laze in a rental cabana by the adults-only Paloma Pool Bar. Keep the pace leisurely with seafood at Vessel Restaurant and Bar, and sunset s’mores on the sand by the nightly bonfires.
The midcentury-modern design is the main draw here, with marine-inspired decor and art. Handcrafted tiles, funky contemporary furniture and oversize showers make rooms very attractive, along with views of the bay and San Diego’s skyline. Fill up at the all-day Westerly Public House on sustainably minded, Cali-Aussie-inspired dishes – such as mushroom toasties or hot-and-peppery peri-peri chicken. The bar here is made from surfboards, showcasing local beer as well as Australian wine – while its coffee spot serves pick-me-ups using produce from local roasting partner Dark Horse Coffee.
Decoratively, this is the dream place in which to relax and switch off: bright-white rooms are offset by calm, coastal-blue furnishings and plantation shutters. The quiet setting helps, too – this is Coronado Island, and you’re just a block from the world-famous beach. The breezy secluded garden transports you to the Mediterranean, all wrought-iron gates and archways, travertine flooring, olive and citrus trees and bright bougainvillea. So lie back, laze and graze – infused olive oils, fresh baguettes and wine are among the highlights at Hotel Marisol’s weekly Friday Wine Down, in the relaxing courtyard.
Warm desert shades, handmade timber furnishings and vintage art on bedroom walls – all blend to create a hip, retro minimalism at this intimate midcentury property in Point Loma. It’s also built for comfort, with indulgent Parachute-brand bedding, organic bath products and a tranquil color scheme of taupes and white. You’ll be tempted to hang around in your own private space – but make sure you hit the oyster-shaped pool, known for its “dive-in” movies, and the restaurant, Charles + Dinorah. Here, vacationers and local residents mingle over bottles of Californian pinot noir, Wagyu carpaccio and pan-fried halibut.
With its blissful setting beside Mission Bay, the Dana is a family- and pet-friendly place with photogenic views. It’s home to an Adventure Water Sports complex – hence the hotel’s popularity among young ones. Alternative activities include rental bikes, boats and kayaks – the healthy way to explore this area of natural beauty. Add to that two outdoor pools as well as lawn games, and the Dana is the business for every generation. If you’re here to visit nearby SeaWorld San Diego, ask about the convenient daily shuttle to and from the park.
With a tranquil, multi-level terrace overlooking the Pacific, the Inn at Sunset Cliffs is rightly celebrated for its jaw-dropping, 180-degree view of the surrounding beaches. It’s all about serenity here, as you go full-on-Californian with an outdoor yoga session, inhaling sea breezes to a soundtrack of ocean waves. To cool down afterwards – or following those neighborhood wanders – hop in the outdoor pool. If you’re here for a longer stay, reserve a Mediterranean-inspired, gently chintzy one-room suite. Each comes with a fully equipped kitchen – perfect for compact families.
For more excellent places to stay in San Diego, see Culture Trip’s in-depth guide to the city, as well as the best hotels near SeaWorld. Book your room through Culture Trip now. See the chilled-out guide to San Diego for ideas on how to stay busy, or hit the waves on one of the best surfing beaches in town.
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.