Top 10 Family Resorts on the West Coast

Jocelyn Murray May 16, 2011 No Comments

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Below is our top ten list of family vacation resorts on the West Coast of the United States.  Listed alphabetically, any one of these wonderful family vacation spots will appeal to even the most discriminating travelers.  California, Arizona, Oregon and Washington state are included in this list.  Everything from the resort’s accommodations and family features, restaurant options, on and off site recreational activities, child services and entertainment are part of the criteria used to formulate this list of best family resorts on the West Coast.

Arizona Grand Resort - Phoenix, Arizona

Oasis Water Park Arizona Grand Resort

Oasis Water Park Arizona Grand Resort

With its luxury accommodations, Oasis Water Park, beautifully manicured grounds, dining and recreation, the Arizona Grand Resort in Phoenix, Arizona is a prime venue for a family getaway. The suites are all about optimum comfort and convenience, and come with a separate living room, private balcony or patio, and high-speed wireless internet access.

Fitness and recreation at the Arizona Grand Resort is posh. The 20,000 square foot onsite athletic club is state-of-the-art and offers fitness classes as well. There are 60 miles of trails for exploring through hiking or biking at the South Mountain Preserve, just outside the resort. The four diamond award-winning (AAA) golf course has stunning vistas of the surrounding beauty of the desert preserve. Or for those seeking water adventures, the Oasis Water Park features water slides, a wave pool, lazy river and a 25-person hot tub. The spa offers luxurious treatments to refresh the body and spirit.

Luxury Villas Arizona Grand Resort

Luxury Villas Living Room Arizona Grand Resort

Shopping is a delight with complimentary shuttle service to the Arizona Mills Regional Shopping Mall. Just minutes from the resort, this mall has something for everyone, and features hundreds of stores, designer outlets, restaurants and movie theaters, and the Sea Life aquarium (an exciting and educational attraction providing close encounters with marine life).

Dining is a real treat with several fantastic onsite choices including Rustler’s Rooste, (authentic Western steakhouse with live Country Western music), the Lobby Grill (where casual gourmet is served in a relaxed atmosphere), Aunt Chilada’s (Mexican), as well as many nearby offsite venues from which to choose, all of them suitable for the entire family.

Another great family attraction worth mentioning about 15 minutes drive from the resort is the Arizona Museum of Natural History. With its spectacular location and fantastic recreational choices, this award-winning resort is a fabulous family vacation pick on the West Coast designed to please the entire family.

Great Wolf Lodge - Grand Mound, Washington

Great Wolf Lodge Indoor Water Park

Great Wolf Lodge Indoor Water Park

The Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound Centralia, Washington has something unique that makes this resort exceptional: a gigantic indoor waterpark. This weatherproof fun is kept at a comfortable 84 degrees all year round, and includes 6 waterslides, 3 pools, a huge water fort, indoor/outdoor hot tubs, as well as a 2,000 square foot outdoor waterpark. There are plenty of lifeguards employed with extensive training and certification, making the fun worry-free. The water purification system ensures that only the highest standards in cleanliness are maintained, using industry leading ultraviolet purification technology, thereby minimizing the harmful effects of chlorination.

The suites at the Great Wolf Lodge are comfortable, roomy and elegant with a rustic and inviting charm, certain to please the entire family. Each suite comes with a microwave, refrigerator, coffee maker, hair dryer, pay-per-view movies and pay per play Nintendo. There is WiFi throughout the lodge and rooms as well.

Great Wolf Lodge Washington State

Great Wolf Lodge Entrance

The onsite lodge spa offers everything to meet your pampering needs, from facials, to manicures, to massages, and other relaxing/invigorating treatments. There is also a kids’ spa – Scooops® Kid Spa – with ice cream-themed fun beauty treatments.

The retail shops and dining options are an extension of the rustic theme as seen at the lodge, and sure to please the whole family. A shuttle service is also available between the lodge and Centralia Outlet Mall.

Hands down the best family resort in Washington State, the Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound Centralia, is one fantastic family vacation spot you will not want to miss when visiting the West Coast, USA.

Hotel del Coronado - Coronado, California

Hotel Del Coronado Beach Front Suites

Hotel Del Coronado Beach Front Suites

A National Historic Landmark, the Hotel del Coronado in California was built in 1888 and is considered one of America’s most beautiful beach resorts. This stunning beachfront Victorian icon radiates a splendor that is unparalleled. Its blending of old world elegance with modern luxury and convenience makes this resort one of our top 10 choices for resorts on the West Coast.

Hotel Del Coronado Spacious Accomodations

Hotel Del Coronado Spacious Accomodations

The distinctive accommodations are available as guestrooms or suites, with or without views (all suites offer either limited or full oceanfront views) and include the following amenities: 26 television channels (with HBO), high-speed internet access, 24-hour in-room dining service, Nintendo Game Cube videogame system, daily newspaper delivery, and more. The hotel also offers childcare services with babysitters who are licensed, bonded and CPR-certified, and who will care for your children in the comfort of your room.

There are lots of fun recreational activities including boating, golf, surfing lessons, yoga, bike and beach rentals (boogie boards, volleyballs, surfboards, wetsuits, and umbrellas), a pool and hot tub, cabana rentals (available by the pool), a first-class fitness center, a premier spa, and fine dining at the resort or many offsite restaurants.

There is also terrific shopping opportunities at the exclusive hotel shops and boutiques, as well as fantastic shopping in the San Diego area, excursions to great family attractions and parks in the surrounding area, car rental service, shuttle service to/from the airport and around town, a full-service business center, and more.

Families will create a memorable vacation because there is truly something for everyone here. The resort’s enchanting island setting is the perfect escape.

Hyatt Grand Champions Resort - Indian Wells, California

Hyatt Grand Champions Splash Fountains

Hyatt Grand Champions splash fountains are a hit with kids

The Hyatt Grand Champions Resort in Indian Wells, California is a 45-acre desert hideaway fit for the entire family. With its fantastic accommodations, championship golf courses, tennis facilities, horseback riding, Agua Serena Spa, fitness center, pool garden, dining, shopping and more, this resort is sure to pamper and indulge your whims.

The resort has 7 delightful pools, hot tubs, and a children’s 60-foot spiral waterslide. There are also a toddler-sized wading pool and a huge splash fountain perfect for water play. Poolside cabanas are available for rent, and offer a private sanctuary where families can relax together around the pool.

Dining at the resort is a treat with anyone of the restaurants, lounges and bars, including Lantana, Roadrunner Café (where snacks, sandwiches, salads and drinks are served poolside), Espresso Deli and Café (located in the lobby), Agave Sunset (lobby bar serving desert themed cocktails), and Oasis Pool Bar.

Hyatt Grand Champions Villa Patio View

Hyatt Grand Champions villa patio with view of river

Offsite activities by the resort are a pleasure, whether you are bound for shopping and dining at one of the numerous venues such as El Paseo (which offers over 300 unique stores and restaurants) and Desert Hills (a collection of over 130 outlet stores), or if you prefer to sightsee and embark on local adventures such as hiking, horseback riding, hot air ballooning, visiting museums, the theatre, and more.

The Hyatt Grand Champions Resort in Indian Wells, California is a great place to indulge and pamper the whole family amidst a stunning backdrop of desert and mountains, making it another one of the top 10 best family resorts on the West Coast.

JW Marriot Desert Ridge – Phoenix, Arizona

JW Marriot Desert Ridge Arizona

JW Marriot Desert Ridge Arizona

The JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix Arizona is a sumptuous choice for a family holiday on the West Coast. With its luxurious accommodations (that include inspirational views, private balcony/patio, high speed internet access, and more), spa and salon services, health club, championship golf, business center, and exceptional dining and recreational activities, this resort is a great experience that the whole family will love.

JW Marriot Desert Ridge Pool

JW Marriot Desert Ridge Pool

Guests can enjoy any of the four sparkling blue swimming pools, soak in the hot tubs, float down the lazy river, or hit the exciting waterslide. The Family Escape Center offers all sorts of activities for children. There is also tennis, bike rentals, Segway tours, and walking trails (on and offsite) where rabbits are often seen hopping about the expansive manicured grounds. For exceptional shopping in one convenient location, the nearby Desert Ridge Marketplace is 110 acres of premier retailers, restaurants and entertainment in an outdoor setting.

From the casual poolside menu, to the elegant Italian Ristorante Tuscany, and the Asian-influenced Roy’s, dining at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa is a superb experience with something to please every palate. There is also 24-hour in-room dining service with a menu that changes seasonally.

With so much to see and do near the majestic Phoenix mountains, the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa is one of the best family resorts in Arizona and one of the top 10 family resorts on the West Coast.

La Costa Resort and Spa – Carlsbad, California

La Costa Resort and Spa Kids Fountains

La Costa Resort and Spa Kids Fountains

The beautiful La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, California is nestled within 400 acres of lush landscaping, and is an idyllic family getaway on the leisurely charming California coast. This quaint haven is defined by casual elegance and refined comfort, from its deluxe accommodations that include flat screen TVs and high-speed internet access, to world-class golf, tennis, state-of-the-art fitness center, pampering spa, award-winning dining, shopping boutiques, and more.

Aquatic fun at La Costa is endless with its 7 pools. There are the Splash Landing Pools (2), Sandy Beach Family Pool (for young children), Tranquil Garden Pools (2 for adults), private Spa Courtyard Pool (accessible with spa treatment or day pass), Villa Pool and Jacuzzi, Water Play Area, and Water slides. Splash Landing is a children’s paradise with its two 100 foot long waterslides, a toddler slide, and an interactive waterplay zone sure to keep kids delighted for hours.

La Costa Resort Water Slide

La Costa Resort Water Slide

La Costa’s club for kids – Kidtopia – has plenty of age-appropriate fun to keep children (infants to age 12) safe and happy for hours in the 6,000 square foot center. There is even a Night Camp available (for bathroom independent 3 – 12 year olds) on Fridays & Saturdays from 6-10 pm. For guests who are 10 and up, Vibz is a playground that features high-tech games and activities including X-Box 360® room with 5 stations, two billiard tables, air hockey, foosball, video games, ping pong, and skee-ball, to name a few.

Offsite recreation, dining and shopping is terrific and conveniently located near La Costa. From Legoland (just minutes away from the hotel), to the nearby premium outlet malls, beautiful beaches, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, the Carlsbad Flower Fields, Birch Aquarium, Temecula Valley Wineries and Vineyards (1 hour inland), and much more, there is something to please everyone in the family.

The La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, is a charming and luxurious haven that is one of the best family resorts in California and easily makes our top 10 list for best family resorts on the West Coast.

Paradise Point Resort and Spa - San Diego, California

Paradise Point Resort Lake and Pool San Diego

Paradise Point Resort lake and pool area

Paradise Point Resort and Spa in San Diego, California is a private island resort located on 44 acres of lushly manicured grounds in Mission Bay. The island resort and its bungalow style guest rooms have a South Pacific feel with high-speed internet access, private patios, and views of the garden, lagoon or bay.

Recreational activities include a state-of-the-art fitness center, a luxurious spa with full service salon for hair and nails (with optional mother and daughter spa package), 5 swimming pools, full service marina, water sports, various sport courts, bike riding, beach bonfires, mini-golf, and more. Tickets to Sea World or the San Diego Zoo can be conveniently purchased from the Island Market at the resort. There is also a children’s camp at the Island Adventure Club that features arts & crafts projects, nature walks, beach and pool games, feeding the ducks, bike rides, and movie nights. In-room babysitting services are also available.

Dining options at Paradise Point Resort and Spa include a beachfront restaurant Baleen, the Barefoot Bar and Grill, and the poolside Tropics Bar and Grill. There are plenty of offsite dining choices as well.

Overall, the luxury suites, lovely views, fantastic recreational activities and tranquil setting make Paradise Point Resort and Spa one of our top 10 choices for fabulous family resorts on the West Coast.

Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa - Palm Springs, California

Rancho Las Palmas Hotel Palm Springs

Rancho Las Palmas Hotel Palm Springs

Located in beautiful Palm Springs, California, the Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa is a fantastic oasis for families. With its stylish accommodations, 20,000 square foot spa and fitness center, 27 holes of desert golf, tennis center (boasting 25 courts, 8 of which are lit for night play) Splashtopia (a thrilling water complex that features waterslides, a lazy river, a sandy beach, and more) and fabulous dining and shopping, this vacation spot is a dazzling retreat in the sun drenched Southern California desert.

The Spanish Colonial-inspired accommodations are pet friendly and include a private furnished patio or balcony overlooking the lushly manicured grounds. There is high-speed Internet access, cable/satellite TV, in-room movies, complimentary in-room coffee, and refrigerators and cribs (available on request), and much more.

Rancho Las Palmas Pool and Water Slide Palm Springs

Rancho Las Palmas pool and water slide Palm Springs

For local offsite recreation, The River is a shopping and entertainment center that is a short walking distance from the resort. Its park-like waterfront, fountains, entertainment amphitheater, live music, and delicious cuisine at several featured restaurants (including Fleming´s Prime Steakhouse, the Cheesecake Factory, or Maki Maki California Japanese Cuisine) make it the perfect venue to please the entire family.

With its variety of plush family-friendly features on 240 acres of pristine lakes and gardens, the Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa in Palm Springs, California is an unforgettable escape, making it another top family resort on the West Coast.

Sunriver Resort - Sunriver, Oregon

Sunriver Resort - Sunriver Oregon

Sunriver Resort - Sunriver Oregon

Located in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, Sunriver Resort in Central Oregon offers premier hotel accommodations in a beautiful natural setting, making this all-season resort a fantastic family destination. There are plenty of year-round outdoor adventure and recreational activities to please the palate of every age, including world-class golf, skiing, kayaking, and more.

The resort has a terrific fort for children (ages 3-10) – Fort Funnigan – where kids can partake in outdoor adventures such as field trips to the Stables, Marina, Fish Hatchery and Nature Center, as well as arts and crafts and other activities in the 3400 square-foot fenced play yard.

All of the rooms, suites and lodges include a stone gas fireplace, private deck, on demand in-room movies, free wireless internet access, and more. Some are even pet friendly. There is also complimentary access to the Sage Springs Club and Spa. The resort dining options include 5 onsite restaurants, as well as other restaurants at the nearby Village Mall area.

The beauty of this resort is in its location and the endless opportunities for nature and recreational enthusiasts of all ages. The Deschutes National Forest and surrounding wilderness areas offer hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, skiing, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, fly fishing, and much more. There are also 4 swimming pools, equestrian stables, a marina, nature center and observatory.

With so much to see and do, Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Oregon is the best family resort in Oregon designed with something for everyone.

Westin Kierland Resort & Spa - Scottsdale, Arizona

Westin Kierland Resort and Spa

Westin Kierland Resort and Spa pool area

The Westin Kierland Resort and Spa is a AAA Four Diamond Resort featuring fantastic accommodations, a full-service spa, championship golf, business center, fine dining and shopping. Set in the beautiful rustic landscape of Arizona, this resort is a refuge for the entire family.

The luxury accommodations include a private balcony or terrace with every room, high-speed internet access, the Westin Signature Heavenly Beds (plush beds known for optimum comfort and indulgence), and lots of child/baby items provided as needed such as bed rails, bottle warmers, cribs, high chairs, strollers (umbrella/jogging), refrigerators, and more.

Recreation and relaxation go hand-in-hand at this sanctuary. The Adventure Water Park includes a 900-foot winding lazy river, 110-foot waterslide (42” height requirement), children’s play area with pop-jet water fountains & shallow pool, and the Aguamiel Pool – a quiet retreat for adults, as well as lap lanes and Jacuzzi by the full-service spa Agave. The Westin Kids Club (for children ages 4-12) offers scavenger hunts, swimming, movies, video games, soccer, tennis and much more. There are also nearby offsite attractions, as well as excursions that can be arranged to take in the stunning Arizona natural scenery.

Westin Kierland Resort Scottsdale Water Slide

Westin Kierland Resort water slide

There are terrific onsite dining options where talented chefs prepare their culinary delights. Offsite dining is also available within a short walking distance (or complimentary shuttle service) to Kierland Commons, and includes a variety of cuisine from Southwestern to Asian and more. Shopping is a particular treat where over 70 retailers at Kierland Commons (adjacent to the resort) will tempt you with their wares. Included among the fine retailers are Banana Republic, Coach, Barnes & Noble, Restoration Hardware, Crate & Barrel, and more).

A blissful retreat, The Westin Kierland Resort and Spa in Scottsdale Arizona will soothe and stimulate your senses, and is one of our top 10 picks for terrific family resorts on the West Coast.

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Jocelyn Murray is a travel writer and historical fiction novelist. She holds two university master's degrees in both English and Education, along with a bachelor's degree in Economics and European Studies. She also has a teaching credential and taught at the elementary school level.

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