San Diego Mission Bay Resort
San Diego, California
SoCal Chill, $$$
Can you really say you've been to San Diego if you haven't experienced a chill waterfront pool situation? The casual Californian city on the beach — with its perfect weather, blue ocean access, and real laid-back attitude — begs for a water on water scenario in which you are 99 percent likely to be wearing a swimsuit. At the San Diego Mission Bay Resort you can hang out in the pool, walk on the beach, or get into a number of local SoCal activities: volleyball, sandcastle building, badminton, corn hole, and hanging out around a bonfire — without ever putting on shoes.
At a Glance
The Vibe: A safe mashup of '60s surf culture and 21st-century-modern aesthetics.
This Place Is Perfect For: Corporate retreaters loosening their ties; sun worshippers of all kinds; families — dogs, too! — looking for some low key fun in the sun.
Rooms: 357 guest rooms, including two-story suites and rooms with fire pits. There's a private balcony or patio in every room.
On Site: Spa and fitness center, tennis courts, resort games (giant chess, anyone?), beach chairs and umbrellas, conference rooms, and poolside cabanas for creating your own, "epic chill zone" by the pool. Happenings include live comedy and live music, movie nights, bootcamp classes, and team-building exercises for folks on work retreats.
Food + Drink: Covewood offers a breezy indoor/outdoor dining experience with a living room vibe (the Mission Bay views are pretty great, too). In the center of the resort, the playful Plaza del Sol offers cocktails and small plates under twinkling lights. The poolside stand, Solrisa, serves Mexican faves and cold cervezas. Mission Joe is where you go in the morning for a post-surf acai bowl.
What to Do Nearby
You went for the beach but you'll stay for the ethically sourced joe at Bird Rock Coffee Roasters and Dark Horse Coffee Roasters, the magical tortillas at Oscars Mexican Seafood, and the brews at Bottlecraft and Tiger! Tiger! Tavern. The San Diego Zoo is world-famous, the Museum of Photographic Arts is intimate, and the live rock shows at Casbah are gritty and fun. It's a good idea to support an independent bookstore wherever you are, but there are several worth checking out around the city: Verbatim for zines and chapter books by local authors, Mysterious Galaxy for a large selection of fantasy and science fiction, and Run for Cover — which draws in new readers with a wide variety of picture books and YA novels. Pick up a few and hit the beach for a perfect day.