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Best Legoland Hotels: Family-Friendly Places to Stay in Carlsbad and Near San Diego, California

Updated on March 26, 2013
Too bad that, while visiting Legoland California, you can't just stay in one of the models of real hotels at Miniland U.S.A.!  For instance, that's me next to a  scale Lego model of the Mirage hotel in Las Vegas.  I can't explain the stupid grin on m
Too bad that, while visiting Legoland California, you can't just stay in one of the models of real hotels at Miniland U.S.A.! For instance, that's me next to a scale Lego model of the Mirage hotel in Las Vegas. I can't explain the stupid grin on m

Which Legoland hotel is best for you?

This page will help you sort through the right Legoland hotels so you don't have to waste time paging through lengthy hotel listings and hotel reviews by cranks and crazies.

There are many wonderful hotels near Legoland in Carlsbad--hotels and resorts near and even right next door to Legoland California. You might consider staying at one of these Legoland hotels below even if most of your vacation is in San Diego--why not stay in a quiet, charming seaside town? (San Diego itself is only 30 miles from Legoland and Carlsbad anyway, a 30 to 45 minute drive, depending on traffic).

Even in a small town like Carlsbad, there are many, many hotels to choose from. You can look online, but most websites don't help narrow your options and pick a Legoland hotel that is best for you.

Picking a hotel in Carlsbad can be easy--really, there are just four categories of hotels in Carlsbad to choose from if Legoland is going to be an important part of your vacation.

It is also too bad you can't stay at this scale Lego model of New York's Plaza Hotel (the center building), right next to a mini Central Park!
It is also too bad you can't stay at this scale Lego model of New York's Plaza Hotel (the center building), right next to a mini Central Park!

(1) Legoland Hotels Next Door to Legoland

Are you and your children absolutely crazy about Legoland? Do plan on visiting Legoland several times during the day, or going back repeatedly over several days, or getting an early start by going first thing in the morning? It will probably be best if you stay at one of the two hotels that are right next door to Legoland California:

  • The Sheraton Carlsbad Resort and Spa is more or less the unofficial hotel of Legoland (at least until the official hotel of Legoland is built--see below). A private entrance connects the Sheraton to Legoland, so if you and your children intend to spend a lot of time at Legoland, this is an excellent option. Even if it is not the official hotel of Legoland, it is one of the preferred Legoland hotels, and staying here will give you some discounts to your Legoland tickets. But don't forget the resort and spa services that the hotel offers to help you and your husband or wife relax, too. The Sheraton is reasonably priced--not necessarily cheap, but not insanely expensive. It may well be worth the added cost if you and your children are going to spend a lot of time at Legoland.
  • TheGrand Pacific Palisades Resort and Hotel is across the street from Legoland and and overlooks the Pacific Ocean. The Grand Pacific, also one of the preferred Legoland hotels, offers discounted Legoland tickets and offers a number of discounts for registering early as well as a number of great packages. One thing that does make the Grand Pacific different is that it also offers timeshare condominiums, so that if you make Legoland or Carlsbad a regular vacation destination, this is an excellent option.
  • Finally, there is the official Legoland California Hotel, which I have not yet had a chance to visit (I may later this year).

(2) Legoland Hotels That Are Luxury Resorts

There are two, first-class luxury resorts in Carlsbad if you want enjoy Legoland and want to be pampered or play all day.

  • TheFour Seasons Resort Aviara, built recently, is everything you would expect a Four Seasons hotel to be--beautiful, with wonderful services, and pricey. What makes this the Aviara different is that it is a luxury hotel that truly has something for everyone in the family--it is surprisingly kid-friendly, has a spa with massages, facial and body treatments, and ayurvedic treatments, and has an on-site golf course, one of the best in California. You really can't go wrong staying here and might enjoy yourself so much that you forget to go to Legoland. Because it is a Four Seasons hotel, the Aviara is, as I mentioned, not cheap. Still, you can save a bit of money buying various packages that include spa services and/or golf in the price if you know you are going to do these things, or stay during the week for a better price, or stay for at least three nights because the third night is free.
  • Do not miss the classic (and recently renovated) La Costa Resort & Spa. The La Costa opened in 1965 and was one of the first full-service spas in the United States. Recently renovated for $140 million, the resort has collected numerous awards: Travel & Leisure magazine named it one of the top ten spa hotels in the world, while The Travel Channel listed it as one of the the “Top 10 Fun Family Resorts.” The La Costa Resort really does have it all--a full days worth of activities for the kids (including a "Kidstopia" where your children are taken care of while you enjoy the spa or golf), professional-caliber golf course (although there is no PGA tour event here anymore), tennis courts, pools, and of course relaxing and luxurious full spa treatments, including Roman Waterfall Showers. Again, as a luxury resort, this place is not cheap, but check the website for discounts and golf and spa packages.

(3) Legoland Hotels On The Beach

Do you plan on spending as much time at the beach with your children as at Legoland? The Legoland hotels below have rooms with ocean views, easy access to the renown Carlsbad State Beach, and are all a 5 or 10 minute drive to Legoland. I recommend two places in particular, but several other hotels are at least worth a mention in passing.

  • My favorite of the beach hotels is West Inn & Suites. This "boutique" hotel has won a number of awards for being family friendly and simply an excellent hotel, one of the best in California and certainly one of the best for a family visiting Legoland! Just as important, despite being one of the best hotels you can stay at, West Inn & Suites is reasonably priced--it is good value for what you are getting, and not much more expensive, if at all, than the other beach hotels in Carlsbad. Even if you are planning on staying at a budget hotel, it is worth looking at the pricing online for West Inn & Suites anyway--there are often discounts available for visiting off-season or taking advantage of any number of travel specials. You will not regret a stay here.
  • Another great choice is the Beach Terrace Inn which boasts on its website the fact that it is the only ocean front hotel in Carlsbad that is actually on the beach. The views there are stunning. If the beach is important and you have to have a romantic ocean view, stay here. Also if you absolutely have to get work done in between trips to the beach and Legoland, this is a good place to stay--there are good work spaces in all of rooms along with free wireless service. But looking out the window and you may give up on working entirely!
  • If you want to stay at a low-frills, but cute and well-managed, beach hotel, there are several great options, including the Seashore on the Sand, the Ocean Palms Beach Resort, and the Surf Motel Carlsbad. All of these hotels have a bit of a mom-and-pop, personal feel to them and are near the beach. Keep in mind that the Surf Motel has a great Legoland discount package.
  • Finally, Tamarack Beach Resort and Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort, are both nice, medium-sized hotels for romantic weekend getaways or corporate conferences. They are also good for longer term vacations and you can rent them as condominiums or time shares. They both also have fully equipped kitchens (so do some of the hotels above, like the Sea Shore on the Sand or the Beach Terrace Inn), so you can cook in instead of eating out during your stay.

(4) Best budget Legoland hotels

Maybe you need to save a bit of money on your stay in San Diego, or maybe you are already staying in Los Angeles or San Diego and want to spend a night in Carlsbad to get an early start at Legoland. If you really like one of the Legoland Hotels above, check their prices. In this economic environment, with the right discount or deal, they may be within your budget--don't automatically assume that they are beyond your means.

Still, there are many decent, affordable hotels and motels that are conveniently located. The following hotels are all actually in Carlsbad, are near both Legoland and the beach, and are generally less than $100--in some cases, much less than $100 and closer to $50 or $60 a night. I've picked the national chains, so that there is some level of dependability and predictability, and you might have some other way of getting a discount through some membership or frequent guest program that some of these hotels offer.

The Holiday Inn is just 1/2 mile away from Legoland, a great choice if you plan on going back to Legoland frequently. The Ramada Carlsbad is very close to the beach and is kid-friendly. Finally, the Comfort Inn and the La Quinta Carlsbad are both reasonably priced and solid choices for Legoland hotels.

In the comments below, why don't you say what Legoland hotel was your favorite?

OK, no mini Legoland Hotels here, just a Lego version of New York's Freedom Tower (with the World Trade Center memorial site in front and the Statue of Liberty behind).  You really have to see this for yourself!
OK, no mini Legoland Hotels here, just a Lego version of New York's Freedom Tower (with the World Trade Center memorial site in front and the Statue of Liberty behind). You really have to see this for yourself!

Other Helpful Legoland and San Diego Hubs

Here are a couple of other helpful Hubs related to Legoland:

Here are a couple of other helpful Hubs for your San Diego vacation:

  • Enjoy Pacific Beach San Diego, another great place to stay if you plan on visiting Legoland but want to focus your trip on San Diego.


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    • jsasson profile image


      6 years ago from Florida

      Good advice. You actually pointed to the Langham Apartments on Central Park West, not the Plaza. An all too easy mistake - so I've been putting together a set of pages of all the buildings , stories etc, I have about 75 published and another 75 unpublished so far.


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