Just because August is winding down, it doesn’t mean that the summer vibes have to end. As most natives know, September is one of the best months of the year in the Bay Area and the perfect time for a staycation. These local hotels (and a posh campground, too! are ready to welcome families who want to ride the summertime vibes for a few more weeks. Book your staycay today!

photo: Kate Loweth

Palace Hotel - Heart of Downtown San Francisco

The Palace Hotel is a clear choice for a summer staycation spot if for one reason only—it has the pool with the best view in the city. This gorgeous indoor pool is covered by windows so that you can see all the nearby skyscrapers and summer sun. During the summer you can enjoy Freezie Fridays and Dive-In Movies by the pool.

Families will enjoy the hotel's excellent service and massive suites that offer plenty of room to spread out with the whole crew. Dine at the Garden Court Restaurant at their ample breakfast buffet or the signature tea that is offered on Saturday afternoons. Make note as you'll want to come back during the holidays when Santa Claus joins in the festivities for an an even more special tea party.

Through the end of September, families can take advantage of the Summer Family Fun package that includes a welcome gift bag and endless pool time, of course.

What to do: We love The Palace for its location right in the heart of downtown San Francisco. You can head over to Yerba Buena Gardens for a concert or spend some time at the Children's Creativity Museum. It's also a great spot to stay when you are attending a Giants game at Oracle Park as it's about a mile walk.

Online: marriott.com

photo: Kate Loweth

Santa Clara Marriott

We love this hotel for a Silicon Valley staycation spot as it totally gets what parents want—convenience. From the recently-renovated poolside rooms that are just a few steps from the hotel's massive outdoor pool, to free breakfast when you book the Weekends + Breakfast package, families should definitely plan some time here. Perhaps our favorite feature is the ability to order food and drinks via app to be delivered to you poolside, perfect for when you are hungry but also playing lifeguard for the little ones. Upgrade your stay to get access to the M Club Lounge and you'll get appetizers in the evening, breakfast when you wake and snacks throughout the day.

What to do: The Santa Clara Marriott is just around the corner from Levi's Stadium and California's Great America. Leave your car parked at the hotel and take the 15-minute walk to either location. 

Online: marriott.com


photo: Kate Loweth

Hotel Vitale - The Embarcadero

We love the Hotel Vitale for it's perfect location right across the street from the Ferry Building. You'll get Bay views from the roof decks and loads of activities for families right around the corner. Parents can relax with massages at the on-site spa. Kids will especially love the Embarcadero Explorers Package that comes with four tickets to the Exploratorium, kids binoculars to scope out the Bay Bridge and a fun gift bag that includes a kids' Giants hat, SF puzzle, color-changing sunglasses and more.

What to do: The hotel is conveniently located in the same building as the SF Railway Museum (a fun and free spot to learn about San Francisco railway history) and right down the block from Sue Bierman Park and the Vaillancourt Fountain. Head across the street for ice cream at Humphry Slocombe, among dozens of other dining spots in the Ferry Building. The Exploratorium is just a 10-minute walk away—grab a pedicab ride back to the hotel when your legs are tired! 

Online: jdvhotels.com

photo: Kate Loweth

Hotel Nia - Menlo Park

This peninsula hotel offers the summer oasis that you need for your staycation headquarters. We love it for its outdoor areas—from the courtyard with cornhole and giant Connect 4 games, to the swanky pool. Do yourself a favor and reserve one of their cabanas for a day of poolside relaxation. These oversized lounge chairs give you a private spot to gather your crew for some time in the sun.

Cabanas are available to be reserved by overnight guests and also as a part of the Cabanas & Cocktails package that offers day-use of a hotel room from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., your private cabana for the day and a $50 food and beverage credit that you can redeem poolside. The private cabanas come with a mini fridge so you can pack your own snacks if you'd like. 

What to do: After a day hanging out at the pool, you can take a walk to nearby Bedwell Bayfront Park for some hiking/biking trails and killer Bay views. Also close by is the gorgeous Stanford University campus. 

Online: hotelnia.com

photo: Santa Cruz Monterey Bay KOA Holiday

Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay KOA Holiday

If you have never brought the kids to a KOA for camping then you are in for a real treat. This spot near Manresa State Beach and the Santa Cruz Boardwalk offers Deluxe Cabins with bunk beds or a sleeping loft for the kids and brand-new Glamping Cabins that are perfect for a romantic getaway. Just in time for summer, the Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay KOA Holiday underwent a renovation of its activity park that includes an outdoor ping pong table, climbing statues, KOA jumping pillow and a new pool.

Perhaps the best part of a KOA is that there are loads of activities for kids that are hosted by on-site counselors (translation: parents can relax). Ride the KOA Express Fun Train around the property, get strapped in to climb the coconut palm trees, watch movies under the stars and enjoy s'mores without the cleanup! Weekends bring extra fun with pancake breakfasts, giga balls and more.

What to do: There's so much to do on site that you really could spend your whole weekend here without anyone getting bored. If you are looking for a day trip, Crystal Bay Farm is right down the road and offers seasonal berry picking. You can also head over to Watsonville for free apple cider tasting at the Martinelli's Company Store. And naturally, the beach is super close if that's your jam. Check out all our Santa Cruz recs here.

Online: koa.com

photo: Kate Loweth

Hotel Zephyr - Fisherman's Wharf

Kids will love the funky Hotel Zephyr, complete with giant games and fire pits. The playful hotel is all about a fun experience while being right across the street from all that Fisherman’s Wharf has to offer. The rooms are designed to look like captain’s rooms, so little ones will love the porthole window in each room. With walking distance to PIER 39, Ghirardelli Square and the Alcatraz Ferry landing, the activities are endless.

For summer, the hotel has a package that includes a tour of the California redwoods of Muir Woods and also a package that comes with a cruise of the Bay. All tours can be pre-booked with the concierge team prior to arrival, or when you arrive in San Francisco at the Concierge Desk at Hotel Zephyr.

What to do: Spend an afternoon in the hotel’s pretty awesome indoor/outdoor lobby. With colorful seating and jumbo games like Connect 4, it’s a great way to get some quality family time in.

Online: hotelzephyrsf.com

photo: The Sandman

The Sandman - Santa Rosa

Right off of 101, The Sandman's Santa Rosa location is super convenient for families visiting wine country. The welcoming staff and chill mid-century modern decor will make you feel relaxed the minute you arrive. Families will especially love the family suite—with a king bed and a twin-over-full bunk bed everyone is able to spread out. Spend your days lounging by the heated pool where you can purchase snacks, ice cream and their homemade Froze (for the parents) at the Pool House & Bar

What to do: The hotel's newly-launched Charles Schultz Package offers families budget-friendly accommodations along with access to this family-favorite local museum. You'll get two museum passes, a canvas gift bag and key chain. It also includes late checkout at 2 p.m. so that you have more time to explore the museum.

Where to eat: We love the casual vibe at Stockhome Restaurant in nearby Petaluma. Husband-wife owners Roberth and Andrea Sundell bring you Swedish favorites, which have heavy influences from the Middle East, that are perfect for sharing with your mom crew. Start off with pita to enjoy with hummus and tabbouleh, and follow with the Swedish meatballs. 


photo: Kate Loweth

Dream Inn - Santa Cruz

If your summer days didn't include nearly enough beach time, then head to Santa Cruz. The Dream Inn Hotel is right on the beach, so all you have to do is step outside with some sand toys and sunblock for a day of fun. If you feel like staying an extra day, the hotel has a Fourth Night Free offer until the end of October. With so many things to do and explore including the Beach Boardwalk, Roaring Camp Railroads, Nickelodeon Theater and Big Basin State Park, you will definitely want to book that extra night.

What to do: If you’re in Santa Cruz, the Beach Boardwalk has to be on your list. With more than 40 rides including the Giant Dipper and Looff Carousel, you can definitely spend a long morning or afternoon here. Grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants before heading back to the hotel. And don't miss a visit to the sea lions—you can view them under the pier at the end of the wharf. 

Online: dreaminnsantacruz.com

photo: Carmel Valley Ranch

Carmel Valley Ranch - Carmel

If you’re up for a drive, Carmel Ranch Valley is a great vacation spot to really be out in the open air. The hotel is dedicated to the idea of play, so you can be sure to have a great time with the kiddos. With their Ranch Hands Family Package, you’ll score a spacious suite for a family of four, daily breakfast and a half-day pass to either Little Ranchers Camp for the 2-5 set or Kids Camps for the 6 and older. With access to hiking trails, golf, swimming pools, organic gardens and chickens, it’s enough to make you want to stay another day.

What to do: For the 6 and older crew, you should definitely check out the hotel’s signature experience, “A Bee's Life” which, you guessed it, is all about bee keeping. Guests get suited up in a beekeeping uniform, walk around the bees to see how they work and take home some souvenirs like lavender beeswax balm and honey lavender lemonade. If you decide to leave the hotel for an afternoon, visit Carmel-by-the-Sea for plenty of shopping and delicious beach food.

Online: carmelvalleyranch.com

—Kate Loweth


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