Looking for one last vacay hurrah before summer’s officially over? These end of summer staycations and Labor Day weekend getaways won’t break the bank, especially when you live in San Diego, where others come to vacation! A cheap vacation right here in your hometown has all the ingredients of an epic staycation––sandy beaches, world-class museums and new neighborhoods to explore. And the cherry on top? Cheap hotels that are not only awesome, but totally budget-friendly. Scroll on for our list of top spots that are big on fun and light on the wallet!

photo: LEGOLAND Hotel


While LEGOLAND theme park has been closed due to Covid-19 this summer, LEGOLAND Hotel has reopened and is offering some of their lowest summer room rates ever. Your LEGO-loving kid will flip for themed rooms including Ninjago, Pirates, Adventure and LEGO-Friends. While those coveted bricks won't be in the communal areas, they will be in guest rooms and in a welcome gift for each child. Families can still enjoy the pool, LEGO decor everywhere and fun activities like the in-room treasure hunt. Better move quick on this deal, room rates are $169 for most nights through September.

Bonus! For a limited time LEGOLAND Hotel guests, Annual Pass Members and customers who make a $25 minimum purchase at The Big Shop will have an opportunity to explore three cities in Miniland U.S.A.

Online: legoland.com

photo: Rancho Bernardo Inn

Rancho Bernardo Inn

Rancho Bernardo Inn is offering several special rates and packages that make booking a stay here a must. From their Stay and Safari package to their Weekday Wanderlust 2nd Night Free, to name just a couple, this sweet escape will make your staycation memorable and worthwhile. Your family will enjoy swimming, wandering the beautiful grounds, golf, movie night at the pool, lawn games, stargazing and the new falconry encounter program. This destination resort will help your fam relax and rejuvenate during the final dog days of summer.

Cost: from $249/night, see special promotions here.

Online: ranchobernardoinn.com

photo: Jeremy Malli

Tiny Home Living in La Mesa

Dreaming of tiny-house living? Give it a test drive! This 344 square-foot La Mesa tiny home can sleep up to six with two queen bed lofts and a full-size bunk on the bottom. This Traveler XL model tiny house is designed by Escape Homes and features a full kitchen, bath and shower. When you're not living tiny, kids will love splashing in the onsite private pool available for guests. Enjoy living simply (if only for a week!) with modern, back-to-nature design and bluff views of San Diego and Mount Helix Valley.

Cost: from $95/night

Online: airbnb.com

North Park Neighborhood at The Lafayette Hotel

Check out the hip North Park neighborhood with a stay at The Lafayette Hotel. This retro boutique hotel has a playful, historic vibe and families will love amenities such as bunk beds and chalkboard wall in the Suze Suite and the famed Weissmuller Olympic Pool. When you’re ready to explore, Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo are a hop, skip and jump away. Make sure to check out their CALI-Staycation promotion for 50% off parking and free breakfast for two and $25 food and beverage credit.

Cost: from $149/night

Online: lafayettehotelsd.com

Pacific Beach at the Catamaran Resort Hotel

Channel Polynesian vibes in Pacific Beach at the Catamaran Resort Hotel. With tiki torches, lush landscaping and Mission Bay in the backyard, you'll all be in that vacation state-of-mind. This beachfront hotel is made for relaxing but also full-on fun with water sports, poolside entertainment and a daily exotic bird show. Ready to hit some bigger waves? The Pacific Ocean is right across the street and ready for boogie boarding, boardwalk bike rides and beach volleyball. Hotel guests will also enjoy movies on the bay lei-making, hula lessons and so many more summer themed activities.

Cost: from $188/night

Online: catamaranresort.com

photo: West Inn and Suites

Carlsbad West Inn and Suites

A stay at the West Inn and Suites in Carlsbad means that Fido can come too! Start your day with fantastic complimentary extras, like the free hot breakfast buffet. Don't forget to make time to check out the nearby beach or splash in the saltwater pool. And for the perfect ending to an already great day, check out the fresh cookies and milk reception at bedtime. Sweet dreams!

Cost: from $145/night

Online: westinnandsuites.com

photo: Stacy Childers

Seaside at Loews Coronado Bay Resort

Skip the plane ride and soak in every last minute of summer break with a staycation at Loews Coronado Bay Resort. This tranquil property is located on a 15-acre peninsula with stunning views of San Diego. You'll feel like you've been transported to paradise right outside your backdoor with three pools, including one children's pool and one family pool. Special extras like chilled fruit, beach toys and a Pool Concierge also make vacation-mode come easy. When you're ready for more fun, head to the beach, rent kayaks, sign up for surf lessons or hop aboard a sailboat for a relaxing sail from their private marina.

Cost: from $197/night

Online: loewshotels.com

––Kerry Cushman


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