Looking for one last vacay hurrah before summer’s over? Fun, local getaways don’t have to 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: The Sofia Hotel

Downtown San Diego at The Sofia Hotel

Explore all downtown San Diego has to offer with a stay at The Sofia Hotel. Lace up your sneakers and walk to nearby attractions such as the USS Midway, The New Children's Museum of San Diego and the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Back at the hotel, enjoy brunch at Currant Brasserie, a 24-hour yoga studio (to keep up your spring break patience) and a hydration station before you hit the city streets.

Cost: from $162/night

Online: thesofiahotel.com

photo: Jeremy Malli

Tiny Home Living in La Mesa

Dreaming of tiny-house living? Give it a spring break 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 faster than you can say spring break. This beachfront hotel is made for relaxing but also full-on fun with water sports, Kids Keike Club, 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 complimentary family hour rides on the Bahia Belle, a Mississippi-style sternwheeler that cruises Mission Bay.

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 not only means a visit to LEGOLAND won't break the bank, but also that Fido can come too! Start your day with fantastic complimentary extras, like the free hot breakfast buffet and complimentary shuttle to LEGOLAND. While the kiddos will love playing with bricks all day, 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

Staypineapple's Hotel Z in the Gaslamp Quarter

Turn up the good vibes without upping the price tag at Staypineapple's colorful Hotel Z. Located in the lively Gaslamp Quarter, this dog-friendly hotel is walking distance from Petco Park, The New Children's Museum and a short shuttle ride to indoor go-karting at K1Speed. Rooms include fresh pineapple-inspired design, Tommy Bahama bath products, continental breakfast and afternoon pineapple treats. Spring break is looking bright!

Cost: from $151/night

Online: staypineapple.com

photo: Stacy Childers

Seaside at Lowes Coronado Bay Resort

Skip the plane ride and soak in every last minute of spring break with a staycation at Lowes 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 fun, take the the complimentary shuttle 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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