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Best Hotels for a Staycation in Orange County

(Credit: Grand Pacific Resorts)

Although most people travel out of state or even out of the country when they take a vacation, we live in one of the most popular travel destinations in the United States. With plenty of activities and beautiful scenery in Southern California, there are few reasons not to choose Orange County itself as your next travel destination. Whether you're looking for a relaxing beach trip or an experience filled with family fun, these hotels are perfect choices for your next OC staycation.

(Credit: Montage Laguna Beach)

Montage Laguna Beach
30801 South Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(866) 271-6953

Laguna Beach is one of the most luxurious coastal destinations in OC, and the Montage fits right in. This beachside resort is perfect for romantic getaway or a weekend at the beach with the family. Take in Laguna's spectacular sunsets while you lounge by the tiled Mosaic Pool. With a whirlpool and kid's pool nearby, plus poolside cabanas that include a personal waiter, it's easy to spend your days soaking up the sun at the resort. The Montage Laguna Beach is also home to a spa that will replenish and relax even the most worn out guests. Here, you can opt for a facial, a pedicure or a couple's massage. Also included in your stay is a complimentary photoshoot with Pacific Dream Photography, which is the perfect way to capture some special moments from your Laguna staycation. The Montage also offers the Paintbox and Paintbox Petite programs that provide science, art, food, sea life and adventure activities for kids. Add in the delicious meals to be had at resort restaurants Studio and The Loft and proximity to the beach and you're sure to see why Montage is an ideal spot to stay next time you're planning a trip nearby.

Great Wolf Lodge
(Credit: Great Wolf Resorts)

Great Wolf Lodge
12681 Harbor Boulevard
Garden Grove, CA 92840
(714) 530-9653

When it comes to family-oriented vacations, Great Wolf Lodge is the new Orange County hotspot. Combining a family atmosphere with plenty of thrills, Great Wolf definitely has a lot to offer for any staycation. The resort's main appeal is the 105,000-square-foot indoor waterpark, available exclusively to those staying at the hotel. Guests are provided with waterpark wristbands that provide access to the location's four pools, 14 waterslides and four-story water-filled tree house. From the Totem Towers to Coyote Cannon and River Canyon Run, you can adventure on your own or in a group. Aside from the water activities, families can take advantage of Great Wolf's arcade, laser maze, 4-D movie theater, glowing mini-golf and miniature, kid-friendly bowling alley. They also have a kid spa, perfect for fizzy colorful fun, and special pajama parties filled with games, story times or dance parties. Suites include standard, premium or rooms with KidCabin and Wolf Den themes, and there are restaurants and shops within the resort as well so you'll have everything you need for a memorable family trip all in one place.

Shorebreak Waterfront Guestroom 2.jpg
(Credit: Kimpton Hotels)

Shorebreak Hotel
500 Pacific Coast Highway
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
(714) 861-4470

The breezy, oceanside atmosphere at Huntington's Shorebreak Hotel ensures a relaxing staycation for couples, families and beyond. The Shorebreak itself has a lot of bright white elements accompanied with little pops of color and sweeping natural light, making it the perfect relaxation spot in Orange County. Make sure to nab an oceanfront room with a balcony for the best view of the beach. But, don't worry if you don't get one as the beach is just steps away and the resort fee covers some important amenities like towels, beach chairs, umbrellas and beach cruisers. A yoga mat is also provided in each room to add to the relaxing vibe. Visit the social hour in the lobby each evening or make friends around the outdoor fireplace. Because you're right in the heart of Surf City U.S.A., you can also head down to the beach to learn how to surf or visit Downtown Huntington Beach for food and fun. The hotel also has its own restaurant called Zimzala where guests can enjoy food, cocktails and live music.

Grand Californian
(Credit: Disneyland Resort)

Grand Californian Hotel
1600 Disneyland Drive
Anaheim, CA 92802
(714) 635-2300

Disneyland is a main attraction for many families - and even for those who don't have children. As a staple of OC culture, it's an obvious choice for a staycation. But, where would you stay for such a trip? The Disneyland Hotel? Think again. Disney has an alternative that is ten times as exciting: the Grand Californian Hotel. The hotel is inspired by Northern California, incorporating what is essentially a wooden lodge with a natural forest theme. Rooms have various views of the pool, the hotel's courtyard and even the California Adventure theme park itself; there is also an entrance to the park directly inside the hotel. Guests enjoy special benefits like extra time within the parks before they open and access to the hotel's themed pools. But don't worry if Disney isn't your ultimate destination—the Grand Californian is still a great spot for a staycation. With Downtown Disney just outside its doors, you're close to endless food, shopping and entertainment.

Capistrano Surfside Inn
(Credit: Capistrano Surfside Inn)

Capistrano Surfside Inn
34680 Coast Highway
Capistrano Beach, CA 92624
(949) 240-7681

Located across from Doheny State Beach, the Capistrano Surfside Inn is located in an area that has less tourism than some of OC's other cities. This makes it easier to enjoy the laid-back, beach atmosphere surrounding the hotel. Every room has its own balcony complete with a barbecue so you can make food while enjoying the incredible views from your own room. Hang out at the pool, visit the fitness center or play billiards inside the hotel. They also offer free boogie board and bike rentals as well as movie rentals for relaxing after the day is through. While you're enjoying your time at Capistrano Surfside Inn, head to nearby San Juan Capistrano to learn about the area's rich history at the mission. The resort also has timeshares available so you can turn a one-time staycation into a regular occurrence.

Pelican Hill
(Credit: Courtesy of Pelican Hill)

The Resort at Pelican Hill
22701 South Pelican Hill Road
Newport Coast, CA 92657
(855) 315-8214

The Resort at Pelican Hill offers a true taste of luxury along the Newport Beach coastline. Sitting high on a hill overlooking the ocean, it feels like you are in your own secluded piece of paradise rather than in the midst of one of the biggest cities in Orange County. Families can spend the day playing by the unbelievably gorgeous Coliseum-style pool or participating in one of the resort's many camps. Camp Pelican and Latitude offer age-appropriate activities that foster learning and creativity; youngsters will create art, watch magic shows and experiment with digital microscopes while teens enjoy photo hikes, aromatherapy or karaoke. Additional camps for teens include learning to surf, kayak, bike or hike. They also offer etiquette programs suitable for both children and adults, a very unique element that other resorts typically don't have. One other thing unique to Pelican Hill is the 36-hole golf course. With an expansive view of the Pacific, it is golf like you've never played it before. Add in the lively décor in the villas and bungalows and the delicious Italian food at Andrea and you're sure to experience a staycation you won't forget.

San Clemente Cove Resort
(Credit: Grand Pacific Resorts)

San Clemente Cove Resort
104 South Alameda Lane
San Clemente, CA 92672
(949) 492-6666

Of all of the beach cities in OC, southern San Clemente is one of the most lovely. With a downtown sector full of Spanish-style buildings, small businesses and friendly faces, it has a small-town feel that is pretty difficult to find in the rest of the county. Down by the coast, spend some time at San Clemente Cove Resort, a resort that offers vacation rentals and timeshare condominiums. With an event calendar full of activities, guests can complete art projects alongside their children or wind down with cocktails on the rooftop. The resort itself lies relatively close to the sea, where visitors can surf, swim, practice yoga or barbecue lunch. The pier is another attraction that tends to appeal to visitors as well as the sidewalk cafes and ice cream shops. To get away from your home base for a while, take a trip over to nearby Dana Point for a whale watching excursion or hop on the train at the San Clemente beach Metrolink stop for a ride along the coast.

Castle Inn
(credit: Castle Inn)

Castle Inn & Suites
1734 South Harbor Boulevard
Anaheim, CA 92802
(714) 774-8111

Themed hotels are always extra exciting for kids, so Castle Inn & Suites is perfect for little princes and princesses who are Disney-bound. But even aside from the proximity to the Disneyland Resort, the Castle Inn & Suites has some thrills for families looking for a staycation in Anaheim. Though it's no Cinderella's Castle, the building is shaped like a castle, complete with turrets and towers and an arch to drive under to reach the parking lot. The paint on the outer side of the hotel really drives the design home, making it a thrill for little ones who visit. While you can get a standard room, the executive, parlor and family suites are great for bigger groups. There is a full-size heated pool plus a wading pool for kids—a great way to beat the OC heat during summertime. The hotel isn't far from Anaheim's GardenWalk, which has a bowling alley, shopping, plenty of restaurants and a variety show featuring comedy and magic tricks.

The French Estate
(credit: The French Estate)

The French Estate
248 South Batavia Street
Orange, CA 92868
(714) 997-5038

Orange County is filled with luxury resorts and seaside hotels, but what it doesn't have a whole lot of are quaint bed and breakfasts. The French Estate is a little gem in Old Towne Orange that is situated on a residential street between houses and apartment buildings. As a popular building for wedding ceremonies and receptions, the bright yellow and green building looks like it is straight out of a Europe. Surrounded by swaying palms, the beautiful historical setting provides a completely different vibe from the other hotels on this list. Though they no longer serve breakfast, guests can stay in either the chic, comfortable upstairs rooms or the upscale downstairs Bridal Suite. The upstairs area is shared with permanent residents who are international students in town for school so you just may make some new friends during your stay. The downstairs suite has its own entrance and can sleep up to six people. Staying at The French Estate is a great option because you are right in the heart of Orange. Visit the Circle for plenty of restaurants, shopping and antiquing.

Ashley Ryan is an Orange County native that loves traveling, live music and photography. She blogs at Pure Wander and freelances for a variety of publications including Newport Beach Magazine and Laguna Beach Magazine.
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