Last Updated on July 10, 2024 by Katrina

Photo credit: San Diego Mission Bay Resort

If you want to experience the heart of beachy San Diego, your ideal neighborhood may actually be by the bay. Just minutes from downtown San Diego, Mission Bay has its own calm waters—perfect for water sports—and 27 miles of shoreline. But it’s also a few blocks from the classic ocean waves at Mission Beach, and a short drive from big attractions such as SeaWorld and the famous San Diego Zoo. Here are the best hotels in San Diego’s Mission Bay, with plenty of ways to play on the water.

San Diego Mission Bay Resort (1775 E Mission Bay Dr.; 619-677-1161) Mission Bay

Like a number of Mission Bay hotels, this 357-room resort sits on its own stretch of bayside beach. Lounge by the pool, rent a bike, or get out on the bay. “If you have young kids, this is the easiest getaway,” says a Tripadvisor user. “The pool has plenty of waterside seating, a splash area, and poolside activities. And, you can rent paddle boards, pontoon boats, wave runners.” One Google reviewer has a mixed opinion. “Overall had a good time but no breakfast, and food is way too expensive. Pool is pretty tiny. But the jet skis were super fun.”    >> Book this hotel for less

Paradise Point Resort & Spa (1404 Vacation Rd; 858-274-4630) Mission Bay

Hidden in plain sight, this South-Pacific themed resort sits on a 44-acre private island within Mission Bay and has five pools and four restaurants. Fodor’s likes the “secluded vibe” and “bungalow-style cottages, lush landscaping, and resort amenities like pools, ping-pong, croquet, tennis courts, and a putt-putt course.” Rooms have mini fridges and patios, and some have bay views and fireplaces. “It’s a beautiful resort,” says a Google reviewer. “Kids weren’t bored at all. Ducks were fun to feed too. Wish they had a little cheaper option for food but we just DoorDashed a lot.”    >> Book this hotel for less

Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa (3999 Mission Blvd.; 858-488-1081) Mission Bay

This 310-room, Polynesian-style resort has a prime location. The Bay is on one side, and the bustling neighborhoods of Mission Beach and Pacific Beach are on the other. “A sandy beach … pool, jacuzzi, and bike rentals make this hotel a convenient and luxurious family place,” says Travel+Leisure. “With a patio or balcony for every room, views are guaranteed.” One Tripadvisor reviewer says that “the location is wonderful. Steps to the beach at the bay and one block from the beach at the ocean. You can watch the sun rise at the bay and set at the ocean. Love the ponds with koi and ducks as well as a variety of parrots. It is like walking through a mini zoo. This place felt like a tropical island oasis.”    >> Book this hotel for less

The Dana on Mission Bay (1710 W Mission Bay Dr.; 619-222-6440) Mission Bay

Want to go to Sea World? This 271-room resort is the closest hotel to the marine theme park, and offers a free shuttle.  As Fodor’s points out, “the sprawling property, which was built in the late 1960s, has plenty to keep guests busy, including two outdoor pools, a restaurant, a private marina, and watersports rentals.” The proximity to local restaurants is a big plus, says one Tripadvisor user. “Make a point to eat in Mission Beach about a mile away. The food at the resort is uninspired and bland. The drinks are solid though, and the staff is efficient and kind.”    >> Book this hotel for less

Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa And Marina (1441 Quivira Rd; 619-224-1234) Mission Bay

Kids will live this branch of the Hyatt Regency, thanks to its pool area with three waterslides. Fodor’s says that “it’s hands-down one of the best pool areas in San Diego. The hotel also has a private marina with jet ski, kayak, and sailboat rentals. A summer water taxi service to SeaWorld is another perk.” On Yelp, one user liked the water slides—“you can race your friend or family member down! Only complaints: we could hear the upstairs room flushing the toilet and the noise from the airplanes taking off from the airport. However the hotel has amazing views of the Pacific.”    >> Book this hotel for less