The Bahia Resort in San Diego has all the advantages of its mid-century vintage -– a pick-of-the-litter location on Mission Bay, its own private beach, and lush, mature tropical landscaping that gives it a secluded, Hawaiian island atmosphere. Since it’s been continually renovated and upgraded since it was built in the 1950s, its accommodations and amenities are fresh and modern. Families will find it an excellent place to headquarter to visit this sunny, attraction-packed town.
The Lay of the Land
Commanding a 13-acre peninsula on Mission Bay, the Bahia’s guest rooms flank both sides of the long narrow spit of land. In the middle are gardens, lawns, a gazebo, tennis courts, a swimming pool complex, shuffle board courts and a sweet little meandering pool that has resident ducks paddling about.
The Bahia shares the peninsula with a small state park on one side that offers good fishing and fire rings that can be great fun for a beachfront BBQ. On the other side of the peninsula, the beach is for Bahia guests only, with shady cabanas and a watersports desk that can set up all kinds of activities, such as stand-up paddle boarding, sailboat and motor boat rentals, kayaking and more. Bikes and skates can be rented on the property as well.
The swimming pool has a Moorish palace feel with its wide white stucco arches, tall, shady palm trees, tropical flowers and an amply sized wading area for toddlers. The whirlpool spa can accommodate up to 30 people and there is a café/grill open in season and a video game room with all vintages of games – from old fashioned and traditional to modern.
The Bahia Belle Paddle Steamer
Special family-oriented rides on an old fashioned turn-of-the-century Mississippi-style sternwheeler are scheduled every night of the summer and on weekends in the spring and fall. The resort shares the boat with its sister resort, The Catamaran, and the boat connects the two via a 30-minute ride across the bay. The Bahia’s dock is just steps from the restaurant and gift shop. Special family hours from 6:30-9:30pm are free for guests. In the summer, nearby Seaworld has a fireworks show that you can watch from the boat.
The Bahia’s Permanent Residents
Gracie and Billy, the resort’s two blind harbor seals, were rescued by SeaWorld, and the Bahia now permanently houses them in space and comfort in their own private pools. A marine veterinarian takes expert care of them, and guests can watch them eat twice a day — at 9:00am and 2:00pm — but you can wander along the boardwalks surrounding their pools to watch them swim (and nap!) anytime you want.
Value Added Features at Bahia Resort
The tennis courts and tennis equipment are free of charge, as is the shuffle board and fitness room. Children’s activities, such as crafts and games, take place in-season in a big tent next to the pool compound and are free to guests. An excellent restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and kids under 5 eat free from the buffet with a paying adult. There’s also an attractive cocktail lounge.
Most importantly, the resort fee covers parking, the shady cabanas on the private beach -– it’s first-come first-served and much more. Wi-fi is complimentary.
Bahia Resort Guest Rooms
All rooms have a patio or balcony and mini fridge, but some studios and suites have full kitchenettes offering a bit more space and the ability to cook. Many other rooms have a wet bar with a sink, microwave and mini frig. Rollaway beds can be added depending on availability, and suites have fold-out couches in the living room and either a king or two queen beds in the bedroom.
A Short Walk Away
Mission Beach on the Pacific Ocean is a five-minute walk away and is flanked by a 3-mile-long boardwalk that is great for a stroll or a bike ride. Belmont Park is also a five-minute walk away, and it features old-fashioned amusement park fun with an historic wooden roller coaster, wave machines, all kinds of other rides, carnival games and cotton candy snacks. You’ll also find plenty of low-cost family friendly eateries, like pizza parlors, taquerias, casual cafes, Chinese restaurants, bakeries, and ice cream parlors in the nearby neighborhood.
Trip Planning Details for a Bahia Resort Family Beach Vacation near San Diego
The Bahia Resort Hotel (858/488-0551) is located at 998 West Mission Bay Drive, San Diego, CA 92109. Summer is the high season here, with discounts available in spring and late August (after local school start). Family packages that include local attractions are available. Room rates vary considerably throughout the rest of the year; standard hotel rooms range from $149-$279; studios (rooms with kitchens) are $199-$400; one-bedroom suites without kitchens are $299-$500; one-bedroom suites with kitchens are $315-$650.
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