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Fun in the Sun at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa

When everyone else is jetting off to Hawaii or the Caribbean but you don't have a limitless budget, what's a family of four to do? A staycation, that's what. And the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa ended up being the perfect place to escape the humdrum of home with nary a plane in sight.

Located in a picturesque part of Southern California, the Hyatt Regency is a secret haven even for locals. Having grown up in Orange County most of my life, I was totally surprised to drive up the driveway of the resort to see a grandiose structure looming in front of us. And once you enter the property you really feel like you've travelled somewhere new and exciting.

Now onto the rooms. Parents of young kids know you end up spending more time in your room than you may have pre-kids (hello, naps!) And if you're like us, sometimes springing for a suite is totally worth the extra cost (especially if you're not paying for plane tickets,) so the adults don't have to go to bed (aka lay in the darkness) at the same time as the littles. If that's the case for you, know that the Hyatt does have spacious suites with SEPARATE ROOMS (which seems like a rare find every time we look) and a door that... wait for it... closes! So the suite, is actually a suite. Not just a room with some half divider that's totally useless.

The resort will also kindly provide a crib, so no need to pack your own, and a thoughtful Baby Kit filled with everything from baby shampoo to diaper rash cream to Q-tips. See what I mean? Family-friendly.

We've been lucky enough to visit some incredible family-friendly resorts in the past and the Hyatt Regency was right up there with the best of them. While there are three pools including an adults only spa grotto—but, really, when do adults with a baby and a toddler ever get there?—we spent all of our time at the water playground whose claim to fame are the double water slides.

Parents of young infants and non-swimming toddlers will appreciate the baby pool where the water only gets up to two feet deep. And if you've ever wondered if it'd be worth it to actually shell out and rent a cabana like I have, it truly is. The cabanas are fully enclosed, come with a mini fridge filled with water and fruit, and even has a TV in it for those times when everyone wants a break from swimming but still want to relax, and hope against hope, the kids may even take a nap on the comfy lounge chairs.

I was worried that we'd get bored quickly after pool time but was pleasantly surprised to discover s'mores kits in the room. Because, really, is any vacation complete without some ooey gooey chocolate s'mores? As we lounged around the firepits near the resort restaurants, watching the sunset and wiping sticky marshmallow from our mouths as the kids ran around in glee (or sugar high,) life was amazing. In that moment, we never wanted to leave.

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:

  • Their on-site "fancy" restaurant, Watertable, was excellent. I would love to come here sans kids for a date night, although they were very accommodating to our noisy crew and the ocean view can't be beat. And the food, omigod, the food. Sooo delicious.
  • On many weekends and during the summer, they do Cosmic Sliding. Think midnight bowling, but with water slides. Yea, awesome.
  • The resort property is pretty vast— it may require a fair amount of walking to get from your room to the pool. On the plus side, it makes you feel like you've been transported to another country.
  • Shuttles to Disneyland are available regularly throughout the day, but really, why would you want to leave?
  • The resort offers bike rentals and surf lessons.
  • There's a direct bridge to the beach, which is handy come sunset time.
  • There's a koi pond next to the spa—aka a great place for little ones to wile some time away.
  • Yes, to answer the #1 questions all parents who are traveling with kids have, there is a Starbucks on property.

Photographs by: Esther Carlstone/Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa

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