Perfect Family Getaway: Pelican Hill Newport Beach

We do our best to expose our kids to different cultures and exotic places, but there are times that call for a vacation that’s just easy—where plane rides are direct (or unnecessary), amenities are straightforward to access, and kids can jump head-first into activities without exhaustive planning. Our current favorite for this kind of trip? Pelican Hill in Newport Beach. A short drive from LA (or a direct flight from most places), the 504-acre property features ocean views from practically every room and restaurant, and the designers and staff have, truly, thought of everything.

There are three ways to stay at Pelican Hill: For a weekend getaway or a trip with the S.O., check into one of their resort-style rooms or private bungalows (stand-alone suites with private, ocean-view balconies). For a longer stay, families will appreciate the private three- and four-bedroom villas, where the entire family can share a common living room and kitchen. Villa guests have access to a private pool, restaurant, and fitness center (they’re available for extended-stay as well). Regardless of the accommodations, Pelican Hill rooms are beautifully turned out in cozy beach neutrals, crisp white linens, and wood-beam ceilings.

The universal draw of Southern California is its gorgeous beaches; here, the concierge will set up a picnic, beach chairs, towels, and everything you’ll need for the day and escort you directly to Crystal Cove, one of the OC’s most picturesque spots (that is, if you can get the kids out of the mosaic-bottomed pool back at the resort). Pelican Hill is also home to two stunning golf courses designed by golf-world superstar Tom Fazio—set up on the cliffs above the beach, they look as though they roll directly into the ocean. For newbies or long-time players that need a tune-up, there’s also an award-winning golf academy offering lessons. Even non-golfers can appreciate the Pelican Grill, the way-nicer-than-a-clubhouse clubhouse, which serves two meals a day, including a perfectly executed mussels-and-clams dish in Chardonnay butter.

While it should come as no surprise that this place is packed in the summer, we’re booking rooms for the fall and winter, for beach and golf days that involve a pleasant, light jacket and evenings snuggled up watching the sunset under blankets on the porch. Fingers crossed that it will be cold enough to fire up one of the villa’s Tuscan-style fireplaces.

Photo: Courtesy Pelican Hill.