Fifteen miles north of the airport, the Lodge at Torrey Pines has a Frank Lloyd Wright-goes-Scottish vibe, with wood and shingled exterior, slat-back Craftsman furniture in the rooms, and bellmen wearing kilts. A little weird, but the mashup works because the main attraction is outside. The 85-degree pool and hot tub give way to a sprawling municipal golf course, which slopes down to ocean bluffs. Best of all, the trails of Torrey Pine State Reserve are an easy half mile from your front door. The kid-friendly Grill serves the best old-fashioned "Drugstore Style" cheeseburgers in San Diego. Doubles from $318.
Just a few miles north, the Del Mar Motel is a more low-key affair, right on the sand at the south end of the little surf town of Del Mar. Just out the front door, you can boogie-board, play beach volleyball, and surf the breaks that run nearly the whole length of town. It's supremely kid-friendly too: on one Friday afternoon, I watched half a dozen young surfers, none of whom could have been older than 12, charging on ten-foot waves. Nice. Doubles from $137.