Driving along the Southern California coastline to reach the entry parkway to Terranea Resort & Spa, we immediately relaxed into a sense of calm. It was like a fresh breeze washed over us, and made us all take a big, deep, meaningful breath. We had planned to have a family weekend here before the start of the new school year. Even better than our expectations, our family vacation at Terranea Resort & Spa was the perfect exclamation point to a fantastic summer.
It had been a hectic one, this past summer. We had traveled for work and pleasure and managed a ton of deadlines at the office. Sophia had finished a class in summer school and Ava was exhausted from volleyball practice. As the summer neared an end and the first day of school was looming, we needed a break. The weather had gotten hotter and tempers were flaring. It was time. A family vacation at Terranea Resort was just the ticket.
Family Vacation at Terranea Resort
More than anything, we needed to take the stress level down a few notches. Terranea Resort & Spa delivered the right backdrop, and our family needed to do the rest. It wasn’t much work really – relaxing into lounge chairs, eating healthy meals and focusing on mind/body exercises. This is all stuff that we aim to do regularly, but sometime forget about. In the rush of everyday life, it’s easy to get caught up in the doing instead of the experiencing.
We needed a reset, and we hit the right buttons with our family vacation at Terranea Resort.
Truly Comfortable Beds
First things first. When we hit a new hotel room, the first thing we do is bounce on the bed. We can tell a lot from that first bounce whether the bed is going to provide a comfy sleep. You see, the worse the bounce the better the sleep. Makes sense when you think about it, right?
A cushier bed just gives a softer bounce, and you don’t go as high. With a comfortable mattress, quality bedding, down comforter and big fluffy pillows you are assured a small bounce. Perfect sleep conditions for us! Triton and I had a California King bed in our room with the perfect soft bounce. In the girls room, the had two queen beds also with the ideal cush factor.
Without a good deep sleep, how could we have a relaxing vacation?
Clean and Healthy Restaurant Meals
One of the reasons we chose to have our family vacation at Terranea Resort was the restaurant menus. With eight restaurants onsite to choose from, we wanted to make sure there were healthy options. A goal of this trip was to reset our summer appetites, which had been focused on pretty much anything. Going forward, we decided to make more healthy choices in our daily meals. Perusing the restaurant menus at Terranea, we were pleased to see a ton of great options.
Located at the Terranea Spa, Solviva has a sweet spot next to the fitness pool and overlooking the ocean. We sat outside with a heater to ward off the evening chill. The menu at Solviva is geared towards healthy dishes and light fare, with smaller portion sizes. We loved the attention to dishes the feed the mind and body both. Favorites here included the Hen of the Woods Tacos (mushrooms), Grilled Artichoke with Black Garlic Aoli, and the Skirt Steak which was favorful and cooked perfectly.
A highlight at Solviva is the cocktail menu, and we chose the signature drink, the Pisco Sour. Made tableside in what makes for quite a show, this Brazilian favorite is a blend of pisco, bitters, lime, egg white and agave. It was out of this world delicious.
The next morning, Triton and I woke up early to watch the sun rise while the girls slept in. We ambled over to Terranea’s casual cafe, Sea Beans, to grab some coffee before heading to the shore. Entranced by the takeaway menu here, we came back for some breakfast. My cranberry scone was the perfect combo of sweet, sour and crumble. Triton was intrigued by the muesli, which we have never tried. It’s a cold combination of oatmeal, grains, nuts and fruit and it was dee-lish. He’s been making it at home ever since.
Sitting right at the cliff’s edge overlooking the ocean, Nelson’s is the perfect place to enjoy the sunset. With both inside and outdoor seating, we choose outdoor so we could have a full view. The food here was pretty good, but frankly it was a fairly standard menu of favorites. Not as healthy as the other restaurants, Nelson’s still did a great job doing what they do. The real reason to visit here is the view and the casual California vibe. At a luxury resort, it is sometimes hard to find places to relax in your shorts and flip flops. People are sometimes so busy looking good, and that can be decidedly “unrelaxing”. Nelson’s serves up a great escape. Did I mention the view?
Of course if it’s burgers and fries you crave, Terranea has those too and I’m sure they are delicious!
Swimming Pool Choices
For a luxury resort with 582 rooms, Terranea offers several swimming pools to meet a variety of tastes. The Main Pool is family friendly, complete with waterslides, splash zone and lots of shallow spots for the littles. It looked really fun, aaaaaand we steered clear. Since our girls are teens now, we sought out the Vista Pool which is for guests 13 and older. It was quiet, relaxed and uncrowded – perfect for a zen experience in the sun on our family vacation at Terranea Resort.
Other pools include the Spa Pool, which is available to spa guests and includes lanes for laps, a fire pit and other luxury frills. The cliffside Cielo Pool is for adults only, and offers bar service, cabanas and views of Catalina Island.
Fun Fact: Terranea is located on the piece of land closest to Catalina Island, which is just about 24 miles across the water. While we visited, we watched swimmers come in to shore after competing in a Catalina Channel Swim. They had started from Catalina at midnight (!) and were doggedly making their way to Terranea’s beach around 11 a.m. the next morning. No wetsuits allowed. What studs and studettes!
Family Activities at Terranea Resort
For some family bonding time, we wanted to spend time together doing some fun activities. It was important for us all to put our phones down, be present and enjoy normal conversation like families used to have before technology. We found a wealth of fun things to do.
After rousting the girls from their slumber, we headed down to the oceanfront fitness center for a group yoga class. We’ve done this together before, but not since the girls were a lot younger. No longer playing, we wanted the family to breathe and stretch and clear our minds. Our instructor was patient with us as we tried to bend our bodies in new ways. Of course, the girls were waaaaay more limber than the dads. In fact, at one point Triton decided to invent his own moves facing the opposite direction from the group. Love a little improvisation now and then!
This sound corny, but it was actually really interesting to take the free Nature Walk. Covering more than 100 acres of oceanfront land, Terranea is also a native plant habitat and home to endangered species. A naturalist guides the tour, explaining how the local flora and fauna are maintained. Since this was formerly the site of a defunct marine park, reclaiming the land and returning it to natural habitat has been an important role for Terranea’s owners. We viewed all kinds of cool flowers, cacti, butterflies, and other interesting inhabitants (no snakes thank goodness).
Ok, we had no idea was to expect from an archery class but it sounded like fun. The only one of us that had ever held a bow and arrow was Ava, and she did pretty well. But Triton was the ringer! First time ever, he hit the bullseye on the target and then proceeded to keep hitting it. He was so good at this, that our nice instructor pulled out a body target and placed it in front of the bullseye. It was outfitted like a zombie, and he challenged Triton to hit it between the eyes. He did. And then he speared the apple on top of the zombie’s head! If there is ever a zombie apocalypse, we knew who to call.
Our family vacation at Terranea experience was spectacular from that first breath through the drive home to San Diego. If you want to go, here are some details:
Rooms at Terranea Resort & Spa begin around $400/night USD.
An average meal for 4 people came in around $200 USD for dinner (not including drinks). Lunch for 4 was approximately $100.
Activities range in price, but archery is $115 per person. The nature walk and most yoga classes are included in the $40/day USD resort fee, along with a bunch of other goodies and perks.