Discover the Best Hotels Near San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido 2024

I’ve got the scoop on the best hotels near San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido for 2024. These highly-rated spots offer awesome amenities and prime locations. Plus you can score a 20% discount. Let me fill you in on these killer deals for an unforgettable safari-style getaway! Now just to cover the basics…

Top hotels near San Diego Zoo Safari Park for comfort, location, and amenities include Rancho Bernardo Inn, Best Western Escondido, Lakehouse Hotel and Resort, and Comfort Inn. All offer easy access to Safari Park’s animal encounters, tram safaris, and zip lines.

Read on to discover more about all of the above-mentioned hotels and four more. Each hotel description includes verified reviews, plus distance, and time to the animal park. I’ve also got an article on where to stay near the San Diego Zoo if you’ll be traveling closer to downtown.

If you make purchases through the links in this post, I may be compensated. Read my Advertising Disclosure for more info. Thanks! ~ Nancy

*Save with a secret promo code on each San Diego Zoo or Safari Park 1-Day Pass. Go any day. Go directly to the gate. Click HERE to get your code, instructions & discounted tickets by email. By clicking the link above you agree to receive an automated email message. Valid only at aRes Travel, San Diego’s local authorized ticket seller. Read my full privacy policy.

Rhinos checking into a hotel near San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Top Hotels Near San Diego Zoo Safari Park for Your 2024 Adventure

You can save 20% on hotels if you book a hotel and buy San Diego Zoo Safari Park tickets together. Look at the Adventurer’s Paradise package from aRes Travel for a good deal on the Safari Park. 

I also have discounts on Safari Park tours. You can buy these separately. perfect for guests staying at the motel closest to San Diego Zoo Safari Park. You can find all the details on my Safari reviews page.

One thing to keep in mind, this area is approximately 50 min (30.5 mi) via I-15 S and CA-163 S to downtown San Diego. If you’re not exactly sure if you want to visit Safari Park, read my article on the pros and cons of visiting Safari Park.

Verified Reviews: Choosing Your Hotel Near San Diego Zoo Safari Park in 2024

The more people looking at a venue, the better. So I’ve included a link to TripAdvisor reviews of every hotel in this article. That’s because I can’t be everyone. I may have been happy with my hotel in San Pasqual Valley near Escondido. But someone else might not have liked their free wi-fi or had other issues.

Unveiling the Best Hotels and Suites in Escondido Downtown

Exploring Springhill Suites Escondido Downtown Features

TripAdvisor Hotel Reviews and Rates for Springhill Suites

  • Distance to Safari Park: 6.9 miles
  • Average Time to Safari Park: 15-minute drive

Springhill Suites , an affordable hotel, excels in friendliness. The desk staff welcomed us warmly despite our late arrival for an overnight stay. Our room was neat and decorated with restraint. It offered a view of the sunset which made up for the simplicity. The TV was in a weird position and caused us to wonder what the designer had been thinking, but it was viewable.

Springhill Suites Escondido Downtown collage of interior and exterior photos.

The hotel provides a great location. It is on a hill and near many restaurants. You can eat at Panya Thai Kitchen or Matcha Cafe Maiko for unique desserts. It’s also close to attractions like the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Other minor nit-picks are that the elevator can be a bit slow. The treadmill in the fitness center was tough to start. It made me work hard for my miles. But the staff made up for it by being quick to address our issues.

There was a decent selection for a continental breakfast provided daily. But there’s no coffee available throughout the day. The room had a cool eco-friendly AC system. It turned on in a smart way. This was great because Escondido was very hot when we were there. 

Springhill Suites was convenient, comfortable, and clean at a good price.  And the staff was able to make our stay there feel like we were visiting friends. 

About Comfort Inn Escondido and Its Proximity to the San Diego Safari Park

TripAdvisor Traveler Rating and Rates for this Comfort Inn

  • Distance to Safari Park: 7.2 miles
  • Average Time to Safari Park: 16 minutes

A friend from Arizona chose the Comfort Inn Escondido San Diego North County and said that it was surprisingly good for a budget hotel. The location was a major plus. There were some tasty food spots nearby. It was also one of the closest hotels to San Diego Zoo Safari Park (where I met her). And it’s only an hour from Temecula wineries like Callaway and Europa.

Collaged photos of interior and exterior features of Comfort Inn Escondido

She said that her room was clean and functional, with a comfy bed where she had a good night’s sleep.

The room had a mini-fridge and in-room microwave, which was great for her popcorn. It also had a balcony. Even though the view was just of the rooftop, it was a nice place to enjoy coffee. The free breakfast had lots of different foods, similar to what you’d find at the Rodeway Inn . She also used the outdoor swimming pool and enjoyed the hot tub.

She remembers the little things from her stay the most. She liked talking with the friendly night manager at the 24-hour front desk. She also found free snacks in the room, which was a nice surprise. It made her think of the kind of treatment you get at the top 10 hotels near downtown San Diego. Little unexpected kindnesses made her days there feel more personal and enjoyable.

Overall, Comfort Inn Escondido is a great place to stay. It has everything you need, friendly people, and some nice surprises. It’s perfect for anyone who wants a comfy and handy spot in Escondido, especially if you’re going to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Quality Inn Escondido Downtown Is A Bargain

TripAdvisor Traveler Rating and Rates for Quality Inn

  • Distance to Safari Park: 7 miles
  • Average Time to Safari Park: 16-minute drive

Staying at Quality Inn Escondido Downtown can be an uneven experience, but it’s a great value. It’s located in downtown Escondido. It’s just 7 miles from Safari Park, and it comes with a cool outdoor pool that became my go-to spot during a September heat spell.

Photo collage of exterior and interior views of Quality Inn Escondido Downtown

The guest rooms are spacious and have everything you need: a fridge, microwave, and even a whirlpool bath. The whirlpool was a fun surprise – BUBBLES!

But, it wasn’t perfect. I saw some bold roaches. They reminded me that not all wild animals are in the Safari Park. Despite this, the cleanliness and daily restocking left little room for complaint.

The staffing was uneven at this Escondido inn. The desk clerk was patient and kind. But it took a bit of prodding to get our door fixed. But overall, their willingness to help, even in the dark hours of the morning, was commendable.

Breakfast was a grab-and-go affair. Not the best selection, but at least you can start your day on a full stomach. And while the hotel’s exterior showed its age, the interiors were remodeled and clean.

In a nutshell, the Quality Inn Escondido Downtown, while not the top place to stay in Escondido, is great when you need a bargain night’s stay. A similar option is Motel Mediteran Safari Park.

Best Hotels Near San Diego Safari Park: A Guide for Families and Couples

Family-friendly Features at Hyatt Vacation Club at The Welk, Escondido Area

TripAdvisor Traveler Rating and Rates for The Welk

  • Distance to Safari Park: 18 miles
  • Average Time to Safari Park: 24 minutes

Our Hyatt Vacation Club at The Welk stay was a cool smoothie of luxury and laughter. Think of fancy villas with kitchens. They make you want to cook, but only simple, elegant stuff. The kitchen doesn’t have a lot of pots or tools.

Hyatt Vacation Club at The Welk collage of interior and exterior photos

The resort is huge, covering 450 acres. It has really green golf courses and bike rides you can take at sunset. It’s a mix of relaxing and fun. Except for the time that I almost got hit in the head by a golf ball.

Eating at the Canyon Grill was a big deal. The staff, like our waitress Karla and the hostess Marcia, made us feel very special, like well-fed VIPs. We also joined a crowd gathered around the fire pit. I had local Lost Abby ale and we made a few new friends.

One thing that we would not do again is attend the timeshare presentation. We should have known better. No matter what they offer you to attend, it’s just not worth it. We both got irritated at the strong-armed sales tactics.

Sure, we had small problems—a coffee machine that didn’t work well and a loud refrigerator. But we liked the place so much, we didn’t let those things upset us. 

Best Western Escondido Hotel

TripAdvisor Guest Reviews and Room Rates for this Best Western

  • Distance to Safari Park: 8 miles
  • Average Time to Safari Park: 18 minutes

The Best Western Escondido Hotel was like the town itself. It’s a hidden gem that’s got more features than you’d expect, like being close to the California Center for The Arts where we saw a play. The warm welcome from the desk staff was just what we needed after a long drive.

Our room was warm and welcoming. It had cool things like a microwave for snacks at night, a fridge for our wine, and a big flat-screen TV that I loved. It was a great place to watch, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” for the first time the next day when it rained.

The free breakfast had lots of protein choices for me and many pastries for my husband. I almost stopped following my keto diet to make a big stack of fruit pancakes with syrup and whipped cream. I don’t have food allergies, but I heard a lady who can’t eat wheat saying good things about the food choices.

Downsides? There aren’t enough charging stations in the parking lot which caused us to have to wake up at 3 AM to move the car. It’s not the best thing for travelers who drove 500 miles the day before. 

Despite this hiccup, the hotel’s quirks added to its charm. We had been a bit worried that the nearby freeway would disturb our sleep, but the soundproofed windows worked great. And my husband is no fan of decorative square pillows, which sparked an epic pillow fight.

To sum it up, the Best Western Escondido Hotel has comfortable rooms, a great location, and some nice surprises. We really enjoyed our stay and would like to do it again.

For Romantic Getaways: Suite and Spa Hotel Rancho Bernardo Inn

TripAdvisor Traveler Rating and Rates for Rancho Bernardo Inn

  • Distance to Safari Park: 9.5 miles
  • Average Time to Safari Park: 18-minute drive

I pried this review of Rancho Bernardo Inn out of my friend Donna, who stopped there with her husband a couple of months ago.  They enjoyed their stay. She was impressed by the cleanliness and beauty of the grounds. And after watching one of the staff quickly clean up after a large labradoodle she knew why it looked so good. They work at it.

They arrived late, too tired to go to Avant (more about that later). So their experience with room service was a treat. They enjoyed delicious burgers in the comfort of their room, which surprisingly featured a private backyard.

Dining the next night at Avant was wonderful, and very romantic. Chef Sergio Jimenez’s culinary artistry shows in every dish. Donna says he uses local ingredients and mixes Italian and Mexican foods in a special way. She will remember his meals for a very long time because they were so good.

She mentioned that the hotel has great features. There’s an outdoor pool and spa that are open all year. They’re perfect for relaxing in the sun or getting some exercise. The beautiful gardens around the rooms make the place feel peaceful and pretty, like a mix of being inside and out in nature.

Overall, Donna and her husband rate their stay at 4.7 out of 5. Their stay at Rancho Bernardo Inn was a memorable mix of luxury, comfort, and culinary adventures. They’d go back again. 

Lakehouse Hotel and Resort

TripAdvisor Guest Reviews and Rates for the Lakehouse Hotel

  • Distance to Safari Park: 15 miles
  • Average Time to Safari Park: 33-minute drive

Stepping into the Lakehouse Hotel on Lake San Marcos was like entering a summer dream. This place is more than a hotel. It’s like a machine that helps you make great memories. It mixes fancy yet affordable comfort with excellent service. From boat rentals to poolside s’mores, it’s clear this isn’t your usual retreat.

The Lakehouse has 142 rooms that are all about relaxing. They have amazing views and super comfy Serenity memory foam beds. It’s like something from a storybook, with warm fireplaces in the lobby, places to swim, hot tubs, and even hammocks for napping under the stars.

But there’s more than just relaxing. The St. Mark Club lets you play a round of golf on beautiful courses. Eating at The Grill is special too. They serve tasty meals all day long. And if you’re itching to explore, you’re right in the heart of San Diego’s brew scene (the Hops Highway!) and close to iconic attractions like Safari Park and Legoland.

Our Lakehouse Hotel experience was great; it’s a place for making fantastic memories. The staff was very friendly and seemed dedicated to making our stay unforgettable. It’s a blend of relaxation, luxury, and adventure, like having your own lakeside summer home.

Escondido Attractions: Beyond the Safari Park Hotels

San Diego Zoo Safari Park cheetah

Best Things to See and Do at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

I am a certified Safari Park nut. And I’ve been there more times than I can count. No trip to Escondido would be complete if you don’t visit here. But my favorite exhibits and activities are:

  • Photographing the Sumatran Tigers on Tiger Trail
  • Watching the Cheetah Run. You have to pay for it now, but it is SO worth it!
  • Riding the free with-admission Africa Tram
  • One of their truck tours inside the large field exhibits (paid but wonderful)

I’ve written more on another page about the best things to see and do at Safari Park. I included tips on how to get discounts on tickets and tours.

Discovering San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park

This state park is less than a mile from San Diego Zoo Safari Park located in Escondido, California. It’s called San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park. It’s important because a pivotal battle during the Mexican-American War happened here. People who love history will enjoy learning about this intense battle. Plus, the park has fun educational stuff and outdoor activities for everyone. 

Discover California History. The park shows you what happened in the 1846 showdown between Californio forces and U.S. troops. You’ll learn personal stories and see period objects. And they have reenactments in December.  You’ll also get a glimpse of the native Kumeyaay’s way of life.

The Best Hiking Trail: The Battle Monument Trail is great for hiking. It’s 1.2 miles long and takes you on a history tour. You’ll walk across the battlefield to a commemorative monument. This accessible trail helps you learn about where the battle happened and who was in it.

Natural Environment: The park’s alive with native southern California plants and animals, especially in spring. That’s when wildflowers like California Poppy and Lupine bloom. Keep an eye out for birds like the red-tailed hawk, lizards, coyotes, and most importantly, rattlesnakes.

Matilija Poppy growing in San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park in Escondido.

But summertime is pretty also, with my favorite bloom being the Matilija Poppy. Doesn’t it look like a fried egg?

If you like nature and history, you must visit San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park in Escondido.

Wineries and Vineyards: The Hidden Gems of Escondido, CA

You can’t walk to wineries from any Escondido hotels. It’s also hard to find rideshare drivers in this countryside area. This is a usual problem near hotels close to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. So designate a sober driver and make it worth their while by offering to buy them dinner. 

But, there’s a VRBO listing called Escondido Vineyard Estate. It’s less than a quarter mile away from Highland Valley and Espinosa Vineyards & Winery,

A man and woman enjoying glasses of red wine in Escondido vineyards.

Orfila Vineyards and Winery

Orfila is one of Escondido’s best-known wineries. It’s on the road to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park tucked into the gently rolling hills. They specialize in French and Italian varietals. One of the wines that I couldn’t resist trying was a 2019 red called “Confusion – Benign Neglect”. Which perfectly described my state of mind after a few glasses!

They have tours, but we haven’t tried one. The social media consensus is that they’re popular with beginners. They also play live music on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It seems like a nice way to relax and have fun on balmy summer evenings.

Orfila Vineyards and Winery has a welcoming atmosphere and good wines. It is definitely worth checking out! 

Cordiano Winery

My husband and I picked up lunch and a glass of wine at Cordiano Winery, a hidden gem near the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. It’s got memorable views from the outdoor patio, and it really feels like you’re in the hills in Italy.

I recommend their 5 wine tasting flights with a Codiano souvenir wine glass. It goes great with one of their pizzas. Try their Supreme. It has Italian sausage, Canadian bacon, pepperoni, and cheese with grilled zucchini added. That’s a dish that’s not usually found on the menu at hotels in Escondido. We topped ours with fresh basil leaves. Yum!

Book a table in advance because reservations are required.  Especially if you’re visiting on the weekend. Overall we had a great time and recommend checking it out if you’re in the area.

Queen Califia’s Magical Circle-Escondido’s Mystical Secret

I LOVE Queen Califia’s Magical Circle. It’s not just art; it feels like walking into a bright mosaic dream. A famous French artist, Niki de Saint Phalle, made it. It’s the only sculpture garden like it in America. You can walk around towering totems and meet mirrored mystical creatures.

The paths are like a maze and show you huge, strange figures full of colors and creativity. In the middle, there’s a big sculpture of Queen Califia on her mythical animal. It looms over the garden welcoming visitors.

Queen Califia's Magical Circle in Escondido. Various mosaic covered statues.
My sister and I explored this art installation in Kit Carson Park

Queen Califia’s Magical Circle is not just an art show. It’s an adventure that pulls you into a magical world. Are you really going to pass up the chance to visit Escondido’s most magical secret?

Summary – Best Hotels Close to San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido

I’ve tried to hit the highlights and featured top picks like Rancho Bernardo Inn and Lakehouse Hotel. Enjoy the discounts, and tips on amenities, and nearby attractions. I hope that you’ve found my thoughts on the best 2024 hotels near San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido useful.

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