These 7 things make SoCal’s Terranea Resort an ideal golf getaway for families
Courtesy of Terranea Resort
Golf-loving parents with young kids want to know: Is it possible to take a golf vacation that is also fun for the family?
Sometimes it seems like a bit of a reach, but I’m happy to report that the answer is a resounding yes, with a few caveats — the first being the golf itself. If 36-hole days is your ambition, you’re undoubtedly better off embarking on an adults-only trip and leaving the kids at home. But if you’d be thrilled to include golf as part of your vacation experience rather the be-all, end-all, you’d be hard-pressed to top the offerings at Terranea Resort, a glorious destination perched on the cliffs of stunning Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.
Terranea ticks all the boxes, from luxe accommodations and breathtaking vistas to kid-friendly dining and activities, and of course, golf. I was blown away by my recent stay, and here are the seven reasons why I loved it.
If, like me, you arrive via LAX, the Terranea experience starts with a 17-mile jaunt south, down the Pacific Coast highway. The views are beautiful, and set the perfect tone for your entry. The resort itself is situated on the Palos Verdes Peninsula’s coastal bluffs, offering incredible views of the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island.
Terranea’s main hotel building houses 360 total hotel rooms, 31 of which are suites. For guests and families that would appreciate some additional space, there are also 50 ocean-view casitas and 32 villas that range from 1,850 to 2,800 square feet in size, complete with with spacious kitchens and living areas — a real boon when you’re traveling with kids. And if spa living is a priority, you can book one of the resort’s 20 two-bedroom bungalows, which offer spa and fitness-themed amenities, are are located adjacent to the Terranea spa.
One of my favorite things about my Terranea experience was the fact that the dining options were elevated enough to feel fancy but approachable enough that you didn’t feel conspicuous if your kid made a few unexpected screeches.
Families were abundant during my visit, and not only did all the restaurants I visited on property have a great kids menu, they were also super-accommodating for the littles, offering crayons and coloring sheets.
We enjoyed fish and chips al fresco at the casual-cool Nelson’s, sushi rolls at Bashi and more than a handful of hot dogs poolside over the course of our stay, but our favorite meal was the resort’s Friday Night Seafood Buffet at the Catalina Kitchen. Everything you could think of was on offer, from an extensive charcuterie and salad selection to tempura shrimp, fresh lobster and seafood paella, topped off with hand-scooped ice cream for dessert. The kids adored having the agency to choose all their favorites — and who am I kidding? I did too.
The Links at Terranea is a par-3 nine-hole design by Todd Eckenrode, and is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to vacation golf. The Links’ short yardage (all holes range from 104-173 yards, for a total course length of 1,239) not only makes it a friendly challenge for just about all ages and abilities, it also means you can rip around pretty quickly, leaving you ample time for other resort activities.
While my kids aren’t yet ready to accompany me for a full round, they had a blast on Terranea’s putting course — part of The Links’ expansive short-game practice area.
In addition to golf, Terranea has a plethora of activities for families. Stunning hikes originate onsite at the resort and guests can also arrange plein-air painting sessions, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and whale-watching. The pace of your stay is up to you, and with this much to do, there’s never a dull moment.
One of the most enjoyable mornings for my family was sitting down for a complimentary group-chat with Terranea’s resident falconer, Joe Roy III. Roy hosts drop-in sessions for guests four times a week, and always brings along a few special friends. During our time with him, Roy brought along a falcon, a Harris hawk, and a Eurasian eagle-owl to assist in his presentation on the birds’ role on property. Thanks to them, area seagulls give Terranea a very wide berth.
Roy is so knowledgable and passionate about his field that I could have listened to him for hours. And the kids were thrilled to see such beautiful birds of prey up close. A definite must-do!
The pool. Wow. Always a highlight at any resort with kids in tow, but the setup at Terranea is truly fantastic. If you are traveling solo or as a couple, there are additional adults-only areas, but we spent all our time at the main pool, which boasts as expansive ocean view, two hot tubs, and … a perfect waterslide that provided hours of entertainment for kids and adults alike. A-plus!
A truly luxe vacay isn’t complete without a visit to the spa, and Terranea delivers in a big way. I indulged in the 50-minute Marine Massage on my visit, and absolutely loved the experience — especially the ability to walk to my spa appointment from the pool. The 50,000 square-foot space boasts 25 treatment rooms and has a Mediterranean ambiance, with ample opportunity to take in a view of the crashing surf below.
It was the perfect bow on a revitalizing few days away, and writing about the experience now makes me reflect on all the ways that Terranea is exactly what a family-friendly golf getaway should be.
I already can’t wait to go back.