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A big thanks to Terranea for hosting our stay so we could provide this detailed review of our experience. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Disclosure, visit this page.

When we travel, oftentimes we’re looking for new places and new experiences, things we haven’t seen before. But sometimes when we travel, if we’re lucky, we discover gems worthy of visiting over and over and over again. For me, one of those special places is a resort in Southern California situated on rugged cliffs overlooking the Pacific and offering up spectacular views that rival any in the world. RELATED: Weekend Getaways For Couples in California

I’m talking about Terranea Resort, a luxury coastal property in Rancho Palos Verdes, sitting on 102 of the most scenic acres you’ll find anywhere in the country. We have been multiple times over the years but my most recent visit with my husband and our two kids, ages seven and four, reminded me just how special and family-friendly this resort really is.

What makes Terranea so special? There are a lot of things but foremost is the picturesque setting, which feels like a serious understatement to say. The sweeping views of the California coastline and the Pacific Ocean are spectacular. The size of the property is expansive and the cliffside location gives it the feeling of seclusion and tranquility.

From the many activities and the numerous dining options to the luxurious rooms, Terranea Resort offers up an incredible experience for both out-of-towners and locals alike. Here’s how we spent an unforgettable weekend there:

Our Room
We’ve stayed in a variety of room categories at Terranea over the years and on this visit, we stayed in one of the casitas, which are residential-style bungalows that are especially perfect for families like ours with young kids. Give me a full kitchen and laundry facilities and I’m a happy girl!

The oceanfront casita we stayed in featured a blend of classic Spanish Colonial design with the more laidback vibes of coastal California style.

Our casita was actually a connecting room so there were two very large bedrooms and two separate, full bathrooms with a huge tub and stand-up shower in each. Elements of the casita, like the paint color and furniture, have been updated, creating a more modern and tranquil atmosphere.

The large, comfy living space is adjacent to the open-concept kitchen and the fireplace adds a warm, cozy feeling, especially on those chilly coastal nights.

The kitchen has everything you’ll need, stocked with dishes, pots, pans and utensils, a microwave, stove and refrigerator. It really gives guests that home away from home feeling.

But perhaps the best part of the casitas are the surrounding views, seen from all the rooms. It was a real treat waking up to this view every morning.

Our kids loved watching the bunnies that frolicked every day, right outside our door.

Immediately outside the casita is an outdoor sitting area with another fireplace, perfect for roasting marshmallows and indulging in S’mores. (An added bonus of the casita is that you’ll enjoy reserved parking, which gives you direct access to the doorstep of your room. If you forget something in your car, it’s easy to run out and grab it.)

Guided Coastal Hike
After checking into our room, we quickly changed our clothes and laced up for a guided coastal hike along the property’s edge. The hike is nice and easy, not too strenuous and was perfect to do with our two little kids. Along the way, our guides pointed out the sights and shared fascinating facts about the plants and vegetation.

The tour took us to Terranea Cove, a small beach along the stunning Pacific coastline and treated us to views that rival any other in the world.

Dinner at Nelson’s
We conveniently ended our hike at Nelson’s, just in time for dinner. We had worked up a big appetite, after all! Nelson’s is one of my favorite places to eat dinner, even when I’m not a guest at the hotel. What you really come for are the views, the gorgeous vistas of the California coastline, but when it comes to the food, my favorite menu items are the lobster rolls …

… and the Nutella ice cream sandwich. View the menu here.

After dinner, we strolled leisurely back to our room, ready to call it a night. The sun was setting over the ocean and as we bid the day adieu, we were reminded why this is one of the most special places in Southern California. A beautiful end to a beautiful day.

Poolside at Terranea
The next day was as beautiful as the last, making it perfect for lounging poolside. There’s a 5,000-square-foot pool, a splash pad and a 140-foot water slide – our kids couldn’t get enough of any of them and spent the day playing between all three.

We had a family-friendly poolside cabana for the day, where we could take a break when we wanted, relax and order some food.

The cabanas also have TVs, which we didn’t use but are great if the kids want to take a break with a movie or mom and dad want to have a game on in the background.

Terranea Kids Club
We generally don’t take our kids to hotel kids clubs but after loving the kids club on the Princess Cruise we took this summer so much, they were excited to check out the kids club at Terranea. The space is bright, welcoming and full of fun things to do.

They had a blast and after spending a morning there, wanted to go back in the afternoon. The staff was amazing – young, fun, enthusiastic and really good with kids.

The Spa at Terranea
The best part about the kids club? While the kids were being entertained, my husband and I were free to enjoy some much needed R&R at the beautiful spa. The spa has all the treatments you’d expect – massages, facials, couples treatments and more. View the spa offerings here.

The most memorable part of the spa at Terranea has to be the views, though. Following my treatment, I was led to a relaxation room to enjoy tea, snacks and this breathtaking Pacific Ocean vista.

After our treatments, we enjoyed a peaceful lunch al fresco at Solviva, the spa restaurant. It was the perfect reset after some of the more indulgent meals we enjoyed while on the resort. I snacked on veggies and hummus …

… and sipped on a tasty passionfruit mojito.

Lawn games
Spa time was over and it was time to pick up the kiddos. Before heading right back to the pool, we stopped to play some of the lawn games set up on the resort grounds.

Sea Beans Cafe
Then we made a pitstop at Sea Beans Cafe, which is a great spot for coffee, tea, sandwiches and pastries throughout the day. But for me, the main attraction is the gelato. The Nutella gelato is possibly the best gelato I’ve ever had and is worth a day trip to the resort just to get some!

Dining at Bashi
For dinner that night, we dined at Bashi, another reason to visit Terranea, even if you’re not staying as a guest. Bashi serves contemporary Asian cuisine and everything we’ve ever tried from the menu has been delicious. The food is inspired by classic Chinese, Japanese and Southeast Asian recipes. For dinner, I had the spring rolls …

… and the wok-tossed garlic noodles. Chef’s kiss.

Sunday Brunch Buffet
The next morning, we headed to Catalina Kitchen for the Sunday brunch buffet, which runs from 9am to 2pm. I’ve seen a lot of buffets in my life and this one is impressive with a wide assortment, something for every mood.

First things first: Mimosa, anyone?

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’ll love the mouthwatering selection of pastries …

… donuts …

… and even gelato!

But don’t worry; guests can expect to find savory items like eggs at the omelette station …

… charcuterie boards and salads …

… seafood …

… and pizza.

There’s so much more so no matter your mood, you’ll find something to tantalize your tastebuds.

If you’ve never been to Terranea before, it’s a must-visit SoCal hotel, a destination in and of itself. Perched prettily above the Pacific, you will never forget this place and the sound of the waves, the breeze in your hair and the smell of the ocean air will stay with you long after you’ve left.

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