Where to Stay in California: Top Destinations for Every Traveler


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California is a diverse and exciting travel destination, offering a wide range of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s taste and budget. From the stunning coastline of Southern California to the vibrant urban hubs of San Francisco and Los Angeles, the Golden State is home to an impressive variety of top-notch hotels, unique vacation rentals, and charming bed and breakfasts. Whether you’re planning on lounging on the beach, hiking in the mountains, or exploring world-famous attractions, finding the perfect place to stay is key to ensuring a memorable trip.

Among California’s many excellent lodging choices are some truly one-of-a-kind options. Glamping in a luxurious yurt on the stunning windswept coastline of Big Sur, staying in a restored Gold Rush hotel nestled in the Sierra Nevada foothills, or booking an ultra-exclusive retreat amid the breathtaking natural beauty of Yosemite National Park are just a few of the unique experiences awaiting visitors. Even if you prefer more traditional accommodations, California hotels range from boutique inns to luxurious five-star resorts, ensuring you’ll find something that matches your preferences and budget.

To kick off your California adventure, consider exploring popular cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and more. Each city offers its own unique blend of culture, attractions, and activities, making it easy to fill your itinerary with unforgettable experiences. Whichever part of California you choose to explore, a great night’s rest and a comfortable home away from home are well within reach.

Popular Cities to Stay in California

Los Angeles

Los Angeles, known as the City of Angels, is a popular destination for tourists. With 1714 hotels to choose from, visitors have plenty of options for accommodations. Some popular attractions in the city include the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Universal Studios, and the Griffith Observatory. If you are a beach lover, don’t miss Santa Monica and Venice Beach. The city also has a vibrant nightlife and a diverse food scene, offering a taste of different cultures.

San Francisco

San Francisco is a beautiful city on the California coast. With 372 hotels available, visitors can choose from various accommodation styles. Famous sights in the city include the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and Pier 39. For those interested in nature, Muir Woods and the Presidio offer a pleasant escape from the urban jungle. Don’t forget to try the delicious seafood at Fisherman’s Wharf and ride one of the city’s famous cable cars.

San Diego

San Diego, known for its beautiful beaches and amazing climate, offers 1400 hotels for tourists. A visit to the city would not be complete without seeing the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, and the USS Midway Museum. For beach lovers, La Jolla Cove and Coronado Beach are a must-visit. San Diego also boasts a vibrant food scene, with an emphasis on fresh, local ingredients.


As the capital city of California, Sacramento has 114 hotels available for visitors. The city is rich in history and offers a glimpse into California’s past with attractions such as the California State Capitol Museum, Old Sacramento, and Sutter’s Fort. The American River Parkway is an excellent place to enjoy outdoor activities like hiking or biking. Food enthusiasts will appreciate the city’s farm-to-fork dining scene, which showcases fresh, local ingredients.

Fun Fact: Sacramento is known as the “City of Trees” due to its abundance of tree-lined streets and parks.

Things to do in California: Explore the beautiful coastline with a drive on the Pacific Coast Highway, visit the state’s numerous national parks, and experience the diverse culture in its cities.

Unique Accommodation Options

Planning a trip to California? Let us help you explore some unique accommodation options that are not only one-of-a-kind but also memorable and enjoyable.

Boutique Hotels

Looking for a luxury experience with the charm of a small hotel? Boutique hotels in California often provide a more personalized stay with stylish, upscale furnishings. One such gem is the Inn at Newport Ranch located in Mendocino. Surrounded by natural beauty, this hotel is a splendid choice for a relaxing, unique getaway.

Vacation Rentals

For travelers seeking a home-away-from-home experience, vacation rentals are the perfect choice. They range from quaint cabins to themed rentals. One such example is the Gingerbread Cottage in Lake Tahoe with its adorable design, cozy living room, and two spacious decks perfect for your weekend retreat.

Bed and Breakfasts

B&Bs offer a comfortable stay in charming surroundings and warm hospitality. They often have a unique selling point such as historic buildings or picturesque locations. Look for a B&B that suits your taste and enjoys the local hospitality blended with a personal touch.


For budget travelers and backpackers, hostels are a popular and economical option. California has numerous hostels that cater to different needs, from solo travelers to families. Many hostels offer activities and programs designed to connect guests and promote a social atmosphere. Hostelworld and Booking.com are great resources to find the perfect hostel match for your California adventure.

Fun Fact or Interesting Story

Did you know The Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park is a unique hotel with a surprising influence? This 1927 “Parkitecture” marvel was the inspiration for the interior sets in Stanley Kubrick’s iconic film, “The Shining.”

Things to do

No matter which unique accommodation option you choose, be sure to explore the local attractions and take part in activities native to the area. California offers a myriad of experiences, from wine tastings in Napa Valley to surfing in Santa Cruz, so feel the vibe and make unforgettable memories!

Best Areas to Stay by Interest


Southern California offers some of the most stunning beaches in the country. One of the prime beach locations is San Diego, where you can find a variety of coastal hotels and resorts. For a more upscale experience, consider staying in nearby Orange County, home to the famous Laguna Beach and Newport Beach.

Wine Country

If you’re interested in exploring California’s renowned wine country, the Napa and Sonoma Valleys are the perfect destinations. You’ll find luxurious resorts and boutique hotels to choose from, all set among the beautiful vineyards and wineries in the region. For a more intimate experience, consider a stay at a charming bed and breakfast.

Outdoor Adventures

Nature lovers will enjoy a visit to Mammoth Lakes. This resort town in the Eastern Sierra presents stunning landscapes and a wide range of outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and even fishing. Lake Tahoe and Big Bear Lake are also excellent choices for those seeking outdoor adventures during their stay.

Shopping and Dining

If shopping and dining are your priorities, look no further than the bustling cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles. These world-renowned metropolises offer high-end shopping districts and host some of the best restaurants in the country. For a more relaxed atmosphere, head to the picturesque town of Monterey, home to boutique shops and delicious seafood.

Fun Fact

Did you know that California has its own version of Old Faithful? Located close to Napa Valley, the Old Faithful geyser of California is a remarkable sight to see, making it a great addition to any wine country itinerary.

Things to do

No matter where you decide to stay in California, you’ll never run out of amazing things to do. Nature enthusiasts will love exploring Yosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park, while urban explorers should visit San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge or take a stroll down LA’s iconic Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Budget-Friendly Lodging Options

Affordable Hotels

Visiting California doesn’t have to break the bank! There are plenty of budget-friendly hotels in popular destinations such as Pismo Beach, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Santa Barbara.

If you’re staying in Los Angeles, consider the Hoxton Downtown LA for a comfortable and affordable stay. For families traveling to California, the Magic Castle Hotel in Hollywood is a great option. In Santa Monica, the Sea Shore Motel offers a budget beach experience.

Discounts and Deals

Keep an eye out for special offers, as many hotels provide discounted rates for guests who book for longer stays or during specific seasons. For example, Budget Resorts in California occasionally offer value promotions for extended stays.

Signing up for hotel newsletters or joining their loyalty programs can also lead to special deals or discounts.

Fun Fact

Did you know that Ventura, just north of Los Angeles, is an inexpensive beach town away from the hustle and bustle of city life? It’s one of the 11 Cheapest Places To Visit In California In 2023. Consider adding it to your itinerary for a more budget-friendly experience.

Things to do

There are numerous budget-friendly activities in California. You can enjoy free or affordable attractions such as hiking in state parks, exploring the coastline, visiting farmers’ markets, and discovering local museums. Don’t forget to include some of the top California cities in your budget travel plans!

Luxury Stays in California

Five-Star Hotels

California is home to a plethora of five-star hotels that guarantee luxury and comfort during your stay. One renowned option is the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica. This oceanfront property features elegantly designed rooms with top-notch amenities, ensuring a memorable experience for guests.

Another excellent choice is The Hotel Californian in Santa Barbara, known for its American Riviera-inspired decor. The beachside location and the inclusion of a chic pool, spa, and restaurant make it the perfect luxury hideaway.


When it comes to luxury resorts, California delivers. One of the top picks is the Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa located near San Diego. With its beautiful grounds and lavish spa facilities, the resort lives up to its stellar reputation.

Another excellent resort option is the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur. Set within stunning coastal cliffs, this property offers breathtaking views and a romantic atmosphere. The resort features a range of luxurious guestrooms and private cottages, ensuring a serene and intimate experience.

Fun Fact or Interesting Story

Did you know that the Fairmont Miramar was once the private residence of former U.S. Senator John P. Jones? He built the mansion in the late 19th century and named it “Miramar,” meaning “view of the sea” in Spanish. The estate later became a hotel in the 1920s, and since then, it has hosted numerous Hollywood stars and celebrities.

Things to do

When staying at these luxury accommodations, guests can partake in various activities that showcase the beauty and culture of California. Take a leisurely walk along Santa Barbara’s picturesque coastline, or explore the nearby vineyards of California’s famous wine country. For those who wish to venture further, San Diego and Los Angeles offer plenty of entertainment options, including world-class dining, shopping, and attractions like Universal Studios and the San Diego Zoo.

Family-Friendly Accommodations

California offers a plethora of family-friendly accommodations to make your vacation enjoyable and memorable. In this section, we will discuss some of the top choices for families looking to create unforgettable memories.

Disney’s Grand Californian Resort & Spa in Anaheim has been rated as one of the best overall family-friendly hotels in California. This resort, located within the Disneyland Resort, offers various amenities, including themed pools, recreational facilities, and access to Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park.

For a luxurious experience, consider staying at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco. With family amenities like kid-friendly dining options, outdoor activities, and a prime location in the city, it’s a fantastic choice for families who value comfort and convenience.

If water parks are your thing, don’t miss the chance to stay at the Great Wolf Lodge in Southern California/Garden Grove. This resort features an impressive indoor water park, including numerous slides, pools, and play areas for kids – making it the perfect spot for some family fun.

Here are a few other family-friendly accommodations in California worth considering:

Fun Fact

Did you know that the Great Wolf Lodge’s indoor water park is kept at a constant 84°F (29°C), making it an ideal destination for families year-round, regardless of the weather outside?

Things to do

During your stay in California, be sure to explore the state’s diverse attractions, such as theme parks like Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood, world-famous landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, and beautiful natural wonders like Yosemite National Park. With so many family-friendly activities available, you’ll never run out of things to do in the Golden State.

Tips for Booking Your Stay

When planning your trip to California, it’s essential to find the right accommodations to make the most of your visit. Here are a few tips to help you book the perfect stay.

  1. Choose your location wisely: California is a massive state with diverse cities and attractions. Think about your main interests and what you’d like to explore. Some popular starting points are San Francisco, Los Angeles, or San Diego. Spend a few days in your chosen city and add nearby destinations to your itinerary.
  2. Consider the accommodation type: California offers a variety of lodging options, from major hotel chains to unique, boutique properties. You can find handsome stone-and-timber mountain lodges, restored Gold Rush hotels, snug inns, and ultra-exclusive retreats in one-of-a-kind settings. Research the different styles and decide on what suits your preferences and budget.
  3. Book early for the best deals: Like with most popular destinations, booking your accommodations early can often help you find better rates and availability. California is a year-round destination, so be proactive and secure your preferred lodging well in advance.
  4. Keep an eye on seasonal events: California is home to numerous events and festivals throughout the year. Check the local calendar for your chosen city and surrounding areas to see if any events might impact accommodation availability or pricing during your stay.

Here’s a fun fact about the Golden State that you might not know: California is home to the tallest tree in the world. The Hyperion tree, located in Redwood National Park, stands at a staggering 379.7 feet tall! It’s just one of the many natural wonders you can explore in California.

There is no shortage of things to do while you’re in California. From exploring the bustling urban areas of Los Angeles and San Francisco to unwinding in the wine regions of Napa and Sonoma or soaking up the sun on the beautiful coastal beaches, there is something for everyone in this diverse state. So, book with confidence, and get ready to create unforgettable memories on your California adventure!


California offers a diverse range of accommodations, from charming bed & breakfasts to luxurious beachfront hotels. In bustling cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, visitors can enjoy upscale boutique hotels or iconic historic properties. Those looking for a touch of nature can choose from mountain lodges and campgrounds under the stars.

One fun fact to note is that many of California’s farms, ranches, and vineyards also offer lodging options, giving guests an authentic taste of local culture and products. For instance, some B&Bs serve fresh eggs, just-baked scones, and other delicious treats for breakfast. Helpful innkeepers are often glad to share insider travel tips and make your stay even more enjoyable.

As for things to do, California is an endless playground for anyone interested in:

  • Beaches and coastal towns like Santa Monica
  • Wine tasting in renowned regions such as Napa Valley
  • Exploring national and state parks, including Yosemite and Joshua Tree
  • Skiing and snowboarding in popular resorts like Lake Tahoe
  • Experiencing the vibrant and diverse cultural landscapes of major cities

No matter where you choose to stay in California, be ready to make unforgettable memories and experience the unique beauty and charm of America’s Golden State. Happy travels!

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