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A view of the beach at Post Ranch Inn
Brett Colbert/Flickr

Where to Stay

Where to Stay
Learn more about the fantastic accomodation options in the golden state

Whether you dream of a luxury suite overlooking the ocean, a boutique hotel in the heart of a city, a full-service resort or a serene campsite under the stars, California has the perfect place to spend the night. Book a stay at a major chain almost anywhere in the state or consider accommodations as distinctive as California itself: handsome stone-and-timber mountain lodges, restored Gold Rush hotels, snug inns and ultra-exclusive retreats in one-of-a-kind settings. There are also millions of acres of unforgettable parkland where all you need is a tent, a sleeping bag, marshmallows and a few good campfire stories. And, maybe, a reservation.

California Welcome Centers and local tourism agencies can offer good suggestions for all types of accommodation, including resorts, hotels and motels.

Hotels & Motels: Hotels and motels are the tried-and-true standard for most holidays, providing a safe, clean and comfortable place to go to sleep at night. They are important here. Remember, California invented the motel back in the 1920s. Top chains are well represented statewide, and are often located in larger metropolitan areas and near tourist attractions and travel routes. Boutique hotels tend to offer a more intimate and luxuriously stylish environment for visitors. In more rural areas, consider independently owned accommodation, some in historic buildings.

Bed & Breakfasts: California has hundreds of B&Bs, many in historic homes or hotels and a growing number at family-run (and family-friendly) farms, ranches and vineyards. B&Bs can give a sense of the region's local character, with helpful innkeepers happy to share insider travel tips. Your stay also includes breakfast—imagine, freshly baked scones, fresh eggs or strawberries from the garden. To reserve a stay at one of nearly 300 B&Bs statewide, visit the California Association of Boutique & Breakfast Inns (CABBI).

Resorts: Certain parts of the state—the Deserts region, coastal communities and mountain resort towns—are renowned for five-star retreats, with many championship golf courses and tennis complexes, spectacular swimming pools, destination restaurants and elegant spas (often open to the public). California’s celebrated wine regions also have ultra-luxury retreats, with romantic settings, unparalleled farm-to-table cuisine and, of course, incredible wine lists. Many resorts also offer special activities for children, like movie-and-popcorn nights, so parents can enjoy time alone while their children have experienced childcare. Weddings and reunions can book private event spaces and exclusive catering services. For top resorts statewide, check California Welcome Centers and local tourism agencies.

RVs: You can also rent a house on wheels. RVs are welcome at public and private campgrounds statewide. Below are some resources to try; also check the California Welcome Centers and local tourism agencies.

Camping: In California, camping is everything it should be—pitch your tent under the stars at campgrounds scented with pine trees, next to alpine lakes and desert oases or on a spectacular stretch of coastline. If “roughing it” isn't your style, try “glamping” or glamorous camping, in outdoor settings with fully equipped tents or rustic cabins or even Mongolian-style yurts.

Or, consider renting a ready-to-roll RV; check individual campsites in advance for any RV restrictions. 

You can also backpack deep into California's expansive wilderness areas—just be sure you have a permit before you head out (check individual locations for permit requirements).



Many state and national parks permit camping, although some popular locations such as Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings Canyon tend to fill up months in advance, so reserve as early as possible. Federal lands operated by the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Fish & Wildlife, also have thousands of campsites, which are often without crowds, even during the summer months. There are also many outstanding private campgrounds statewide.

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