Here is a list of places I would recommend staying in California if you’re travelling around! Our road trip route was – San Francisco > Monterey > Carmel > Santa Barbara > San Diego > Los Angeles > Las Vegas > Death Valley > Yosemite.
Usa Hostel – San Francisco
Fantastic location just a few minutes walk from Union Square and Macy’s. Great public transport links that can get you all over San Fran – we caught the BART from the airport to Powell Street Station which is also just 5 minutes walk and a cable car stop on Union Square! The hostel is great fun with lots of trips to do and organised events for young travellers! Not the cheapest hostel option in San Fran but it has great facilities and we were recommended here by friends who had stayed previously.
Carmel Oaks Inn – Carmel
Carmel is a beautiful little picturesque town just 10 minutes drive from Monterey. Carmel Oaks Inn fits perfectly into the fairytale-like surroundings. The rooms are spacious and reasonably priced, just 2 minutes walk from the shops and restaurants and 10 minutes calk from the stunning Carmel-by-the-Sea beach. Parking is included and breakfast is delivered in a cute little basket each morning!
IHSP Hostel – Santa Barbara
Not the best hostel facility-wise but the guests were great – we had a bbq and drinks with everyone and it was great fun. Santa Barbara only has a choice of two hostels and this was the cheaper option when booking last minute. For us it was fine as Santa Barbara was only really a place to stop off and break up the journey.
Usa Hostel Down Town or Ocean Beach – San Diego
We stayed downtown in San Diego in the Gas Lamp quarter (the busy/party area of San Diego) it was great fun but don’t stay here if you don’t want to party (the streets are loud at night and the hostel is full of keen party goers). Just like the USA Hostel in San Francisco, the facilities were great as well as the organised nights out and day trips! Make sure you do the trip to McFadden Irish bar for $1 drinks I guarantee you’ll have an epic night! Also pay just $20 to do the trip to Tijuana, Mexico – such a great day crossing the border!
Alternatively you can stay at their sister hostel in Ocean Beach. Another highly recommended place to stay, great for travellers who love the beach and drinking. Both hostels are cheap and have awesome decor!
Cadillac Hotel – Venice Beach LA
You can’t get much closer to Venice beach if you tried. The inside is slightly outdated but we had no complaints because the location was amazing and it was totally affordable (still nicer than most hostels)! The rooftop was perfect for drinks and watching the sunset over the beach! So many cafes and restaurants around as well as bike/skate hire shops so you can do the touristy thing and skate down Venice Boardwalk <3
Airbnb – West Hollywood
We were recommended to stay in West Hollywood by lots of people so decided to treat ourselves with a nice apartment – it was lovely to have our own space after staying in hotels and hostels for the majority of the trip. This spacious West Hollywood apartment was perfect for us four girls! Maggie, the host, is a super host on Airbnb and we can totally see why – she responded to every issue and helped us out with restaurant recommendations! Just 30 seconds walk to Santa Monica Boulevard, Wholefoods and loads of trendy bars and restaurants, also within walking distance to Sunset Boulevard! It was the best apartment we could find on Airbnb with so much space (two bedrooms) for such a great price – free parking too!
Paris Hotel – Las Vegas
A room with a view of the Eiffel Tower and the Bellagio Fountains – we LOVED it! Even though we didn’t spend much time in our room because we were too busy partying 😉 Paris Hotel is the perfect location in the centre of the Las Vegas Strip so it makes it easier to access both ends! The hotel has amazing decor – set like the streets of Paris and the room was beautiful and spacious. The in-house club ‘Chateau’ is also an amazing place to go out and dance underneath the Eiffel Tower! Almost half the price of the Bellagio and the Cosmopolitan hotel (the two hotels opposite) having stayed at the Cosmopolitan before I would say the rooms aren’t much different and Paris has more character!
Moderne Hostel – Mammoth Lakes/ Yosemite
Mammoth Village and Lakes is about 45 minutes drive outside of Yosemite National Park. We only booked our accommodation the same morning so we were unable to stay inside Yosemite (must book months in advance if you want to stay in Yosemite Village) we didn’t mind this though as we were able to explore Mammoth Village and Lakes as well as Yosemite the day after. The hostel is part of another hotel and left to its own devices, it was nice and quiet and felt like you were staying in someones house – goof for keen young hikers!
I hope you find this list helpful, please let me know if you have any questions! Feel free to leave a comment/like/follow/share 🙂 x