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Accommodation in California for our Family Road Trip

Bournemouth, United...
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Accommodation in California for our Family Road Trip

We are travelling to California in late August and early September and doing a road trip taking in many of the main highlights, which will include San Diego, Los Angeles, the coast road up to San Francisco via Carmel, Monterey and Big Sur, then on to Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Sequoia and Death Valley before returning to LA. (The itinerary is not finalised yet and I will be seeking comments/suggestions in further posts).

The reason for this post is that I am interested in personal recommendations for accommodation on this route that won't break the bank. Our motivation for the trip is to see the sights and enjoy ourselves, the accommodation is secondary as it is mainly a place to lay our heads for the night and we won't be taking advantage of all the facilities that a luxury hotel has to offer. In many cases we will be moving on the next day. Where we are staying longer we will be out all day anyway. What we want is somewhere that is simple but CLEAN. We would be interested in one or two places that are special - maybe offering a great location or view, or something different to the run-of-the-mill. We recently stayed in a hostel in Berlin and loved it - because it was new, clean, sensibly priced and in an excellent location.

Looking forward to some great recommendations!

San Francisco...
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1. Re: Accommodation in California for our Family Road Trip

The california forum is best suited for planning your overall itinerary I would humbly suggest you do that and then lay it all out and get feedback on the route etc. That should be based on the number of days you want to spend in each place. Typically the bigger cities need 3-4 days while a National park could be 1-3 days . Coastal towns need 1 day in each at a minimum

Now the hotels and B&B et al are best researched on your own in each city forum. By reading the top questions on where to stay (in the larger areas) and using TA's hotel finder as one source

If you need advise look at hotels in the area for the time you are coming, read reviews and if you need to shortlist a few for advise, please post on that forum with your likes (modern, non -brand name, view etc) but words such as break the bank, sensible etc are just too generic.

Also no one here on TA will willingly suggest dirty unsafe areas so please assume that is always the case

The SF forum for example has a list of budget hotels and there are other mentions in other forums but one needs to do some reading and some research

Good luck

Edited: 02 February 2014, 17:50
San Francisco...
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2. Re: Accommodation in California for our Family Road Trip

Oh one more thing. when you have a shortlist of hotels, please post the number of folks traveling with you and your per night hotel budget in US$ . Larger cities generally are more expensive than the smaller towns but August is still high season and Sept will be a bit better but not in all cities -- price wise

Edited: 02 February 2014, 17:54
New York City, New...
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3. Re: Accommodation in California for our Family Road Trip

Aug 29, 30, 31 will be particulary difficult finding budget accommodation due to the Sept 1 Labor day holiday in the U.S. After that it will ease up a bit. Those might be good days to be in the city, such as Los Angeles or San Fran, because traffic will be down on Sat and Sun and campsites/ motels etc up the coast and in San Diego will be at a premium.

Hostels here are few-and-far-between and if your accommodating a family of four or five, don't tend to work out as economical as a motel or motor inn.

Also in a big city like Los Angeles best to plan your itinerary first then ask about accomodations because the city is very wide/ spread out over miles and miles and you don't want suggestions for an area that has nothing to do with your itinerary and will just put you in heavy traffic.

For Los Angeles the Wilshire Motel comes to mind as good family accommodation, clean, with two-bedroom units and not far from the shore (which is what you'll want in hot September). The Motel 6 locations around Santa Barbara are all pretty good as well as The Sandman Inn, The Quality Inn, The Parkside Inn and the Marina Beach Motel. Ocean Palms in Pismo Beach. Howard Johnson Express on Munras in Monterey. Columbus Motor Inn Chelsea Motor Inn or Buena Vista Motor Inn in San Francisco as they include parking which is expensive in the city. Those are some quick suggestions so that you can check their rates on your planned dates to get an idea of what "budget" accomodations will cost you.

Bournemouth, United...
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4. Re: Accommodation in California for our Family Road Trip

Thank you for your advice so far. I will have a look at the various places suggested. I do have a potential itinerary, which looks something like this:

Aug 21 Arrive LA

Aug 22 LA

Aug 23 San Diego

Aug 24-26 PCH (Pismo Beach/Carmel/Monterey?)

Aug 27-30 San Francisco

Aug 31 Rafting trip

Sept 1-4 Yosemite (probably camping as other accommodation unavailable at this stage)

Sept 5 Kings Canyon

Sept 6 Sequoia

Sept 7 Death Valley

Sept 8 LA

I chose it in this order because I thought it would be best to arrive in Yosemite AFTER the Labor Day weekend to have a better chance of getting accommodation in the valley. However I've also read somewhere on here that it may be better to travel SOUTH down the coast road as I would be on the right side of the road to take in the views. I have not booked my flights yet and could fly into LA or San Francisco and do the loop clockwise or anticlockwise.

So Cal
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5. Re: Accommodation in California for our Family Road Trip

Have you read up on lodgings inside Sequoia and Kings? I've stayed in the Grant Grove cabins, but due to their rustic nature, they can't be really clean. However, if you're willing to camp in Yosemite then you might be fine with them. Or just reserve a campsite there, as well.

Re Yosemite - keep checking back, as cancelations do occur.

Avila Beach...
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6. Re: Accommodation in California for our Family Road Trip

IMHO it would not be worth it to drive from LA to SD for one day and then head right back north the following day. Your trip is pretty fast paced, I would skip San Diego and add that day to LA, your drive to SF or one of the national parks. It really doesn't matter which way you drive Highway 1 through Big Sur - the views are beautiful both ways and there are plenty of places to pull over.

Bournemouth, United...
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7. Re: Accommodation in California for our Family Road Trip

Thanks for your advice zebra cruiser.

I agree that the trip to San Diego is a major diversion, but I am trying to please everybody in the family (myself, my wife, 17 year old daughter and 14 year old son). We may never get the opportunity to come to California again so I thought a trip to Seaworld might be worthwhile.

Avila Beach...
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8. Re: Accommodation in California for our Family Road Trip

Not a big fan of Sea World myself, but that's just me of course. If you consider going to the Monterey Aquarium instead you will save yourself a tremendous amount of driving (and have a more eco-friendly experience). You can also see the elephant seals in their natural habitat on your way up highway 1 (just past San Simeon).

Oregon Coast
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9. Re: Accommodation in California for our Family Road Trip

>>Yosemite (probably camping as other accommodation unavailable at this stage)<<

Err, campsites are gone within minutes of becoming available four months ahead of time.

Look at vacation rentals within the park (self catering).

Uden, The...
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10. Re: Accommodation in California for our Family Road Trip

I'm a big fan of Death Valley NP but not only it will be very hot in september you also have very little time there driving from Seki and returning LA next day.