The Best California Budget Vacations
California is one of the most popular travel destinations in the United States. There are many things to see and do in California, from the beaches to the mountains, and everything in between. Still, California can be extremely expensive. This is particularly try if you are planning to stay in Southern California or if you are traveling with children.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to save money on your trip. From deals on flights to staying at a camp site to checking out the wealth of free activities available, you’re sure to have an amazing time on your California vacation.
General Tips for Visiting California on a Budget
If you are planning a getaway to California, here are some tips on how to visit California on a budget.
First of all, you should try to plan your getaway during the off-season. California is a popular destination, which means that prices are often higher during the peak season. If you can, plan your trip for the shoulder season or off-season. You will find that prices for hotels and flights are often much lower. In California, this means visiting between September and November or March and May.
Also be aware of the many festivals that take place in California, like Coachella, which takes place in the Coachella Valley near Palm Springs.
You should also scour the internet for deals on hotels and vacation rentals. There are many websites that offer discounts on hotels and vacation rentals in California, so you will have your work cut out for you if you are trying to price your getaway. Take your time to compare prices and look for the best deals. You’re sure to find something in your budget eventually.
California is a huge state, and if you’re planning to leave Los Angeles to explore popular destinations like the Redwoods, Sequoia National Park, or campgrounds in Northern California, you’ll need to consider getting around. While it might be tempting to Uber everywhere, you might consider renting a car. California’s public transportation can be expensive, and waiting for an Uber or Lyft may eat up a lot of your day. Typically, you can pick up your rental car right at the airport.
Your rental car can hold all of your gear, particularly appealing if you’re on a family vacation and need to move all your stuff from a beach town Airbnb to the Golden Gate Bridge. Even if you’re traveling solo and checking out a wine tasting in Napa Valley or a weekend getaway to wineries in Northern California, it’ll be nice to be able to come and go as you please.
To further save money, try to take advantage of free attractions. California has many great parks, botanical gardens, and museums that are free to enter. Spending a day exploring some of these family-friendly vacation spots can save you a lot of money.
The Best Places to Stay in California on a Budget
Whether you like to crash at a Best Western on your road trips or you’d prefer an elegant Airbnb in wine country, you can save money if you do your research. There are some cities in California that may prove a bit less expensive to stay in, generally speaking.
Anaheim: If you are looking for affordable hotels near Disneyland, Anaheim is a great option. There are also many budget-friendly vacation rentals available in Anaheim.
Los Angeles: Los Angeles is a large city with many different neighborhoods to explore. You can find affordable hotels throughout the city, including in downtown and Hollywood.
San Diego: San Diego is a popular destination for travelers on a budget. There are many affordable hotels and vacation rentals available in the city.
San Francisco: San Francisco and the Bay Area as a whole is one of the most expensive areas in California. For that matter, it’s among the priciest destinations in the nation. However, there are still ways to save money on your trip. You can find affordable hotels in the Mission District or Chinatown. There are also many vacation rentals from Airbnb or VRBO available in San Francisco.
No matter where you decide to stay in California, there are many ways to visit the golden state on a budget. With a little planning, you can find great deals on hotels and vacation rentals. You can also save money by taking advantage of free attractions and exploring the state by car.
How to Save on Flights to California
If you’re from out of town, you may be planning to fly to California. If that’s the case, the number of flight options can be a bit overwhelming. If at all possible, use a flight search engine to get started. You can type in the dates you are hoping to visit and let the search engine narrow your options for you. Be sure to compare prices between different airlines and airports; California has many airports and you may be better off flying into Oakland than Los Angeles.
If you have a longer time horizon before you fly, you can also sign up for airline newsletters and monitor their offers. Many airlines offer newsletter discounts and promotions, and you can be the first to know about these deals.
Next on the list of travel tips for California: join an airline loyalty program once you’ve decided which airline you will choose for your vacation. If you frequently fly with a particular airline, joining their loyalty program can be an excellent option. You can often earn points or miles that can be redeemed for discounts on future flights.
If you are flexible with your travel dates, you may be able to find last-minute deals on flights to California. Airlines often offer discounts on flights that are departing soon.
Cheapest Hotels in Los Angeles
There are a number of hotels known for being reasonably priced in California. Whether you’re headed to Central California or Monterey for kayaking in the Pacific Ocean and whale watching, you can find lodging at a reasonable price if you look hard enough. Just going to Los Angeles? Here are some great options for budget travelers:
- California Hotel: The California Hotel is a great option for travelers on a budget. The hotel offers a free breakfast buffet and free Wi-Fi. Rooms start at $59 per night.
- Hollywood Inn Express South: The Hollywood Inn Express South is a great option for budget-friendly accommodations in Los Angeles. Guests can enjoy free breakfast and Wi-Fi. Rooms start at $69 per night.
- Travelodge Hollywood: The Travelodge Hollywood is a great option for budget travelers. The hotel offers free Wi-Fi and a complimentary breakfast. Rooms start at $75 per night.
- Quality Inn & Suites near Universal Studios: The Quality Inn & Suites near Universal Studios is a great option for travelers looking for affordable accommodations. The hotel offers free breakfast and Wi-Fi. Rooms start at $84 per night.
These are some of the cheapest hotels in Los Angeles, so check them out if you are looking for budget-friendly accommodations. Be sure to compare prices and amenities before booking your hotel room.
Free things to do in California
There are plenty of free things to do in the golden state, from Santa Barbara to Malibu. The more money you save on activities, the more time you can spend relaxing on the beach, so save time for these freebies if possible.
- Visit Griffith Observatory: Griffith Observatory is a great place to learn about the night sky. The observatory offers free public telescopes and astronomy shows.
- Take a hike: California is home to many beautiful hiking trails. There are also several state and national parks that offer free admission.
- Attend a street fair: California is home to many street fairs and festivals. These events are often free to attend.
- Visit a farmers market: California has many farmers markets that offer fresh produce and other items. Most of these markets are free to enter.
-Explore a California beach: California is home to many beautiful beaches. You can often find free parking and public restrooms at California beaches.
Where to Take Kids in California
When you’re traveling with kids, you have to worry about saving money and keeping your little ones entertained. These are some classic destinations for families in California.
- California Science Center: The California Science Center is a great place to take kids. The center offers interactive exhibits, a planetarium, and an IMAX theater.
- Disneyland: Disneyland is a classic California destination for families. The park offers rides, shows, and character experiences for kids of all ages.
- California Academy of Sciences: The California Academy of Sciences is a great place to take kids. The academy offers a planetarium, an aquarium, and interactive exhibits.
- LEGOLAND California: LEGOLAND California is a great place to take kids. The park offers rides, shows, and LEGO-themed experiences.
- SeaWorld San Diego: SeaWorld San Diego is a great place to take kids. The park offers rides, shows, and animal experiences.
Best Beaches in California
Dying to dip your feet in the Pacific Ocean? You can head to Pismo Beach or go horseback riding on the Channel Islands. There’s a lot to choose from when it comes to rocky or sandy coastline. Here are some top choices:
- Zuma Beach: Zuma Beach is a great place to relax and enjoy the California sun. The beach offers a wide variety of activities, including swimming, surfing, and sunbathing.
- Venice Beach: Venice Beach is a great place to people watch and enjoy the California lifestyle. The beach offers a boardwalk, shops, and restaurants.
- Santa Monica Beach: Santa Monica Beach is a great place to relax and enjoy the California sun. The beach offers a wide variety of activities, including swimming, surfing, and sunbathing.
- Laguna Beach: Laguna Beach is a great place to relax and enjoy the California sun. The beach offers a wide variety of activities, including swimming, surfing, and sunbathing.
- Huntington Beach: Huntington Beach is a great place to relax and enjoy the California sun. The beach offers a wide variety of activities, including swimming, surfing, and sunbathing.
These are just a few of the many great beaches in California. If you are looking for a place to relax and enjoy the sunshine, be sure to explore some of these options.
Best Campsites in California
A classic way to save money is to go camping. While we wouldn’t recommend camping in Death Valley, you could give it a try in countless other places in California. For instance:
- California State Parks: California State Parks offer a wide variety of camping options. This is also a fabulous resource if you are planning to go hiking. Be sure to check out the website for more information.
- Yosemite National Park: Yosemite National Park is a great place to camp. The park offers several different camping options, including RV sites and tent sites.
- Joshua Tree National Park: Joshua Tree National Park is a great place to camp. The park offers several different camping options, including RV sites and tent sites.
- Big Sur: Big Sur is a great place to camp. The area offers several different camping options, including RV sites and tent sites.
- Lake Tahoe: Lake Tahoe is a great place to camp. The area offers several different camping options, including RV sites and tent sites.
-Big Bear Lake: You might wish to try camping at Big Bear Lake. They have plenty of sites for tents and RVs and countless hiking trails. You can also go kayaking here. Check in is at 2 PM and check out is at noon.
California is a great place to visit on a budget. There are many free things to do and places to see. If you are looking for ways to save money, be sure to explore some of the options listed above, from Sonoma to Sacramento. California really has something for everyone.