(Courtesy of SeaCrest Oceanfront Hotel)

9 Oceanfront Hotels That Won't Break the Bank

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Whether on the rocky bluffs of the north or the sandy beaches of the south, warm weather vacations in California are always better spent in a hotel overlooking the ocean.

Problem is, it's not always easy to afford the jacked up rates that come with gentle sunsets and beachside pools. We've combed the Pacific Coast to come up with nine moderately priced hotels that will have you living the California dream this spring and summer—for less than $250 a night.


(Courtesy of Paradise Point Resort & Spa)

Paradise Point Resort and Spa, San Diego

If you're into watersports, this spacious resort on a private island in San Diego's Mission Bay is exactly what you're looking for. The island has a marina for renting sailboats, jet skis and kayaks, or for taking surfing lessons. When you're tuckered out, post up in a lounge chair by one of five swimming pools, including one reserved for adults only. The hotel has more than 450 guest rooms, suites, and stand-alone bungalows decorated in contemporary beachy style. Several dining options on the island include the Barefoot Bar and Grill and the Caveman Pizza Company. Cocktails, beer and wine from the Tropics Cantina will keep you hydrated poolside. Rooms start at $134/night. // 1404 Vacation Rd (San Diego), destinationhotels.com


(Courtesy of Crystal Cove Beach Cottages)

Crystal Cove Beach Cottages, Newport Coast

Built as a seaside resort between World Wars I and II, the Crystal Cove Beach Cottages are today run by a historical conservancy that has restored the two-dozen oceanfront cabins to their original glory. Most of the cottages have oceanfront patios along with all the trappings of mid-century America including wrought iron beds, wood paneled walls, vintage linens, and brightly painted kitchens. Cottages are located on the beach and the bluff above; more than half can be rented out completely ($179-$251/night), and the rest have been broken into private rooms with shared bathrooms ($71-$108/night) or dorm-style rooms ($36/night). // 35 Crystal Cove (Newport Coast), crystalcove.org


(Courtesy of SeaCrest Oceanfront Hotel)

SeaCrest Oceanfront Hotel, Pismo Beach

From its seaside bluff above Pismo Beach, the 158-room SeaCrest Oceanfront Hotel offers guests resort-worthy views and amenities. Rooms, some of which have balconies, are designed in retro-modern sunny yellow and orange. From the heated outdoor pool and its three hot tubs, there's literally nothing between you and the ocean but a sandy beach. Two terraces, including one on the hotel's fourth-floor roof, have fire pits to keep you warm when the sun goes down. Breakfast, all-day coffee and tea, and freshly baked afternoon cookies are included in the rate (starting at $149/night). // 2241 Price St (Pismo Beach), seacrestpismo.com


(Courtesy of Blue Sands Inn)

Blue Sands Inn, Santa Barbara

From the outside, the Blue Sands Inn doesn't look like much—a small motel with a rectangular pool. But inside, this renovated boutique motor-lodge has captured a flawless beachy-cool vibe. Rooms are decorated with hanging basket-woven lampshades, patterned textiles, and bright paintings from rotating local artists. Most of the inn's 12 rooms also have gas fireplaces, kitchens, and private patios. Best of all, you're just steps from Santa Barbara's beloved East Beach where you can relax or ride for miles on one of the Inn's rentable bikes. Rooms start at $209/night. // 421 S. Milpas St (Santa Barbara), bluesandsinn.com


(Courtesy of Oceanpoint Ranch)

Oceanpoint Ranch, Cambria

There are a number of decent hotels that line the oceanfront at Moonstone Beach in Cambria, but the Oceanpoint Ranch is, without question, the best. Here they've perfected a style the hotel described as "ranch-chic," with rooms accented with cowhide-patterned rugs, steer horns, and equine artwork. In the suites you'll find stone wood-burning fireplaces and fully equipped kitchens. But half the joy of staying at the Oceanpoint Ranch is outside your room's four walls. The property is dotted with fire pits surrounded by Adirondack chairs (they sell s'mores kits in the lobby), lawn games and, since it is a ranch, after-all, a group of plastic cows waiting to be lassoed. Though Cyprus and Monterey pine trees obscure your view of the ocean across the street, the ranch's private underpass leads straight to the sand. At the onsite Canteen you'll find massive, delicious breakfasts like the soyrizo, egg, potato and avocado cream tacos del sol. Rooms start at $146/night. // 7200 Moonstone Beach Dr (Cambria), oceanpointranch.com


(Courtesy of Monterey Tides)

Monterey Tides, Monterey

Vivid colors and modern-chic textures make this 196-room oceanfront property feel like an intimate boutique hotel. Aside from spectacular views of the Monterey Bay, the Monterey Tides, a Joie de Vivre hotel, has a heated pool, seaside courtyard, and bikes for tooling around town. Their on-site restaurant, Vizcaino Waterfront Food + Drink, and bar called Bar Sebastián serve up coastal Spanish fare and artisan cocktails in a space primed for panoramic views of the Bay. Rates start at $170/night. // 2600 Sand Dunes Dr (Monterey), jdvhotels.com


(Courtesy of Santa Cruz Dream Inn)

Santa Cruz Dream Inn, Santa Cruz

All 165 rooms at the Santa Cruz Dream Inn, the only beachfront hotel in Santa Cruz—just steps from the historic pier and the iconic Beach Boardwalk—have an ocean view. Stylish rooms, all with private or semi-private patios, combine bright, beachy colors and patterns with retro lighting and seating. Grab a drink at the laidback Jack O'Neill lounge, the Dream Inn's homage to the legendary surfer, or at the seasonal bar at the heated pool. Rooms start at $234/night. // 175 W Cliff Dr (Santa Cruz), dreaminnsantacruz.com


The historic Pigeon Point Lighthouse.(Courtesy of Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel)

Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel, Pescadero

Yes, Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel is a hostel but, as far as accomodations go, you literally cannot get any closer to the ocean—and don't worry, you won't even have to sleep on a bunk bed surrounded by strangers. The hostel's private rooms are bright and sunny but spartan with shared bathrooms, but they also offer "family" rooms for four to six people with a private bath or an independent house available for larger groups. Despite their utilitarian decor, private rooms ($82/night) are steal considering this stay's truly unique location at the foot of a lighthouse over a century old on a rocky point hanging over the Pacific. The isolation and beauty of this place is well worth an overnight stay, even if you can afford something more. // 210 Pigeon Point Rd (Pescadero), pigeonpointhostel.org


(Courtesy of Sea Rock Inn)


Sea Rock Inn, Mendocino

The Sea Rock Inn is the only one in picturesque, historic Mendocino this close to the rocky coast. The bed and breakfast feels a bit like it belongs on the Atlantic seaboard, with a sort of East-Coast-Harbortown style. Both the B&B's stand-alone cottages and suites in the main house have knotty pine walls, plush linens, patios, and a comfortable home-away-from-home aesthetic. On the wide, green lawn that runs up to the bluff's edge, Adirondack chairs face the setting sun. A spa with a sauna and massage rooms will help you relax without ever stepping foot off the property. Rooms start at $225/night. // 1101 Lansing St (Mendocino), searock.com

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