6 Affordable Beachfront Hotels in California's Best Beach Towns (2023)

Southern California

These six cheap beachfront hotels in California offer the best vacation value in The Golden State's most desirable beach towns.

California is known for sun, sand, and stars and the best place to catch all three is at one of its legendary beaches. While the stars may be hiding behind shades and their lifestyles may be out of reach for most of us, you don’t have to an A-lister to score some seriously prime beachfront stays throughout the state.

The best beaches are concentrated in SoCal, where the weather is sublime and the seafood is prime, but even there you’ll find surprisingly affordable waterfront hotels if you know where to look.

We’ve scoured six of the most desirable seaside neighborhoods in the state to guarantee you the top value for the least cost in each, bringing you the very best selection of cheap beachfront hotels in California.

AIR Venice

Getting anywhere near Venice Beach on a budget seems likea feat no amount of Muscle Beach brawn could muster. However,with a little savvy intel,you could find yourself in an airy oceanfront room faster than you could drop and give me twenty, and you’ll save on more than just the hotel bill.

AIR Venice offers apart-hotel living, which means you’ll get more space and a chic apartment feelwhile keepingthe amenities of a traditional hotel, like 24-hour front desk service and daily housekeeping. AIR Venice leans much closer to the hotel side of apart-hotel, so you’ll love the vacation vibe but shouldn’t expect the fuller kitchens that more traditional apart-hotels provide.

Oceanfront rooms come with plenty of big windows for maximizing your prime location, but if you’re less concerned with actually seeing the shore from your bed, there are plenty of other accommodations in AIR Venice with even lower rates for a truly cheap beachfront hotel experience in California.

Beyond plopping you directly at the beach, AIR Venice will encourage you to explore the rest of Venice through its handy community partners program. You’ll get discounts at neighborhood restaurants, alehouses, and activities (like surfing, bike tours, and wine tasting) just for being an AIR Venice guest, so you’ll familiarize yourself with the trendy neighborhood while saving on every part of your holiday budget.

AIR Venice


7.3(1423 reviews)

Bahia Resort Hotel

Head to San Diego’s Mission Bay for a cheap beachfront hotel experience that will surround you in as much tropical green as ocean blue on your aquatic getaway. Bahia Resort Hotel occupiesthe entire 14-acre peninsula that creates Santa Barbara Cove. Choose between Cove views or Mission Bay sightsfrom your room, butyou’ll love evening walks around the peaceful perimeter to admire every vista either way.

Alternatively, choose agarden view roomto admire more lush vegetation than you’d typically find on a beachfront property and bank some additional savings at the same time; you’ll still have access to the hotel’s private beachesand even more exclusive shoreline cabanas-for-two (also free). Bahia’s peninsula gives you private island vibes at everyday rates, and all guests have access to complimentary cruises on Bahia Belle, the hotel’s 74-foot sternwheeler steamboat.

This propertyis especially great if you’re traveling with the whole family. Your kids will get a kick out of the rescue seals and ducks in the tropical garden’s ponds (and so will you) when they’re not splashing in the pool or playing in the free arcade. Ahost of weekly activities,from movie nights on the bay to ice cream socials and s’mores on the beach,keep life exciting for all ages. Pro Tip: Hit up the lobby any afternoon for a sugary pick-me-upfrom free lemonade and cookies.

Bahia Resort Hotel

San Diego

8.1 Very good (3568 reviews)

Beachfront Inn and Suites at Dana Point

Dana Point is known as the “whale watching capital of the west,” soyou’regoing to prefer a spot that’s not just affordable, but also hasa view.Beachfront Inn and Suites at Dana Pointis a boutique property of 33roomsin tranquil blue, white, and gray, many of which come with private balconies or patios overlooking the Pacific Ocean. From here, you may sight a whale without even taking a tour, though your odds of spotting a dolphin or two are far greater. While getting up close tomarine lifeis exhilarating, enjoying them from your own balcony with yourmorning coffee in handis a memorable moment of zen you’ll appreciate looking back on long after you checkout.

Orange County’s Capistrano Beach issteps from the hotel, but you’ll also be quite close to a couple ofother beaches particularly beloved by surfers. Whether you want toride the waves yourselfor just cheer on the pros, a short drive along the Pacific Coast Highway will take you to San Onofre, Trestles, or Salt Creek Beach.

If you brought kids along for your vacation, or even if you’re just a kid at heart, you may also appreciate being just about 25 minutes from Disneyland. Withchildrenin tow,this hotel’sgreatest perk is itsproximity to so many beaches and area attractions(after the oceanfront rooms, of course).

Beachfront Inn And Suites At Dana Point

Dana Point

7.9 Good (1387 reviews)

Monterey Tides

Rates here may be a bit pricier than the other bargains on this list, but you can’t compare apples to oranges. Monterey is an expensive destination, so a cheap beachfront hotel is slightly more costly here than elsewhere. However,Monterey Tidesis theonlyhotel in the area with a privately-owned beachfront and the rates are among the most enviable in town,so a stay here is a truly a top value choice when beachfront lodging is a must. If you want to save a bit, opt for an inland view.

A stay here is all about the sea, whether your room is ocean-facing or not. The glass-walled lobby looks out to the hotel’s private beach, where regular sightings of Monterey Bay’s abundant sea life are a near guarantee. You’re sure to spot seals and sea lions, and you may even be lucky enough to witness a whale breach during your stay.

Eat at Vizcaino Waterfront Food + Drink to continue staring dreamily at the surf while sampling the Spanish coastal dining of the region (dinner here is particularly impressive,as the city lights around the bay add a twinkle of magic to sunset views). For lighter bites or after-dinner drinks, you’ll appreciate Bar Sebastián’s seasonal menu of Spanish tapas and craft cocktails with similar panoramic bay views. Monterey Tides may not be thecheapest beachfront hotel in California, but you won’t findbetter value in Monterey.

Monterey Tides


7.7 Good (2750 reviews)

Ocean Surf Inn & Suites on Sunset Beach

is set one street back from the shore in famed Sunset Beach, but at these rates, you won’t begrudge the extra few steps a bit –especially when you can still see, hear, and smell the sea. If you have a little budget to spare, upgrade to a deluxeJacuzzi roomfor partial ocean views (request a balcony). Whichever room you choose, the hotel offers beach chairs (and beach toys!) for your fun in the sun, and the furnished rooftop terrace is open to all guests forpicturesque unwindingwith a calming sea breeze.

Sunset Beach is a true beach village,where shore-town vibes run strong. This holds truefrom the casual cottages to the seafood-centric dining setalong 1.5 miles of shoreline that hostsone of the widest beaches in the state. If you’re looking for a quieter vacay, this is the spot to hunker down for your whole holiday and sunbathe, kiteboard, or surf the laid-back shores of Sunset. However,don’toverlook this spot if you’re hoping for more activity and people-watching—Sunset Beach is just one of five beaches in theHuntington Beacharea, and there’s plenty to see and do between them.

Ocean Surf Inn And Suites

Top rated

Sunset Beach

8.5 Excellent (1541 reviews)

Ocean View Hotel

Santa Monica is home to one ofSouthern California‘s most famous beaches and you won’t get much closer to its sandy shores or world-famous pier than by staying atOcean View Hotel, which also happens to be among the least expensive yetquality hotels in the area.

With only the PCH separating you fromSanta Monica Beach, the hotel’s free cruiser bikes are the perfect way to explore the shore or take an adventure through town. You can also snag 2 free passes to 24 Hour Fitness daily for a comprehensive workout, along with exclusive guest discounts to Cycle House for more serious spinning.

If you’re a green fiend, you’ll be especially fond of Ocean View Hotel’s commitment to eco-initiatives, which are traditionally harder to find among value hotels. Water efficiency is a top priority for this beachfront hotel, with efficient in-room fixtures, sustainable laundry practices, and drought tolerant landscaping requiring less watering. Green initiatives continue through to eco-friendly lighting, Earth-conscious office supplies, and non-toxic cleaning products for a comprehensive program bringing you a quality stay that hurts neither your budget nor the planet.

Ocean View Hotel

Santa Monica

7.8 Good (1502 reviews)

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