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Hotels in California

A visit to California never disappoints, and the vast array of hotels in every price range will put a smile on your face. Choose a discount San Diego hotel for a perfect family-friendly vacation visiting the famous Zoo and fabulous beaches, or head to San Francisco to ride cable cars and explore Alcatraz prison. From fabulous desert spa resorts to cozy inns in the mountains.

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California State Parks Hotel Guide

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California Overview

California Hotels


A visit to the state of California should be on everyone’s vacation list. It’s the third largest state in size and the most populous; there are 840 miles of Pacific Ocean coastline, two major mountain ranges (the Sierra Nevada and Coast Ranges), and forests covering almost half the state; its cities span from the largest of urban centers with countless California hotels to tiny, isolated rural towns.

Geographically speaking, this enormous state can be roughly split in half, north and south. Southern California has nearly perfect weather, sandy beaches and scenic coastline of the Pacific Ocean, and exciting cities. San Diego, farthest south and at the Mexican border, offers a world-famous Zoo within Balboa Park, the Chargers and Padres for pro sports, and the most authentic Mexican food you have ever had!

About 120 miles north is the metropolis of ten million plus residents, Los Angeles. LA is known for Hollywood movie stars, the Anaheim/Disneyland complex of theme parks and great beaches. You can see major sports action and concerts at the Staples Center, with major colleges USC and UCLA offering sports and cultural activities as well. Nearby Santa Monica features a nice beach and great shopping.  

East of LA and San Diego brings you to the stark beauty and arid heat of California’s deserts. There are two National Parks you can explore, Death Valley and Joshua Tree. A couple hours northeast of San Diego brings you to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the largest in the state, where you will see bighorn sheep in a beautiful mountainous wilderness.

Following the coast to the north, Santa Barbara boasts a lovely beach setting surrounded by mountains; enjoy an amazing artists’enclave as well as Channel Islands National Park to observe seals and whales. North of Santa Barbara, the Hearst Castle at San Simeon is available for tours. Its history and phenomenal setting attract almost a million visitors each year! Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are located roughly in the middle of the state in the southern Sierra Nevada.  Climate conditions can vary widely, as elevations range from 1,300 ft to almost 15,000 ft. The rivers are wild and camping and hiking opportunities abound.

Continuing to Northern California, sandy Pacific Ocean beaches, rugged Sierra Nevada Mountains and the prolific agricultural Central Valley await you. San Jose and Silicon Valley are a rapidly expanding, world-renowned technology center. Visit nearby Henry W. Coe State Park which boasts canyons, ridges, mountain lions, creeks and fabulous hiking.  The San Francisco/Oakland area is chock full of attractions, including Golden Gate National Recreation Area featuring the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island; nearby Muir Woods National Monument offers gigantic trees in a peaceful setting. The restaurants are amazing and you will find some of the finest California hotels with fantastic views of the San Francisco area. A short drive north to California Wine Country is in order; touring wineries with well-known labels and driving through incredible Napa and Sonoma countryside can not be topped.  Nearby Carmel and Big Sur are perfect destinations for romantic honeymoons and totally relaxing vacations, where you can tantalize your taste buds at eclectic eateries and doze to waves lapping against rocky coastline.

Northwest California offers Redwood National and State Parks to see up close the old growth coast Redwood trees, an experience you will never forget! Lake Tahoe, to the east, is a ski and outdoor destination with the bonus of 24-hour casinos. Located inland and to the northeast of San Francisco, capital city Sacramento offers shopping, dining and galleries at the Gold Rush Era Historic District in Old Sacramento.

Also east of San Francisco, Yosemite National Park spotlights glorious waterfalls and ancient giant sequoia trees. Each season, nature presents a different bounty for you to see while hiking and backpacking. Awe-inspiring parks and forests are scattered throughout the state, with rivers, lakes, mountains and wildlife. Whether it’s a sophisticated city visit, a stay at a glamorous beach resort or a vacation filled with outdoor adventures, California offers it all!

Best California Parks

Death Valley National Park

When the Visitor Center is called “Furnace Creek”, you just know it’s gonna be hot, especially in the summertime)!  This vast desert land must be experienced to be appreciated. Take a tour of Scotty’s Castle, marvel at the polished marble of Mosaic Canyon, watch the sunset at Zabriskie Point or stand in awe at Dante’s View, more than 5,000 feet above the valley. Find Discount Hotels near Death Valley National Park.


The classic American experience can be found at the granddaddy of theme parks, Disneyland. Rides such as Dumbo the Flying Elephant and Splash Mountain have been favorites since the beginning, and adults and children alike continue to enjoy exploring Main Street USA, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Mickey’s Toontown and the other areas of the park. Shop and dine in style in Downtown Disney, in near perfect weather year-round.  California Adventure Park is the place to experience an amusement park from yesteryear, Paradise Pier; its nighttime presentation, World of Color, is a fabulous mixture of water, fire, light and color. Don’t miss two of the most popular attractions: Soarin’ Over California, a simulated hang-glider flight which takes you across the cities and natural highlights of the Golden State, and a bug’s land, which offers kids an insight into the lives of creepy-crawly friends at their eye-level. Exciting live shows can be seen at Hollywood Pictures Backlot, perfect for the whole family. Find Discount Hotels near Disneyland.

Hearst San Simeon State Historic Monument

High above the Pacific Ocean at San Simeon is one of California’s greatest treasures, Hearst Castle. Visitors enjoy tours of its 115-room main house plus guesthouses, pools, and acres of beautifully tended gardens. You will see European antiques and fabulous artwork along with a Greco-Roman outdoor pool and a Venetian glass and gold-lined indoor pool. Find Discount Hotels near Hearst San Simeon State Historic Monument.

Henry W Coe State Park

Coe Park is a preserved ranch from the early 1900’s, and now contains over 87,000 acres of ridges and canyons, grasslands and forests. Northern California’s largest state park is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna – be sure to see the 15-ft tall Manzanita! High above the Santa Clara Valley, miles of hiking and biking trails offer plenty of outdoor fun. The headwaters of Coyote Creek are also located within the park. Find Discount Hotels near Henry W. Coe State Park.

Knotts Berry Farm

Camp Snoopy invites you and your children to visit Charlie Brown, Lucy and the whole Peanuts gang at this fun-filled theme park. All kinds of thrill rides are found on the Boardwalk, and explore Ghost Town for more rides and family-oriented shows; there are plenty of tot-sized rides as well.  You can’t leave without enjoying Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant – it’s been famous for years!  Soak City aquatic playground is adjacent, and charges separate admission. Enjoy floating on the lazy Sunset River, gather your courage on tube slides emanating from atop the 43-ft.-high Laguna Storm Watch Tower, and hang ten at Tidal Wave Bay. Find Discount Hotels near Knotts Berry Farm.


Start your visit by exploring DUPLO Village’s Playtown, where the littlest children find eye-opening, colorful creations made from Legos. You can dig for fossils at Dino Island, get an airbrush tattoo at Pirate Shores and return to Medieval days at Castle Hill. Sandy beaches and water fun await the whole family at the new water park. Upgrade to SEA LIFE Carlsbad Aquarium to experience the depths of the Ocean and its amazing creatures; watch the daily Octopus feedings for a unique experience. Find Discount Hotels near Legoland.

Redwood National and State Parks

Take a scenic drive through ancient forests, upland prairies and along 40 miles of wild coastline – and don’t forget about those world’s tallest trees! Get back to nature by exploring the natural ecosystem with a park ranger or go whale watching. Invigorating bicycling and backpacking will reward you with awe-inspiring views. Find Discount Hotels near Redwood National and State Parks.


The new Turtle Reef is open, and you can learn everything you always wanted to know about turtles! One Ocean is a new Shamu show, educating visitors about the world of the Earth’s seas. Clyde and Seamore, two sea lions, will have you laughing out loud! Ride to the top of SkyTower to see 100 miles in every direction on a clear day, or navigate whitewater rapids aboard a raft on Shipwreck Rapids. Dolphin, whale and penguin encounters are available, just schedule ahead of time. Find Discount Hotels near SeaWorld.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Feel truly small in Giant Forest among huge sequoias. You can’t miss the General Sherman Tree, largest on earth. A tour of Crystal Cave is a must, and outstanding rock climbing can be found along Bubbs Creek. Hiking, backpacking and horseback riding are all made even better by the exhilarating scenery and wildlife. Find Discount Hotels near Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

This is not your everyday Six Flags! Just across San Pablo Bay from San Francisco, you have your thrilling, take-your-breath-away coasters and rides, like SkyScreamer, a 15-story swing ride. But you also have the opportunity to watch shows involving all kinds of animals, including elephants, walruses, whales, camels and dolphins. A unique experience is watching Odin, a beautiful white tiger, swimming underwater at the new Odin's Temple of the Tiger. Watch for popular seasonal festivals. Find Discount Hotels near Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.

Six Flags Magic Mountain

Two hundred sixty acres of theme park heaven provides visitors with 18 roller coasters, including two brand new this year: Green Lantern, claimed as the first U.S. spinning coaster, and SUPERMAN: Escape from Krypton, breaking all records at 100 mph in 7 short seconds.  Little kids love the foam ball-filled Looney Tunes Lodge, and a tamer coaster, Road Runner Express, gets youngsters acquainted with the world of coasters. Hurricane Harbor is just next door; ride 2 of the tallest slides at Black Snake Summit, hang out in the wave pool or cruise down a super-long lazy river. Find Discount Hotels near Six Flags Magic Mountain.

Universal Studios Hollywood

If you have always wanted a behind-the-scenes peek into Hollywood, this is it! Take the Studio Tour, and don’t miss the new award-winning King Kong 360 3-D experience. Hurtle along at 45 mph in complete darkness on thrill ride Revenge of the Mummy, learn insider secrets on the Special Effects Stage, and the Simpsons Ride is a sure thing for laughs and thrills with your favorite characters. Shrek 4-D adds the sense of feel to a 3D experience. CityWalk Hollywood boasts a new outdoor concert center, 5 Towers. An assortment of dining and shopping is available, so you are sure to find something you like. Find Discount Hotels near Universal Studios Hollywood.

Yosemite National Park

Best known for spectacular waterfalls which reach peak flow at the end of May, Yosemite’s 1,200 square miles change with every season. Popular activities include rafting along the Merced River, hiking through the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, driving its famous 39-mile Tioga Road and experiencing the tremendous view at Glacier Point. Yosemite is known as one of the world’s best climbing areas as well. Find Discount Hotels near Yosemite National Park.


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