Hipmunk Hotels: Alternate Guide to Explore California Charm – Fresno, Costa Mesa, Santa Cruz and More


There is no shortage of travel destinations to choose from when visiting California. This state has everything going for it: beaches, huge cities, culture, and history. It’s not easy to discover its hidden charm when the popular destinations distract you. Here’s an alternate guide to the state of California that explores what to do and where to stay in overlooked destinations for the best possible rates.

Huntington Beach

Off-season beach vacations are the best when you want to avoid crowds and get the best rates. Visit from December to May and enjoy beach hotels at lower rates. Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach, Best Western Huntington Beach, or the Ayres Hotel Fountain Valley/Huntington Beach or some of the recommended Huntington Beach hotels from which to choose. Explore the harbor by boat, visit Boca Chica Ecological Reserve for bird watching, or the Aquarium of the Pacific for the ocean fauna.

Santa Cruz

One of the most diverse destinations in California in attractions, people, and culture, Santa Cruz is an ideal stop. Surrounded by redwoods, adorned with vintage boardwalks that take visitors to the beach, Santa Cruz still offers a veritable cityscape atmosphere. Hotels in Santa Cruz are also popular among those visiting nearby Silicon Valley, or the University of California Santa Cruz. Casablanca On The Beach, Chaminade Resort & Spa, and the Quality Inn Motel are some of the most popular venues.


The city of Fresno is well-known for its festivals that usually pull a large number of tourists. While the summer festivals are more popular, you can still enjoy unique events and travel on a budget. Come for The Big Fresno Fair in October, or plan your trip for November when it’s wine tasting season. Best Western Plus Fresno Inn, Piccadilly Inn Shaw, and University Square Hotel are some of the most popular Fresno hotels among travelers. Mountain biking tours, guided walking tours, and even wine courses are all great choices for entertainment while visiting.

Huntington Beach

Photo by Kristin Repsher via Trover.com

Costa Mesa

This charming Californian city is only a stone throw away from Los Angeles. While considered a city, it preserves a small town feeling, especially since its population is about 100,000 people. Costa Mesa is home to one of the country’s biggest malls and is well-known for its free concerts, food festivals, Civil War reenactments, and the ultimately popular Summer Fair. Of the many Costa Mesa hotels to choose from, we recommend Avenue of the Arts Costa Mesa, Crowne Plaza Costa Mesa Orange County, Vagabond Inn Costa Mesa, or the Travelodge Costa Mesa Newport Beach Hacienda.

Palm Springs

More of a luxury, expensive, fun-in-the-sun destination than the others, Palm Springs is still a great vacation idea. Especially if you know when and how to enjoy luxury hotels such as the Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel or the Parker Palm Springs on a budget. The secret is, if you can brave the heat, to book your stay for July and August. As the heat rises, the prices drop. With such convenient rates for Palm Springs hotels, you’ll be free to enjoy the film festivals, art exhibits, or conquer the summit of Mount San Jacinto.

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