Hipmunk Hotels: Value Stays in Fresno, Redding, and More

In my recent trip up the Pacific coast, one major regret was that I didn’t stop and explore more of the small cities in my path. (Admittedly, this was due to being exhausted and disoriented from my day in Tijuana, but that’s another story.) In fact, I bolted up the coast so fast that it’s become clear that I will—at some point—have to do a tour up the west coast at least one more time.

When I do, budget will be a major concern for me (as, alas, it always is). So, today, I want to talk about a few of the cities on my list and share fast methods for finding a low-cost place to stay.


While I consider myself a jack-of-all-interests when it comes to travel activities, one of my regular favorites is to wander a local garden. Some botanical gardens are masterpieces, and I recently read about the Foresterie Underground Gardens in Fresno. How awesome is that? Add to this the fact that Fresno is just a quick jaunt from Yosemite National Park, and it seems like the perfect place to enjoy the natural wonders of the west coast.

As luck would have it, these wonders tend to come cheap (at least when compared with classy restaurants and high-priced museums), so when paired with an affordable Fresno hotel like the Piccadilly Inn, this can be a low-cost stop on your way from Los Angeles to San Francisco.


Speaking of waypoint cities, Redding looks to be an ideal stop during the trek from the Bay Area to Portland. (And yes, just so we’re clear, I plan to go from Playas de Tijuana up to Vancouver during this next trip.) Why Redding? Well, about half of it is the Turtle Bay Exploration Park (including the famed Sundial Bridge in that park). The other half is comprised of the beautiful hiking in the area, such as at Mary and Whiskeytown Lake.

As for where I’ll stay, it’s a tie. There’s a lot to be said for camping if I decide to bring the gear and brave the discomfort. Or there’s Airbnb (findable via tools like this Redding hotel search), which would connect me with a local who could point me to the best hiking trails.

Chula Vista

On the opposite end of my south-to-north trip, there’s Chula Vista. To me, Chula Vista is largely appealing as a central spot for a less-expensive hotel stay as I explore Playas de Tijuana and some of my favorite attractions in San Diego (like Balboa Park and Point Loma). That said, Chula Vista’s Aquatica Water Park definitely sounds interesting too.


Confession time: I have wanted to go to Legoland for about … oh, 20 years now. My parents never let me go when we lived in England, and I’ve been craving it ever since. So, yes, maybe a night staying at a low-cost Carlsbad hotel is just on this list because I need to check off one more item from my childhood self’s bucket list. But while my inner child screams with glee, I’m sure my adult(ish) self can be soothed by the many beaches and wetland hikes nearby.

Kailua Kona, HI

OK, no. I won’t be making it to Hawaii during my West Coast trip. But my recent time traveling up the California coastline made me nostalgic. I miss my time in Hawaii, and the infinite beaches there. But while a return to the beautiful cities of Hawaii may be a long while in coming, it’s something I’m certainly aiming for. And maybe I can add a few new cities here, too. After all, a stay in Kailua Kona would allow me to visit Hulihee Palace, get up close with a local volcano, and even spend time with sea turtles at Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park.

But these are just a few of my dreams that I’m working to turn into plans and realities. How about you? Where are you dreaming of today? Leave your thoughts in the comments, below.