There’s nothing quite like the feeling of the open road. And one of the best road trips in the country is the Pacific Coast Highway, which follows a scenic route along the Pacific Ocean along the entire West Coast – including. the coast of California, Oregon, and Washington.
When I wrote my first guide to the Pacific Coast Highway so many years ago, little did I know that I’d soon become one of the top experts on this bucket list-worthy road trip. Today, my PCH guide is one of my top-performing posts and one of my favorites. I work hard to keep it updated to answer all of your questions. One I consistently get though is about the best hotels along the Pacific Coast Highway.
While I do provide hotel suggestions in my PCH guide, I’ve never pulled it into one place and provided my top recommendation for each overnight stop I would take if I were booking the trip today. So I went back, looked at the suggestions I’ve already made, chose the best, and added a few other properties I’ve since learned are worth the overnight stop and expense.
Below you’ll learn about the best places to stay along the entire route of the Pacific Coast Highway, from the Pacific Northwest to southern California. I’ve hand-picked each of these best hotels along Highway 1 and US101, keeping in mind what makes them unique, whether or not they’re worth the splurge, and other amenities. Read on for the best hotels along the PCH!
This post was originally published in February 2020, and was updated and expanded in June 2021.
Seattle: The Edgewater Hotel
Arguably Seattle‘s most famous hotel, The Edgewater has been host to famous people including almost everyone from The Beatles to Anthony Bourdain.
Located literally on the Seattle waterfront, you can have epic views of Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains, or the Seattle skyline depending on your room. You can also hang out in the epic lobby for a quintessential PNW vibe.
Port Angeles: Colette’s Bed & Breakfast
Technically, Colette’s Bed & Breakfast is outside of Port Angeles – and it’s not a hotel. But it’s one of the best places I’ve stayed in all of my Pacific Northwest adventures. Overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca toward Canada, Colette’s rooms offer the ultimate privacy and the common area and meals were full of amazing hospitality.
Long Beach, WA: Adrift Hotel
Like several of the other properties I recommend further south along the Pacific Coast Highway (Surfsand Resort, Oceanfront Lodge), the Adrift Hotel in Long Beach puts you up close and personal with the dramatic and stark landscape that runs along the ocean in the Pacific Northwest.
Rooms at the Adrift Hotel have rustic, natural elements – recovered wood, stone grey walls and bedding – and you’ll have access to other amenities like the saline indoor pool, barrel sauna, and hip [pickled fish] restaurant/bar space with stunning ocean views (above). Very PNW-y and Instagram-worthy!
Cannon Beach: Surfsand Resort
A perfect stop along Oregon’s gorgeous coast, Cannon Beach is most famous as the home to Haystack Rock – one of the biggest and most picturesque seastacks along the Pacific Coast Highway.
Surfsand Resort is a great option among hotels in Cannon Beach – and is one of the best hotels along the Pacific Coast Highway – because it actually has views of Haystack Rock and the beach – as well as cozy rooms and family-friendly amenities. If you spend longer than an overnight between days of driving, you can even rent bikes for a beachfront ride.
Crescent City: Oceanfront Lodge
After a long day of driving the Oregon Coast, Crescent City is a welcome respite – and an affordable place to spend a night or two before heading south down the California Coast toward more expensive overnight stops like San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Oceanfront Lodge is a standard 2.5-star option with gorgeous views out over the Pacific and is close to Battery Point Lighthouse (pictured above). It’s a bit away from downtown Crescent City and the business district, but gives you a break from the crowds that stay along California Highway 1.
Fort Bragg: Noyo Harbor Inn
Noyo Harbor is easy to miss – you’ll pass right by on your way south out of Fort Bragg if you blink. But it’s worth turning off Highway 1 and descending to this small waterfront enclave for a retreat overlooking the working harbor.
The Noyo Harbor Inn has a great variety of rooms and views; our room had portholes in the shower and tub that gave the room a nautical feel. The on-site restaurant has a historic vibe inside and overlooks the river and harbor if you choose to eat outside (which I recommend).
It’s also worth exploring the rest of Noyo Harbor while you’re here, which is an easy walk! (Check out all of my recommendations for what to do when visiting Fort Bragg.)
Mendocino: Little River Inn
I recently stayed at the Little River Inn as part of a trip to Mendocino county; it was the kind of place I could have spent the whole weekend without ever exploring the surrounding region (though I’m very glad that I did!).
From their cozy ocean view rooms to the luxurious spa to the Whale Watch Bar – unsurprisingly my favorite part of the whole property! – Little River Inn is an idyllic stop along the Pacific Coast, perfectly demonstrating what makes this road trip so magical.
(Bonus! The Little River Inn offers a Stargazing Package where they provide you with everything you need for a stargazing expedition while staying at the property.)
San Francisco: The Fairmont
The Fairmont is probably the biggest splurge I recommend on this list of the best hotels along the Pacific Coast Highway – but once you arrive and check in you’ll see why it’s worth it.
Located atop Nob Hill, the Fairmont San Francisco has survived some of the city’s most tumultuous history (like the 1906 earthquake) and now looks out as San Francisco goes through a boom and bust again. Opt for a City View Tower room to see downtown San Francisco in all her glory as the sun sets or rises during your stay, or you can go for a room with panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Santa Cruz: Pacific Blue Inn
Monterey: Hotel 1110
I first spotted Hotel 1110 on our most recent trip to Monterey, when the rooftop deck and bar caught my eye. While this hotel isn’t in the thick of things near the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row, or Fisherman’s Wharf, it is a great escape that accordingly costs a bit less. Best of all, it’s an adults-only property, so if you’re traveling without kids, it’s a great spot for an overnight where there won’t be crying babies or children running up and down the hallways.
Carmel-by-the-Sea: Hofsas House Hotel
After driving from Monterey through Pacific Grove, down 17 Mile Drive, and past Pebble Beach, you arrive in idyllic Carmel-by-the-Sea. I’ve been fortunate to stay at the Hofsas House Hotel twice during visits to Carmel since we moved to California. Both times, we’ve had an ocean view room with a fireplace, and have dozed off to sleep to a crackling fire and the faint sound of waves crashing on Carmel beach.
The Hofsas House Hotel is also a nice walk to downtown where you can grab a morning coffee and window-shop the art galleries before continuing along the Pacific Coast Highway.
Big Sur: Big Sur Lodge
When it comes to Big Sur, I’ll be honest: there aren’t a lot of options for hotels along the Pacific Coast Highway. Big Sur Lodge is widely considered the best… but it’s also one of the only options. (The other most recommended place is Ventana Big Sur, but the price for that luxury property is much higher than most people doing a PCH road trip are willing to spend.)
Big Sur Lodge has everything that make this part of the PCH iconic: beautiful coastal forests and quick access to the rugged coastline. Rooms have a light vintage/mid-century but modern aesthetic and there’s an outdoor pool if you want to convince yourself that this part of California is far enough south for a dip.
San Luis Obispo: Garden Street Inn
France, the French Quarter, or… California’s Central Coast? That’s the feeling you’ll have at the Garden Street Inn when you arrive. This French-inspired boutique hotel is in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo, and just 20 minutes from Morro Bay. If you’re headed northbound on the PCH, it’s a 45-minute drive to San Simeon and Hearst Castle, another one of the best PCH stops in this part of California.
Santa Barbara: Hotel Californian
Located right in the heart of Santa Barbara, the luxurious Hotel Californian combines the design style of the city with Instagram worthy views, a rooftop pool, and gorgeous rooms. I especially love the Moroccan tile and patterns throughout the rooms and common areas – by this far down the coast, it almost feels like you could be in North Africa.
Los Angeles: Hotel Erwin
While there’s so much more to L.A. than just Venice Beach, it’s close to the PCH and one of my favorite parts of the city. (It’s also the weirdest – so be ready for some truly unusual folks in the area!) The Hotel Erwin has clean, bright rooms with equally funky elements – drawing and art on the walls, ocean and palm tree views from the balconies, and a distinctly beach-y vibes.
Huntington Beach: Kimpton Shorebreak
When your hotel’s address is “5th & PCH,” you just know the location has to be good. So it is for the Kimpton Shorebreak in Huntington Beach. Like so many Kimpton properties, this one is a modern, upscale spot for an overnight – and a great meal. The Shorebreak is home to the restaurant Pacific Hideaway, so if you’re just stopping for a great meal, this is one of several places in Huntington Beach to do so.
San Diego: Sonder
I recently discovered Sonder, a fascinating combination of hotel and Airbnb that provides gorgeous private rooms in larger accommodations. It’s actually hard to explain exactly how Sonder works since they have so many different types of rooms and buildings across the world.
In San Diego, Sonder offers rooms that range in price from $50 to $300 depending on the amenities and options. If you’ve never tried them before, Sonder could be a great way to save or splurge as you end your Pacific Coast Highway road trip.
Have other questions while planning your road trip or know of other hotels that should make my list of the best hotels along the Pacific Coast Highway? See my complete guide to the Pacific Coast Highway, or ask me in the comments.