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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!
In this post, I promote travel to destinations that are the traditional lands of many First Nations peoples. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation and respect to the past and present people of these lands. To learn more about the peoples who call these lands home, I invite you to explore Native Land.
This post was originally published in February 2020, and was updated most recently in February 2024.
Seattle: The Edgewater Hotel
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: each room is incredibly private and relaxing with beautiful views across the grounds toward the Strait of Juan de Fuca toward Canada.
While we haven’t stayed at many B&Bs during our travels, Colette’s is also lovely because the separate common area is ultra cozy and meals are delicious; you could eat in the surrounding area, but there’s no need to!
Rooms from $315/night, book directly on their website.
Long Beach, WA: Shelburne Hotel
On one of our early trips to Long Beach, Mr. V and I stayed at the Shelburne Hotel; it was a lovely cozy weekend and we enjoyed our historic room and a romantic dinner at the restaurant downstairs. Since then, it has changed ownership and undergone a nice upgrade. The property still has its historic elements, but the design and amenities have been brought up to modern standards.
While it isn’t in the heart of town or directly on the beach, the Shelburne is a nice option for a luxurious stay within short walking distance of several restaurants in addition to the on-site one.
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.
Newport: The Newport Belle
During my recent trip down the Oregon Coast, I stayed at one of the most unique properties in any of my travels: a converted sternwheeler that’s now an adults-only luxurious bed and breakfast. Her name? The Newport Belle.
Moored in the Newport Harbor, the Belle is iconic in its own right, but the owners have taken this historic ship and turned her into something truly special. Rooms are incredibly relaxing and cozy, while still retaining the quirky aspects of a boat (having lived on a houseboat in Sausalito, I knew what to look for!). They offer happy hour and breakfast as part of your stay, and the common areas are open throughout your visit. You can also stroll down the docks to get a sense of life in the marina… almost makes me miss it!
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.
While we’ve typically stayed in vacation rentals in Crescent City, there is one hotel I have to suggest: the 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 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, in which 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. (To explain how it’s a “splurge,” base room prices are quite low, but jump quickly for weekends, peak season, and nicer room tiers – which are definitely worth it if you have the budget!)
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.
(Bonus: In the basement, you can find the Tonga Room, one of San Francisco’s most historic tiki bars!)
Monterey: Spindrift Inn
Located right on Cannery Row, you can’t stay more in the heart of Monterey than the Spindrift Inn – though that does, of course, come with the crowds and hubbub that this area draws. Nevertheless, this large and iconic property is right on the water and rooms are comfortable, spacious, and reasonably priced given the prime location.
If you’re looking for sea air and a relaxing night’s sleep at this point on your Pacific Coast Highway trip, this is the place.
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.
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: The Eagle Inn
It’s been several years since I visited Santa Barbara – almost as long as I’ve had this blog – and I stayed with friends during my trip, so this is one of the hotels I haven’t personally enjoyed… yet.
The Eagle Inn is just a few blocks back from the marina and beach, and just off US 101 (the PCH) making it ideally placed for road trippers looking for an overnight stay. Add on that it’s reasonably priced given the location, and channels the charm of California’s Mission style and you’ve got a great option. There are both rooms and casitas, if you prefer a bit more privacy.
Los Angeles: The Wave Manhattan Beach
Los Angeles has tons of hotel choices – like, honestly, too many – so it’s hard to choose one, especially if you’re not familiar with the massive sprawl of the city. My best suggestion for those driving the PCH is to stay near the coast (you can always make a short foray into the city if you have the time).
To that end, I think my favorite place to stay might be The Wave Hotel in Manhattan Beach; you can explore Santa Monica and Venice Beach before turning your wheels a little further south for the night. Rooms at The Wave are basic but beachy, and the hotel is located right along CA-1. The price also can’t be beat given L.A.’s average nightly hotel price!
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 company that blends the best of hotels and vacation rentals to provide 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.