California, the Golden State, is fascinating with its diverse regions, dramatic scenery, exciting places to visit, and romantic places to stay. Drive the beautiful coast, ride a cable car in San Francisco, be awed by the grandeur of Yosemite, visit the sidewalk of stars on Hollywood Boulevard, and taste your way through the wine country while staying in boutique hotels and romantic country innsandmdash;the cream of the crop from the vast array of places to stay. Also, for the tourist it is important to note that the idea of the entire state being sunny and warm year-round can all too quickly be dispelled when the summer fog rolls into San Francisco or 3 feet of winter snow falls in the High Sierras.Wonderful California hotels, bed and breakfasts and resorts dot the landscape of this diverse state. Our list of California recommended places to stay  range from simple farm stays to luxurious five star hotels. Our five driving itineraries will take you north to south and east to west throughout this magnificdnt state. California is a state that can be equally appreciated as a single, a couple, or an entire family. Many of the properties we recommend welcome children with open arms. Our California E-book and website  offer five wonderful driving itineraries for exploring this multi-faceted state.

Select a region in , or choose one from the map below:

General Info and Resources


Five driving itineraries map and describe routes through the various regions of California so that you can choose one that includes the area you have your heart set on visiting. Each routing can easily be tailored to meet your own specific needs by leaving out some sightseeing, or linking several itineraries together.At the beginning of each itinerary we suggest our recommended pacing to help you decide the amount of time to allocate to each one. The suggested time frame reflects how much there is to see and do. Use our recommendation as a guideline only, and choreograph your own itinerary based on how much leisure time you have and whether your preference is to move on to a new destination each day or settle in and use a particular inn as base.

Car Rental:

The itineraries are designed for travel by car. If you are staying in San Francisco at the beginning of your trip, it is not necessary to pick up a rental car until you leave the city since the public transportation system is so convenient and this is a wonderful town for walking. However, if your vacation begins in Los Angeles, you will need a car within the city to get from place to place and should pick it up on arrival at the airport.


Whether or not an establishment accepts credit cards is indicated in the list of icons at the bottom of each description by the symbol 0. We have also specified in the accommodation description which cards are accepted as follows: AX–American Express, MC–MasterCard, VS–Visa, or simply, all major.


California is a large state, approximately 1,000 miles from tip to toe. If you stay on the freeways, you can quickly cover large areas of territory, but if you choose to savor the beauty of the coast along California’s sensational Hwy 1 or dip into the countryside along scenic back roads, plan on traveling about 30 miles in an hour and remember to allow extra time for stopping to enjoy countryside vistas.


At the beginning of each itinerary a brief note is given on what you can expect to encounter weather-wise in the various regions. In California a whole new climate emerges in just a short distance. The idea that the entire state is sunny and warm year-round can all too quickly be dispelled when the summer fog rolls into San Francisco or 3 feet of winter snow falls in the High Sierras.

Cooking Classes:

Wonderfully, many hosts/chefs of the hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts we recommend in California have introduced cooking classes for guest participation.  The cooking programs vary from day classes to week-long stays; most are “hands on” requiring that you don an apron and test your own culinary talents and many include instruction not only in the kitchen but at the markets, bakeries and butcher where you will learn of local products that both influence and define the regional specialties and cuisine.  These California cooking classes allow us to challenge the “chef” in all of us.

The cooking classes in California vary in program, length and size. We personally find the classes where you settle in over a period of time the most rewarding. Time affords the opportunity to get to know other guests/students, the chance to relax and truly enjoy the culinary course.  Most people we talk to cherish their memories of cooking classes; love the opportunity to transcend the role as tourist; get to know their host more intimately as they share strategy in the kitchen; feel part of a community, and they all say they leave having forged life-long friendships.


Health and fitness are important to us all, but we don’t necessarily have the time and or the energy to follow through with our resolutions during our day to day routines. However, a California vacation often affords the luxury of time lacking from our daily lives, and many of the hotels, inns and bed and breakfasts we recommend in California provide spa and fitness facilities and programs to enable guests to pursue a healthy regime.

More and more California resorts, hotels, inns and even bed & breakfasts are responding to the demands and requests of their guests. Many places to stay in California offer spa and fitness facilities that range from a room with basic exercise equipment to a full-service spa with staff to provide massages, mud baths, wraps and even personal trainers.

Long Term:

Many of the hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts we recommend in California, in addition to rooms rented on a nightly basis have an apartment, a cottage or even a villa that they offer on a long term vacation rental basis.  Often these accommodations do not offer the same services as the traditional overnight rentals.  Many, for example, are termed “self-catering” which basically translates to “limited service”: breakfast may or may not be included; maid service may be provided once a week as opposed to daily; heating charges may be additional based on your usage, and in some cases it may even be necessary to provide your own linens.

Historically our research in California has focused our evaluation of properties based on their traditional overnight accommodation. Since, there is so much information you will want to consider before committing to a long term vacation rental that we have encouraged the hotels, inns and bed and breakfasts that we recommend in California to share information on long term rentals. It almost seems more important to understand just what you are renting when you commit to a rental of a week as opposed to a one or two night reservation.

Wedding Facilities:

California with its diversity of regions offers every desirable setting for a memorable wedding ceremony or reception. Imagine getting married on a gorgeous stretch of white sand beach, on a serene alpine meadow carpeted in wildflowers, on a mountain with a backdrop of snow covered peaks, in a setting of vineyards and gently rolling hills.andnbsp; For every wonderful venue, California also offers a wealth of fabulous inns and hotels to host your wedding, your reception and offer romantic overnight accommodation for your guests and your honeymoon. The greatest problem California presents a bride and groom is selecting from so many venues to have the wedding or reception!