The Best Cheap Hotels to Book in Monterey, California

The rugged coast of Monterey has historically homed fishermen and artists alike
The rugged coast of Monterey has historically homed fishermen and artists alike | © Guillaume Merle / Unsplash
Katherine Gallagher

Monterey is tucked into a small, California-central coast peninsula about 100mi (160km) south of San Francisco. Known for Cannery Row, a former sardine-packing district and now a popular strip of shops, bars, and restaurants, and the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, the city is also a beloved stop along the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway. While the area can get pricey, there’s no shortage of hotel deals in Monterey if you know where to look. Here’s our pick of the best, now bookable on Culture Trip.

1. Best Western Plus Monterey Inn – for a little upgrade


Seatign area in Best Western Plus Monterey Inn with yellow arm chairs and purple orchids
© Best Western Plus Monterey Inn / Expedia

Just over a mile (1.6km) from Fisherman’s Wharf and 2mi (3.2km) from the renowned local aquarium, Best Western Plus Monterey Inn offers comfortable rooms on the outskirts of downtown Monterey. Beyond the usuals like free wifi, some rooms come equipped with upgrades like fireplaces, balconies and even ocean views. What’s more, guests have access to complimentary parking and hot breakfast, a definite plus for budget travelers.

2. Arbor Inn Monterey – for a bright & breezy stay


Exterior view of the two-storey Arbor Inn, with white and turquoise wooden balconies, and a car park with vending machine.
© Arbor Inn Monterey / Expedia

With its charming, bright exterior accented with beachy colors, the Arbor Inn Monterey puts travelers in the perfect position to explore the greater Monterey Peninsula. Not only is the hotel located on Munras Avenue right across the street from Monterey State Historic Park, it is also just off the ramp to Highway 1. It’s oh-so-simple to take a day trip to nearby destinations such as Carmel, Pebble Beach and Big Sur, or just head out on the open road for a scenic drive along the coast from here.

3. The Stevenson Monterey – for a real steal


Exterior view of the Stevenson, Monterey, with three tiers of cream-colored balconies overlooking the swimming pool.
© The Stevenson Monterey / Expedia

Guests at the Stevenson Monterey can flaunt extra perks that include special pricing from Monterey Bay Sailing and advanced tickets for the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The prime location in the middle of downtown also puts you within steps of the best seafood restaurants and specialty shops in the city. Paired with the added convenience of free parking and a complimentary continental breakfast to start your day, this retro-style property is hands down one of the best hotel deals in Monterey.

4. Comfort Inn Monterey Peninsula Airport – for getting comfy


Backyard at Comfort Inn Monterey Peninsula Airport with red a yellow painted buildings
© Comfort Inn Monterey Peninsula Airport / Expedia

Although guests will have to drive to most of the main attractions from this cheap hotel in Monterey, they’ll only have to walk about five minutes between the airport and the comfortable, updated rooms at the Comfort Inn. You’ll have all the basics, plus a plush armchair and footstool to kick back on. Lovely landscaping surrounds the motel with Californian foliage, from pines to climbing plants.

5. The Inn at 1252 Monterey – for more bang for your buck


Living room area at The Inn at 1252 Monterey with window overlooking outdoor seating area
© The Inn at 1252 Monterey / Expedia

In the center of the main strip of budget hotels in Monterey, the Inn at 1252 Monterey has some of the lowest prices around. Find plush, clean bedding in the simple guest rooms – some boasting whirlpool bathtubs – and free breakfast with granola and cereal bars in the lobby. There’s also a substantial shopping center across the way and an outdoor seating area to soak in that California sun.

6. Howard Johnson by Wyndham Marina at Monterey Bay – for money saving experts


Yellow exterior of Howard Johnson by Wyndham Marina
© Howard Johnson by Wyndham Marina / Expedia

Howard Johnson by Wyndham Marina is a place to rest your head after a long day at Marina State Beach, a family-friendly stretch of sand 2mi (3.2km) west of the hotel. The value doesn’t end there, as you’ll get a free light breakfast item every morning, and hot drinks and fruit juices are on tap. Want to have another guest join the fun? No problem – rollaways are available on request.

7. Colton Inn – for an off-the-beaten-track experience

Bed and Breakfast, Inn

Outdoor seating area with balcony overlooking the tree tops at Colton Inn
© Colton Inn / Expedia

Colton Inn gives visitors the opportunity to explore a lesser-known slice of Monterey filled with classic adobe buildings, yet still walkable from downtown. Inside, the decor is chic, the bedding is soft and some rooms come with fireplaces or jacuzzis to add a touch of ambiance. Free morning breakfast is definitely a plus, but there’s also a vending machine to curb any late night cravings, or to stock up on S’mores supplies to use in the outdoor grill area.

8. Cannery Row Inn – for warming your cockles


Two double beds in room at Cannery Row Inn with white linen, dark wooden furniture and double doors to outside
© Cannery Row Inn / Expedia

Wondering where you can sign up for a cheap hotel in Monterey with ocean views? It doesn’t get much better than a two-minute walk from historic Cannery Row, which is exactly what you’ll get at the Cannery Row Inn – so close to the water that it’s literally on Foam Street. Every guest room here is cosy, but if you want to get some fresh air, the heated patio is also rather toasty. Don’t forget to show your Triple AAA card for an added discount.

Looking to stay on the beach? Read our guide to the best beach hotels in Monterey, then book your favorite with Culture Trip.

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