California is one of the more expensive US states to vacation in, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are plenty of cheap motels in Monterey that offer those classic ocean views and beachy vibes on the rugged central coast, without paying an arm and a leg. Laid-back attractions like historic Cannery Row and the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium are just the beginning of your budget vacation. Here’s our pick of the best motels in Monterey, all bookable on Culture Trip.
While many of the motels in Monterey offer perks like free parking and continental breakfast, they don’t all feature a gorgeous pool, putting greens and a wash station for divers. Stage Coach Lodge has all of this, and more. Outside the motel, a 20-minute stroll gets you to sand dunes, wooden boardwalk pathways and picnic areas at Del Monte Beach; walk a bit further, and you’ll reach Old Fisherman’s Wharf, the jumping-off point for many of Monterey’s whale-watching tours.
Extremely low prices and a central location await guests at the Stargazer Inn and Suites, a 3-star motel on the north end of Munras Avenue. Granite bathrooms and balconies off the rooms give the property extra allure, and if the weather turns – because you never know in central California – one can simply pop down to the spacious, heated indoor pool and hot tub for a swim and a soak.
Outside the hustle and bustle of Monterey proper, classic-style motel Lone Oak Lodge stands on North Fremont Street. Catch a lakeside game of volleyball, have a picnic barbecue at nearby Laguna Grande Regional Park, or take a 10-minute drive to Monterey State Beach. Although it’s less than 4mi (6km) from Cannery Row, Lone Oak Lodge is an oasis of peace and quiet – spend an evening in the indoor hot tub, or even the dry sauna, to help those ocean-tired muscles heal.
Finally, something for the dog owners. Pets aren’t just allowed at Pacific Inn, they’re encouraged, with a dedicated doggie exercise area so your pooch can stretch their legs off the leash. The rooms are simple, yet comfortable, with thoughtful extras like Keurig coffee makers and various accessible/ADA features. Plus, the location on the outskirts of town means prices are lower than most.
Thanks to its brilliant white paint job with turquoise trim, you really can’t miss Arbor Inn while driving on Munras Avenue. This spot has modestly priced accommodations, big beds and a great TV setup: a good option for resting after a long day of exploring. A green space across the street offers tree-shaded sidewalks for a morning jog, and the short drive to Old Fisherman’s Wharf means you’ll never run out of outstanding seafood restaurants to try.
The quaint Inn at 1252 Monterey has all the convenience of central Monterey without the high price. It’s right across the street from the restaurants, stores and movie theater at Del Monte Shopping Center, along with advantageous proximity to Highway 1. Take a morning swim in the heated outdoor pool or catch some rays on the sundeck. Then grab some complimentary breakfast (waffle bar, anyone?) and one of the pamphlets provided in the lobby, and set out for your next Monterey adventure.
El Castell Motel is close to the unassuming Monterey Regional Airport and across the street from a local golf course, making it an accommodating property for golf lovers. It also features a large indoor pool, and rooms with up to three queen beds, so the whole family can bunk in together. If you get restless, this motel is just around the block from the Monterey County Fairgrounds, which hosts events from concerts to carnivals.
Known for its wealth of ADA accessibility features (including a chairlift into the pool) and retro exterior, the Stevenson motel offers one- and two-queen-bed guest rooms, each with HDTVs and hypoallergenic bedding as standard. Leave your car in their underground garage for safekeeping and opt for a short jaunt to Monterey’s best bars, beaches, restaurants and shops near the wharf. Don’t want to walk? Inquire about the nearby free trolley, which operates during the summer months.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.