The Best Motels to Book in Monterey, California

Old Fisherman‘s Wharf is a nice spot for a seaside stroll and some shopping
Old Fisherman‘s Wharf is a nice spot for a seaside stroll and some shopping | © Camille Couvez / Expedia
Photo of Katherine Gallagher
15 December 2021

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.

Stage Coach Lodge, for unexpected perks

Small kidney-shaped pool at Stage Coach Lodge, in a fenced-off patio area with a couple of palm trees on its fringes.
© Stage Coach Lodge / Expedia

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.

Stargazer Inn and Suites, for a premium stay

Rectangular indoor pool at the Stargazer Inn and Suites, with a large wooden roof overhead and floor-to-ceiling windows.
© Stargazer Inn and Suites / Expedia

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.

Lone Oak Lodge, for a good old-fashioned stay

Car park view of single-storey Lone Oak Lodge, which comprises one long building with white doors and latticed windows.
© Lone Oak Lodge / Expedia

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.

Pacific Inn, for dog lovers

Car park view of the two-storey Pacific Inn, which has a white-railed upper balcony and pale blue doors to the rooms.
© Pacific Inn / Expedia

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.

Arbor Inn, for a relaxed break

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

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 Inn at 1252 Monterey, for starting your day right

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

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, for all the family

Outdoor view of the El Castell Motel from the shrub-lined car park, a long, cream-colored building with a covered walkway out the front to access rooms.
© El Castell Motel / Expedia

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.

The Stevenson, for ease of use

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

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.

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