It’s no secret that Northern California has an incredible coastline, and along with it, unique hotels. Spanning from Big Sur all the way up north to Humboldt county, there is so much to discover.

Best Hotels on the Northern Coast of California

Being a Northern California native, I’ve made it a goal of mine to explore as much of this part of the state as possible. Each county is different from the next, making it what I think the ultimate place to travel. You can have such a wide range of experiences, and truly, it’s a road trip lover’s dream. 

Along the way, there are some incredible hotels. This part of California has taking lodging to the next level, with luxury hotels and what I call “destination hotels.” They’re the kind of places you’d book for a honeymoon, an anniversary trip (like these Valentine getaways in Northern California), or even just for a weekend escape. So after exploring most of the coast, I’m sharing my list. Most of these I’ve stayed at and a few are still on my bucket list. 

Here’s a look at the best hotels on the Northern Coast of California. 

Best Hotels on the Northern Coast of California


How To Get To the Northern California Coast

For arriving in Northern California by flight, the most convenient airport is San Francisco. Depending on where you’re flying from and where you’re headed, you could also consider flying into:

  • Monterey Airport
  • San Jose Airport
  • Oakland Airport
  • Santa Rosa Airport

For exploring, you will need a car. I’d recommend booking it wherever you fly into and returning it to the same location for the best pricing. Driving in Northern California is quite easy. R0ads are well marked, the speeds are average, and it’s doable for most drivers.

The trickiest part which most travelers tend to share is challenging is the windy roads. Undoubtedly the coastal highway 1 is curvy and often high up. I’ve driven it my entire life so I feel pretty confident but I could see how it would be a bit scary the first time. I’d recommend not driving at night if this is the case and taking it slow. 


Best Hotels on the Northern Coast of California

How Much Time on the Northern California Coast?

This entirely depends on where you plan to go. I think one week is the right amount of time for getting a good feel. One of the popular reads on the blog is this, called the “Ultimate One Week Road Trip Itinerary for a Northern California.” It breaks out an ideal first time trip with destinations like San Francisco and Carmel, and even brings you inland to Yosemite.

One-two weeks is a good amount of time to get a feel for this part of California.


Best Hotels on the Northern Coast of California

Best Hotels on the Northern Coast of California

Where to visit along the Northern California Coast

Options are endless! I love a combination of something like Big Sur, San Francisco, and Sonoma Coast. Or you could go north and be more remote, hitting destinations like Mendocino and Humboldt County. Here are a few blog posts to help inspire you:

Where to Visit Along the Northern California Coast

A Three-Night Road Trip On Northern California’s Coast 

A Week-Long Road Trip the Most Northern Part of California 


Unique Places to Stay along the Northern California Coast

Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur

It’s the best hotel on the coast by a longshot. Winning numerous awards for both service, luxurious rooms, and fine dining, the Post Ranch Inn would be a dream to stay at. Coming with the steepest price point on the list, it would be a bucket list trip indeed.

Book here.


Best Hotels on the Northern Coast of California

image via booking.com

Ventana Inn, Big Sur

Big Sur is one of the most special places along the coast and with ocean views, the Ventana Inn is a luxury stay right in the heart of it. During the warmer months, they even put up luxury glamping tents to stay in, making it feel like you’re camping but with the service of a five-star hotel.

Book here.


Best Hotels on the Northern Coast of California

image via booking.com

L’Auberge, Carmel

A little further up the coast is the town of Carmel. In the heart of it, the classic and iconic L’Auberge hotel. I’ve been to Carmel so many times, I’ve lost count. I adore it there — so much to do on the coast, incredible restaurants (check out this list), and more. If you’re headed there, be sure to check out this guide as well.

Book here.


Best Hotels on the Northern Coast of California

image via booking.com

Dream Inn, Santa Cruz

For the surfers, there’s no better place to ride the waves than Santa Cruz. It makes for an awesome pitstop along the way on the coast, and the Dream Inn is a cozy stay. With beachfront access, there’s not a better spot to book for a weekend in Santa Cruz.

Book here.


Best Hotels on the Northern Coast of California

image via booking.com

The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay

For anyone in SF looking for a quick weekend getaway, this is only forty-five minutes away! For those who love golf, you’ll love it even more. Right on the coast, the Ritz-Carlton has an incredible property with a spa and golf course. Be sure to try the marshmallow kit as well for around the firepit.

Book here.


Best Hotels on the Northern Coast of California

Cavallo Point Lodge, Sausalito

One of those tucked-away gems right near San Francisco, Cavallo Point Lodge is one my favorite weekend escapes near San Francisco. The hotel has stunning views of the city and the Golden Gate Bridge. A few highlights include their recently renovated spa where you’ll want to book an appointment ahead of time. Their brunch on the patio is something not to miss as well. 

Book here


Best Hotels on the Northern Coast of California

Best Hotels on the Northern Coast of California

Nick’s Cove, Point Reyes Station

Staying here for a night, I was absolutely smitten with the cute waterside cabins. I had been before to eat at the restaurant but never had stayed at the cabins here. One of the loveliest parts of the stay was the in-room breakfast that was delivered in a picnic basket. So delicious and so cozy in the room! Point Reyes is a special part of California, take a look at this weekend guide if you’re headed there.

Book here


Best Hotels on the Northern Coast of California

image via booking.com

Bodega Bay Lodge, Bodega Bay

Bodega Bay is a childhood classic. Set on the water’s edge, it’s a fishing town and an incredible beach destination. Set on the Sonoma Coastline, the Bodega Bay Lodge is an incredible option for a luxury stay in this area. You can spend your days at the beach, explore the small town, and chow down on killer chowders and crab rolls!

Book here


Best Hotels on the Northern Coast of California

Best Hotels on the Northern Coast of California

Timber Cove Resort, Jenner/Timber Cove

Oh my, what a spot on the northern coast. It’s one of my favorite design hotels and it sits perched out on the ocean. I spent one of the best nights here and the food is truly great. Even if you’re rolling through, I’d pop in for a drink or a bite. The Timber Cove Resort is a wonderful escape for those looking to be a bit more removed from the crowds but has access to coastal hikes and wineries in the Guerneville area. 

Book here


Best Hotels on the Northern Coast of California

Best Hotels on the Northern Coast of California

Harbor House Inn, Elk (Mendocino County)

Named one of the best hotels in the area, the Harbor House Inn has several claims to fame. First and foremost, the renovated hotel is a dream. I stayed here one night and the service and style are perfect. The second fame is their Michelin-star restaurant, which is reason enough to visit. I’d book 2 nights here, dine at least once, and enjoy the sights. 

Book here


Best Hotels on the Northern Coast of California

image via booking.com

Brewery Gulch Inn, Mendocino

As you get further into Mendocino County, the coastline opens up. Speckled with pine trees and rolling hills, the Brewery Gulch Inn is right off the Highway 1. Its rooms are cozy, most set with fireplaces. You can see the ocean from here and you’re minutes from the town of Mendocino. If you’re headed this way, be sure to check out this weekend guide to Mendocino

Book here.


Inn at Newport Ranch, Fort Bragg

A bit more remote, the Inn at Newport Ranch feels a world away. The large house that is now turned into an inn has spacious rooms with private bathrooms. You can even rent out the entire inn as well for special events. It’s a luxurious stay at the edge of Mendocino County. 

Book here


Turtle Rocks Oceanfront Inn, Trinidad

I really loved spending time in Trinidad on this road trip this year. There is so much to do here and you can get a taste of Humboldt County in a few days. This hotel comes highly rated for both location and attention to detail. You can easily access most of the Redwood Coast and have a charming stay with it. 

Book here


Save this post for later on Pinterest:

Best Hotels on the Northern Coast of California

 

Write A Comment

Pin It