Outlying Options for Budget-Conscious Travelers
It's hard to pinpoint which outlying areas are the best for budgetconscious travelers for the simple reason that so much of northern California is made up of outlying areas. Charming little towns and out-of-the-way camping grounds are the norm, not the exception, outside of the major tourist areas like San Francisco, Napa, and Yosemite. That's good if you'll be traveling on a tight budget, but bad if you're looking for an easy fix for your vacation-planning purposes.
You will have to research each chapter to look for the outlying area that best suits you. With that caveat in mind, here's a look at a couple of off-the-beaten-track locations that tend to be more budget-friendly than the hot spots.
Arcata is in the northwestern corner of California, well-positioned for anyone who wants to visit Redwood National Forest or take a drive down the scenic Pacific Coast Highway. The highest temperatures of the year tend to be in the low-60s during the summer months, and thermometers dip down into the 40s each winter.
The hotels include budget chains such as Best Western, Howard Johnson, Super 8, and Comfort Inn. Rates can be as high as $150 a night, but there are deals close to the $75-a-night range, even during the summer. Nearby camping and RV sites have rates as low as $29 a night.
Chico is in the Sacramento Valley, about ninety miles north of California's capital city of Sacramento. Chico has a historic downtown that dates to the mid-1800s and is home to Bidwell Park, which, at 3,670 acres, is one of the largest municipal parks in the entire United States. The city hosts a major air show every August, an arts celebration each October, and self-guided tours of the charming city streets all year round.
RAINY DAY FUN
Looking for a museum to tour with the kids on a cloudy day in Chico? How about the National Yo-Yo Museum, home to the world's largest yo-yo, which weighs in at a whopping 256 pounds. If you visit in October, you can also attend the national yo-yo contest.
Chico has hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and nearby RV parks alike. There are brand-name chains like Best Western, Marriott, and Days Inn, and even during the dog days of August, you can find rooms from $40 to $100 a night. RV site rates can be less than $25 a night, and tent-only camping spots are sometimes as low as $10 or $12.