Hostels in California Hostels in California

You are looking for hostels in California? Good news, you have come to the right place.

On this page we list every single city with hostels and other budget accommodations. helps you to find your California hostel and compare its prices on the major booking sites such as Hostelworld, Hostelsclub and So you can sleep on a budget and save money while backpacking California.

All Cities in California

We list every single hostel in California and the world. In total, we have 44 cities in California for you. Please note that not all cities actually have a hostel to stay in. Below you can filter for cities with hostels and with no hostels-type accommodation, but guesthouses and budget hotels. This will help your planning.

All California hostels on a map

Alright, you are more the visual type? Planning your trip with a map is always handy.

Therefore, this map shows you all cities with hostels in California. It will help you to plan your trip. Just zoom in the map and click your destination for more details. Just so you know: If we do not have a hostel in a city, it is likely that there is no hostel in that city.

Our handwritten guide on Backpacking California

Los Angeles is the largest city in California and is home to the famous Venice Beach and Hollywood Boulevard. There many cool places to hang out and explore here depending on your tastes. While there are hostels scattered all over the city, it is best to stay in some of the outer suburbs instead of downtown Los Angeles as the downtown area can tend to be dangerous. Suburbs on the outskirts such as West Hollywood, Malibu, and Venice Beach tend to be better areas to stay in.

If you are wanting to visit Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm from here, you can either do it as a day trip from Los Angeles or you can find a hostel in Anaheim so that you are sleeping right in amongst the action.

North of Los Angeles is the ever alternative and popular city of San Francisco with its iconic Golden Gate Bridge. The city is one of the most liberal cities in all of the United States. Relax and spend some time at any of the many hostels here exploring the windiest street in the world, checking out the seals down on the pier and having a seafood chowder down at the Fisherman's Wharf.

If nature is more what you are looking for, you can head over the bridge to Sausalito to be closer to exploring the Muir Woods with some of the most stunning red wood trees. You can also head from here into the famous Yosemite National Park. Yosemite has incredible hiking and waterfalls. Plan on spending at least a couple of days here to make the most of the experience. It is best in the summer when you can do the hiking and see the animals, such as bears, out in the wild. It also has quite a charm in the winter months when it is covered in snow. But for activities, summer is best.

The second largest city in California is San Diego. Located just above the Mexican border, it is a great place to explore Naval history as it is home to the US Navy. You will also find some great beaches here and San Diego is also famous for its zoo. There are an abundance of hostels here that you can stay in.

You will find a large number of hostels in each of the major cities in California with a few other hostels scattered here and there in some lesser known locations to visit. You should be able to do most of your travel along the Pacific Coast Highway on the Greyhound bus but check with your hostel about alternative transportation for some destinations. If you wanted to stop more along the way while travelling the coast it may even be cheaper to hire a car with a few other people. What ever you choose to do you are bound to have fun in this state! Fun, sun and the high life are what it is best known for!

expert for California hostels

Handwritten by local expert for California hostels Globetrotter

Destination Areas

Travel Tips for California - from the Community

Hey fam! Here are a few more tips from the community, from them to you, and you to them. This space is dedicated for travellers to share their best tips on backpacking California. Have a closer look - the Hostelz community share real hidden gems, insider knowledge and overall impressions of California. Everyone is welcome to add something useful, funny, unexpected and the "absolutely necessary to know before you go" - share, share and then share a little more!

FAQ on Hostels in California

There is a lot of travel planning to do. So let us help you once again by putting together the frequently asked questions:

Finding Hostels and Prices

What hostel booking sites are best to use?

There is several hostel booking sites, such as, and While every platform has its pros and cons, there is a universal truth you as a traveler should be aware of: Not a single booking site can always offer the best prices.

This is where comes in. You can compare all major booking portals with one click.

For you as a traveler, is the best booking site to actually save money.

How much are hostels in California?

Prices always vary, depending on various factors. Weekends tend to be more expensive, same goes for special holidays. Please also take into account local vaction time.

You can search for exacty hostel prices in California here on Pick your destination and pick a date. The system will track down the prices to give an idea of what budget and prices you can expect.

When to book hostels?

If you want to stay at the best hostels, it is a good idea to have your hostel booked around 1 month before you travel. For the regular hostels, booking one week before should be okay. Yet again, this always depends.

We dedicated a full article to the topic of when to book hostels.


Safety and Packing

Are hostels in California safe?

Generally speaking, hostels are as safe as you make them. We highly recommend always to bring your own padlock, using the lockers and taking care of your belongings. Make sure you pick a safe hostel, offering lockers and a safe location. Please always pay attention to the reviews; they can give you a great insight on what to expect and safety tips.

What to pack when staying in hostels?

There is a few basics you should always pack when staying in hostels.

  1. Padlock
  2. Earplugs
  3. Sleeping Mask
  4. Quick Dry Travel Towel
  5. Head Lamp

There is more actually. We wrote a complete guide with more details. Read our full hostel packing list.

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