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. Hostelz.com helps you to find your California hostel and compare its prices on the major booking sites such as Hostelworld, Hostelsclub and Booking.com. 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 49 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.
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!
Handwritten by local expert for California hostels Globetrotter
Oh man, so far no one from the community has left a comment or travel tips for California. How about you kick start the discussion here? Gather your best backpacking recommendations for California and jot them down below. The community thanks you.
Pack a sweater! Because Santa Cruz is in California and a beach town, many people think it will be warm and sunny. Actually, it can get surprisingly cold. Also, don't count on swimming in the ocean, unless you wear a wetsuit. As with most of Northern California beaches, the water is freezing.
The visitor Center at Bear Valley and its surrounding picnic area is one of the most beautiful in Northern California. Also, nearby Point Reyes Station is a really cool place to eat and shop.
If you are going to visit San Diego make sure you stay in Pacific Beach. The beach is awesome with some great surf and the nightlife is impressive. Heaps of great bars with some really good drink specials.
Don't miss the Haight Ashbury area (centered around the intersection of Haight Street and Ashbury Street) to get a taste of what the San Francisco 60s was all about.
Sausalito sits just over the Golden Gate bridge from San Francisco. It's a wonderful port town with higher-end shops, good seafood, and pubs and bars. There are tons of sailboats in several marinas. There is a nice ferry to San Francisco. I'm a native of Marin County -- it is filled with mostly friendly people …
I've been to Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco. Los Angeles is good if you want to experience "Hollywood". Other than that, if you want to experience social beaches I would head to San Diego. If you want a really great city experience, nothing beats San Francisco. There is a lot to do in Los Angeles but be …
Visit Sacramento -- it's a tranquil place. I suggest enjoying a delicious coffee in the naked lounge -- it's great!
Crescent City has three galleries that are worth visiting. One is the 2nd Street Gallery run by the California Redwood Arts Association. The other gallery is the Gallery of Arts and Culture across the street from the post office, and the 3rd is the Harbor Gallery.
Aside from Galleries there is the Battery Point …
Big Bear Lake is an awesome town hidden in the mountains. I felt like I was in the Alps! I stopped there on my way to Las Vegas and Joshua Tree. I stayed for three days when I only planned to stop for the night. I went kayaking and hiked to Castle Rock which has great views of the lake and alpine forest. I'd love to …
One of the more beautiful places in the state of California is South Lake Tahoe, and it's great that you have the option of staying in a hostel here. Because more and more tourists and locals alike frequent the different places for which South Lake Tahoe is quite famous, the local government is continuously improving …
Of course most visitors to Berkeley go to Telegraph to shop, but there are plenty of other areas that offer a completely different type of shopping experience, if the begging teenager/dirty hippie scene isn't your thing. Try College Ave (go several blocks past the dorms) and Fourth Street. Fourth Street is a bit …
There is a Farmers Market festival every Thursday in Fullerton, with music and lots of food. Great location for Disneyland, Knox Berry Farm, California Adventure, and other scenic adventures.
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 Hostelworld.com, Hostelsclub.com and Booking.com. 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 Hostelz.com comes in. You can compare all major booking portals with one click.
For you as a traveler, Hostelz.com 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 Hostelz.com. 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.
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.