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These Are The 5 Cheapest Getaways In California This Summer

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The Golden State is a great place to vacation, but oftentimes splurging on a trip will break the bank.

Take it from someone who lives here – it's not just vacations; every day life can make your bank statement squirm.

While Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego are the top dogs in California, they're simply out of reach for many travelers' budgets.

Blue waters of Lake Tahoe

As one of the biggest states in the nation, the good news is there are many other awesome destinations to save some money for a fun getaway.

In fact, California just reported a record-breaking year for traveler spending.

One can only assume this includes road trips with gas often topping $5 per gallon. Thanks Governor Newsom!

California is widely seen as an expensive vacation spot across the board, but let's take a look at the state's 5 cheapest getaways this summer:

Lake Tahoe

Lupine Meadow - Lake Tahoe

One of the most stunningly beautiful destinations in California is also one of the most affordable compared to the most popular getaways.

It's also one of the most uniquely positioned as it borders Nevada, but the only noticeable difference is the California side doesn't have casinos.

While most of California's beaches are beautiful to visit, the clear, blue waters of Lake Tahoe are another level and even more scenic, as the mountains are still snowcapped in the summertime.

Between a variety of water activities and upscale hotels, Lake Tahoe is one of the best bangs for your buck, and simply being outside among some of the state's most jaw-dropping scenery is always free!

There are waterfront hotels wrapping all around the lake in both states, but California holds the most real estate with cheap stays like Margaritaville and a handful of cozy lodges.



While many vacationers seek a beach getaway, Anaheim is often overlooked.

The biggest city in fabulous Orange County is home to a ton of fun things to do, but most notably Disneyland, which is cheaper than Disney World.

The city is easy to reach with cheap flights into John Wayne International Airport. Once you're here, the free FRAN shuttle takes you to some of the most commonly visited sites.

Anaheim is a great base near fun theme parks, multiple sports teams, and incredible SoCal beaches without sky-high prices.

The 5-star JW Marriott is in the low $ 200s during summer, among other notable name brands, even cheaper.

Big Bear

Tourists at Big Bear Lake in summer

Big Bear does live up to its name as you may spot a wild black bear or two exploring the great outdoors.

But, this isn't the San Diego Zoo. Big Bear is a scenic lake town tucked away beyond the San Bernardino National Forest surrounded by gorgeous mountains and beautiful lakes, of course.

This small town can be quite touristy, especially during ski season, but there is plenty of open space to enjoy a nice summertime getaway on the cheap.

Don't expect expensive, ritzy resorts with all-inclusive amenities. Big Bear is a perfect escape to to enjoy the simple things in life in a cozy lodge or cabin with a campfire.

Expect to pay anywhere from $60 to $200 per night.

Palm Springs

Marilyn Monroe statue in Palm Springs

Now that Coachella is out of the way, Palm Springs can get back to being a great escape without the crowds.

Being a fun city on its own, nearby Joshua Tree National Park only adds to the allure. While this area does get hot during the summertime, you know, being in the desert and all…Palm Springs is perfectly suited for the scorching heat.

This small, upscale city is known for its resorts, both vintage and modern, and there is no better place for pool weather.

Name-brand resorts such as Hilton and Margaritaville can be booked for under $100 per night.

Long Beach

Marina in Long Beach

While there are some honorable mentions for the most affordable beach vacation in California, such as Pismo Beach and Oceanside, Long Beach is the clear-cut winner.

Often overshadowed by San Diego, Orange County, and iconic Los Angeles, Long Beach is easy to reach with its own airport or just 35 minutes from LAX.

In fact, more travelers are flocking here as this beach city is a great alternative to the hustle and bustle of nearby major cities and crowded beach towns.

Unlike Florida, it's tough to find very reasonable prices for summer beach getaways in California can cost a fortune, but here you won't find over-inflated prices.

Long Beach is your best bet for beach savings and quite an underrated destination at that. With unique stays like the Queen Mary, a ship converted into a luxurious hotel in the $100's per night, and the top-rated Aquarium of the Pacific.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Thursday 6th of June 2024

Lake Tahoe? Anaheim? Palm Springs? Are you kidding? Is this advertisement for millionaires?

Michael Z

Thursday 23rd of May 2024

Sam, when I read Anaheim was 1 of the 5 so-called cheapest getaways in CA this summer - - I was shocked. Give me a break! Disneyland is very expensive. The admission price for 2 days - - to park in lightning lane, 2 day parking = $620 for two adults. Food additional.