Carmel-by-the-Sea most expensive summer destination in California, reveals

Carmel-by-the-Sea, a small beach city on the Monterey Peninsula, is the priciest summer destination in California for hotel stays this year, according to a survey by

The survey compared the cost of accommodation across 30 popular California destinations. For each one, the average price for the cheapest available double room during July and August 2023 was established. Only hotels located close to a beach or in the city/town centre, and with 3 or more stars, were considered for the survey.

What was the survey findings?

With an average rate of $305 per night for the most affordable double room, Carmel-by-the-Sea came out as the priciest destination. Only slightly more affordable are Santa Monica and Pismo Beach, with average rates of $287 and $280, respectively.

Compared with 2019, the last time the survey was conducted, hotel rates in Carmel-by-the-Sea have increased by more than 30%. The only destination where a similar increase can be seen is La Jolla, an upscale seaside village near San Diego. On average, rates in California are only up by around 5% compared with four years ago.

Palo Alto priciest non-beach destination

Monterey ranks as the 7th most expensive destination, with an average rate of $235 per night for the cheapest available double room. Compared with 2019, hotel rates in Monterey are just a few dollars more expensive, this latest survey shows.

Palo Alto, meanwhile, is the priciest “non-beach” destination with rates of $231 per night. At the other end of the scale, with rates of just $115 per night, San Francisco in northern California emerged as the cheapest destination recorded in the survey – a 30% decrease compared with 2019.

Ten most expensive summer destinations in California

The following table shows the 10 most expensive destinations for accommodation in California this summer. Prices shown reflect the average rate for each destination’s cheapest available double room for the period July 1 to August 31, 2023.

  1. Carmel-by-the-Sea $305
  2. Santa Monica $287
  3. Pismo Beach $280
  4. La Jolla $278
  5. Santa Barbara $257
  6. Laguna Beach $238
  7. Monterey $235
  8. Calistoga $232
  9. Palo Alto $231
  10. Carlsbad $230

For the full results of the survey, check here.