Myself and my girlfriend are going to be travelling around california for 4 weeks in june next year but were planning to do it on a budget. Can anyone recommend any cheap hostels? We were also considering buying a tent and camping quite a lot as the weather should be quite good. Is this a good idea? I've heard the national parks are good for this.
I'd be very grateful if anyone could get back to me on this.
Camping it's quite hard in partcular if you want to make free camping .. the californian people are really strong with they're rules!
Any way think you can find cheap place for sleeping but it's better to check there
Just wanted you to know that campsites at a lot of the national parks are on a reservation only basis.
Camping is an EXCELLENT way to go. There are some really amazing parks in California both along the coastline as well as inland. Yes, you do have to pay for a small fee at some of the parks to stay there (but not all of them), but that covers the cost of park maintenance so its definatel worth it. It is also true that you need to make reservations for a lot of the park, but that just makes sure that the park is not overcrowded. At some parks you do not have to pay or make a reservation - but there are also not facilities and you cannot build a fire. You have to make sure to check with the particular park before going as to what their rules are.
Check out www.parks.ca.gov and www.nps.gov to find the California state parks and the National Parks in California. Some places I would recommend are Big Sur ( I like the Andrew Molera camping site), Redwood National Park (watch out for bears!) and Yosemite (you need to reserve WAY in advance).
If you plan on going to San Francisco, you could probably find some cheap hostels there.
Also, its always possible to find cheap hotels in the suburbs, just ouside major cities and towns. Check out hotels.com for the best deals. But you can always check out Comfort Inn, Holiday Inn, Sleep Inn, Econolodge, etc. for the rates (generally pretty cheap).
I hope this helps. If you have more specific questions later, just let me know!
About the strict rules, if you want to know the history behind them, read, "The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck. It is an excellent book, very well researched and historically accurate.
If you are going to head down to Los Angeles, and you are still camping, just be forewarned that camping anywhere on the beach in California will sick the LAPD after you!