The drive from L.A. to San Francisco on the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) is a quintessential American road trip, and Big Sur’s dramatic coastal beauty is definitely worth at least a one-night stop along the way. While pricey, luxe options like the Post Ranch Inn are readily available, I’d recommend the renovated motor lodge Glen Oaks Big Sur.
Glen Oaks is Big Sur’s #1 hotel on Trip Advisor for a reason–the place is relatively affordable (<$200/night) and has some really cool design features, including sustainable carpets & bedding, natural adobe walls, Pendelton wool blankets, gas fireplaces, private yards and modern decor. In addition to its traditional “Fireside Lodge” rooms, the hotel also offers several standalone, kitchen-equipped cottages/cabins that can accommodate larger parties. Glen Oaks is situated right on the PCH, so it’s an easy drive to fine dining spots like Sierra Mar.
Keep in mind: There are no TVs in the rooms at Glen Oaks (you’re there for the nature anyway, right?), though wireless internet is available.
Bonus tip(s): If you’re interested in an extended road trip, there are plenty of places that make a great pit stop between L.A. and Big Sur. Aside from more obvious stuff like Santa Barbara and Hearst Castle, I recommend checking out the awesomely eccentric Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo. Each of their many rooms has a theme, ranging from the “elegant” silver-ceilinged Crystal Room to the over-the-top Caveman room (complete with rock walls & indoor waterfall). This is roadside American kitsch at its best!