Mid-October is here: Cooler breezes are blowing through town, and the sky is darker each morning when that pesky alarm clock jolts you awake. That trip you took back in July is becoming an ever-more-distant memory. It's time for a vacation. And at Travelzoo, we have a slew of coastal California hotel deals that'll inspire you to trade in the sofa for the sea -- minus the high costs and crowds of peak season.
Here's your road map for an inn-hopping excursion all the way down the California coast, from laid-back Santa Cruz to the beach towns of Orange County -- at a savings of as much as 50% on regular prices. Mix and match as you please to create a fall or winter escape:
Santa Cruz: Savor ocean views from your room at the beachfront Dream Inn at 45% off current package rates. Book this 4-star hotel for as little as $139 per night ($20 more per night on weekends), and you'll also receive a $50 dining credit and complimentary parking. Walk two blocks to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk or take a dip in the heated beachfront pool.
Morro Bay: Head down to a more southern bay (don't forget to make a pit stop at Hearst Castle along the way), where you can land a $99 rate any day of the week at the Embarcadero Inn. That's half off pricing at other hotels in the area. Catch a glimpse of Morro Rock, a nearly 600-foot-high volcanic plug, or explore the Museum of Natural History in Morro State Park. Wine aficionados can take a short drive inland to swirl and sip through the wineries of San Luis Obispo County.
Los Osos: Drive to Sea Pines Golf Resort on the south side of Morro Bay where for $139, you and a guest will get an overnight stay; breakfast or lunch; and the choice of unlimited golf on the resort's nine-hole course (cart included) or tastings at a local winery with a bottle of wine to go. This package normally costs nearly $240 -- and includes weekends at the same price.
Santa Barbara: In this upscale seaside town, save 45% on a room at Hotel Oceana. This $109-per-night deal for Sunday-Thursday stays includes breakfast, Wi-Fi and bike rentals. Wander downtown Santa Barbara's State Street, chock full of shops, restaurants and wine-tasting rooms. The surrounding hills offer plenty of trails for a day of hiking or biking.
Newport Beach: Next up, save more than 35% on a hotel steps from the ocean in a classic Orange County beach town. For $139 per night weekdays (add $40 for a weekend night) stay at the Newport Beach Hotel, A Four Sisters Inn. This deal also includes continental breakfast, two drinks of your choice and half-price parking. After you check in, walk one block to Newport Beach's three-mile boardwalk or two blocks to reach the ferry to Balboa Island, a quaint locale with plenty of shops and restaurants.
-- Veronica Crews is an associate producer at Travelzoo and is based in San Francisco. Travelzoo has 250 deal experts from around the world who rigorously research, evaluate and test thousands of deals to find those with true value.