A bargain just north of Pismo Beach.
Part of a small chain of hotels and inns, this modest motel in the quiet enclave of Shell Beach is a gem. It's a tidy, well-kept hideaway for solo travelers or couples looking for a peaceful overnight escape. The property is perched above the Pacific Ocean, with quaint rooms in attached cottages fronted by flower boxes leading downhill from the road. Although the exterior may look like just another 1950s motor court, inside, all of the cozy guest rooms have been recently renovated and even boast brand-name amenities in the bathrooms. The motel-style furnishings include king- or queen-sized beds, cable TV, refrigerators, microwaves and coffee makers. Although the rooms lack air-conditioning, there are ceiling fans and windows to leave open for the sea breezes. There's a small heated outdoor swimming pool out back. Best of all, you can walk outside the motel and right along the beach.