Hostels in California

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Various Hostels

The Sacramento Hostel is in Old Town Sacramento near the train museum, and an easy place to get to via train from the East Bay or SF. You may also want to consider the the Montara Lighthouse Hostel, the Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel - both South of San Francisco (within about an hours drive), or the Golden Gate Hostel in the Marin Headlands just North of SF. These will likely have fewer if any structured activities but they are near the water, and cooler than Sacramento. There used to be (still there?) a very rustic hostel (cabins) at Hidden Villa Ranch where there are lots of activities (animals, farming, gardens, etc.) for kids. And there's a beautiful old lodge of a hostel outside of Saratoga run by the Central California Council of Hosteling International though I suspect activities there for kids are very limited. (The number is probably available from Information). Good luck. Andrea (5/99)

Nancy 8/99
One getaway that you might want to consider is staying at the Pigeon Point lighthouse hostel, or Hidden Villa hostel in Saratoga (?). Accomodations at hostels are usually reasonable, variable and not necessarily roughing it. there is a web page that you might want to check out:

I haven't yet stayed at a hostel, but some family friends used to stay at the Pigeon Point lighthouse every year with their small children and loved it. And I've heard that Hidden Villa is really nice. I'm going to try out at least on of those plaes this fall.

Bay Area Hostels

From:Toby (8/98)

Try any of the Bay Area Hostels. There are great ones at Pt. Reyes, Pescadero (Pidgeon Pt.) & Los Altos (Hidden Villa). I believe they all have facilities for large groups. The price is cheap, about $8.00 per person, they are in beautiful locations, and are lots of fun. Hostels are places where, mostly travlers, can spend the night, cook their own meals, and have a little fun. Check out the web site: for California hostels .

Marin Highlands Youth Hostel

Sept 2003

Re: Sleepover away party for 8-year-old girls
For the past 3 years, my daughter has held her sleepover birthday parties at the Marin Highlands Youth Hostel. They have rooms that holds 8-9 people (one adult must sleep with the girls) and has bunk beds. They have had the greatest time running in the field, going to the beach nearby, exploring the Point Bonita Lighthouse, etc. I cook a big pot of spaghetti in the kitchen and they play, (there's a great game room downstairs with pool, ping pong and foosball) they have their sleepover. It's been a huge hit and I highly recommend it. Susan

Santa Cruz Hostel

From: Toby (5/99)

You might try the Santa Cruz Hostel. It's real cheap (about $10/night). Some hostels have family rooms for families with small children which are private as opposed to dormatories. You share a kitchen with the other guests. Times you can stay are lmited, though. They are open 7-9:30 in the morning and then you have to leave until they open again @ 4:30. Hostels are very neat and are located all over the country and the world. We've stayed in several local hostels @ Point Reyes, Pidgeon Point, Saratoga, and Montara. You can get information at this web site:

About Hostels

From: Andrea (5/99)

Youth Hostels are a great way to have an inexpensive, cross-culturally rich vacation. As former Operations Manager for the N. Calif. hostels and former San Francisco International Hostel Manager, I can comment on the hostels which were open a few years ago - and there are new ones opened since I worked for them.

You can get info on all the Northern California hostels by calling the Golden Gate Council of Hosteling International at 415-863-1444. They can send you a brochure with info on all the hostels or you can get the same info on their website at

You can also call specific hostels and ask the Hostel Manager or Asst Manager about options for activities there for your kids given their ages, interests, and the number of days you plan to stay there. I beleive that most of the hostels have family rooms which you need to reserve well in advance and that you need to call the individual hostels for that info as well.