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Can a Budget Traveler stay on the Beach in California?

Vacation Village, Laguna Beach

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Can a Budget Traveler stay on the Beach in California?
Mark Kahler, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The Pacific Edge Hotel was known for many years as Vacation Village, the kind of name that was common among oceanfront resorts about 50 years ago.

The resort buildings, which date back to 1960, wind through private apartment complexes along the Laguna Beach oceanfront. Those looking for a sophisticated name and sleek facility might turn away.

But budget travelers who want to enjoy the beach and lovely Laguna need to take a more informed look at what Pacific Edge Hotel offers.

Most rooms here have balconies with ocean views. The resort employs workers who make certain you have umbrellas, towels, chairs and even boogie boards for maximum beach enjoyment.

There are two swimming pools. Some rooms even have a semi-private beach deck with reserved picnic tables, umbrellas and chairs. For a closer look, check out the Pacific Edge Hotel photo gallery.

Many of these rooms also have fully equipped kitchens, and there is a supermarket just across the street from the hotel. For those who don't want to cook, there are also several reasonably priced take-out places within steps of the front desk.

With some planning, you can avoid costly food bills and make some nice seaside memories during meals. Similar planning is needed to keep room costs within budget.

The rates are complicated and variable here, because there are a number of room types and seasonal rates factored into the pricing equation. In January, it's possible to get a room here for less than $120, with suites starting at about $280/night. In July, those prices increase substantially.

Compare the costs at other California beachfront resorts and you'll appreciate the prices here.

Pacific Edge Hotel is very popular with families, and the management here is working on some new educational projects designed to acquaint young guests with the marine life just outside the beach door.

If a little sand on the elevator floor or the occasional loud laughter of playful children bothers you, summer might not be a good time for a visit. But after the school year begins, many of the patrons here are retired couples in search of peace and quiet.

Rooms are nicely appointed, and many are being upgraded with new furniture and amenities. As you might expect in a place constructed decades ago, bathrooms are rather small, especially for a family.

Parking space is at a premium, too. There are some covered spaces, and you'll have full in-and-out privileges for the $12/day fee.

Laguna Beach has been popular with visitors because of its pleasant shopping areas, gorgeous beachfront and mild climate. Daytime temperatures in the 60s are common in January as well as June. Extreme highs or lows are very rare.

Laguna is also a good base from which to explore San Diego or Los Angeles attractions. It is well-connected to Southern California's intricate freeway system.

But the best reason to stay at Pacific Edge is the single attraction to the immediate west. Properties like this make it possible to enjoy the luxuries of a beautiful beach and a glowing sunset without breaking the budget.

Click "next" to read about another coastal setting where breathtaking views are as close as your hotel balcony: Shore Cliff Lodge, Pismo Beach

Please note: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary accommodation for the purpose of reviewing these services. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.

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