Places to stay along the California Coast that won't break your budget. They're clean and safe, but still in the thick of things.

The Mendocino Hotel. The "european-style" rooms, which have a shared bath, are the least expensive option. There is also a small sink in each room, and a door opens out to a balcony. Don't let the shared bath scare you. There are several of them, individual rooms that have bathtub/shower combinations with VERY hot water. The doors lock, in case you don't want "share" to mean actually using the bathroom with a stranger at the same time. Website.

The Francis Creek Inn. The Francis Creek Inn only has four rooms, so they are often booked, but it is the only smart place to stay in Ferndale. The rooms are attractive and clean, with a small refrigerator and microwave, and just off Ferndale's Main Street. Those of you on a quest for lung cancer are out of luck, however: the rooms are non-smoking. A room with a queen bed is $73.00 plus tax, and a room with a queen and twin bed is $83.00 plus tax. It's on Shaw Avenue, just off Main Street and behind the Red Front Store, the town's general store, which also serves as the motel's office. For reservations, call (707) 786-9611. Ferndale, well known for its Victorian buildings, is also the home of the Humboldt County Fair.

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