One of the fabled road trips in California is a drive along the 120 miles of Highway 1 from Carmel to Morro Bay, commonly referred to as the Big Sur coast. The coastal passageway only reopened July 18 after a bridge failure in February 2017 separated residents in the town of Big Sur for 8 months, followed by a massive landslide in May 2017 that closed the southern Monterey County portion of the highway for 14 months.
Big Sur Road Trip
September and October can be the best months of the year for great weather along this stretch of road. July and August are the months with the most days of fog that can obscure any ocean views you might have while driving along the rugged coastal cliffs. November is the traditional start of the annual Nov-April rainy season. It was the heavy rains of the 2016-17 season that resulted in the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge failure in the town of Big Sur followed by the Mud Creek landslide one mile south of Gorda in May 2017, along the southern stretch of the highway.
Tourists from away generally do not realize that September-October are still peak season tourism months for coastal California. These two months frequently feature the warmest temperatures of the year in places like Carmel-by-the-sea and Morro Bay when the coast occasionally reaches 80 F. degrees. Awareness tends to kick in when tourists find motels are charging $200+ per night on the weekends with high rates on many weeknights too.
Hotel room rates in coastal California tend to drop on weekday nights after November 1, the traditional end of peak tourist season. Weekend rates still remain elevated for coastal hotels due to more than 35 million California locals who travel across the state, in addition to all the tourists. The coast tends to be the warmest part of California in winter months.
Just in the past five days in my walks around the Monterey Peninsula, I met tourists from Newcastle, UK and Tel Aviv, Israel planning to drive the Big Sur coast.
Choice Privileges has the Central Coast California hotel deals
Choice Privileges sets seasonal periods across much of the globe for hotel reward nights. The changeover from summer rates in the northern hemisphere to autumn rates happens this week on September 16.
Some of the best hotel rate discounts of the year can be yours with Choice Privileges points saving hundreds of dollars in lodging costs for a Central Coast California road trip between mid-September and November 30, 2018.
Comfort Inn Carmel-by-the-sea reward rates
- To Sep 15: Sun-Thu 30,000 points Fri-Sat 30,000 points
- Sep 16 – Nov 30, 2018: Sun-Thu 10,000 points; Fri-Sat 8,000 points.
- Dec 1 – Jan 31, 2019: Sun-Thu 20,000 points; Fri-Sat 30,000 points.
Saturday Sep 15, 2018 = 30,000 points.
Saturday Sep 22, 2018 = 8,000 points.
Sunday Sep 23, 2018 = 10,000 points.
The irony is the lower rates for Carmel-by-the-sea are Friday and Saturday nights when the published room rates are highest.
Choice Privileges members can buy 16,800 points today for $132.00 and book this hotel stay for a total $66 per night, which saves $423.39 per night on the nightly room rate.
Choice Privileges have a points sale through Thursday September 13 offering 40% bonus points. This brings the price down from $11 per 1,000 points to $7.86 per 1,000 points. Each member can buy maximum 70,000 points through this sale.
Morro Bay is the southern end of the coastal Highway 1 Big Sur drive.
- To Sep 15: Sun-Thu 25,000 points Fri-Sat 30,000 points
- Sep 16 – Nov 30, 2018: Sun-Thu 8,000 points; Fri-Sat 16,000 points.
- Dec 1 – Jan 31, 2019: Sun-Thu 25,000 points; Fri-Sat 25,000 points.
King Bed Ocean View with Balcony room
$132 to buy 16,800 points saves $191 for this hotel stay.
These are just two examples of coastal Big Sur, California road trip hotels.
There are similar reward night deals available for Clarion Collection Carmel, Quality Suites San Luis Obispo, a university town with microbrewery and wine bars and Quality Inn Pismo Beach, the main coastal beach town between Santa Barbara and Carmel.
Choice Privileges are a rewarding currency for Central Coast California Highway 1 Big Sur road trip vacations over the next three months.