As other places i California, it´s easy to find motels in the larger communities (a couple of hundreds inhabitants and up),
unless you have the misfortune of visiting a community on a weekend then they have som kind of annual celebration
San Francisco is obviously packed with options. However, due to the very high real estate prices, it´s virtually
impossible to find a place for under $100 plus tax unless you are prepared to share bathroom with other guests. One
very cheap and decent place that I found on my last trip in May 2007 is San Francisco Central Travelodge on 1707
Market Street, where I only payed $55 (+ the appearantly mandatory charge for parking in the congested city). That was
so dirt cheap that I thought it was suspicious, but being a well known chain (Travelodge) I accepted and was pleasantly
surprised. Clearly recommended, particularly if you´ll stay in the city for several days!
Pretty much the only other (minor) pitfall is lodging in the Big Sur area, which is somewhat restricted. The motels that
are present in almost all other places are almost absent in Big Sur (there are just a few rooms). And thats why most tourist
just drive through during the day and don´t see Big Sur at the best times of the day (early morning and evenings). The options
are instead camping, upscale lodges and cabins. The largest campsite is right at Big Sur State Park, with over 200 campsites.
A nice link of other options can be found at Big Sur Camping Guide.
All the campsites where I´ve been have been really nice
and unusually large (often naturally separated by huge redwood trees) so you get some space of your own.
The cabins are mostly are like motel rooms, with high standard bathrooms and fireplaces (no kitches to my knowledge) and
often have more than one room and are therefore enough for a whole family.