California B&Bs Offer a Perfect Start and Finish to the Race

Race season is heating up once again, and the calendar is packed with foot races and cycling events crisscrossing every corner of the Golden State. For marathoners, triathletes and cyclists looking for a place to stay close to the route, California bed and breakfast inns offer far more than proximity and a comfortable bed. Innkeepers cater to racers with early pre-race breakfasts, post-race massages, hot tubs, secure bike storage and more.

REDWOOD COAST  The newly restored and re-opened Gingerbread Mansion Inn in Ferndale is just a quick drive from the legendary Avenue of the Giants Marathon.  The event, which is held May 5 in Humboldt Redwood State Park, is in its 42nd year and also features a half marathon and 10K race.  The innkeeper provides flexible breakfast times for training or competing athletes and is pleased to accommodate special diet restrictions.  Massage services and bicycle storage are available. The 11-room, storybook Victorian inn features richly-appointed guest rooms -- many with fireplaces and claw foot soaking tubs -- free WiFi and satellite television.  Each guest also receives plush slippers to take home.

SONOMA COUNTY  Sonoma’s wine country attracts wine connoisseurs and athletes in equal measure.  Runners have an array of choices including the California Wine Country Marathon in October and three half marathons: the Windsor Green Half Marathon in May, Water to Wine Half Marathon in August and the Healdsburg Half Marathon in October.  The last stage of AMGEN Tour of California will race through Sonoma County on May 19.  Cyclists can also pedal wine country roads for the Healdsburg Harvest Century Bike Ride in July and Levi Leipheimer’s GranFondo in October.  In addition, the region is home to a series of Vineman Triathlon events held in June and July.Historic Healdsburg is hub of much of the Sonoma County race activity and The Honor Mansion provides a welcome respite before or after the race.  All of the suites at the Honor Mansion feature jetted spa tubs for soothing tired muscles. Guests can also schedule a poolside massage as a reward for a job well done.  For athletes wanting to continue their competitive streak, they can challenge each other on the inn’s bocce ball court, tennis court, basketball court, PGA putting green or with a game of croquet. 

In past years, guests of Avalon, a Luxury Bed & Breakfast in Sebastopol have stood at the top of the inn’s driveway and cheered as they watched the riders for the AMGEN Tour of California zoom past.  The inn also attracts many riders for Levi Leipheimer’s GranFondo.  The Tudor-style inn is nestled in a redwood grove ten miles from the Pacific Coast.  The spacious suites feature king beds, comfy sitting areas with fireplaces and private baths. The inn also features a six-person garden hot tub in a redwood grove for relaxing after the race.

NAPA VALLEY  Like Sonoma, Napa Valley also hosts its share of races, including the Napa Valley Marathon, the Napa Valley Trail Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K, the Napa Valley Silverado Half Marathon, and the Napa Wine Country Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K. 

The Brannan Cottage Inn in Calistoga is located in close proximity to the start and/or finish lines of several races and welcomes runners with a “runners’ breakfasts” served early before each race.  In addition, the inn is one of the sponsors of the Calistoga Pasta Feed held night before the Napa Valley Marathon; the event is free to guests of the inn.  The inn is located just a quarter of a mile from the start for the Napa Valley Marathon, and offers guests a ride back to Calistoga at the end of the race for a small fee.  Both the start and finish lines for the Napa Valley Silverado Half Marathon are just a couple of blocks away. 

In downtown Napa, the Inn on Randolph offers runners a 20% discount on on-site massage treatments and free room nights when two or more nights are booked for the Napa Valley Marathon.  The inn serves a marathon breakfast starting at 4:30 a.m. to ensure participants are well prepared.  After the race, guests can unwind with a glass wine and slide into a warm soaking tub.  The hip and luxurious boutique hotel features a private spa room and lovingly-renovated guest rooms with heated bathroom floors, whirlpool tubs and fireplaces. 

CENTRAL COAST  The owner of the Old Monterey Inn is a nine-time marathoner and a long-time cycling competitor, and understands well the needs of runners and cyclists.  The inn’s peaceful setting fosters the rest participants need leading up to an event; the inn also provides pampering after the race. The inn caters to their guests with early morning pre-race meals and post-race massages. The Sea Otter Classic April 18-21, Big Sur Marathon on April 28, Triathlon at Pacific Grove in September, and the Big Sur Half Marathon in October are just some of the events for which the Old Monterey Inn has provided accommodations.

Routes for the Triathlon at Pacific Grove and the Big Sur Half Marathon cross directly in front of the Martine Inn in Pacific Grove.  Family members who are not participating in the races can watch through the breakfast windows to see the runners passing just 60 feet away.  The start line for the Big Sur Marathon is just five miles south of the Martine Inn.   For all events, the inn makes early breakfasts for race participants.  The inn also offers massage services and provides secure, indoor bike storage.

Guests of the Hofsas House Hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea who are running the Big Sur Marathon can enjoy an early breakfast provided by the innkeepers and take a short stroll to the bus which will take them to the starting line. The inn offers a heated swimming pool and a men’s and women’s dry sauna for relaxing after the race.  The innkeepers can also arrange in-room massages for their guests.  Many of the inn’s 38 guest rooms and suites feature fireplaces, private balconies, wet bars or kitchens, and views of the Pacific Ocean.

CENTRAL VALLEY  Downtown Sacramento hosts dozens of the races throughout the year including the perennial favorite, the California International Marathon in December.  The elegant Amber House in midtown is located near the finish line or just blocks from the course for most of the downtown races.  The innkeepers provide early breakfasts for marathoners and can also design special breakfasts to accommodate gluten-free and other dietary needs.  The inn features in-room Jacuzzi tubs, secure storage for bikes and in-room massages for just $70. 

North of Sacramento, the bike-friendly town of Chico hosts the Wildflower Century Ride each April.  The popular 100-mile ride also offers shorter routes for riders of all levels.  The Grateful Bed offers riders an early breakfast, secure bike storage and claw foot soaking tubs in two of the inn’s four guest rooms.  The Victorian inn is tucked on a tree-lined street just a “scones-throw” away from California State University, Bidwell State Historic Park and downtown Chico’s shops and restaurants. 

The Inn at Locke House is on the route for several Central Valley cycling events including Zin Spin 2013 in April and Lodi Sunrise Century Bike Ride in May.  The inn provides ample space to work on bikes in the barn, laundry service and in-room amenities to minimize gear, and a “booster bag of treats” to jumpstart any ride.  The innkeepers also provide cyclists with their own secret map to ride Lodi’s scenic vineyards.

Visit for more information on these and other California bed and breakfast inns.



About Us

The California Association of Boutique & Breakfast Inns (CABBI) is the largest and most influential bed & breakfast and boutique inn association in the nation and is the only California bed & breakfast association affiliated with the California Hotel & Lodging Association. CABBI was formed in 1991 to promote the bed and breakfast experience to the traveling public and to educate, support and encourage CABBI members to provide a quality stay for inn travelers.