Hey, that's my city! Photo via Gadling.
Some of my favorite tips:
Check out areas around the state's big cities
It can be very expensive to stay in some of the major cities in California ... Check out nearby cities where you'll easily find accommodations while still using the city's public transit. San Francisco has one of the countries best public transit systems, so chances are you won't even need a car. Great cities not far from San Francisco include Berkeley, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto and San Jose. There are great things to do in these cities as well, and they offer a convenient and cheaper alternative to a money-gouging big city hotel.
Visit California's top-notch farmers' markets for inexpensive meals
California is already famous for its bountiful harvests of fruits and vegetables. Why not take advantage of all that deliciousness and save some money while you're at it? All throughout California you'll find some of the country's best farmers' markets ... These markets offer fresh fruits and vegetables, and most offer inexpensive food stands with delicious local treats.
Check out the full list here, and if you have other thrifty tips for a California vacation, leave them below in the comments.