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If you're having trouble finding a vacancy, try calling Resort 2 Me (tel. 800/757-5646; www.resort2me.com), a local reservations service that offers free recommendations of Monterey Bay-area hotels in all price ranges.

Animal Kingdom -- Imagine waking into a private bungalow to find a cheetah sleeping on your porch and then having an elephant deliver your breakfast basket with its trunk. That's just another morning for guests at the Vision Quest Safari Bed & Breakfast (www.wildthingsinc.com; tel. 800/228-7382), one of the nation's most unique B&Bs. Amid the ranch's pride of exotic animals are deluxe Africa-style tent cabins with wild-animal-theme decors, full bathrooms, sitting areas, and views that overlook a 5-acre elephant playpen and the Salinas Valley. Those are real lions and tigers roaring through your canvas walls, and guests can join trainers on their evening walks among the animals. Monterey's restaurants are a short drive away. Okay, so it's not for everyone, but at least take a look at their website and see if you might want to spend a night doing the wild thing.


Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.