It's the smart leisure traveler's no-brainer: For a memorable vacation destination that's stunning and fun for all ages, book a beach house rental in California. Here, so many miles of ocean- and bay-front properties add up to lots of inventory, and if you search carefully, potential savings. We've searched out some beauties up and down the coast, with amenities that range from beach cruisers to hot tubs. We love that a home rental affords a little more space than a hotel room(s), as well as fewer hidden fees (so long, parking and resort fees).
1. Inspiring Oceanfront Home with Dramatic Coastal Views, Carmel
This oceanfront home for six guests is perched on a private ridge high above the Pacific. Here you can take in the breathtaking views below, including dolphins, wales, fishing boats and soaring birds…not to mention the most gorgeous sunrises and sunsets.
This newly refurbished townhouse has a pool that's heated April through October, a year-round hot tub and three bedrooms with four beds as well as three full bathrooms. But with a back patio whose steps pop you right down onto a path through the dunes and to the beach, we don't imagine being inside too much.
Expansive views from every window frame the Carmel River as it meanders through this redwood forest above the Northern California coast. It's a 24-7 watery getaway that's just minutes from the ocean cliffside destinations of Carmel and Pebble Beach.
You're going to wake up in the master bedroom, open the sliding glass door to the private deck and gaze down at the breakers...now if you can get your friends who slept in the second bedroom or on the queen-size pullout couch to deliver your coffee to you, you're set.
Up at the top of the Cali coastline, just outside the quiet fishing village of Trinidad, peaceful Moonstone Beach waits for you to take long strolls, since it will be beckoning to you from every room of this sweet single family home. There's a gas grill on the deck for sunset meals overlooking the ocean.
Square footage is at a top-dollar premium in Santa Monica, the seaside hamlet that's arguably Los Angeles's breezy better half. This new hosting concept is tailored to millennials, with most of the amenities being public—a pool table in the herringbone-floored common area, for example—while rooms are clean, simple and reasonably priced. In this room, up to four guests get two queen beds and a private bath, in a spot that's a quick Lyft ride to the Santa Monica Pier.
This groovy two-story home is five minutes from the wide flat sand of Long Beach and a six-minute walk from the upscale shops of Belmont. The patio back at the house has a hot tub and a barbecue, and the whole home is set up for entertaining, with an open-plan kitchen that opens onto a table that seats 12. Oh, and there's a fireplace, natch.
This one bedroom home is half writer's retreat, half beach house. The one-bedroom home comes with the use of two beach cruisers that will take you to the Montecito beach, beloved by local residents from Oprah to Meghan Markle. And an outside table in the private yard is where you'll want to take most of your meals, since the weather in Montecito is in the sunny 70s year-round.
With easy access to Redondo Beach, this open-access contemporary home is ideal for entertaining, with a roomy loft-like feel to the rooms and sunlight aplenty, including on the second-level balcony. With three bedrooms (one room has bunk beds suitable for kids), this is an ideal extended family getaway.
A half-mile from the beach, this bright San Diego one-bedroom apartment has a terrace and one bedroom, and the clean white decor exudes California cool. The marble-clad kitchen has a central island where you'll prepare breakfast before enjoying it in your private outdoor space, then exploring the area, from admiring the seals at the Children's Pool to a sea kayaking expedition to the Sea Caves.
You're getting a rare taste of the oligarch lifestyle with the right-on-the-sand location of this home on Malibu's Carbon Beach (nicknamed "Billionaire Row"). The home's one bedroom has two beds, and you can walk to your choice of world-famous restaurants or modest cafes, as well as take surf and paddleboarding lessons if you're exceedingly energetic. Otherwise, feel free to just take the stairs to the sand and let the backing begin.
Overlooking the slice of Cambria beach that allows dogs to frolic off-leash, this home has clean white decor throughout its great room and three bedrooms. But it's the location, two blocks to the beach, that will have you and your four-legged family members most excited.
Anyone who's ever hit a popular beach knows that the big hassle is parking, but that's taken care of in this three-bedroom condominium that's got two parking spaces assigned it in the garage, and is just steps from the sand, no driving required. Recently refreshed in neutral tones inside, and with a private enclosed patio area inside a gated area for the littles, this condo has something to please all family members. (And did we mention, no parking hassles?)
Fall asleep to the sound of the ocean, since you're sitting right on the sand in this two-bedroom, two-bath home. Along with the views from every room, a highlight is the large glass-enclosed deck that gives you a 160-degree view of the seaside, maybe while you are cooking a meal on the gas grill or just enjoying a glass of wine in front of the fire pit, keeping an eye out for migrating whales and leaping dolphin.
Located on a bluff with ocean views, we're not sure what's going to seem more perfectly beachy—coffee on the deck in the morning, watching the fog burn off the shore, or a glass of wine after dinner in front of the fireplace.
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