All About Santa Cruz Beach
Known for its world-class surfing along the shores of the Pacific Ocean, Santa Cruz has 29 miles of coastline and soft sand beaches each with its own unique vibe. The beautiful sandstone arches of Natural Bridges State Beach are the perfect place to picnic while watching migrating whales crest the glimmering waves of the Pacific Ocean. Lighthouse Field State Beach is an ideal spot to watch surfers catching the waves at Steamer Lane or pop into the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum.
The Main Beach is by far the most popular in Santa Cruz, housing volleyball courts, beachfront dining, and the iconic Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The Boardwalk is Californias oldest amusement park, complete with hundreds of carnival games and a century-old wooden roller coaster. The sounds of sea lions barking on the rocks fill the air on the nearby wharf, where you can take a stroll down the longest wooden pier in the United States.
Just south of Santa Cruz, Capitola Beachs rainbow of angular, vibrant houses makes the area feel like a serene Mediterranean villa.
Local Weather For Your Stay In Santa Cruz Vacation Rentals
There’s nothing gnarly about the climate in Santa Cruz. Summers are dry and predictably sunny for beachgoers for 260 days a year, with temperatures no higher than the 70s. Winters get coolerin the 40s to 60swith occasional rain, but not enough put a damper on surfing or hiking. Snow? Never. Oh, there’s a bit of fog at night and on summer mornings. Just blame that pesky Monterey Bay. Weather is lovely year-round, but a Santa Cruz vacation rental in winter offers the best wildlife viewing.
Romantic Vacation Rental In Santa Cruz For Couples
- A short walk from top dining options and beach parties
- 2 Guests
- Detached studio with kitchenette and BBQ
Not only is this secluded hideaway cottage super romantic, but its also extremely affordable. Conveniently located a few blocks from Twin Lakes Beach, the cottage is hidden beneath a canopy of tropical ferns and trees, making it feel completely private from the rest of the city.
The studio is laid out like a hotel room, with a small but practical kitchenette, a TV console, and a personal workspace all in the main bedroom.
Best of all, a quiet outside deck offers the perfect spot to enjoy a romantic meal with your loved one.
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Outdoor Activities In Santa Cruz
Amazing vacation houses, beaches and wineries aside, Santa Cruz has bountiful redwoods that make for some scenic camping, hiking and running trails. Redwood zip line tours are available for the adventurous, and then you can relax at the end of the day at a number of spas!
Best Beaches Near Santa Cruz Vacation Rentals
The beaches of Santa Cruz are one of its biggest draws. Vacation rentals put you within reach of places like Natural Bridges State Beach, a tranquil beach and viewing spot for shorebirds, migratory whales, and seals, and Santa Cruz Beach, a popular beach with calm waters and a boardwalk with numerous amusements and surf shops. You’ll also like Lighthouse Field State Beach, an iconic spot with a lighthouse and pathways for strolls and dog walks.
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Best Vacation Rental In Santa Cruz For Friends
- Across the road from the Wharf and Cowells Beach
- 10 Guests
- Cozy and homey house with tons of natural light and space
Sometimes all we feel like is a well-deserved vacation with friends in the sun cooking together, sunbathing and surfing, and exploring local shops and eateries.
Centrally located between the beach and a bunch of dining options, this four-bedroom home is the ideal spot for just that.
The home has a huge open-concept living space with a gourmet kitchen fitted with stainless steel appliances. There is also a propane BBQ on the deck, perfect for a warm summer evening.
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Built in 1907, this beloved landmark contains two century-old rides thatve been designated as national landmarks, one of which was featured in a popular 80s movie about vampires. With two arcades, a two-story mini-golf course, and free Friday night concerts on the beach, the boardwalk is a great way to spend an afternoon or evening at the beach.
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Lovely Tuscan Apartment Blocks From The Beach
Sleeps: 3 guests, 1 bedroomCost: $156/ni
Wow, this place packs a lot of color. Its light and bright with a private balcony and bonus loft. Its located in the Santa Cruz Seabright neighborhood, which is 15 minute walk to Seabright beach and 20 to downtown. Its not right on the beach, but then you have to pay a premium for that. For 1/2 the price of an ocean view rental, you can book this lovely apartment and spend your money wine tasting or eating out. They also have an option for you to rent an adjoining room, so ask the host about that if you want extra space.
Chuck and Susans place is lovely and very quiet. They are very hospitable and include lovely touches such as breakfast stuff, wine etc.
Best Vacation Rental In Santa Cruz For A Weekend
- One road back from Seabright Beach
- 5 Guests
- Bright and spacious interiors with a cozy fireplace
Being so close to San Francisco and San Jose, Santa Cruz is a top destination for weekend vacationers looking to escape the big city. This quaint beach cottage is a perfectly affordable and well-located spot to rent out for a quick visit.
It has everything you might need and more to create a memorable stay, including a fully-equipped kitchen. On a cool weekend, you can cozy up by the indoor fire with your loved ones. On a warm day, lap up the sunshine outside on the lounge deck this home truly is great for all seasons.
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The Best Beaches Near Santa Cruz
1. Lighthouse Field State Beach: Also known as dog beach, as it a pet-friendly area, this beach is one of California’s urban area’s last open headlands.
2. Natural Bridges State Beach: A fabulous place to whale watch and catch a glimpse of Monarch butterflies.
3. Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk: With its world-class surfing amenities and beautiful landscape, Santa Cruz Beach is a favorite with both locals and visitors.
4. Seabright State Beach: Charming, grass-covered hills and the lighthouse that make this beach an alluring place to explore.
5. Wilder Ranch State Park: With nearly 7,000 acres, 34 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian paths woven through seaside gardens and channels, the beach at this state park is a can’t-miss.
Escape Brand New Modern Chic Coastal Retreat
Sleeps: 8 guests, 4 bedrooms with one queen and three kingsCosts: $577/ni
This beach condo rental in Aptos has it all! It has a breezy modern interior, ocean-view deck, a quiet end-unit location and on-site swimming pool. Even the bathroom has cool views. This home is great for a larger family or group of friends, serviced by four bedrooms, large dining table and spacious living room . The deck is like an extra living room with cushy seating and a large barbeque.
Absolutely stunning location with a beautiful home to match. Exactly like the pictures. Sunrises in the master bedroom are once in a lifetime.
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More Wildlife Than You Can Shake A Surfboard At
California gray whales put on a show on their winter migration from the Arctic to warm Baja waters, and Monterey cruise boats will take you to see them. Landlubbers head to Natural Bridges State Park to see monarch butterflies taking a breather on their winter travels. Up the coastal highway, elephant seals are busy breeding at Ano Nuevo State Parkthey don’t mind visitors. Hikers will see birds and other wildlife along Santa Cruz beaches and nearby parks. And a patch of giant sequoias stand at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, just north of the University of California campus.
Beach House Rentals In Santa Cruz
Select your Santa Cruz destination:
Beachside Rentals Inc. now offers our valued guests the ability to book vacation rentals in Santa Cruz and Capitola California through our member network, CaliStays.com. Our partners in the greater Monterey Bay area, Beach House Rentals, provide the excellent service you have come to expect when you #BookDirect with these vacation rental professionals.
Get expert recommendations of things to do in the area from your professional vacation rental managers who have knowledge on the destination. They know the area well and are there to direct you to the best activities and things to see.
Santa Cruz and its neighboring village of Capitola are both just a short one hour and forty five minute drive from San Francisco.
Santa Cruz boasts a number of fun events to explore and things to do year-round. In the Summer head to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk for an evening of family fun, try surf lessons at the famous Cowell’s Beach, or just enjoy the ocean breeze as you stroll along West Cliff Drive.
If you head to Capitola, Santa Cruz’s much smaller neighbor, you’ll find a quaint seaside village filled with boutiques, restaurants and bars. Book a spectacular beach house in the heart of the village with ocean views of the Monterey Bay, and you’ll be walking distance to the Capitola Beach, Capitola Wharf and plenty to do in town.
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Beach Suite With Hot Tub Aquarium Passes E
Sleeps: 3 guests, 1 bedroom, 1 double, 1 single bedCosts: $222/ni
This small studio is styled like a hotel room, but better. For $222/ni, its far cheaper than many hotel rooms in town and its pet friendly. The hosts offer a ton of amenities like a hot tub, pizza oven, and free use of surf boards, e-bikes and guest passes to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. You can also just chill out on the nearby Corcoran Beach. This unit doesnt have a full kitchen, so its ideally suited for a couple who likes to eat out.
This space was small but super cute! The space is private and all the amenities were awesome. We got to ride the electric bikes, walk to the beach, and it was great to be able to bring our furry baby!
As Jacques Yves Cousteau once said: The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever. True that Jacques. Enjoy your beach stay!
Top 20 Vacation Rentals In Santa Cruz
Whether youre a surfer looking to catch the perfect wave or a mountain biker seeking out some exciting terrain, youll find an awesome place to stay in this list.
We have catered to all types of travelers, whether youre traveling solo, in a group, with family, or looking for long-term stays, here youll find the best holiday rentals in Santa Cruz from low-budget to super luxury.
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Wineries Aplenty In Santa Cruz
In addition to the world-class beaches, the Santa Cruz Mountains boast dozens of high class boutique wineries. The Santa Cruz Mountain AVA has a unique soil and climate, which produce fantastic quality grapes. Master winemakers have been producing small-lot, award winning wine for decades now, as recognition slowly spreads for the wine in the Santa Cruz, CA region.
Attractions Near Santa Cruz Vacation Homes
It doesn’t take a culture-vulture to dig the Surfing Museum at the Mark Abbott Lighthouse and the century of surfing history it chronicles. More studious types can explore a variety of art and history and marine museums, plus the gardens of the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum. There’s shopping, galleries, and nightlife in the downtown area. Stroll along the half-mile-long wharf for a closer look at Monterey Bay’s fauna and explore the Beach Boardwalk, whose extensive amusement park offers family-friendly thrill rides and games.
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Nightlife In Santa Cruz
1. The Blue Lagoon: Santa Cruzs largest nightclub offers shows seven nights a week, including DJs and traveling bands from all over the globe.
2. Callahan’s: A classic Irish-style pub great for mingling with the locals and indulging in a game of pool over tasty pints.
3. Brady’s Yacht Club: This spot advertises itself as a trusted neighborhood dive bar where you can have exotic drinks.
4. Moe’s Alley: Enjoy its spacious music hall, full bar, patio, and fabulous live performances.
5. The Redroom: The Red Restaurant and Bar is an elegant nightspot ideal for late-night dining.
Modern Beach House Steps Away From The Ocean
Sleeps: 6 guests, 3 bedrooms, 2 queens, 1 king, 1 cribCost: $389/ni
The gourmet range and large dining table makes this Airbnb rental perfect for a family or group of friends. Theyve made the rental very family friendly with a crib and kids toys. The house has a lot of light and the bathrooms are to die for. The house is located in Opal Cliffs neighborhood which is on a bluff overlooking the ocean and is very close to Moran Lake Beach.
The place is so close to the beach and was gorgeous on the inside. The balcony was perfect for enjoying the sunset and morning coffee.
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Most Unique Vacation Rental In Santa Cruz
- Hidden in the redwoods in Scotts Valley
- 3 Guests
- Authentic barn refurbished with contemporary furniture
If youre up for a break in nature, away from the busy beach crowds, pack your bags and head straight for the redwoods.
This beautiful barn retreat is an unusual stay located on a lush property drenched with sunlight between redwood trees.
This secluded self-catering vacation rental in Santa Cruz has been kitted out with contemporary fittings, warm wooden touches, and cozy furniture. Although it seems super rustic, youll find a brand new kitchen with wooden countertops and top-of-the-range appliances, as well as a stunning marble bathroom in this barn.
Best Vacation Rental In Santa Cruz For Digital Nomads
- A few houses from top surfing beaches
- 6 Guests
- Modern surf-inspired interiors
If youre a digital nomad family who has chosen Santa Cruz as your next destination, its likely because of the summer weather and excellent surf found in the area.
This modern beach house is the best vacation rental in Santa Cruz for digital nomads looking to be in the center of the city bustle, while also being on the beachfront.
The home has been decorated using lots of white fittings, bringing tons of natural light into the space. Barn style sliding doors, a touch of modern glass, and retro-surfboard decorations bring a homey feeling into this contemporary home.
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Beachfront Vacation Rentals In The Santa Cruz County
Situated along Monterey Bay, the Santa Cruz area is perfectly suited for an idyllic vacation on the beach. Scenic stretches of pristine sands, old-fashioned boardwalks and seaside amusement parks, and an easy-going vibe that is downright infectious all characterize the atmosphere of a Santa Cruz vacationespecially when youre enjoying your trip in the lavish comfort of a beachfront vacation rental located in the middle of everything. Check out our selection of beachfront properties below!
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How Do I Get Around Santa Cruz Beach
The closest airport to any Santa Cruz vacation rental is the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport , 40 minutes away by car and 2.5 hours away by public transportation. You can also travel to the city by land, with several long-haul bus services coming from all over the country. Once youre in Santa Cruz, there is an extensive public bus system that serves the city as well as the greater Santa Cruz County region if youre looking to visit any of the nearby beaches and towns. Santa Cruz proper is a very pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly city, with a well-developed network of bike paths that run along most major roads.
The three-mile West Cliff Drive Bicycle Path is an excellent way to take in Santa Cruzs succulent-dotted cliffs and various pocket beaches from above. The paved path runs between Natural Bridges and the Santa Cruz Riverwalk, passing by the main beaches along the way.
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About Santa Cruz Oceanfront Rental On Rent By Owner
With more than 167 oceanfront rentals in or near Santa Cruz, Rent By Owner features many wonderful beachfront places to stay. Are you traveling with groups, families, friends, or as a couple to Santa Cruz? RBO vacation homes will give you maximum comfort and essential amenities such as full kitchens, Wi-Fi, hot tubs, outdoor pools, recreation and theater rooms, laundry facilities, and more for your comfort.
Looking for a beach or oceanfront rental in Santa Cruz with a pool? Rent By Owner has a large selection of villas, condos, cabins, and cottages. There are rentals for both large and small travel groups. RBO vacation homes can assist you in finding the perfect accommodation in Santa Cruz that meets your travel budget, giving you the option to find direct access to the stunning beaches and ocean views, Rent by Owner has plenty of room for an extended family or small family, whether you are looking for a luxury villa, resort, furnished home, cozy condo with breathtaking views with private bedrooms and baths near Santa Cruz, find an oceanfront rental with an amazing view.
Top Rental Accommodation Types In Santa Cruz
Pro Tip: RentByOwner makes it easy to compare the best listings on RBO homes from online vacation rental OTAs, including Booking.com and more. Use the Advanced Filter feature at the top to easily flip between RBO homes, vacation rentals, bed and breakfasts, private Airbnb-style rentals availability, eco-friendly properties, property type, cancellation policies, prices, and several different options. All these make it easier to find the perfect accommodation for your next vacation in Santa Cruz.
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