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Top 10 California Coast Vacations
With over 550 miles of coastline, California is a fantastic destination for vacations – but the options are endless: Do you prefer a vibrant boardwalk culture or a serene beach with few people? A charming inn near Napa Valley or a spectacular resort right next to the Golden Gate Bridge? From San Diego to San Francisco, there are hundreds of locations to choose from, and our Top 10 California Coast Vacations list should help you narrow it down a bit. But luckily, no matter where you visit, you’ll return home with the sun-kissed glow that California is known for!


Aptos , California

+1 (866) 482 - 9587

Bordered by Monterey Bay in the south, the pacific ocean in the west and the Santa Cruz Mountains in the north, Aptos has stunning natural views no matter where you look.

The beautiful city of Aptos originated in 1833 when Mexico granted the land to Rafael Castro. Since then the area has grown into one of the best places in California to relax and observe nature. Begin your visit to the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park, the towering redwoods stand watch over the stunning beaches of the Pacific Ocean. Hike the 30 miles serene trails to witness the history of logging. You will see how nature has reclaimed devastated areas and how the forest has recovered in the 100 years since the logging has ended. Seacliff State Park is another prime outdoor location to experience. The rock cliffs give way to pristine beaches perfect for relaxing under an umbrella. Fishing off the pier for cod and halibut is popular and the pier is also home to the SS Palo Alto, a WW I era prototype cement tanker. When you’re looking for a change of pace visit the Aptos Farmers Market. Voted the best farmers market in California, you’ll find an unparalleled selection of organic produce and specialty foods. The Aptos History Museum provides a comprehensive look at the history of the area from the original Native American residents all the way up to the great earthquake. If you're a connoisseur of wine then try a tour of the Corralitos Wine Trail and sample the wide variety of local wineries that call the Aptos area home. Steeped in rich culture and history Aptos has something to offer all that visit.


The 2010 census lists the population of Aptos at 6,220 people.

Average temperature

What a beautiful place to visit. The average temperature is 74 degrees and they have roughly 260 day with sunshine per year.

Fun facts

Aptos is home to the worlds smallest parade. For over 50 years the residents have celebrated the 4th of July on their .6 mile parade route. The event is free and a fun spectacle for all ages.


URelax Vacation Rentals

Morro Bay, California

+1 (866) 456 - 6156

Once you experience the beauty and charm of a URelax Vacation Rentals, you’ll never want to leave! From Morro Bay to Encinitas, URelax features properties all along the California coast, and all are perfect places to, well, relax!

There are tons of things to see and do in the sunny land of California, and URelax makes the most of them with their superbly located and meticulously cared-for properties. Each exudes class and luxury, but they’re just where you’ll spend a fraction of your time. You came to coastal California to get outside and get active, and URelax has you covered in that department! Kayaking, biking, fishing, beach-combing and just plain relaxing… The list goes on and on. One thing is for certain- you’ll have a fantastic time.


259 Morro Bay Blvd, Morro Bay, CA 93442


URelax has properties in five cities!

Fun facts

Lake Nacimiento is famous for its 165 miles of unspoiled shoreline, its reputation for the greatest water skiing in California, and its great White Bass fishing.


Bluewater Vacation Homes

San Diego, California

+1 (866) 980 - 6572

For quality vacation rentals in San Diego, Mission Beach, Mission Bay, Pacific Beach, and La Jolla, Bluewater's catalog is incomparable.

With such a huge selection of premium rentals, it's more than likely Bluewater has a home that perfectly fits your taste and budget. Simply browse their online catalog or give their friendly staff a call! They'll be more than happy to assist you in finding your dream rental. All rentals have a close proximity to the crazy amount of things to do and see San Diego is notorious for. Check out luxury restaurants and spacious beaches- you won't regret either!


926 Turquoise St F, San Diego, CA 92109


San Diego had an estimated population of 1,394,928 as of July 1, 2015.

Fun facts

In 1850, San Diego became part of the United States following the Mexican–American War and the admission of California to the union.


Capistrano Realty

Dana Point, California

+1 (866) 980 - 6579

If you're looking for a sunshine-filled, getaway, look no further than Capistrano Realty, where every home is right on the beach!

Capistrano's diverse catalog includes anything and everything you could want from a rental company. From quaint little beach cottages to beautiful ocean front homes, your party will be incredibly happy with your accommodations.Walk outside your rental and you have the bounty of Dana Point at your fingertips. Step off your private patio and sink your toes in the sand or take a stroll for some nearby fine dining and shopping. The more adventurous will enjoy dolphin and whale watching, sport fishing, and coastal cruises. The whole world is at your fingertips at Capistrano Realty!


34700 Coast Hwy, Capistrano Beach, CA 92624

Related activities

Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, Lego Land, Universal Studios, Sea World, and The San Diego Zoo & Wild Animal Park are all just an easy drive away.

Fun facts

Capistrano Realty has been a go-to destination for over 53 years!



Calistoga, California

View +1 (707) 942 - 4200

Mother Nature has thoroughly blessed our No. 5 spot: luxury seeps through the soil. From hot springs with mineral rich waters to perfect soil and clime for vineyards, Calistoga is a charming town with the most indulgent features.

This isn’t the kind of place you’ll find high rise resorts and hotels; rather, experience a smaller venue – the classic bed and breakfast. Calistoga is a great place for romantic getaways – the two of you can explore the stunning natural scenery and local gourmet cuisine. And obviously, you can’t leave Napa Valley without visiting one or two (or seven) vineyards. Delve into the complexities of Cabernets and the refreshing notes of a Riesling at world-renowned vineyards – Sterling, Robert Mondavi and many more. Hop on the Napa Valley Wine Train or create your own vineyard schedule. The Old Faithful Geyser of California is just minutes from Calistoga and an impressive attraction. Make sure to visit at least one Calistoga spa – these spas feature unique mineral baths, naturally-heated geothermal pools and top-quality mud treatments. And the nightlife is just as vibrant as the day activities: award-winning restaurants, live music, dancing and more!

Fun facts

Calistoga was established in 1885 by Samuel Brannan, California’s first millionaire.

Related Onsite Offerings

Calistoga offers a wide range of shopping, from unique, handcrafted jewelry to top quality wine shops.


With its natural hot springs resources, Calistoga is one of the best spa towns in America!


Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach, California

View +1 (800) 999 - 2089

The dynamic coastal views are what made our No. 6 pick popular – Plein Air artists migrated to Laguna Beach, creating spectacular landscape paintings. Within a few years, half of Laguna Beach’s residents were artists. And now, Laguna Beach offers creative inspiration to artists and travelers alike!

The coastal views and beaches always are forefront in Laguna Beach vacations. How can they not – Laguna Beach boasts some of the best beaches in California, from surfing spots to diving coves. Divers Cove is a popular family beach and Boat Canyon is a great spot for diving. After you’ve had enough of the sunny Orange County weather for one day, take your vacation to indoor venues – Laguna Beach is a quaint village, easy to get around on foot. The shops here feature one-of-a-kind artistic creations, from jewelry to glass blowing – so make sure to take home a unique piece of this incredible California region. The dining here is varied and delicious, with flavors from all over the world – Mexican, Italian, Caribbean, Japanese, Indian and more!

Fun facts

Laguna Beach is famous for its art festivals, including Festival of Arts, Sawdust Art Festival and others!

Getting there

From the North – Take the 405 or 5 South, exit Hwy 133 South. The 133 South turns into Laguna Canyon Road and becomes Broadway. Make a left on Beach – it will dead-end at Beach and Forest with the Visitors Center right in front of you.


Palm Springs

Rancho Mirage, California

View +1 (800) 458 - 8786

Our No. 7 pick takes you just slightly in off the coast – though still within easy access of California’s sugar sand beaches. Palm Springs offers an incredibly diverse landscape, filled with outdoor activities and indoor luxury.

Outdoor enthusiasts love the terrain of Palm Springs, which ranges from rocky gorges to unusual rock formations. From giant palm trees to pine forests, Palm Springs is a hiker’s dream. And if you’re just overwhelmed by the vast beauty of this region, you can take a hot air balloon ride or helicopter tours to see it all from above. Go horseback riding through the pristine desert or take a hummer tour into beautiful remote locations. Get in a bus to see where celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Elvis and Liberace lived. The shopping in Palm Springs is as celebrated as its outdoor activities. Explore a vast collection of mid-century retailers, fashion boutiques, art galleries and more. Each month, the Backstreet Art District showcases a variety of artist-owned galleries and working studios – a must-see! After all that excitement, return to your Palm Springs resort for relaxation and spa treatments.


Palm Springs golf courses are world-renowned – the Indian Wells Golf Course was featured on Golfweek’s Top 20 “Best Courses You Can Play” in California!

Related Onsite Offerings

The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies offers famous, Broadway-caliber shows, featuring music, dance and comedy.

Related activities

Palm Springs features a number of spa experiences, with massage, body treatments and regional ingredients.


Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay, California

View +1 (800) 710 - 0778

Just 28 miles south of San Francisco rests our No. 8 California vacation destination: Half Moon Bay. This seaside village offers a historic downtown, local farmers’ markets and miles of coastline with truly incredible views.

A quiet and friendly town, Half Moon Bay gives visitors a sense of California hospitality and culture. Roadside stands offer local agriculture and floriculture, from locally grown fruit to herbs. The dining is just as wholesome, offering farm-fresh organic produce and some of the freshest catches on the coast. Go horseback riding along the beautiful beaches or through orchards. October is one of the more festive times of year, with pumpkin patches, pony rides and arts & crafts – a perfect family vacation spot. There are plenty of beaches to explore, including Gray Whale Cove, on which you can often spot gray whales! Stop by Pillar Point Harbor to watch a working fishing harbor in action, unloading their daily catch of squid, crabs, salmon, rockfish and more. Half Moon Bay Coastside has a variety of unique shops in the historic downtown area – choose from artistic jewelry, gourmet chocolates and more. Plus, make sure to browse the famous general store.

Related Onsite Offerings

The Pigeon Point Lighthouse is one of the most photographed lighthouses in the US!


For a beautiful hike, try the Coastside Trail in Half Moon Bay, which follows the scenic ocean bluffs between Pillar Point Harbor and Poplar Avenue.

Fun facts

Half Moon Bay is the oldest town in San Mateo County – it dates back to 1840!


Moonstone Beach

Cambria, California

View +1 (888) 910 - 7100

Moonstone Beach is one of Cambria’s most charming and scenic spots, and our No. 9 California Coast vacation destination. Stay here and have spectacular ocean views, plus all the area attractions of Cambria.

For a romantic California getaway, look no further than this unspoiled beach area. This is the opposite of crowded, touristy beaches; Moonstone Beach gives your California beach getaway a softer side and a romantic ambience. You’re likely to find semi-precious jasper stones, sea otters and even whales from the shoreline. Cambria is equally as appealing – this city features a boardwalk, one of the top glass art galleries in the US, free trolley rides and much more. Make sure to visit the Hearst Castle, an architectural masterpiece, designed by famed Julia Morgan. This property has 165 rooms and 126 acres of landscaping and took builders nearly 28 years to finish! Other area historic attractions include Nit Wit Ridge and the Padras Blancas Light Station. And if Cambria is too restrictive for you, San Luis Obispo is just minutes away. This incredible area is famous for its vineyards, beaches and its rich culture.

Related Onsite Offerings

Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay offers whale watching tours, live bait, tackle, licenses and rentals.

Fun facts

Cambria began as a fishing and quicksilver mining town.

Getting there

From the south, take Hwy 101 to San Luis Obispo (Morro Bay, Hearst Castle Exit sign) to Hwy 1. From the north, take Hwy 101 to Hwy 46 (Cambria Exit Sign) to Hwy 1.


San Francisco Bay

Pacifica, California

View +1 (800) 832 - 4777

Alcatraz. The Golden Gate Bridge. Fisherman’s Wharf. Cable cars buzzing down steep streets. Our No. 10 pick can be identified by any one of these attributes. San Francisco is a place unlike any other – and an iconic destination for your California coast getaway!

Combine the serene, scenic California coastline with the vibrant culture of San Francisco. The beaches are wonderful for refreshing walks and whale watching. Walk the steep streets, or explore the city the easier way – aboard a cable car. Fisherman’s Wharf offers a seaside ambience and incredibly fresh seafood, from little stands to fine dining restaurants overlooking the harbor. Alcatraz tours leave right from Fisherman’s Wharf and offer a fascinating look at San Francisco history. Hike up Telegraph Hill to see the 210-foot Coit Tower, offering panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and downtown San Francisco. And no trip to San Francisco is complete without crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. Rent a bike and ride across the bridge and onto miles of mountain biking paths of Golden Gate National Recreation Area! San Francisco is more than just a great California coast vacation – it’s a city layered in history.


Explore the streets lined with houses featuring Victorian architecture, including the Painted Ladies – some of the most photographed streets in the country!

Related Onsite Offerings

Formerly a hippie hub, Haight Ashbury presents an area of San Francisco that’s rich in history, creativity, shopping and more!

Related activities

Explore San Francisco’s Chinatown for authentic cuisine and a ton of shopping!