One trip to California and it’ll be immediately apparent why many say the West Coast is the best coast. Its rugged coastline boasts jaw-dropping views of the sparkling Pacific Ocean, while the countless beach towns lining the shore are positively charming. Swim, sunbathe, shop or eat during your California getaway—the possibilities are endless!
“Made us feel right at home, cozy and warm…sipping hot chocolate in the observatory while watching the waves hit the shore. Would definitely recommend” – FlipKey Traveler
Crescent City hugs the coast of Northwest California just 20 miles south of Oregon. It was named after the crescent-shaped strip of sand just south of the town center and boasts wild beaches and grand redwood forests. Climb to the top of Battery Point Lighthouse for panoramic views of the coast or explore the densely forested Jebediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Each tree is bigger than the next!
“We truly enjoyed our stay…so much so that we already booked another week for this summer!” – FlipKey Traveler
Whether your stop in Eureka is planned or you find yourself in town after a split-second decision to pull over to marvel at the ocean views, this adorable West Coast community is a must-visit! It’s brimming with unique things to do and an excellent destination for a family adventure. Drive along the scenic Redwood Highway, visit the Sequoia Park Zoo, or simply curl up on the couch in the comfort of your Victorian home rental.
“Silence (except for the surf and the birds), peace and serenity. Go enjoy and be prepared to be blown away!” – FlipKey Traveler
Mendocino flies under the radar as one of California’s top coastal towns for a beach getaway. This means you get to enjoy the unspoiled natural setting and laid-back, hippy vibes without the crowds. Stroll through downtown Mendocino past alluring art galleries and inviting restaurants, or hike the towering oceanfront bluffs and secluded nature trails. Just make sure you keep your camera at the ready for the perfect photo-op!
“Whale watching from ‘inside’ our Penthouse became our favorite activity! Our month-long stay was a dream-come-true!!” – FlipKey Traveler
Described by travelers as a “perfect place for a restful getaway,” Monterey is the ideal coastal escape. Not only does it offer the shimmering Pacific Ocean at your fingertips, but it’s also a convenient spot to rent a vacation home if you’re planning to make day trips to nearby Carmel, Big Sur and Wine Country. During your West Coast stay, trek to the hilltops for panoramic sea views, explore the bay via kayak, or pack a picnic and simply take it all in from the comfort of your beach chair. While Monterey’s rugged coastline is a breathtaking attraction in and of itself, this destination is so much more than just a pretty place!
“It felt like our home away from home, and maybe even better.” – FlipKey Traveler
Carmel-by-the-Sea is nothing short of spectacular. With its dramatic mountainous backdrop and seaside charm, you’ll be swept away by the beauty of this coastal California town. Along the water, take in sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. Downtown, indulge at the spa, dine al fresco or shop the local boutiques. Whether it’s a romantic escape you’re after or a fun beach retreat, Carmel-by-the-Sea is a world-class choice!
“Just what we needed to soothe our souls!” – FlipKey Traveler
Cambria is a haven for beachgoers, outdoor enthusiasts and travelers looking to escape it all on vacation. The picturesque destination unfolds along Central California’s shore and offers a beautiful place to retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s free of retail chains and features a refreshing emphasis on natural beauty and one-of-a-kind attractions, including the iconic Hearst Castle. Hop on a bike to explore, saunter down Main Street or plant yourself in the sand at Moonstone Beach—you can’t go wrong in Cambria!
“Our destination of choice for a great weekend getaway! We will be back again and again!” – FlipKey Traveler
Think choice surfing, lush green golf courses and an unhurried pace of life in Pismo Beach. Located roughly midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, this oceanfront town is a great home base for those looking to explore the West Coast. Cast your fishing line at Pismo Pier and let the hours slip by, test your balance during a surfing lesson, or book a tee time for a leisurely round of golf. No matter what you do during your time here, Pismo Beach is sure to impress travelers of all interests.
“I teared up when it was time to leave. I’ll have to live on memories til our next visit.” – FlipKey Traveler
Often described as the “American Riviera,” Santa Barbara is where coastal charm and scenic landscapes meet historic landmarks and cultural sites. Its warm, breezy weather, access to world-class beaches, and variety of shops and restaurants make this city along the Pacific a popular destination all year long. Admire Mediterranean-style buildings while learning about the city’s Spanish colonial heritage, walk down fig tree-lined paths along the shoreline… a trip to Santa Barbara offers a breath of fresh air.
“Cannot beat the location. The ocean lulled us to sleep every night!!!” – FlipKey Traveler
Travelers flock to Laguna Beach in Southern California for many reasons. For some, it’s the abundant sunshine and mild weather. For others, it’s the array of eclectic art galleries! Still, many come simply to enjoy the town’s picturesque beaches and coves. Book a Laguna Beach vacation rental just steps from the Pacific and catch the first wave of the day or choose a cliffside home and watch the sun melt into the ocean every evening. Paradise found.
“This is the most relaxing vacation we have had in years. Our family could not be happier.” – FlipKey Traveler
It’s all about the beach in La Jolla: sunbathe on the shore, perfect your stance surfing, or snorkel through sea caves. Even seals are drawn to the majestic coastline here! If you want to be near the water without getting wet, book a tee time at Torrey Pines, La Jolla’s premier golf course, or get a bird’s eye view of the area on a private helicopter tour. Situated just north of San Diego, this seaside community is easy to reach, but we bet it’ll be tough to leave!
A version of this post is published on the TripAdvisor Rentals blog. FlipKey is a subsidiary of TripAdvisor.