Home Latest Post For Travelers 10 Most Adorable Coastal California Towns For Your Next Vacation

10 Most Adorable Coastal California Towns For Your Next Vacation

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!

To help you plan your West Coast adventure, we’re taking you on a tour of the most adorable coastal California towns to rent a beach home, from Crescent City all the way down to La Jolla. Let’s go!

Crescent City, California

Seals sit along the coast of Crescent City, California.

“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!

See all Crescent City vacation rentals

Eureka, California

Rent a vacation home in Eureka, California.

“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.

See all Eureka vacation rentals

Mendocino, California

View the coast from the comfort of Mendocino, California vacation rentals.

“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!

See all Mendocino vacation rentals

Monterey, California

Plan a trip to Monterey, California.

“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!

See all Monterey vacation rentals

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

A couple sits on the beach in Carmel, California.

“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!

See all Carmel-by-the-Sea vacation rentals

Cambria, California

Cambria, California

“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!

See all Cambria vacation rentals

Pismo Beach, California

Sunset in Pismo Beach, California.

“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.

See all Pismo Beach vacation rentals

Santa Barbara, California

Boats sit in the harbor in Santa Barbara, California.

“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.

See all Santa Barbara vacation rentals

Laguna Beach, California

Choose a vacation rental in Laguna Beach, California.

“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.

See all Laguna Beach vacation rentals

La Jolla, California

Retreat to La Jolla along the coast of California.

“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!

See all La Jolla vacation rentals

A version of this post is published on the TripAdvisor Rentals blog. FlipKey is a subsidiary of TripAdvisor.