Santa Cruz vacation rentals

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Popular amenities for Santa Cruz vacation rentals

Stay near Santa Cruz's top sights

Santa Cruz Wharf143 locals recommend
West Cliff Drive193 locals recommend
Pacific Avenue88 locals recommend
Ocean View Park18 locals recommend
Trader Joe's165 locals recommend
Seymour Marine Discovery Center80 locals recommend

Quick stats about vacation rentals in Santa Cruz

  • Total rentals

    1.4K properties

  • Rentals with dedicated workspaces

    570 properties have a dedicated workspace

  • Rentals with a pool

    80 properties have a pool

  • Pet-friendly rentals

    320 properties allow pets

  • Family-friendly rentals

    810 properties are a good fit for families

  • Total number of reviews

    111K reviews

Your guide to Santa Cruz

All About Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is the quintessential California beach town, where the waves are big, the vibe is laid-back, and every third person has a surfboard hanging out of their jeep. Here you'll find a treasure trove of funky thrift shops side by side with locavore restaurants that source their ingredients from nearby farms. The infamous Santa Cruz Beach, just a stone's throw away from downtown, is known for its vintage boardwalk and surf culture (the modern wetsuit was invented here). Venture inland to the Santa Cruz Mountains and you'll be greeted by nearly 2,000-year-old redwood trees and a handful of California’s most forward-thinking wineries. And there's no shortage of unique rentals to call home for your stay, from leafy beach bungalows on Laurel Street to relaxing Spanish revival abodes lining Soquel Avenue and the Victorian homes of Beach Hill.

The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Santa Cruz

June through August are the warmest and driest months in Santa Cruz, coinciding with peak travel season. Something to keep in mind: A coastal California phenomenon known as June gloom means that fog is known to creep in during early summer, potentially impacting your beach-going plans. Late summer tends to be more reliable for sunny days, and fall is actually one of the best times of year for cloudless skies, pleasant weather, and fewer crowds; October still maintains high temperatures in the 70s Fahrenheit. January and February are the wettest and coldest months, with just over 6 inches of average rainfall and an average low of 42 degrees.

Top things to do in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has attracted visitors for more than a century and is one of only two existing coastal amusement parks on the West Coast. This outdoor stretch boasts roller coasters, concession stands, and dozens of carnival games, all set against the backdrop of the dazzling ocean.

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

Save a day for a trip to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, four miles north of town. A 40-acre grove of sky-scraping old-growth redwood trees is the main draw, but the trails expand into other habitats including grassland, rivers, and sand hills. You can explore it via hiking trails, bike, or horseback.


This cheery seaport village in Santa Cruz County is worth a visit for its unique Easter egg-colored cottages and seafood restaurants. Shops and galleries sell crafts and artwork by local artists, and the beach is perfectly positioned for a sunset stroll.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How is the weather in Santa Cruz?

    Santa Cruz experiences a Mediterranean climate with mild, wet winters and dry, warm summers. Average temperatures typically range from 70°F (21°C) in summer to 50°F (10°C) in winter.

  • What are some of the best things to do in Santa Cruz?

    In Santa Cruz, you can explore the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, enjoy a walk along West Cliff Drive, or visit the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum. Surfing enthusiasts may also enjoy the waves at Steamer Lane or Pleasure Point.

  • What is the best time of year to visit Santa Cruz?

    The most frequented time to visit Santa Cruz is during the summer months, from June to August. During this time, many visitors come for the Wharf to Wharf Race in July, and the Santa Cruz Shakespeare Festival, which runs from July to September.

  • What are the best places to stay in Santa Cruz?

    Visitors to Santa Cruz often choose to stay in Downtown, West Cliff Drive, or Pleasure Point neighborhoods. Downtown is known for its vibrant culture, West Cliff Drive for its beautiful coastline, and Pleasure Point for its laid-back surf vibe.

  • What are the best places to visit in Santa Cruz?

    Santa Cruz has many popular places to visit, such as the Natural Bridges State Beach, the Santa Cruz Wharf, or the Mystery Spot. The Seymour Marine Discovery Center is also a great place to explore marine life.

  • What are some hiking trails in Santa Cruz?

    Santa Cruz has numerous trails for hiking enthusiasts. Some frequent choices are the Skyline to the Sea Trail, the Old Growth Loop at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, and the trails at Wilder Ranch State Park.

  • What are some family activities to do in Santa Cruz?

    Families visiting Santa Cruz can enjoy a picnic at Mission Hill Plaza, explore marine life at the Santa Cruz Wharf, or take a scenic train ride through the redwoods with Roaring Camp Railroads. The Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History is also a hit with families.

  • What are some of the best day trip ideas in Santa Cruz?

    For a day trip, consider exploring the natural beauty of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, or take a journey to the nearby city of San Jose. Another frequently suggested day trip is to the quaint town of Capitola, just a short drive away.

  • What types of vacation rentals are available in Santa Cruz?

    Uncover the perfect home-away-from-home with our diverse selection of vacation rentals in Santa Cruz. From over 50 cottage rentals, over 130 apartment rentals to over 750 house rentals, we've got you covered. For even more variety, explore our Airbnb Categories to find the ideal space for your getaway.

  • Are there pet-friendly vacation rentals in Santa Cruz?

    Four-legged friends are welcome in Santa Cruz. Choose from more than 320 vacation rentals for guests traveling with pets.

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