Where to stop and stay on your California road trip

Contrary to what you might think, some of the best weather all year has just arrived in California. Many cities along California’s coast experience chilly summers, wrought with fog and ocean mist, but starting in September, temperatures rise and lead the way to long, pleasant, sun-filled days and glorious sunsets. Now is the time to pack your bags and hit the road with the family. We’ve put together a guide on where to stop along the way, with recommendations for vacation rental homes to stay in that are perfect fits for the whole family.  

San Diego

Start in sunny San Diego to take full advantage of the warm September temperatures. San Diego is full of rich history from California’s start and offers activities for the whole family to enjoy. Visit the first mission ever built in California, Mission San Diego de Alcalá, and take a self-guided tour of the grounds, or spend the day at the San Diego Zoo, the most-visited zoo in the world. This 2-bedroom, 2-bath home is right around the corner from the zoo and offers room for a family of six. It’s even outfitted with a crib in the master bedroom for new parents!

Rent this Spanish-style home near the zoo.

Los Angeles

If you’re in the Los Angeles area with your family, Disneyland is a must-stop location. Luckily, you can stay at this playful and recently remodeled home just one mile from the park in Anaheim, a neighboring city to Los Angeles. A six-minute walk gets you on the ART (Anaheim Resort Transit) and straight to the park. There’s space for everyone to enjoy in this home, from the convenient kitchen to prepare breakfast for the whole family each morning to the Mickey Mouse–shaped community pool for the kids to bring Disney back home at the end of the day. 

Rent this colorful home next to Disneyland.

Santa Barbara

Another historic stop on your California road trip is Santa Barbara. Filled with Spanish-style architecture and the sound of waves crashing on the beach, Santa Barbara is a quintessential California beach town, complete with beach cruiser bikes and palm trees. This quaint 2-bedroom cottage is three blocks from State Street, the main street downtown filled with shops, restaurants, and coffee shops. The whole family will feel right at home with the relaxing front porch and bedrooms upstairs that feel like a treehouse.

Rent this charming cottage. 

San Francisco

A California road trip is not complete without driving across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Connecting San Francisco and Marin County to the north, the bridge was built in 1937 and spans almost two miles! San Francisco is also known for its Vitctorian homes, like this 3-bedroom charmer. Nestled in the heart of the city in the Noe Valley neighborhood, this home gives you tons of options for food, drink, and activities just a few blocks away. With a large backyard outfitted with a barbecue, the home is very well-suited for a larger group or family, which is sometimes hard to come by in the city. 

Book this Victorian home in the heart of San Francisco.

Sonoma