Traveling to the West – a vacation rental guide

Hopping over the Continental Divide used to be a feat thought impossible. Then the pioneers did it, with arduous wagon trails and caravans lasting years. These days, it's a simple matter of jumping in the auto and cruising the interstates, or a short-haul domestic flight somewhere special. The real challenge now is surely picking where you want to go. From the snow-mantled Cascades of Washington to the toppling hoodoos of Arizona, it's one of the most enticing and adventure-ready regions in the whole world.

Top articles to find your ideal southern California vacation rentals

Booking Maui vacation home rentals

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The beautiful island of Maui has long been the source of dreams and fantasies for world travelers.

Booking Las Vegas, NV, vacation rentals

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Self-proclaimed Sin City isn't just about hopping make-believe Venetian canals and the spouting Bellagio fountains of The Strip.

Booking vacation rentals in San Diego, California

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All sorts houses for rent in San Diego pepper America's Finest City – as its nickname would have it.

Where to book Santa Cruz vacation rentals

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As the Giant Dipper lurches up and down on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and the sealions bark on the wharfs, everyone from skaters to surfers to families finds a way to have a darn great time in this West Coast resort. As far as Santa Cruz rentals go, there are all sorts. You can venture along Monterey Bay to discover wood-built lodges tucked above golden beaches. Or, you can stay in the city itself, where chic apartments meet suburban homes with pools.

Booking vacation rentals in Arizona

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Dusty ranches set beneath carved bluffs meet adobe pueblo homes that can transport you back centuries on the line-up of AZ rentals. These are the places that can whisk you out to the ochre-glowing towers of Monument Valley, to the cathedral-like ridges of stunning Sedona, or even the bucket-list-busting lookouts of the great Grand Canyon National Park. They really are a dream come true for anyone after a proper adventure in the Wild West.

Booking Northern California vacation rentals

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Northern California is a treasure trove of destinations that has something for all ages. Of course, the wilder side of things is well known – this is the province of Yosemite National Park, the giant redwoods, the salt-sprayed Sonoma Coast. But what about the cities? San Francisco is surely center stage. It's vast Bay Area includes country towns under Mount Diablo, the wine haven of Napa, and the tech hubs of Silicon Valley, around which Mountain View rentals and San Jose rentals beckon to the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Where to book Washington Coast vacation rentals

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Think you've seen it all with the Washington Cascades and the winding Yakima River? Think again. The Evergreen State crashes into the cold Pacific Ocean on its westernmost side, offering up a whole string of amazing destinations that are about fir forests and salty bays. Whidbey Island rentals are just a taste of the sort of getaways you can find there, alone and huddled by pebble coves on the Puget Sound. Then come Bainbridge Island rentals and Sequim's rentals, where you'll hike and swim and sail under the shadow of the glacial Olympic Mountains. And there are oodles more beyond…

Booking San Francisco vacation rentals

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With efficient BART trains and buses connecting the whole metroplex of San Francisco, you can settle in pretty much any Bay Area rental and still look forward to knocking the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, and Alcatraz Island off the bucket list. That also means there's plenty of room to get creative with where you stay. Options include Napa Valley lodges on the far north-eastern fringes of the area, salt-sprayed cottages by Ocean Beach, or grand homes down in happening Palo Alto.

Booking vacation rentals in Bend, Oregon

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As the Deschutes River wiggles by and the snow-capped Cascades loom overhead, the humble rentals of Bend, Oregon, stud the lonely buttes and woodlands. They are great for intrepid travelers who want to pack days full of arduous hikes up ancient volcanic chutes, or carve lines in the powder of Mt Bachelor – an acclaimed ski area. And when the action's over? This beer-loving resort has more craft stores and microbreweries than you could possibly get through in a single week.

Booking Los Angeles vacation rentals

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Los Angeles vacation rentals can be whatever you want, wherever you want. Take Malibu's minimalist villas. They have infinity pools and gorgeous gardens tumbling over bluffs to golden beaches. Compare that to the kitsch cottages of Venice. That's where you'll spy iron pumpers in Muscle Beach and rock out to The Doors tribute bands. Then go to Hollywood, where sleek apartments spill onto the Sunset Boulevard. Or, choose the bays of the OC for surf shacks and sumptuous townhouses.

Booking vacation rentals in Big Bear, CA

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Just an hour in the car from the end of the Inland Empire in the highlands of the San Bernardino Mountains, the hidden resort town of Big Bear Lake beckons with all sorts of R&R. Off-pisters can pull on the boots and hit the trails – there are routes to the top of Snow Summit and Butler Peak. Shoppers get boutique stores and designer mountain clothing shops to hop between. And there are snowy runs for skiers from December to March, some shooting straight down to ski-in Big Bear rentals that look every inch the alpine lodge.

Booking vacation rentals in Monterey, CA

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There's a real West Coast adventure waiting to be had the moment you step outside any rental in Monterey, CA. This town clutches the base of world-famous Monterey Bay – home to sea lions, splashing whales, and the crashing swells of Santa Cruz. In the other direction, the Big Sur rears its rugged head, showcasing vistas of coast waterfalls and craggy inlets. Up above, beyond the salty fishing wharfs and chowder holes, you can go for pine woods and vineyards in the Carmel Valley.

Top destinations for vacation rentals in Oregon

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Oregon is one of the quintessential cut-outs of the West. It passes through dusty desert, snow-mantled mountain ranges, primeval woods, and untamed ocean vistas. That all draws 1000s of intrepid travelers, who come in search of Black Butte ranch rentals that will leave them feeling like a bona fide cowboy. Others prefer the vacation rentals in Coos Bay – Oregon's beach and whale-watching hub. And there's more – think lonely treehouses in redwood groves or long-lost cabins up in the depths of the Columbia Gorge.

Top destinations for vacation rentals in Colorado

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The wild and wonderful Centennial State is a chocolate box of treats for anyone pining after an experience of the American West. The Rockies rise like daggers and spikes here, forging a Front Range of summits that's hard to ignore from Denver or Colorado Springs. Go beyond that and you can settle in peaceful Evergreen rentals that are set on spruce-covered plateaus by icy lakes and cascading waterfalls. There are deluxe alpine lodges in Aspen, too, or homes primed for budding hikers in the selection of vacation rentals in Boulder, CO.

Booking vacation rentals in Breckenridge, Colorado

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Just an hour in the car from the end of the Inland Empire in the highlands of the San Bernardino Mountains, the hidden resort town of Big Bear Lake beckons with all sorts of R&R. Off-pisters can pull on the boots and hit the trails – there are routes to the top of Snow Summit and Butler Peak. Shoppers get boutique stores and designer mountain clothing shops to hop between. And there are snowy runs for skiers from December to March, some shooting straight down to ski-in Big Bear rentals that look every inch the alpine lodge.

Booking Utah vacation rentals

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Rentals in Utah crisscross the Beehive State. Some sit in the clean-cut downtown of Salt Lake City, while others are in bustling college towns like Provo, surrounded by science museums and art exhibits. As you venture away from those, it all becomes about the great outdoors. The Wasatch Range crowns the horizon, holding alpine-style chalets at the foot of its ski runs, and elegant summer lodges in Park City. Elsewhere, the Arches National Park and Bryce Canyon roll down to the Zion National Park, presenting carved and chiseled landscapes of natural bridges and ochre-tinted bluffs you'll never, ever forget.

The best destinations for vacation rentals in Arizona

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From Glendale to Bullhead, Parker to Sun City, there are all sorts of enacting destinations peppering the map of Arizona. Among them, you'll find the likes of Peoria rentals, each a stepping stone to the Tonto National Forest and the buzzing, arty hub of downtown Phoenix. Or, there are Green Valley, AZ, rentals, all wedged into a bucolic valley that's filled with traditional ranches and cowboy towns. And that's only the beginning, too.

Booking vacation rentals in California

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The Golden State is up there with the most visited corners of the country. It's not hard to see why. Down south, it's caressed by curling Pacific waves, which make towns like La Jolla and Encinitas virtually irresistible to lovers of the longboard ride. Further north, you hit groves of mighty sequoia trees – too large, even, to be hugged by a whole family joining hands. Back inland, Lake Tahoe mingles with Yosemite, and gritty cities pulse with Bakersfield guitar and Mexicana heritage. To stake your place, choose one of the amazing California vacation rentals that await.

The best locations for San Luis Obispo vacation rentals

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Cruise up the Pacific Coast Highway – hey, it already sounds like an awesome western adventure – and hit Cambria vacation rentals to get a taste of the Central Coast. This region is famed for its uninhabited bays and big cliffs, stretching for 100s of miles between LA and San Francisco. There are some unmissable spots along the way, too. Take the ancient geological history that awaits by Morro Bay rentals. Or, beeline for Hearst Castle for a masterclass in art and architecture.

Booking Maui vacation home rentals

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The beautiful island of Maui has long been the source of dreams and fantasies for world travelers. Inspiring thoughts of hibiscus-fringed beaches and sea grape-clad golf courses, glassy surf breaks and lagoons laden with multi-colored coral reefs, it's the stuff of legends. Thankfully, it rarely disappoints. Choose Hawaii vacation rentals in Maui to see for yourself. You'll find them poking out from jungles on the east coast, huddling with luxury resorts on the west coast, and peppering deep canyons and plantations inland.

Booking Colorado vacation rentals

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Some say the West really begins in Colorado. It's a state carved through by the high peaks of the Rockies. It's home to some of the finest ski resorts in North America – from Aspen to Vail to Breckenridge, they all have Swiss-style chalets with bubbling hot tubs and ski equipment rooms. The reserves host hiking that will take the breath away – literally. You can hit the trails and seek out disused Gold Rush mines, or step from spa resorts into the majestic canyons of the Garden of the Gods. It all depends on where you book your Colorado rental this year.

Booking vacation rentals in Colorado Springs

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You can bed down in Wild West saloons with slapping doors in Old Colorado City. You can pamper yourself while gazing at the Garden of the Gods hoodoos in Manitou. You can find family-friendly condos and townhouses out in East Colorado Springs. The one thing that unites the lot is that the Front Range of the Rockies is palpably close to all rentals in Colorado Springs. That means iconic hikes to Pikes Peak and underground adventures in hidden caverns can join the itinerary.

Booking vacation rentals in Denver, Colorado

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From boho LoDo to the vast strip malls of the Cherry Creek Shopping District, the fringes of the Front Range to the historic walks of Larimer Square, Denver rentals can transport you to all corners of the Colorado state capital. Some are modern suburban homes that are great for traveling families – think gardens, driveways, and multiple bedrooms. Others will be plush penthouses in urban nightlife areas, with art-filled living rooms and skyline-view balconies.