Discover a selection of 500 vacation rentals in Santa Cruz, CA that are perfect for your trip. Whether you’re traveling with friends, family, or even pets, Vrbo vacation homes have the best amenities for hanging out with the people that matter most, including kitchens and swimming pools. Prices start at $129 per night, and houses and cabins are popular options for a stay in Santa Cruz. Either way, you'll find a rental for everyone's needs.
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Destination guide

Explore Santa Cruz from vacation home rentals

Santa Cruz once got into a beachy spat with a more southerly town over who could use the label "Surf City USA." And visitors may detect just a slight whiff of '60s hippie culture. In fact, a Santa Cruz vacation rental will position you well for all kinds of fun, whether it's "shooting the curl" at Steamer Lane, a sedate stroll down the half-mile wharf, hitting the amusement park rides on the Beach Boardwalk, soaking up art and history in the museums, or tackling the trails in the region's many parks.

Things to do

Attractions near Santa Cruz vacation homes

It doesn't take a culture-vulture to dig the Surfing Museum at the Mark Abbott Lighthouse and the century of surfing history it chronicles. More studious types can explore a variety of art and history and marine museums, plus the gardens of the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum. There's shopping, galleries, and nightlife in the downtown area. Stroll along the half-mile-long wharf for a closer look at Monterey Bay's fauna and explore the Beach Boardwalk, whose extensive amusement park offers family-friendly thrill rides and games.

Activities

Things to do near Santa Cruz vacation homes

They didn't get to keep the nickname, but surfing still rules in Santa Cruz, which has 29 miles of sun-soaked shoreline and 11 spots to get amped for the perfect wave—among them Cowells Beach for beginners. A Santa Cruz vacation rental in June is perfect for enjoying the annual Woodies on the Wharf, a parade of pre-1952 wood-sided autos, and the Capitola Rod and Custom Classic Car show. Labor Day is the time for the Capitola Begonia Festival. Special events draw crowds for the Fourth of July, Christmas, and other holidays.

Weather

Local weather for your stay in Santa Cruz vacation rentals

There's nothing gnarly about the climate in Santa Cruz. Summers are dry and predictably sunny for beachgoers for 260 days a year, with temperatures no higher than the 70s. Winters get cooler—in the 40s to 60s—with occasional rain, but not enough put a damper on surfing or hiking. Snow? Never. Oh, there's a bit of fog at night and on summer mornings. Just blame that pesky Monterey Bay. Weather is lovely year-round, but a Santa Cruz vacation rental in winter offers the best wildlife viewing.

Natural features

More wildlife than you can shake a surfboard at

California gray whales put on a show on their winter migration from the Arctic to warm Baja waters, and Monterey cruise boats will take you to see them. Landlubbers head to Natural Bridges State Park to see monarch butterflies taking a breather on their winter travels. Up the coastal highway, elephant seals are busy breeding at Ano Nuevo State Park—they don't mind visitors. Hikers will see birds and other wildlife along Santa Cruz beaches and nearby parks. And a patch of giant sequoias stand at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, just north of the University of California campus.

Beaches

Best beaches near Santa Cruz vacation rentals

The beaches of Santa Cruz are one of its biggest draws. Vacation rentals put you within reach of places like Natural Bridges State Beach, a tranquil beach and viewing spot for shorebirds, migratory whales, and seals, and Santa Cruz Beach, a popular beach with calm waters and a boardwalk with numerous amusements and surf shops. You'll also like Lighthouse Field State Beach, an iconic spot with a lighthouse and pathways for strolls and dog walks.

How to get there

How to get to and around Santa Cruz

The nearest airport is in Watsonville, CA (WVI-Watsonville Municipal), located 13.4 mi (21.6 km) from the city center. If you're unable to find a flight that fits your schedule, you might consider flying into San Jose, CA (RHV-Reid Hillview), which is 27.6 mi (44.5 km) away.

Family friendly

Family fun near Santa Cruz vacation homes

Santa Cruz is an ideal spot for a family trip. Vacation homes can be found near kid-friendly places like Seymour Marine Discovery Center, an interactive marine science museum and aquarium with hands-on exhibits, a touch pool, and a gift shop, and the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, an expansive museum with hands-on art and history exhibitions. Kids will also like Neptune’s Kingdom, a nautical-themed entertainment center with mini golf, arcade games, and other fun.

How many vacation rentals are available around Santa Cruz, CA?

Our 2020 property listings offer a large selection of 683 vacation rentals around Santa Cruz. From 365 house rentals to 56 cabin rentals, find a unique house rental for you to enjoy a memorable holiday or a weekend with your family and friends.

Can I rent a seaside property in Santa Cruz?

Breathing in crisp ocean air, soaking up the sun and decidedly losing all sense of time. Now that's the type of getaway you deserve. There are 235 beachside getaway homes to pick from. Open to other ideas? Vrbo has heaps more rental options to investigate, including:

  • 222 ocean-view vacation rentals.
  • 167 beach-view vacation rentals.
  • 155 beach vacation rentals.

Can I rent a house in Santa Cruz?

If you want to live like a local and love a bit of extra space and privacy, renting a whole house is the way to go. There are 403 options currently on Vrbo. Prices begin at $80 per night. Or maybe you'd rather pick one of the area's other lodging types, like:

  • Condo: 48 vacation homes. Prices start from $87 per night.
  • Cottage: 47 vacation homes. Prices start from $80 per night.
  • Hotel: 38 vacation homes. Prices start from $50 per night.

Can I stay in Santa Cruz in a large group?

The recipe for a perfect trip is hanging out with your friends and loved ones in a totally new place. If you're visiting with a large group, Vrbo can help you. House vacation homes are the favored choice for larger sized groups, with 139 available here. The vacation properties that can cater to large numbers in the area include:

  • On the lookout for vacation homes that can fit 8 guests? We have 172 that will suit. Prices start from $177 per night.
  • Require a rental property for 6 people? We have 153 that will be ideal. You can get one for as little as $134 per night.
  • Organizing a trip away with a group of 10? We have 53 vacation homes that match your requirements. Prices start from $127 per night.

You and all your mates will be well catered to when you plan your Santa Cruz adventure with us!

Where are the cheapest rentals in Santa Cruz?

Pint-sized hotel rooms are no place to spend those precious vacation moments! Uncover our affordable rentals today and ensure everyone has enough room to spread out. Willow Glen South - Lincoln Glen is heaven for bargain hunters. And with 2 Vrbo rentals at an average price of $151 a night, it's not difficult to see why. South San Jose is another place to check out. We have 79 rentals here, and the average price is around $184 a night.

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