USA California Coast summer holidays

California dreamin'...

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Ronnie McCluskey

Ronnie McCluskey
HomeAway travel expert

LAAs the onset of summer looms large on the horizon, thoughts invariably turn to holidays. Invigorated by the merest trace of sunshine on the horizon, we become feverish with the need to simply get away from it all - if only for a week or two. There are, of course, thousands of hotspots to choose from, whatever your budget. If your idea of heaven is relaxing on a beach for a fortnight, cheap breaks are easy to come by. If you crave a bit more substance with your sun, however, few destinations rival North America.

Specifically, there is no place quite like America’s sun-spangled west coast. Weather aside, this famous terrain is laden with a plethora of sights oh so familiar from any number of movies and TV shows, as well as a few less lauded attractions that will leave you speechless. With a coast that spans thousands of miles, there’s no shortage of potential destinations; and wherever you choose to go, HomeAway is here to find you the perfect rental accommodation. To whet your appetite, have a glance at our guide to the ultimate American Dream.


Top five USA California Coast destinations


Los Angeles Los Angeles

Perhaps the ultimate example of a “Marmite” city, there’s no denying that LA holds a certain lure that few other cities can boast. The City of Angels is in essence a sprawling mass of multicultural villages crammed together as one. Expect one of the most heterogeneous experiences in the world if you explore so much as a handful of them. Of course, the main draw for most is the glamorously OTT district of Hollywood, a haven for movie buffs and wannabe rockers alike. Even the beaches are a step above your average, with the fairground on Santa Monica pier and testosterone-fuelled machismo of Muscle Beach the highlights.

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San Francisco San Francisco

A few hundred miles north of LA is the mystical port of San Francisco, another destination instantly recognisable to - well, just about everyone. The Golden Gate Bridge is the feature that springs immediately to mind, and whether you choose to walk, drive or cycle the 1.7 miles of iconic suspension, you’re sure to be mesmerised by its grandeur. If you book far enough in advance, a tour of Alcatraz is a fascinating historical insight into the globe’s most famous prison, but even if you’re too late a boat cruise on the bay gets you close enough. For the ultimate San Fran experience, hop on a tram to see the San Francisco Giants and enjoy a cold beer and hot dog as you sample the national pastime. 

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Monterey Monterey

Monterey offers visitors the quintessential Californian experience. Motor along the Big Sur coastline on Highway One, and explore the stores and restaurants that line the iconic Cannery Row. This waterfront community also caters for a range of water sports, including scuba diving, kayaking, surfing, and whale watching. Head to Moss Landing State Beach to chase the big breakers, or explore Monterey Bay’s kelp forests on a dive in the waters of MacAbee Beach. If neither sea or sand is your thing, the late summer jazz festivals may be more to your liking. Sports nuts, meanwhile, will be spoiled for choice - the Red Bull US Grand Prix attracts 120,000 fans to its raceway, and the Big Sur marathon has been dubbed the best marathon in North America by many. Whatever passion you indulge, Monterey makes an idyllic seaside setting.

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San Clemente San Clemente

Located in Orange County, between LA and San Diego, the coastal town of San Clemente is famous, as you would expect, for its beautiful coastline. Its attraction runs deeper, though. This sleepy Southern California beach community has a decidedly Spanish influence, which is illustrated by the Spanish Colonial style architecture of its buildings. San Clemente enjoys a Mediterranean climate, which assures heat more or less year-round, but the cool wind off the sea is a welcome respite to joggers, cyclists and beach bums. Wander along the coastal trail from North Beach to Calafia: if you can handle a surfboard, there's also an opportunity to catch some of the biggest swells on the west coast.  Whether boogie boarding in the waters off Riviera, or enjoying a barbeque in Plaza Park, you're sure to enjoy the relaxed vibe of San Clemente.

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San Diego San Diego

Despite what most people’s preconceptions of California are, it is not quite the laid back Laissez-faire environment it is deemed to be. It seems plausible, however, that this interpretation originated in the southern municipal of San Diego. Nestled practically on the Mexican border, the city conveys an atmosphere that is as relaxed as you are likely to find in any urban stronghold. Whether you choose to join the hordes at the infamous Sea World, or simply bask in the glorious Pacific climate on Mission Beach, this is the place to be if you’re looking for a carefree affair. When darkness descends, a visit to the bars and clubs of the Gaslamp District provides a magnificent taste of California's diverse and lively nightlife.

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California Holiday Villas

Twain Harte Vacation Rentals - Lake Member - Free WIFI

This spacious Twain Harte Vacation Rental Cabin (sleeps up to 10 People) in Twain Harte, CA has one room with a queen bed, one with a double bed, and two with two twin beds each. We'll provide the blankets & pillows, but please be sure to bring y...

Modern Beach House at Encinitas' Moonlight Beach & Steps to Shops

EVERYTHING IS NEW AS OF JULY! Our new beach house was just built in 2008 and is ideal for walking steps to the beach and shops of the most iconic Southern California beach town, Encinitas in Northern San Diego. The house is across from a very popu...

Steps from the Sand - Beach/Pier View -Awesome Location!!!

GREAT LOCATION AND VIEW OF BEACH AND PIER IN PISMO BEACH! This home is in Pismo Beach! (It's not in Pismo State Beach or Oceano. Be careful, as some listings advertise Pismo Beach when they are in Oceano) LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! Walk to eve...

**Winter Special: Beautiful X-Large Mandalay Shores Beach Home

Reserve early – don’t miss our Winter Special and overall great rates! Comments from guests, 'Spectacular,' 'Perfect for our family getaway.' Amazing, x-large (3,300+ sq ft), 4+bed/3+bath, upscale beach home that has been newly furnished and ren...

Contemporary Guest House, 100% Solar. Border with Santa Monica!

Modernist Beach Living. The minimalist home to work and relax. A luxury guest house in a peaceful corner of Venice Beach. Venice Place is a gorgeous, fully furnished, one bedroom house with a private patio and garden. We are proud to announce tha...
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