Destination guide

Salty fun in Santa Cruz County

Bring the surfboard wax and the good vibes for that trip to Santa Cruz County vacation rentals. These Californian shacks and beachside pads, facing the spray of the Pacific Ocean, offer a gateway to some of the most celebrated shores in the whole United States. Many come with decks that gaze out across the rollers, while others hide amid the soaring redwoods of the forests. All are a place to chill, catch some waves, hike some clifftops and even check off the bucket-list sights of the Bay Area – it's just to the north.

Things to do

Santa Cruz County is fun by the waves

There are plenty of Santa Cruz County vacation rentals to suit the whole family, plus Santa Cruz County attractions to keep the whole crew busy from morning to night. Check out the twirling carousels and concession stands of Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, home to heart-thumping thrill rides, a Ferris wheel and gaming arcades. Just down the beach from that is the Santa Cruz, Big Trees & Pacific Railway. It's a vintage locomotive that chugs up a track first laid down in 1875, through redwood forests and up to the dusty Santa Cruz Mountains.


Santa Cruz County and the roaring Pacific Ocean

The name of Santa Cruz County is nothing short of legendary in surf circles. As its rivers and creeks wiggle into the Pacific Ocean, and the wide beaches of Monterey Bay open to the swells, you'll find some seriously gnarly point breaks and hollow tube rides. Of course, you don't need to suit up and hit the waves to make the most of the water. This is also a hotspot for seeing huge humpback whales or catching glimpses of dolphins and porpoises – April to November is best.


So many great times in Santa Cruz County

Santa Cruz County has different draws in different seasons. Summers, from June to August, are the most popular for Santa Cruz County vacation rentals by the beach, which fill up with swimmers and sunbathers looking to hone a tan. Fall – September and October – is a local pick, when the crowds recede and plenty of festivals come by. Winters are relatively mild and really quiet, making them perfect for dodging the crowds. Spring, in April and May, heralds the start of the best humpback whale-watching period and has some great surfing events, too.

Natural features

Santa Cruz County is breathtaking Cali coastline

There's no question that the Santa Cruz County coastline is the piece de resistance of the region. It ranges from wide Monterey Bay, where turtles, whales and dolphins all splash in the Pacific, to the seal-spotted pebble beaches of Ano Nuevo State Park, with its dunes and boardwalk trails. There are countless surf-washed beaches and cliff-backed coves between them. Inland, you can discover the soaring trees of the Big Basin Redwoods State Park, a wilderness of bobcats and waterfalls, deer and wildflowers.

Can I find a vacation rental around Santa Cruz County?

Yes, our 2019 property listings offer a large selection of 982 vacation rentals near Santa Cruz County. From 542 Houses to 81 Cabins, find a unique house rental for you to enjoy a memorable stay with your family and friends. The best places to stay near Santa Cruz County for a holiday or a weekend are on HomeAway.

What are the most popular destinations to visit in Santa Cruz County?

There are many lovely places to stay for a holiday trip or just for a weekend in Santa Cruz County. From HomeAway travelers, the most popular destinations to visit are:

  • Santa Cruz: 679 vacation rentals
  • Aptos: 755 vacation rentals
  • Capitola: 641 vacation rentals
  • Pajaro Dunes: 123 vacation rentals
  • Watsonville: 793 vacation rentals

And HomeAway offers you the chance to discover many other popular destinations in Santa Cruz County! Please use our search bar to access the selection of vacation rentals available in other popular destinations.

What are the main cities to discover in Santa Cruz County?

Whether you're traveling with family or friends, here are the cities with the largest selection of vacation rentals for a holiday trip or just for a weekend in Santa Cruz County:

  • Santa Cruz: 679 rentals
  • Aptos: 755 rentals
  • Capitola: 641 rentals
  • Watsonville: 793 rentals
  • La Selva Beach: 435 rentals

For other cities, please use our search bar to access the selection of vacation rentals available.

Can I find easy-access vacation rentals when traveling by plane to Santa Cruz County?

Yes of course. Our owners offer a large selection of vacation rentals near airports. The airports with a large selection of vacation rentals in Santa Cruz County are:

  • Watsonville, CA (WVI-Watsonville Municipal): 876 vacation rentals
  • Mineta San José International Airport (SJC): 887 vacation rentals
  • Palo Alto, CA (PAO-Santa Clara County): 1,040 vacation rentals

For other airports, please use our search bar to access the selection of vacation rentals available.

Near which points of interest can I spend my holidays in Santa Cruz County?

HomeAway offers a large selection of rentals near lovely places in Santa Cruz County. From HomeAway travelers, the most popular points of interest to stay for a holiday trip or just for a weekend are:

  • Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk: 519 rentals
  • Capitola Beach: 880 rentals
  • Rio Del Mar Beach: 281 rentals
  • Seacliff State Beach: 573 rentals
  • Manresa State Beach: 869 rentals

But there are many other points of interest around Santa Cruz County listed on HomeAway where you can find your place to stay. Just write your wanted destination in our search bar and have a look at our selection.

Explore destinations around Santa Cruz County

Santa Cruz
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