Destination guide

Southern California dreaming

Southern California is one of the top vacation destinations to visit in America. SoCal, as the cool kids call it, is all about the three S's - sun, sand, and surf. The official SoCal area runs from Ventura right down to San Diego and the Mexican border. Famous as the home of Hollywood movies, iconic surf beaches, and a wealth of theme parks, including Mickey's mousehole, the original Disneyland. Start your SoCal adventure by booking a well-located Southern California vacation rental close to the beach or theme parks, and make California dreaming become a reality.

Things to do

Find your happy place in Southern California

A big draw to Southern California is its many, many theme parks, including Universal Studios, Knotts Farm, and of course, the daddy of them all, Disneyland. Walt Disney's original theme park was built in Anaheim in 1955. It's been the dream vacation destination for generations of families and friends, who come to gaze at Cinderella's Castle and ride Space Mountain, or just enjoy the The Happiest Place on Earth. Many Southern California vacation rentals are within strolling distance of the theme parks, or are on the theme park shuttle route.

Activities

What's up? Surf's up in Southern California

There's good reason the Beach Boys wrote a lot about this place, the beaches are something else. Swathes of soft, buttery sand, curling waves, and swaying palm trees. Book a Southern California vacation rental and have some of the America's best beaches on your doorstep, including Santa Monica, Venice Beach, and Malibu. And you don't even have to surf: try sunrise yoga, beach volleyball or rollerblading along the boardwalks as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean. After dark, kick back with fresh fish tacos and margaritas on your own ocean-front deck. Result!

Weather

Summer lovin' in Southern California

Most of Southern California has a dry climate, with long, warm summers, and mild, wet winters, which makes SoCal a great destination all year round. The south of the region, from San Diego down to the Mexican border, sees the best of the year-round sun. Popular seaside towns like Santa Barbara and Monterey, are slightly quieter in fall and winter, when temperatures drop a few degrees. After summer, spring is the most popular season to visit, when the mountains are blanketed in wildflowers, and the desert blooms.

Natural features

Dusty desert days in Southern California

Tucked between the Colorado and Mojave deserts, the Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California is named after the bristly Joshua trees that sprout up across the plains. There are 1200 square miles of desert wilderness to explore, where resident coyotes, tortoise, and curious bighorn sheep roam. At night, the dark desert skies are perfect for stargazing. Feeling adventurous? Try climbing the Wonderland of Rocks, or hike up to Keys View for sweeping views of the Coachella Valley. Book a Southern California vacation rental in Palm Springs or Palm Desert for easy access to Joshua Tree National Park.

How to get there

Transportation to and around Southern California

The nearest airport is in San Bernardino, CA (SBD-San Bernardino Intl.), located 16.9 mi (27.3 km) from the city center. If you're unable to find a flight that fits your schedule, you might consider flying into Murrieta, CA (RBK-French Valley), which is 20.8 mi (33.4 km) away.

If you prefer to travel by train, Moreno Valley/March Field Station, Perris Station and Riverside-Downtown Station are the main stations in the city. It's easy to get around Southern California by catching a ride on the metro at Union Station, Civic Center Station or Pershing Square Station.

Can I find a vacation rental around Southern California?

Yes, our 2019 property listings offer a large selection of 34,401 vacation rentals near Southern California. From 17,140 Houses to 1,048 Villas, find a unique house rental for you to enjoy a memorable holiday or a weekend with your family and friends. The best places to stay near Southern California are on HomeAway.

What are the most popular destinations to visit in Southern California?

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

  • San Diego: 6,091 vacation rentals
  • Las Vegas: 2,733 vacation rentals
  • Palm Springs: 6,244 vacation rentals
  • Los Angeles: 6,668 vacation rentals
  • Malibu: 2,310 vacation rentals

And HomeAway offers you the chance to discover many other popular destinations in Southern California! 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 Southern California?

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 Southern California:

  • San Diego: 6,091 rentals
  • Las Vegas: 2,733 rentals
  • Palm Springs: 6,244 rentals
  • Los Angeles: 6,668 rentals
  • Malibu: 2,310 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 Southern California?

Yes of course. Our owners offer a large selection of vacation rentals near airports. The airports with a large selection of vacation rentals in Southern California are:

  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX): 6,008 vacation rentals
  • Oceanside, CA (OCN): 2,516 vacation rentals
  • San Diego International Airport (SAN): 5,334 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 Southern California?

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

  • Long Beach: 2,698 rentals
  • Disneyland: 2,993 rentals
  • Venice Beach: 5,946 rentals
  • Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau: 230 rentals
  • Universal Studios Hollywood: 4,097 rentals

But there are many other points of interest around Southern California 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 Southern California

San Diego
6,091 vacation rentals
Las Vegas
2,733 vacation rentals
Palm Springs
6,244 vacation rentals
Los Angeles
6,668 vacation rentals
Malibu
2,310 vacation rentals
Newport Beach
2,464 vacation rentals
Santa Barbara
943 vacation rentals
Palm Desert
7,398 vacation rentals
Santa Monica
4,101 vacation rentals
Huntington Beach
2,554 vacation rentals
Laguna Beach
2,354 vacation rentals
Carlsbad
2,523 vacation rentals
Anaheim
1,396 vacation rentals
Oceanside
1,979 vacation rentals
Lake Havasu City
617 vacation rentals
Pismo Beach
572 vacation rentals
La Quinta
4,893 vacation rentals
Big Bear Lake
2,464 vacation rentals
Long Beach
2,698 vacation rentals
Big Sur
266 vacation rentals