A university town, Santa Cruz is a popular weekend spot with students taking a well-deserved break here, but the laid-back locals also make it a memorable destination. Several nearby beaches have often been referred to as the finest in the Western Hemisphere — how's that for a reason to visit? Book your Santa Cruz vacation rental for a date in paradise!
Choose the perfect vacation rental
Best Vacation Home Deals in Santa Cruz
Compare and find a rental meeting your criteria among the 1,119 fantastic vacation rentals from numerous partner websites in Santa Cruz. Each of the offers from the different providers are immediately compared by the search engine to help you save up to 41%.
Top-Rated Rentals and Accommodations in Santa Cruz
Recommended Vacation Rentals in Santa Cruz
Find your perfect vacation rental in Santa Cruz: from $151 per night
Budget-friendly Vacation Rentals in Santa Cruz
Vacation rentals with Wi-Fi
Stay connected while traveling and book a Santa Cruz accommodation with high-speed internet.
Apartments and vacation rentals with a kitchen
Cook up a feast on your next vacation and book a Santa Cruz rental with full kitchen.
Vacation rentals and apartments with air conditioning
Keep cool during your trip to Santa Cruz and book a vacation rental with air conditioning.
Popular Rental Amenities in Santa Cruz
Above, you can find the most selected filters in Santa Cruz and the number of properties that offer them. Santa Cruz is the right place to book an accommodation if you need internet access during your vacation or you want to tune out with some TV time, as the most common amenities are "Internet" and "TV." It is also possible to look for an accommodation in Santa Cruz if you want to sweat it out in a sauna as 32 of the listed rentals there offer "Fenced."
Waterfront Vacation Rentals in Santa Cruz
Want to find the ideal beach vacation rental in Santa Cruz?
Use the 'distance to water' filter while searching and see only the best beachfront homes for your trip. There is a number of vacation rentals in Santa Cruz that are within walking distance from the beach. From pet-friendly homes by the beach to waterfront offers with pools, the perfect accommodation in Santa Cruz awaits - discover it today via HomeToGo.
The Weather in Santa Cruz
You can see our climate diagram above. In September maximum temperatures go higher than 77°. January is the coolest month, with average minimal temperature reaching 37°. The rainiest month is March while the driest month is June.
7-Day Weather Forecast in Santa Cruz
Accommodations for your vacation in Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz offers visitors a range of international cuisines to choose from. While here, profit from the ocean-front restaurants and lounge bars that offer prolific coastal views. Santa Cruz's laid-back vibes are best-experienced at the Asian Rose Cafe which serves vegan, Californian and Sri Lankan cuisine. For Thai-Vietnamese fusion under ambient lamps and shimmery lights, Charlie Hong Kong awaits. El Palomar and Jalapeños Taqueria dish out Mexican staples such as tortillas and tacos with finesse. Or you can pick up Chinese takeaway for later at your Santa Cruz vacation rentals.
For a fun night out, Pacific Avenue in Downtown Santa Cruz is the place to go; this stretch has a number of bars and clubs.
A Good Time to Visit
Summer is the undisputed peak season, meaning you'll need to book your Santa Cruz vacation rental well in advance. Winter is a nicer time to visit and have the beach to yourself, as it never really gets cold here. Moreover, you're assured discounts on your Santa Cruz vacation homes, not to mention peace and quiet. The shoulder seasons of spring and autumn when colors change are recommended for nature lovers.
Things to Do and See
The pedestrian-friendly downtown strip enjoys its proximity to the beach, and is perfect for a family stroll after dusk. Downtown Santa Cruz regales with its people-watching opportunities, restaurants with global cuisine, cool indie shops and clubs. The city's star attraction is the Beach Boardwalk, which is the only original boardwalk amusement park still in use on the West Coast. Municipal Wharf meanwhile is a great viewing point for the sea lions and pelicans. During winter, stop by Steamers Lane and watch the surfers and sea lions doing their bit to impress cheering onlookers.
Popular with tourists, the Mystery Spot is a visual illusion–based attraction that calls itself a 'gravitational anomaly' for the strange phenomena that take place here. See for yourselves and decide! A hike up to the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) will fetch you stunning bay views, redwood forests and the UCSC Arboretum. Rejuvenate at the clothing-optional family spa Kiva Retreat House, and unwind in your Santa Cruz vacation homes.
Art and Culture
For a lowdown on the surfing culture from 1885 until the present day, come visit the Surfing Museum. For families, the Seymour Marine Discovery Center beckons with its native aquatic species in glass tanks, the dolphin-sighting area and terrific views of Monterey Bay after dusk.
Classic rock fans should check out the Grateful Dead Exhibit, which comprises an impressive collection of memorabilia and artifacts from the group. Jazz, bluegrass, folk, Celtic and world music enthusiasts should catch a gig at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center.
The Best Beaches Near Santa Cruz
1. Lighthouse Field State Beach: Also known as ‘dog beach,’ as it a pet-friendly area, this beach is one of California's urban area's last open headlands.
2. Natural Bridges State Beach: A fabulous place to whale watch and catch a glimpse of Monarch butterflies.
3. Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk: With its world-class surfing amenities and beautiful landscape, Santa Cruz Beach is a favorite with both locals and visitors.
4. Seabright State Beach: Charming, grass-covered hills and the lighthouse that make this beach an alluring place to explore.
5. Wilder Ranch State Park: With nearly 7,000 acres, 34 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian paths woven through seaside gardens and channels, the beach at this state park is a can't-miss.
Nightlife in Santa Cruz
1. The Blue Lagoon: Santa Cruz’s largest nightclub offers shows seven nights a week, including DJs and traveling bands from all over the globe.
2. Callahan's: A classic Irish-style pub great for mingling with the locals and indulging in a game of pool over tasty pints.
3. Brady's Yacht Club: This spot advertises itself as a trusted neighborhood dive bar where you can have exotic drinks.
4. Moe's Alley: Enjoy its spacious music hall, full bar, patio, and fabulous live performances.
5. The Redroom: The Red Restaurant and Bar is an elegant nightspot ideal for late-night dining.
The kids will love the Delaveaga Disk Golf Course, which offers free entry and superb views. Next is the oldest state park in California, Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Año Nuevo State Park is home to one of the highest populations of elephant seals. The Natural Bridges State Beach thrills with its monarch butterflies and windsurfing opportunities, while the heavily-forested Henry Cowell State Park boasts the San Lorenzo River that flows through it.
Watersports enthusiasts should definitely indulge in some surfing, sailing, kayaking and paddle boarding in Santa Cruz. Mountain biking is a popular activity in the Santa Cruz mountains — note that some inclines can get steep.
The Santa Cruz Blues Festival in May attracts crowds from all over the state for its impressive lineup. Every fall, artists open their studios for a few weeks to the general public as part of the 'Open Studios Art Tour'.
Discover all aspects of surf culture at the Santa Cruz Surf Film Festival held each September. Every Sunday, all year round, salsa enthusiasts dance up a storm at the boardwalk with Salsa By The Sea.
It is easy to see how Santa Cruz welcomes those of all tastes and sensibilities. Book your Santa Cruz vacation rental and gear up for a fun vacation.
Creating Memories in Santa Cruz
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center
Overlooking the ocean, this hyper-modern building houses an exciting interactive marine animal sanctuary. Exploring the exhibits and marine inhabitants is rewarding for the whole family.
Seymour Marine Discovery Center
Make friends with a shark, learn about what scientists do, and enjoy views of the famous Monterey Bay at this center which is part of the University of California.
A supposed gravitational anomaly, this area has seen strange things happening ever since there have been people to observe them. Visit for quirky visual illusions and lots of fun.
Santa Cruz Wharf
Head to this lively wharf for great shops, restaurants and entertainment venues. It's also the starting point for various water sports and boat tours.
Natural Bridges State Beach
Monarch butterflies flood this stunning beach from the end of October until January. It's a natural wonder that the family won't forget in a hurry.
Information about vacation rentals in Santa Cruz
|🏡 Vacation rentals||1,109 properties|
|💳 Possible discounts||up to 26%|
|🌙 Nightly prices starting at||$153|
|⭐ Popular amenities||Internet, TV and Microwave|
|🐾 Pet friendly accommodations||147 properties|
|🏊 Vacation rentals with pools||453 properties|
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the typical price per night for a vacation rental in Santa Cruz?
The average accommodation in Santa Cruz is priced at $153 per night. If you are looking for a house rental, the nightly price is $851 on average. A cabin Santa Cruz will cost $351 per night on average.
How many vacation homes are available for booking in Santa Cruz?
Currently there are 1,109 rentals available for booking for your next trip.
What are the most popular amenities for vacation rentals in Santa Cruz?
If you're looking to book a vacation rental in Santa Cruz, the most popular amenities are: TV, Internet and Microwave.
How many vacation homes with pools are in Santa Cruz?
Discover 453 vacation rentals available to book in Santa Cruz.
Are pets allowed in vacation rentals in Santa Cruz?
If you are traveling with a pet in Santa Cruz - 12% of vacation rentals are pet-friendly.
When is it better to travel to Santa Cruz?
The warmest months in Santa Cruz are September and October, with temperatures around 77 °F. The coldest months in Santa Cruz are January and December, with 37 °F on average.
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