The Best Vacation Rentals to Book in California

Live out your dream California stay at the perfect vacation rental
Live out your dream California stay at the perfect vacation rental | © Designed to Create / Alamy Stock Photo
Nick Dauk

What’s your California dream vacation? You might want a big-city break roaming the streets of LA, or perhaps you want to post up on the coast and only move a muscle to even out your tan. Whatever you want, the Golden State has it all – and then some. From mansions in Bel Air to cozy cottages within walking distance to the beach, these California holiday rentals, bookable with Culture Trip, will give you the Cali vacay of a lifetime.

1. Dillon Beach Resort, for a quiet stay on Bodega Bay


Cosy living room with fireplace and large picture window with view of beach and ocean at Dillon Beach Resort in Bodega Bay, California
Courtesy of Dillon Beach Resort / Expedia

Congratulations for stumbling upon these Dillon Beach cottages. While hordes of tourists battle it out for tanning spots on the busy beaches due south, you’ll enjoy a quiet retreat near a mile-long (1.6km) private beach. Cozy sleeping lofts, fully stocked kitchens and small sitting decks will have you falling in love with low-key coastal living. Follow the path down to the beach, stopping at the General Store for coffee, soft serve and supplies for a perfect picnic on the shore.

2. The Stradella Court Mansion, for a high-class LA home


Exterior of expansive Mediterranean-style Stradella Court Mansion, a vacation rental in Bel Air, Los Angeles
Courtesy of Stradella Court Mansion /

We suppose the 6mi (10km) drive to the Sunset Strip and Rodeo Drive is appealing for anyone who might wish to leave the Stradella Court Mansion. We have a feeling, though, that you won’t be that person. This seven-bedroom California vacation home will entice you to cancel your plans and spend all day drinking on the terrace. Sure, there’s a full kitchen ready to use, but who in their right mind rents a house in Bel Air to do all the cooking? Order in and spend all night dining on your patio under the stars.

3. Wilson Creek Manor, for living large in wine country

Luxury, Boutique Hotel

Exterior of expansive Wilson Creek Manor with circular driveway, a vacation rental near Temecula, California
Courtesy of Wilson Creek Manor

You’re going to think you’ve had a little too much to drink when you see this Manor in South Coast wine country. Where do we begin? To call it a mansion is an understatement. The ballroom has a grand salon for 24 guests, because who doesn’t dine with a few dozen friends? A billiards table, poker table and ping pong table are just a few of the game room highlights. The exterior’s several fire pits, gardens and bocce ball court don’t even scratch the surface. There’s also a life-sized chessboard, presumably for anyone who gets bored of the regular-sized chessboard by the wet bar.

4. Chantilly Estate, for being the freshest person in Bel-Air


Stunning glass-and-stone modern architecture of Chantilly Estate in Bel Air seen from dark blue infinity pool area
Courtesy of Chantilly Estate / Expedia

This is a vacation rental in California for all of the Millennials and Gen-Xers who have a story about how their lives got flipped, turned upside down. This luxury Bel Air estate will let you live out your Fresh Prince dreams. No need to whistle for a cab with dice in the mirror; you’ll receive free airport transport to this seven-bed behemoth. On-site spa and massage services make the steam room and private pool that much more exclusive. Don’t even get us started on how luxe the seven bathrooms are (think deep soaking tubs and hydromassage shower heads).

5. Embarc Palm Desert, for endless entertainment near Palm Springs

Resort, Villa

Exterior of Santa Fe-style vacation home with pool area Embarc Palm Desert at twilight
Courtesy of Embarc Palm Desert / Expedia

Whether it be golf, Coachella or just an excuse to take time off work, any reason is a good reason to stay at Embarc Palm Desert. The private back patios of your vacation home are decked out with outdoor fireplaces and mountain views, keeping you captivated from morning to night. You’ll hardly want to spend time in the rest of your rental, though; resort amenities like a movie theater, game room and pools and hot tubs that are dedicated for families and adults-only will pack your schedule.

6. The Luxe Suites of Oceanside, for a plush base near LEGOLAND


Lush pool area with palm trees and salmon-colored lounge chairs at the Luxe Suites of Oceanside in California
Courtesy of the Luxe Suites of Oceanside / Expedia

An 8mi (13km) drive to Oceanside Harbor Beach and an eight-minute walk from In-N-Out Burger, this luxe California vacation rental already has two reasons for booking a stay here. A one- or two-bedroom apartment, both with full kitchens, will more than accommodate your family. LEGOLAND, the beach and day trips to San Diego will keep you busy outside. When you’re having a chill day inside, take advantage of the complex’s pool and gym.

7. Marriott's Timber Lodge, for an outdoorsy vibe in South Lake Tahoe

Resort, Chain Hotel, Hotel

Nighttime view of expansive pool area at the center of Marriotts Timber Lodge in South Lake Tahoe, California
Courtesy of Marriott's Timber Lodge / Expedia

Vacation like you own a piece of South Lake Tahoe at Marriott’s Timber Lodge. A gondola leads from the resort right up to the mountains, making an afternoon of skiing or hiking as easy as relaxing in the on-site sauna. Condo-style villas have everything you need in a California vacation home, including multiple bedrooms, full kitchens and fireplaces. Mongolian-style meals are downstairs at the Fire + iCE Grill and Bar if you don’t want to dirty up your kitchen.

8. Belposto, for golfers near Tahoe Donner

Villa, Cabin

Cozy carpeted bedroom with large bed and views of pine trees outside at Belposto near Truckee, California
Courtesy of Belposto /

A Lake Tahoe getaway perfect for your foursome – or even eightsome – this Truckee vacation home in California is within an 11-minute walk to the Tahoe Donner Golf Course. Naturally, you should invite your caddie to stay in one of the home’s four bedrooms so they can carry your clubs and help you limber up in the on-property health club. The Coyote Moon Golf Course is also five minutes away by golf cart if you need another round before you hit the 19th hole.

9. Squaw Valley Paradise, for kicking back in Olympic Valley


Soothing bedroom in white and brown hues with views of pine trees at Squaw Valley Paradise vacation rental near Lake Tahoe
Courtesy of Squaw Valley Paradise / Expedia

What makes this California vacation rental a treasured slice of Lake Tahoe paradise? Take your pick. This five-bedroom beauty has way too much eye candy for its own good. Two fireplaces on the main floor – one gas, one wood-burning – are easy to cozy up to. The California king beds in the master suites will make you swear off ever sleeping in anything less than a king again. This vacation rental on California’s coolest lake also puts the “great” in “great outdoors” with a back patio featuring a barbecue grill and hot tub.

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