The Best Vacation Villas to Rent in California

If your vacation requires a villa, California is the place to be
If your vacation requires a villa, California is the place to be | Courtesy of Calle Anita / Expedia
Abigail Blasi

California has it all: Hollywood glamor, millennia-old redwood forest, the extraordinary scenery of Yosemite National Park, some of America’s buzziest cities, and sun-kissed surfing beaches. You can also take your pick from an incredible range of superb villas in California, from Bauhaus-style beach houses to Mediterranean mansions overlooking Napa Valley vineyards. You could have Clint Eastwood as a neighbor, or kick back in a house ringed by mountains. Tennis courts, pools and hot tubs are de rigueur. Here’s our pick of the best vacation villas in California, bookable on Culture Trip.

1. Modern Del Mar Beach Home, for modernist decor and a glass-sided hot tub in Del Mar


Outdoor pool with covered loungers and palms at Modern Del Mar Beach Home
Courtesy of Modern Del Mar Beach Home /

A beachfront property with a Bauhaus vibe, this rockstar of a beach house is one of the loveliest rental villas in California. It has outdoor seating areas with modernist fire pits, a grand piano, a telescope for stargazing, plus sea views. The house is centered on a double-height room with a hanging chair and silver ball sculpture, with succulents to soften the edges. The pool lies alongside a glass-sided hot tub adjacent to one of the fire pits, with mood lighting after dark.

2. Lx1: Chateau D' Renaitre - Carmel-by-the-sea Luxury Villa, for having Clint Eastwood as your neighbor in Carmel

Villa, Luxury

Double bed with doors to patio in room at Lx1: Chateau D Renaitre
Courtesy of Lx1: Chateau D' Renaitre / Expedia

The Monterey Peninsula’s most exclusive enclave, Tehama is an invitation-only 2,000-acre (800ha) development by actor and resident Clint Eastwood. Sprawling, hilltop mansion Renaitre is a jewel among California villas, with eight wood-beamed, wood-paneled bedrooms that boast rolling green countryside views. Living and dining rooms overlook a sea of greenery, which you can also see from the terraces. There’s also an infinity pool and a sauna.

3. Villa Valencia, for a family vacation in Hidden Valley


Large bed with doors opening to elevated terrace at Villa Valencia
Courtesy of Villa Valencia /

With its sloped tiled roofs and colonnaded terraces, Villa Valencia feels more like an estate on the Mediterranean than a California vacation home. Sunlight-dappled windowpanes frame pool and garden vistas, while the pale interiors, accented with rattan lampshades and bleached wood, hint at rusticity while exuding style-magazine chic. Dine outside overlooking the greenery, relax in the hammocks and play billiards on those lazy afternoons when you don’t feel like going anywhere. Kids can climb tree ladders and swing on ropes, while adults cook up a storm on the barbecue.

4. LX16: Valley View Above the Wineries With Hot Tub, for epic hilltop views in Napa Valley


Double bed and leather footstool in conservatory-style room at LX16: Valley View Above the Wineries With Hot Tub
Courtesy of Lx16 / Expedia

Perched on a hilltop above Napa Valley, with sofas on sunny terraces and views across endless vineyards, this whitewashed villa has a truly spectacular setting. Between vaulted ceilings and wrought iron chandeliers, it’s a happy marriage of unconventional style and laid-back luxury. The large dining room windows frame pastoral panoramas, while the almost entirely window-lined master bedroom offers mountain views. An outdoor hot tub and bocce court seal the deal.

5. Calle Anita - Villa Verdot, for a characterful vacation home with a swimming pool near Temecula


Four-poster double bed in spacious room at Calle Anita - Villa Verdot, also with armchair and footstools
Courtesy of Calle Anita - Villa Verdot /

Villa Verdot is a rambling, gracious California villa, where you can laze away vacation days in hammocks alongside a palm-shaded, decoratively tiled pool. Also outside, the long wooden dining table is lit by overhead fairy lights, while inside, wrought iron four-poster beds and open fireplaces lend the bedrooms character. Sofas are delightfully squashy, furnishings are light and bright, and there’s plenty to keep fresh air fiends occupied, from tennis and basketball courts to minigolf.

6. William Way - Mesquite 38, for contemporary decor and outdoor pursuits in Coachella Valley


Four cushioned seats around table, fireplace and mirror in living area at William Way - Mesquite 38
Courtesy of William Way / Expedia

One of the best rental villas in California, this characterful place is silhouetted against a backdrop of mauve mountains. All clean lines and huge plate glass windows, the sprawling house doesn’t lack for comfy nooks either, with multiple sofas where you can lounge around and chat. Eat beneath lanterns at the outdoor dining table, or indoors in the wood-vaulted hall. Outdoor offerings include tennis and bocce courts, free rental bicycles, and a hot tub and pool for soaking sore muscles. Later, you can warm yourself by a glass-walled fireplace.

7. Caroleta, for homey comforts and a hot tub in Palm Springs


Two sofas around table and wall-mounted flat-screen TV at Caroleta, with kitchen behind
Courtesy of Caroleta /

A sleek, contemporary villa with a backdrop of craggy hills, this place has a large open-plan kitchen and dining room, plus plenty of space to spread out. Five whitewashed bedrooms will accommodate eight of your closest friends or your entire family, with french doors that open out onto private terraces. Other perks include a small walled pool and hot tub, while the property is close to Demuth Park, the largest public park in Palm Springs.

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