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Best Vacation Rentals

Best Vacation Rentals in Santa Cruz County

By Garrick Ramirez

Relax and stay awhile. With a rental home, you’ll enjoy a sunny Santa Cruz experience with room to spread out. Plus kitchens and multiple bedrooms are a boon for families, travelers with pets, and those on a budget (meals out can add up!). Take a tour of the following properties — organized by special feature — and discover some of the magnificent homes hiding throughout the county.

BEST FOR PETS

No need to leave fido behind. Base yourself in one of these pooch-positive locales and enjoy pet-friendly Santa Cruz.

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Sea Cliff Beach Home

This modern 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath Sea Cliff Beach Home sports endless views of the Monterey Bay. Call dibs on the master bedroom and enjoy a private deck with hot tub. Dogs will love the short walk to a pup-friendly beach.

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Captain’s Quarters
This pup-friendly pad known as Captain's Quarters features 3 bedrooms, 3 baths and two full kitchens. You’ll love the dramatic views of Twin Lakes Beach and Monterey Bay from each room as well as two wrap-around decks.

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Vicky By The Sea
You and your pup will love this charming 3 bed, 2 bath home in the sunny Seabright neighborhood. It’s a half a block to the beach and walking distance from local hot spots like Crow’s Nest and Seabright Brewery. The fully enclosed yard is ideal for your pet and a separate cottage is great for your teen.

FOR BIG FAMILIES

Allowing for family to spend quality time together is what vacation homes do best. Parents nab the king bed, kids get the bunks and their own TV. In the morning, everyone gathers round the breakfast table to start a new day.

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Point Break Beach House
This 4 bedroom, 3 bath beach house comfortably sleeps nine people and includes two master suites each with their fireplace. Gather in the light-filled great room and open kitchen or outdoor deck with built-in BBQ. It’s also walking distance to Pleasure Point’s 41st Avenue promenade.

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Capitola River Retreat
Spread out in this 5 bedroom, 3 bath home just steps from the Soquel River and Capitola Village. You can also take advantage of a private riverfront picnic area.

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Capitola Tuscan Villa
Your family can enjoy outdoor dining overlooking the Capitola Wharf at this large 4 bedroom, 4 bath home. Light up the heat lamps and stay out past nightfall. Off street parking for three cars is a bonus in bustling Capitola Village.

BEST FOR GIRLFRIEND GETAWAYS

Gather the gals for a cozy escape. The following spots feature stylish interiors and proximity to Santa Cruz’s best shops and services.

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The Gatehouse
Here’s a plush French Country home tucked away in the relaxing Pasatiempo community. The luxurious 3 bed, 3 bath home features a variety of comforts including a gourmet kitchen, outdoor patio with spa and master bedroom with sunken tub and steam shower. Bonus: there’s a game room with pool table and air hockey!

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Pleasure Point Beach House
Check out this modern beach house in surf-centric Pleasure Point neighborhood. Start the day with coffee from Verve and stroll 41st Streets boutiques or Capitola Village. It’s got a great backyard space that’s perfect for entertaining.

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Garden Cabana House
You’ll never want to leave this Pinterest-worthy home with stylish garden and cabana. Enjoy lush landscaping, smart furnishings, fire pit and hot tub. If you can pull yourself away, the home is steps from the famous Beachgate Path that leads to Seacliff Beach.

BEST FOR FOODIES:

The following homes sport killer kitchens that allow you to indulge in the bounty of Santa Cruz’s farmer's markets — and wineries! — and play Top Chef for a weekend.

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Modern Capitola Home
This modern, 4 bedroom waterfront home dials up the wow factor with stunning panoramic views of Capitola’s beach, wharf and village. The views inside aren’t so bad either. A sleek kitchen sports a commercial range, lots of space and high-end cookware. Enjoy your feast on a large dining table with views of the water or a private patio with loungers, umbrella and built-in grill.

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Sand Dollar Beach Retreat

This 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath home is centered around a large open kitchen with stainless steel six burner cook top, cherry cabinets, and granite countertops. It’s surrounded by an open living room area with vaulted ceilings with fireplace and beach views.

BEST FOR BEACH BUMS:

Just steps from the sand, these three spots offer the ultimate Santa Cruz beach experience. Spend the day frolicking on the shore and nights drifting off to the sound of the waves.

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Opal Cliff Beach House
This peaceful beach home is like living on private island. It’s in a quiet neighborhood with easy access to a secluded beach. The three bed, three bath house also features a lush, private garden with hot tub, hammock, and numerous contemplative nooks to hide away in.  

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Pajaro Dunes Home
This 4 bedroom home sits directly on a pristine stretch beach at Pajaro Dunes. Enjoy panoramic views of the Monterey Bay from the newly remodeled deck or enclosed patio.

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