California’s golden sunshine, warm weather, and diverse, majestic landscapes make it an ideal summer vacation spot. Whether you want to go hiking through the woods or spend all day lounging on the beach, there’s something for everyone in California. As for accommodations, there is an abundance of incredible California vacation rentals to choose from. Here are the best places in California to embark on a summer getaway.
1. Mount Shasta
The city of Mount Shasta lies less than 10 miles from its magnificent namesake mountain in north-central California. Popular summer activities include hiking and mountain biking on the many trails through the forests and foothills. The Fifth Season sporting goods store rents you the bicycles and hiking gear that you need. Nearby Lake Siskiyou provides excellent fishing for brown trout, rainbow trout, bass, and crayfish. If you want help finding the best locations for angling, contact Jack Trout Fly Fishing in Mount Shasta. Fun Factory Rentals at Lake Siskiyou Marina rents power boats for fishing, exploring, or water sports.
Located on beautiful Humboldt Bay in northwestern California, vacation rentals in the city of Eureka provide opportunities for thrilling summer outdoor activities and water sports. They also serve as gateways to the Redwood Empire, which includes Redwood National Park, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, and the Avenue of the Giants. Reel Steel Sportfishing out of Woodley Island Marina in Eureka takes you out on the Pacific to angle for salmon, halibut, tuna, rockfish, and sharks. The Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center rents sailboats, canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards for water fun and also offers guided hiking, sea kayaking, and wildlife observation activities. Don’t miss a visit to the family-friendly Natural History Museum in nearby Arcata to learn about local ecology and paleontology.
3. South Lake Tahoe
The city of South Lake Tahoe lies at the southern end of sapphire-blue Lake Tahoe in the midst of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in northeastern California. Rent a boat for water fun at Lakeside Marina, or explore the coastline in luxury aboard the Windsong Sailing Yacht out of Timbercove Marina. The Lake Tahoe Water Ski School offers children and adults the opportunity to learn a fun summer water sport. Rent a bicycle at South Shore Bikes, and head out onto the many trails through the emerald-green forests and hills. During the summer, nearby Heavenly Mountain’s Epic Discovery has exciting activities such as zip lines, rope courses, a climbing wall, and the thrilling Ridge Rider Mountain Coaster.
4. Fort Bragg
Fort Bragg is on a breathtakingly beautiful stretch of the northern California coastline in Mendocino County. Among the city’s unique attractions is Glass Beach, a singularly beautiful beach in MacKerricher State Park whose pebbles are composed of lovely smoothed-over pieces of glass. On the south side of town, the lovely Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens provide 47 acres of flamboyant flowers, fern canyons, streams, and pine forests. Liquid Fusion Kayaking takes you on tours to explore the lovely coves and sea caves along the rugged coast. Take the famous Skunk Train into the interior to view rivers, streams, and redwood forests.
5. Santa Rosa
The city of Santa Rosa lies in the midst of the northern California wine country north of San Francisco. Summer is the perfect time to rent a bicycle from Sports Basement and tour the area wineries. If you prefer to relax and let others drive, tour the wineries in a limousine or luxury van with Comfort Wine Tours. Safari West is a drive-through nature preserve where you can view rhinoceroses, cape buffaloes, giraffes, cheetahs, and many other species of exotic wildlife. For more family fun, take the kids to see the Peanuts exhibits at the Charles M. Schultz Museum and to experience the interactive displays at the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County.
Located on the spectacularly beautiful Monterey Peninsula south of San Francisco, Carmel-by-the-Sea combines water fun, eclectic shopping, absorbing sightseeing, and fine dining. Carmel Beach offers soft white sand for swimming, sunbathing, beach volleyball, and water sports. The Scenic Bluff Path above the beach has a panoramic view of the rugged coastline. Visit Carmel Plaza, and explore the diversity of shops. Don’t miss a visit to lovely 17-Mile Drive and Pebble Beach. In nearby Monterey are fascinating attractions such as Old Fisherman’s Wharf, Historic Cannery Row, and the renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium.
7. Pismo Beach
The beautiful coastal city of Pismo Beach lies between San Francisco and Los Angeles on the central California coast. The long wide soft sand beach is perfect for swimming and sunbathing. Pismo Beach Surf Shop offers lessons to help you learn this iconic California sport. Tour the coastline by sea kayak for sightseeing and wildlife observation with Central Coast Kayaks. For some exciting and rugged adventure, rent an ATV at Sun Buggy Fun Rentals, and race over the sand at the vast nearby Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area.
8. Catalina Island
Awesome Catalina Island is about an hour southwest of Long Beach by boat. Besides having several beautiful beaches, the island is ideal for exciting water sports. Catalina Divers Supply rents snorkeling and scuba gear so you can explore the amazing undersea wonders that surround the island. Island Water Charters takes you parasailing over Avalon Harbor. For a more relaxing experience, view undersea plants and wildlife on the Glass Bottom Boat Tour with Catalina Adventure Tours. Don’t miss the Zip Line Eco Tour, which begins on the hills above Avalon and takes you through spectacular canyons on five different zip lines.
The city of Encinitas lies north of San Diego on the beautiful southern California coast. Among its pristine white sand beaches is family-friendly Moonlight State Beach, which features extensive shallows for swimming and water play as well as a wide flat beach area that is ideal for volleyball, Frisbee, and other sports. The lovely San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas has 37 acres of awesome bamboo groves, tropical forest, and desert gardens with plants from all over the world. For some mouthwatering fresh seafood, check out the Pacific Coast Grill, where every seat has a panoramic ocean view.
10. Mission Beach, San Diego
Mission Beach is a vibrant coastal neighborhood that sits on a sandbar northwest of downtown San Diego. A soft white sand beach that’s perfect for swimming, sunbathing, surfing, and beach volleyball runs the entire length of the neighborhood. A two-mile boardwalk full of pedestrians, cyclists, and skateboarders runs parallel to the beach. Check out Mission Beach Rentals for the equipment you need such as bikes, skateboards, and surfboards. Be sure to take the kids to Belmont Park, a historic amusement park full of rides and activities.
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