Located about halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego on the stunningly beautiful California coast, San Clemente, and the surrounding area is renowned for its magnificent views, superb beaches, and pleasantly warm Mediterranean climate. The region provides a mix of laid-back relaxing atmosphere, historical ambiance, and exciting activities. Here are some of the best places to look for a San Clemente vacation rental as you plan your trip.

1. The City of San Clemente

san clemente
Source: Flickr/Mark Weston

Sites for vacation rentals in San Clemente range from the scenic hills to the sunny neighborhoods facing the shore. Convenient amenities such as volleyball courts, barbecue rings, restrooms, and umbrellas dot the beaches, but there is also plenty of soft clean open sand for sunbathers. The famous San Clemente Pier allows you to walk more than 1,200 feet out over the ocean to fish or simply admire the view and watch the surfers. Inland, you can enjoy the gorgeous weather in San Clemente’s 21 parks and 14 miles of hiking trails. If you play golf, head to the championship 18-hole municipal golf course.

2. Dana Point

dana point
Source: Flickr/Dave Pinter

The city of Dana Point lies adjacent to San Clemente to the north. Vacation rentals have easy access to Dana Point Harbor, with its long jetty and marinas housing over 2,500 boats. You can find vessels to take you for sightseeing cruises, sports fishing, whale watching, or an outing to Catalina Island. Popular water sports around Dana Point include surfing, windsurfing, kayaking, and jet-skiing. The harbor also features a multitude of shops where you can peruse jewelry, collectible artwork, Native American artifacts, hand-made chocolates, and many other items. When you’re hungry, enjoy some seafood at one of the harbor’s many restaurants.

3. San Juan Capistrano

san juan capistrano
Source: Flickr/Prayitno

Located just inland from Dana Point, many of the vacation rentals in the city of San Juan Capistrano reflect the Spanish architecture of its namesake mission. Touring Mission San Juan Capistrano, with its adobe friar’s quarters, barracks, an aqueduct system, church, and gardens, provides a fascinating look into early California history. The Los Rios Historic District preserves an entire neighborhood of traditional adobe homes. The O’Neil Museum within the Historic District offers a fascinating detail about early California pioneer life.

4. Laguna Niguel

aliso canyon
Source: Flickr/tinyfroglet

Vacation rentals in the city of Laguna Niguel lie in the beautiful San Joaquin Hills northeast of San Juan Capistrano. The city landscaping optimizes parks, open areas, and trails, making it a haven of lovely greenery and fun recreational activities. Laguna Niguel Regional Park features playgrounds, picnic areas, bike trails, and sports courts, as well as a lake for boating and fishing. Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park has forests and rugged canyons for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. These parks link to a larger area known as the South Coast Wilderness, which is ideal for exploring and observing wildlife.

5. Laguna Beach

laguna beach
Source: Flickr/tdlucas5000

Along with miles of soft sandy beach and exciting water sports, the city of Laguna Beach offers inland wilderness hiking, sightseeing, art appreciation, and fine dining. The beach is famous for its excellent surfing, hidden coves, and memorable scuba diving. Other popular water sports include paddle boarding, skim boarding and kayaking. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park has miles of hiking and mountain biking trails graded from beginner to expert. As you ply the trails, you can catch glimpses of mule deer, bobcats, and red-tailed hawks. When you are in a more contemplative mood, peruse the displays at the city’s numerous art galleries.

6. Aliso Viejo

aliso viejo
Source: Flickr/Mark Weston

The city of Aliso Viejo lies northeast of Laguna Beach in the San Joaquin Hills. When you step out of your vacation rental, you are surrounded by valleys, rolling hills, rushing streams, and scenic views. Numerous community parks and nature trails link the various neighborhoods and allow easy access to recreational activities and wildlife observation.

7. Laguna Hills

laguna hills
Source: Flickr/Mark Weston

Vacation rentals in the city of Laguna Hills are located northwest of San Clemente in the San Joaquin Hills. Adventurous visitors can explore nearby Laguna Canyon, a rugged wilderness area that is home to wildlife such as mule deer, coyote, mountain lions, and bobcats. To learn about the area’s past, take the kids to Laguna Hills Community Center, which has displays of fossils of mammoths, giant ground sloths, saber-toothed cats, dire wolves, and other ancient animals. The fossils originate from deposits at local Fossil Reef Park and Costeau Park.

8. Oceanside

oceanside
Source: Flickr/Rob Bertholf

The coastal city of Oceanside lies about 10 miles south of San Clemente along Interstate 5. Oceanside is famous for its beautiful beaches and exciting water sports, which include surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking, and fishing. For the more adventurous, Oceanside also offers scuba diving, sailing, whale watching, coastal skydiving, and sightseeing rides in vintage biplanes. The city is home to some unique and interesting museums, including the California Surf Museum, the Model Train Museum, the Oceanside Historical Museum, and the Museum of Making Music.

9. Carlsbad

legoland
Source: Flickr/Dylan’s World

Located just south of Oceanside, the city of Carlsbad is also a popular seaside resort. Several lagoons in the area provide hiking trails, nature observation, and water recreation. In addition, vacation rentals in Carlsbad are a perfect jumping off points for the family attraction known as Legoland California, a vast amusement and theme park based on the popular Lego toy brand. The site is divided into various areas, such as dinosaur-themed Explorer Island, medieval-themed Castle Hill, and tech-themed Imagination Zone. It also includes a water park and aquarium.