For fun in the sun, nighttime music, and excellent shopping, a vacation in the Capitola, California region is just what you need. This area boasts beautiful beaches, fun entertainment, and quiet corners to get away from it all. Stay in a colorful bungalow on the beach in Capitola, or choose a vacation home in lively Westside Santa Cruz. If you prefer the mountains, head up to Boulder Creek to enjoy music and the fresh air. Book a stay at a Capitola vacation rental today. Here are just a few places around the Capitola area to spark your imagination for your next getaway.

1. Capitola

Right along Soquel Creek and Monterey Bay, Capitola is a colorful beach town with a European vibe. A lively mix of boutiques, cafes, and restaurants line the Esplanade, so you can enjoy coastal views as you dine or listen to live music. Several events are held during the year, and during the summer you can choose from popular gatherings such as the Begonia Festival or Art & Wine Festival. For many, the best thing to do in Capitola is to relax on the patio of their vacation rental.

2. Soquel

Soquel is packed with antique shops, so if you love poking among stalls to find hidden treasures, a vacation rental here is an excellent choice. The small downtown area also has plenty of cafes and restaurants to try. Kids will love visiting Anna Jean Cummings Park to see the four large 8-foot wide balls that appear to be rolling down the coastal plain.

3. Rio Del Mar

Rent a vacation home in Rio Del Mar, and you will have beach access right outside your door. This European-style resort area offers quiet, beach living, with a cafe, bar, and restaurant catering to locals and visitors alike. It’s the perfect setting when you want a vacation filled with long days sunning on the beach.

4. Watsonville

Historic downtown Watsonville is an excellent option when you want to be close to activity, but don’t want the hustle of a larger city. This area has several quiet parks and historical sites for the family to explore. This small commercial district holds a weekly farmers market, where you can pick up some local produce to bring back to your vacation rental for a farm-fresh lunch.

5. Live Oak/Pleasure Point

For shopping and surfing, head to Live Oak/Pleasure Point. A vacation rental here means anything from beach-side bungalows to stately mansions. The district around 41st Avenue and Portola has a funky collection of sushi bars and cafes, with plenty of thrift stores to go bargain hunting. In the mornings, walk down to the ocean for spectacular views along the cliffs or to watch the surfers that gather here to catch a wave.

6. Downtown Santa Cruz

If you love supporting the arts, rent a vacation home in Downtown Santa Cruz. Here you will find the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, Felix Kulpa Gallery, and Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. Artists set up shop at NExtSpace and Cruzioworks, where you can see local art on display. Pick up a book at Bookshop Santa Cruz to take with you to a nearby cafe to enjoy coffee on the sidewalk patio.

7. Seabright/Midtown Santa Cruz

Seabright is a laid-back area in Santa Cruz that offers a mix of nightlife and beach activities. From your vacation rental, stroll to Seabright Beach to light one of the popular bonfires as the sun goes down. During the day, check out the eclectic shops and cafes on Seabright and Murray Avenues. Over on Soquel Avenue, enjoy live music, open mics, and karaoke.

8. Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

For an activity-filled neighborhood with easy access to the beach, rent a vacation home at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. This historic landmark is open throughout the year and features an arcade, beach bandstand mini-golf course, and amusement park. Take a thrilling ride on The Giant Dipper or relax on the 1924 Loof Carousel. Both kids and adults will enjoy tasting ice cream and salt water taffy from the vendors after a quick dip in the ocean.

9. Westside Santa Cruz

Westside Santa Cruz is home to the University of California-Santa Cruz, which gives this neighborhood a young, hip feel. Mission Street runs through the center and is filled with outdoor cafes, restaurants, and shops, such as Donnelly Chocolates. If you love the outdoors, you’ll also find plenty to do in this district. Choose from Lighthouse Field State Park, Seymour Marine Discovery Center, or Natural Bridges State Park.

10. Boulder Creek

Nestled among the Santa Cruz Mountains lies the mountain town of Boulder Creek. Music lovers enjoy its lively bluegrass and Americana music scene, while hikers take advantage of its proximity to Big Basin Redwoods State Park, the first state park in California. Many shops and restaurants pack the streets in Boulder Creek’s downtown, just a few minutes’ walk from your vacation home.

11. La Selva Beach

If you are looking for a peaceful community right along the beach, you want to stay in La Selva Beach. A quick walk from your vacation rental brings you to Manresa State Beach. Spend the day lounging in the sun, then stop by the local cafe for a quick dinner before heading back to watch the sun set.