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California’s popular culture phenomenon can leave us feeling like we know the state even if we’ve never stepped foot in it. The films and TV programs that show off the state’s bright, bold and beautiful scenery have been part of our lives for so long.
Found on the west coast of the USA, California has an action-packed coastline, world-renowned wineries, dramatic deserts, and towering mountains. The diverse setting has something for everyone, and enough to keep you coming back again and again.
From the natural wonders of Yosemite National Park and Muir Woods to the iconic man-made attractions of Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood, California is filled with endless wonders.
With so much happening, perhaps the hardest decision to make for your California vacation is choosing where to base yourself - do you want a beachfront villa or one up in the hills?
From Hollywood Hills and Malibu to Beverley Hills and Palm Springs, we have luxury rental villas throughout California. And with a mixture of remote charmingly-cozy accommodation in Lake Tahoe to lavish 12-person estates on Hollywood Hills, we’ve got a great option, whatever it is you’re looking for.
Much of California has warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters.
The Southern Californian city of San Diego has mild climates that are enjoyable year-round. As you travel up the coast to Los Angeles, average temperatures rise but aren’t generally excessive. San Francisco, at the tip of the state, stays mild and is often wet with cool coastal winds.
Timing your visit should depend on the activities you’re looking to do. If you want to experience California’s classic surfing and swimming scene, then you should plan a visit to Los Angeles or San Diego between May-September. Autumn is the best time of year to visit California’s wine regions and experience San Francisco’s ‘Indian Summer’.
Springtime is often referred to as the most beautiful time to visit, with hillsides blanketed with lush greenery and flowers - ideal for getting out and enjoying California’s natural beauty. And in winter, snow usually covers the mountains making way for skiing opportunities.
California’s famous coastline is over 800 miles long and filled with hundreds of public beaches for you to enjoy.
Venice Beach, Los Angeles is the most iconic beach in California. This is a stretch of sand that you’ll likely recognize from the movies. Alongside the sunbathing and surfing, there are the bodybuilders at Muscle Beach, street performers, amusement park and boardwalk filled with shops, bars and restaurants.
Baker Beach is one of San Francisco’s most popular beaches thanks to its unmatched views of the Golden Gate Bridge. The views are the main draw to this beach and on a sunny day it can get particularly crowded, so head down early to grab a good spot.
Coronado Central Beach is on Coronado, a peninsula resort city accessible by bridge from San Diego. Coronado Central Beach stretches 1.5 miles and is home to the famous Hotel del Coronado. The beach is open to everyone and it has a large strip of sand that makes it spacious, even on the busiest of days.
Malibu is another Californian city that is a beach-goers dream. Our beachfront Malibu luxury rental villas are a great choice if you want to have direct access to the beach or simply enjoy the gorgeous view from your terrace. Villa Contenta is a rental villa that is just a stone's throw away from Escondido Beach
If you want to travel around, tour through wine country, discover national parks, and stop off at small towns, a car is a must for your California trip. By using a car, you also get to enjoy some of the best scenic drives the state has to offer.
But if you are basing yourself in one of the larger cities in the state (Los Angeles, San Francisco or San Diego) for the length of your trip, you will find it possible to get from place to place via public transport or taxi.
California is full of ‘spoil yourself’ experiences, and this includes food and drink. There is so much food and drink for you to indulge in during your vacation, including some specialties in the region.
Amongst the wave of modern cuisine options, some of the local specialties you must try are apple pie, Dungeness crab, oysters, steak, and clam chowder in San Francisco.
Bordering with Mexico, a love for tacos has also filtered through to California and you can enjoy some of the most authentic Mexican food outside of Mexico itself, especially in San Diego.
It’s hard to talk about food and drink in California without mentioning the world-renowned vineyards. California is one of the largest wine-producing areas in the world with over 3,000 wineries. There’s plenty of superb wine to sip on and tours to fully appreciate California’s famous drinks.
If you’re more of a beer drinker, there are also a variety of micro-breweries in California serving up fine pale-ale, lager and cider.
With so much happening in California, it can be difficult to know where to stay. The number of sights and attractions makes it one of the premier vacation destinations, but where should you stay so that you get to see the most?
Much of it depends on what you are looking for from your California trip. Northern California cities like San Francisco offer a unique history, some of the finest vineyards and national parks. In Southern California, San Diego and Los Angeles are home to beautiful beaches, major tourist attractions, and a sprinkle of glitz and glamour.
Whether you want beachfront living or something in a cultural hub, a luxury villa rental is the best way to experience all that this vibrant state has to offer.
Los Angeles is, without a doubt, the most popular destination in California. Beyond the splendor of Hollywood, there are beaches, a beautiful rural landscape, and top family and cultural attractions.
Elsewhere in California, the pleasant year-round weather in San Diego attracts both summer and winter travelers, San Francisco has an eclectic and historic draw, and the natural sites of Napa Valley, Yosemite Valley and Lake Tahoe are popular for the outdoor types.
The big three cities in California are Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. These cities draw the crowds and each has more than enough to keep every type of traveler happy for the duration of their trip.
Some other ‘off the beaten track’ cities to explore in California include Sacramento, California’s state capital; Fresno, a city with close access to Yosemite National Park; Palm Springs, a tranquil hangout; and Monterey, a delightful coastal city.
There are so many neighborhoods in California that are both worth visiting and ideal for basing your stay.
Hollywood is one of the most famous neighborhoods in the world. For visitors, there is the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Hollywood sign, historic theatres, breathtaking views of Los Angeles and more. Those looking to stay in Hollywood can mix in with movie stars on the winding streets of Hollywood Hills.
Malibu is a beach city in Los Angeles County that has been a celebrity hotspot since the 1930s. The 27 miles of dramatic coastal mountains and golden sand has become awash with celebrity residents and beachfront villas. Why not rent your own Malibu villa for your California vacation?
The name might suggest otherwise but Beverly Hills is a flat neighborhood - one of the most luxurious in Los Angeles - filled with mansions and Rodeo Drive, a strip of high-end boutique shops.
Los Angeles Nightlife
Los Angeles sets the standard with a ‘no expense spared’ nightlife crammed with extravagant spaces, coolest people, and international DJs. Exchange, Infusion Lounge and Playhouse are some of the favorite nightclubs in Los Angeles. West Hollywood is an area most infamously known for its trendy nightlife.
San Diego nightlife
San Diego’s nightlife mainly revolves around the Gaslamp Quarter - 16 blocks full of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. You have the choice of dancing the night away or catching a comedy show at The American Comedy Co.
San Jose nightlife
San Jose’s nightlife has been refreshed with a number of breweries sprouting across the city. These join the list of swanky lounges, cocktail bar and nightclubs including LVL 44, The Ritz and Avery Lounge.
San Francisco nightlife
San Francisco is known for being creative and this definitely includes its bar scene. San Francisco’s nightlife is all about the abundance of amazing bars. Dear Mom, The Riddler, Trick Dog and 15 Romolo are some of the best waterholes.
Napa Valley is a premier destination for wine connoisseurs and foodies. This renowned California wine area features scenic views and the exquisite wineries are remiss of countryside castles.
Yosemite National Park is one of the best ways to get close to nature in California. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is the third oldest national park in America. Most visitors choose to explore Yosemite Valley, a glacial valley in the park with cliffs, waterfalls, and spectacular wildlife.
For an Old-West inspired trip, Joshua Tree National Park is a must. This national park is the meeting point of the low, dry Colorado desert and the higher, cooler Mojave desert. The result is iconic plantlife, magical scenery and rewarding hikes.
Los Angeles points of interest and landmarks
San Diego points of interest and landmarks
USS Midway Museum
San Jose points of interest and landmarks
Winchester Mystery House
Alum Rock Park
San Francisco points of interest and landmarks
Golden Gate Bridge