Whether you are doing a weekend getaway from San Francisco or driving the coast as part of a larger trip, these Santa Cruz beach houses will deliver an amazing coastal experience. This article spotlights a baker’s dozen of Santa Cruz beach house Airbnb rentals that feature beach access, killer ocean views and proximity to fun things to do in Santa Cruz, Aptos and Capitola.
3 Tips for Your How to Rent a Beach House in Santa Cruz
- Pay careful attention to the listings, particularly the number of guests vs. the number of actual beds. Many Airbnb listings, including some on this list, count sofa beds and air mattresses as sleepable furniture. Or there are multiple beds in one room. This may be fine for your seven year old but maybe not for your adult friends and family.
- Pay attention to the location of the rental. Some of the Santa Cruz beach houses listed here are at water level and on, or very near to the beach.. But others are on the clifftop, which is better for killer sunset views, but may require a short drive to get to the actual beach. The more affordable listings deeper into the neighborhoods, but walkable to the beach.
- Give yourself plenty of time to explore the surrounding area. Check out these cool things to do in Santa Cruz for beachcombing, hiking, shopping and eating suggestions. Some of the listings are quite close to the old growth redwoods in Nisene Marks State Park, Big Basin State park or Henry Cowell State Park.
If you aren’t sure exactly sure if you want a beachy rental or a woodsy rental, be sure to check out this list of Santa Cruz tree houses for rent. They are pretty amazing!
Your Curated List of Santa Cruz Beach House Airbnb Rentals
1. Escape – Brand New Modern Chic Coastal Retreat
Sleeps: 8 guests, 4 bedrooms with one queen and three kings
This beach condo rental in Aptos has it all! It has a breezy modern interior, ocean-view deck, a quiet end-unit location and on-site swimming pool. Even the bathroom has cool views. This home is great for a larger family or group of friends, serviced by four bedrooms, large dining table and spacious living room (with fireplace). The deck is like an extra living room with cushy seating and a large barbeque.
“Absolutely stunning location with a beautiful home to match. Exactly like the pictures. Sunrises in the master bedroom are once in a lifetime.”
2. Ocean-View Paradise With Hot Tub, 1 Block to Beach
Sleeps: 8 guests, 2 beds, air mattress and couch bed
This Santa Cruz beach house is right on Lighthouse Field state beach and only a 20 minute walk to either the Boardwalk or downtown. You can enjoy walks along Cliff drive and watch the surfers do their thing. The modern interior is nice with a large living room and well-appointed kitchen. But it’s the outside spaces that make this house such a killer beach rental. There is a second floor ocean-view deck with a casual dining table and a large ground floor back yard with cushy outdoor living furniture, a hot tub and a barbeque.
“This house has a lot of character, and we especially enjoyed the outdoor grilling area, big living room area and proximity to the beach.”
3. Cozy Pied-a-Terre in Downtown Santa Cruz
Sleeps: 2 guests, 1 bed
This little house is perfect for someone who wants to be downtown and near the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The house has a lovely beach-inspired color palette and well-designed accessories. There’s a private backyard bistro table and hammock for those chill afternoons. At $205, this fully furnished home is cheaper than most hotels in town and far cuter.
“Dianne’s place is extremely comfortable, charming, and even more spacious than in the pictures. Great light from windows in every room, entering from the back makes the space feel really private.”
4. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk House
Sleeps: 7 guests, 3 bedrooms, 2 queens, 2 singles, 1 crib
If you want an Airbnb near the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, this is the house for you. Just walk across the bridge and you are right on the boardwalk and the wide sandy beach. This family-friendly house has a nice, open interior with an updated kitchen and bathrooms. The second story deck gets lots of light and has comfortable deck furniture.
“We had an incredible stay. The location is ideal for a quick walk down to Seabright Beach. The space was super clean and tidy with charming beach bungalow vibes.”
5. Wave House by the Beach for Two
Sleeps: 2 guests, 1 bedroom
Like the two rentals above, this house is also near the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and downtown. What’s nice about this listing is that it isn’t pretending to be anything other than what it is…a romantic getaway for two. While there is a full kitchen, you are so close to downtown, you may want to eat out. There is also a private deck off of the bedroom where you can have your morning coffee.
“Super cute spot RIGHT next to the boardwalk. Location is incredible. If you want to be central in Santa Cruz this is a great spot.”
6. 779 The Waves
Sleeps: 10 guests, 3 bedrooms with queens, 1 bunkroom with twins
With this beach rental in Aptos, it’s hard to tell what’s better– the spacious woodsy interior or the insane beachside location. Say yes to both and bring your friends! The interior of this house is so unique with rich wood paneling designed to simulate a sailing vessel. The extra extra large windows bring in a lot of light and plenty of ocean views. The large entertaining deck sits at beach level and has an assortment of lounge chairs, dining tables, benches, a picnic table and a charcoal barbeque. Just move in and bring the groceries, because you aren’t going to want to leave this place.
“We saw dolphins swim by, surfed, boogie boarded, collected sea glass on the beach and enjoyed some beautiful walks.”
7. Anchor’s Away Beach House Steps from Beach
Sleeps: 6 guests, 2 bedrooms, 1 king, 1 queen, 1 bunk, 1 crib, sofa bed
This sea-level beach house has ocean views from every room. It’s right on Rio Del Mar beach and just south of the lovely Sea Cliff State Beach Park. In addition to the ocean front decks, the home also has a nicely appointed back yard with a dining area, outdoor living room, hot tub and outdoor games. You can borrow their beach toys and spend the perfect afternoon at the beach before returning to the house for sunset happy hour.
“Wow what a beach house! Right on the beach, amazing views! Great big deck for watching the waves. Lovely little backyard for relaxing or barbequeuing. Super stylish decorations – and comfortable space.”
8. Modern Beach House, Steps Away From the Ocean
Sleeps: 6 guests, 3 bedrooms, 2 queens, 1 king, 1 crib
The gourmet range and large dining table makes this Airbnb rental perfect for a family or group of friends. They’ve made the rental very family friendly with a crib and kid’s toys. The house has a lot of light and the bathrooms are to die for. The house is located in Opal Cliffs neighborhood which is on a bluff overlooking the ocean and is very close to Moran Lake Beach.
“The place is so close to the beach and was gorgeous on the inside. The balcony was perfect for enjoying the sunset and morning coffee.”
9. 62 Steps to Sand – Historic Capitola Beach Cottage
Sleeps: 6, 2 bedrooms, 1 queen, 1 single, 1 bunk bed, sofa bed
That image above says it all. If you are looking to be close to Capitola’s wide, gentle beach and also shops and restaurants, then this house will fit the bill. The space inside isn’t large and probably better suited to families or a couple than large groups of friends. But it’s fully equipped with all of the necessary amenities, including beach toys and towels.
“The place and location was better than expected; walking to beach, restaurants and shops. The place was impeccable and perfect for our family of 4 with small children.”
10. Steps to Beach, Comforts of Home
Sleeps: 2 guests, 1 bedroom
This in-law unit is a perfect value getaway for two people. No, their Airbnb pictures aren’t from Architectural Digest and they don’t have an ocean view deck. But they do offer all of the necessities at an unbeatable nightly rate. So, if you are more motivated by the outside than in, book this place. From their convenient Aptos location, you can stroll on the lovely Rio del Mar beach, golf at Seascape Golf Club or go hiking in the nearby Nisene Marks State Park.
“Super cozy and definitely has all the amenities you need for your weekend! A walk away from the beach and lots to do nearby.”
11. Lovely Tuscan Apartment Blocks from the Beach
Sleeps: 3 guests, 1 bedroom
Wow, this place packs a lot of color. It’s light and bright with a private balcony and bonus loft. It’s located in the Santa Cruz Seabright neighborhood, which is 15 minute walk to Seabright beach and 20 to downtown. It’s not right on the beach, but then you have to pay a premium for that. For 1/2 the price of an ocean view rental, you can book this lovely apartment and spend your money wine tasting or eating out. They also have an option for you to rent an adjoining room, so ask the host about that if you want extra space.
“Chuck and Susan’s place is lovely and very quiet. They are very hospitable and include lovely touches such as breakfast stuff, wine etc.”
12. Beach Suite with Hot Tub, Aquarium Passes, E-Bikes & Surf Board
Sleeps: 3 guests, 1 bedroom, 1 double, 1 single bed
This small studio is styled like a hotel room, but better. For $222/ni, it’s far cheaper than many hotel rooms in town and it’s pet friendly. The hosts offer a ton of amenities like a hot tub, pizza oven, and free use of surf boards, e-bikes and guest passes to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. You can also just chill out on the nearby Corcoran Beach. This unit doesn’t have a full kitchen, so it’s ideally suited for a couple who likes to eat out.
“This space was small but super cute! The space is private and all the amenities were awesome. We got to ride the electric bikes, walk to the beach, and it was great to be able to bring our furry baby!”
As Jacques Yves Cousteau once said: “The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” True that Jacques. Enjoy your beach stay!
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