Where should my family rent a house in July (driving distance from LA)?
June 3, 2014 11:22 AM   Subscribe

I've got a wife, two small kids, a dog (although the dog doesn't always come with us), and an insatiable urge to get the hell out of LA in July. Where should we go? We'd like to rent a house in an area that's not too pricey but still nice and clean. Has to be within, say, a 4 hour drive of LA. Near the beach is a plus. Maybe not completely swamped with people is a plus. Are there any hidden gems, or should we just go to Santa Barbara like everyone else?
posted by malhouse to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Big bear - north shore (e.g., quieter side may have some vrbo homes that are reasonable), perhaps? Not the beach, but out of LA.
posted by typecloud at 11:44 AM on June 3, 2014

I'd say, how about San Luis Obispo, likely to be less expensive for a rental than Santa Barbara, you can go to the Madonna Inn for lunch, or some of the fun places in town, head up 1 for a nice drive, check out San Simeon/Hearst Castle.

If you can bear the drive, go up a bit further to Santa Cruz. Fun body surfing, a fantastic Boardwalk with rides, a funky town that's hella fun to explore. Some nice hiking in the woods (nice poison ivy too, so be careful.)

Nice and cool, but still warm in the days.

Or, if you're up for an adventure, how about a road trip up the coast? No more than a couple of hours driving per day, with fun things to do at different stops

LA to SLO-Hearst Castle
84 to 101-See the original Hidden Valley Ranch (made famous by the salad dressing)
Santa Cruz/Carmel/Monterrey
San Jose-Rosecrucian Museum, Winchester Mystery House
Mission San Juan Bautista-(My favorite as a kid)
Atascadero for Duartes
Castroville for Artichokes

There are a million great little places up the coast in California. I'm more familiar with Northern California because that's where I grew up, but you just can't go wrong.

Another option is San Diego. We spent a week there when I was little and we had a ball!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:55 AM on June 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

in addition to SLO, check out the smaller towns on the central coast; morro bay, pismo beach, avila beach, etc. big sur is glorious, but it might be out of your driving range as well as your $ range.
posted by bruce at 12:06 PM on June 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

I came in here as well to say Big Bear, and I'll also add the names of some of the surrounding communities: Lake Arrowhead, Twin Peaks, Running Springs, Arrowbear.

Lots of places for rent there (try VRBO), some lake-adjacent.

And it kills me to add this, but I will, even though it's my personal secret spot: Green Valley Lake. You're welcome.
posted by BlahLaLa at 12:09 PM on June 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

If you're willing to head south, San Diego County is within a four hour drive. Oceanside tends to be less crowded and less expensive than San Diego proper, plus you're still in reasonable driving range to San Diego's attractions: Balboa Park, San Diego Zoo, Seaworld, etc. My family rented a beach house in Oceanside a few years back, and we had a great time.
posted by yasaman at 12:43 PM on June 3, 2014

Ventura is like the poor man's Santa Barbara.

Let me rephrase that.

Ventura is more affordable, and still really nice.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:38 AM on June 4, 2014

posted by Room 641-A at 11:17 AM on June 4, 2014

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