If you haven’t heard of the Sea Ranch in California, you’re in for a treat. It might be Sonoma County’s best-kept secret. The tiny town — population just 1,305 — is perched on a beautiful stretch of rugged coastline overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The private, environmentally planned community sits along California’s famous Highway One, so getting there is definitely half the fun. Speaking of that, Sea Ranch is about a 2.5-hour drive from San Francisco, nestled among California’s legendary redwoods.
Sea Ranch is secluded, exclusive, and provides an extremely chill getaway. It’s a perfect landing spot after a day of wine-tasting around the lush vineyards of Northern California. If that’s not your speed, Sea Ranch is also home to some great public access trails for hiking and biking and the 195-acre Gualala Point Regional Park.
It’s estimated that as many as half the properties in Sea Ranch are actually vacation rentals. We scoured Vrbo listings and cross-referenced them against guest reviews to find our favorites for you. But a word of warning: if you rent one of these vacation homes, you may just want to stay in all day. And we wouldn’t blame you one bit. Here are our top beach rentals in Sea Ranch, California.
Standing Wave Cottage$290/nightly avg
The owners call this gorgeous, cozy cottage “Standing Wave.” We can see why. Imagine waking up and enjoying a cup of coffee on that patio — it feels like you could reach out and touch the ocean!
Just an FYI, this guesthouse is located on the owners’ private property, but it’s separated from the main house by a large meadow and rolling hills. The cottage happens to be on one of the largest oceanfront lots in Sea Ranch, so if picturesque views are your thing, you really can’t go wrong with a stay here.
Elegant Ocean View Home$398/nightly avg
Soak up the sunshine in this light-filled home with views of the Pacific Ocean. This 1,700-square-foot property boasts hardwood floors, sophisticated design, vaulted ceilings, huge windows, and a fireplace. Feel like grilling your dinner or taking a dip in the hot tub? Good news — you can do both while you’re staying here.
With more than 150 reviews and a 4.9 rating, we clearly aren’t the only ones dreaming of a visit. Guests praised the property’s “serene” nature and beautiful surroundings.
True Ocean Bluff Ultra-Romantic Home$595/nightly avg
According to the listing, “WOW” is the first thing guests usually say when they enter this home. And we believe it. Nestled in a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, this place is definitely a showstopper.
The main living area has gorgeous panoramic views of the sea. Imagine having a glass of wine on the huge outdoor patio — you can practically smell the sea salt in the air. The owners say this is the site for you when “only the best will do.” They might be right.
Quintessential Sea Ranch Home, Featured In Coastal Living$381/nightly avg
This home has already earned plenty of accolades — having been featured in Coastal Living, California Home and Design, and Fine Homebuilding magazines.
But seeing is believing, and this listing made believers out of us. The owners describe this home as “the perfect mix of serenity and adventure,” which sums up the Sea Ranch lifestyle to a T.
This open floor plan home is chock full of natural materials and thoughtful details. The owners have truly thought of everything — including high-end furnishings like Tufenkian Tibetan rugs and original, local art and photography.
And of course, there are those gorgeous ocean views. This one is certainly a stunner, and we can see why it’s already gotten so much love.
Japanese-Inspired Redwoods Retreat$206/nightly avg
How’s this for something off the beaten path? This cozy studio is nestled in the middle of a coastal redwood grove. And when we say “cozy,” we mean it. This space clocks in at just 384 square feet, but its owners have made good use of it.
But what’s most striking is the studio’s Japanese-inspired decor. And “decor” almost feels like an understatement here: You’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into another place entirely — beginning with the traditional tatami mat floor as you walk in, and delicate rice paper privacy screens inside.
We can totally picture ourselves enjoying a cup of green tea while savoring the lush landscape surrounding the studio. This place is truly something special. And while it’s small in size, it makes a huge impression on guests.
Clair de Lune$572/nightly avg
The owners of this property call it Clair de Lune, French for “moonlight.” The name makes sense, because this place is tres magnifique. According to the listing, on a cloudless night, you can lie in the master bedroom suite and see the moon shining through a skylight — hence the name.
This home is a stunner. We especially love the modern, contemporary design. If that’s your style, you’ll feel right at home here. Like so many Sea Ranch properties, this one boasts gorgeous vistas perfect for a morning cup of coffee or a glass of wine in the evening. It’s located in the Sculpture Point area of Sea Ranch, near the ocean bluff trail, Smugglers Cove, and the marine preserve. Pebble Beach is a 5-minute walk from the house.
And if you’re musically inclined, there’s even a baby grand piano on the premises.
A heads up: the property listing suggests this home is ideal for couples or families with older children, specifically over 12 years old. Children younger than 12 aren’t allowed.
Gualala Hilton House$505/nightly avg
Need a little extra space? This might be the spot for you, and perhaps your whole family if you want to bring them, too.
This house is perched on the north coast of Sea Ranch in the Gualala area. The owners say this part of Sea Ranch tends to get more sun, while other parts of the coast are covered in fog.
Like all the properties we’ve rounded up, this one boasts gorgeous ocean views — perfect for watching the sunset and listening to the ocean sounds, if that’s your thing.
Unlike most properties we found, this one seems to be a little more family-friendly: There’s a playroom in the garage stocked with a foosball table, ping-pong table, and even air hockey. Pets are welcome too, for an additional fee.
The home recently underwent a full remodel, so furnishings and decor have a modern touch. And if you need a moment to chill out and relax, no worries — there are three televisions and a wood-burning stove at the property. Find your zen, indeed.
Canyon View Cabin in the Redwoods$250/nightly avg
The property owners call this a cabin, but one guest review says “it was so much more.” And we can see why. You’ll find this rental in a secluded cul-de-sac less than a mile from Anchor Bay Beach.
You’ll enjoy the indoor and outdoor living spaces with gorgeous canyon and ocean views. You could have a great vacation without ever leaving the property; it’s chock full of amenities and a kitchen that gets top ratings from guests. In fact, one reviewer said they had a great time just sitting on the deck for hours, drinking tea and listening to the waves crash. Sounds like a perfect day to us, too.
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