Let’s open with two truisms:
Anticipation is half the fun. And the early bird gets the worm.
Or, in this case, the hot-tub on the deck overlooking the Pacific.
Which is why we humbly present the 2016 Summer Rental Guide, which will help you spend the next three months dreaming of rope swings, beach bonfires and kayaking trips.
Instead of convincing yourself that a staycation was what you’d wanted all along.
For the Child-Free Art Fans Who Also Really Like Whales
It’s beautiful inside this two-open, open-plan home dreamed up by the interior designer owner, but it’s better from outside, when you can get a look at its ridiculously good-looking facade and take advantage of a hot tub, treehouse, and garden. If you’re looking for somewhere to roam, the 800+-acre Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve is a couple miles’ drive, while the nearby Sonoma Coast State Beach offers whale-watching and beach-walking.
For Isolationists With a Strong Fitbit Game
High Sierra, CA
Head up, up, up — 7,500 feet in elevation — to this sleeps-three log cabin in the middle of a meadow in the High Sierras. The vibe inside is modern woodsman; bring your bike and hiking boots for a trip to Upper Jackass Lake, surrounded by alpine flowers and quiet.
For Luxe-Minded Parents Whose Kids Prefer Bunk Beds
Three Rivers, CA
There’s just a couple inches of glass separating you from the Sequoia wilderness at this jaw-droppingly gorgeous modern house. Bring friends for the second full bedroom in the main house, and throw all the kids—up to eight—in the nearby “rustic cabin,” which has a mix of bunk beds and doubles. No wifi, but that’s the point, right?
For Expats Who Want a Little Bit of Swiss Decor But, Like, Sleek
Lake Tahoe, CA
This is a distinctly Californian take on the classic ski chalet: We’ve got visible beams and a wood-burning fire, but all the edges are sleek and chic, with polished concrete standing in for oak panels. The lake is a short drive away—though there’s no reason to leave the property, with the deck, barbecue, and hiking throughout Alpine Meadows.
For Nostalgists Who Just Want the Whole Fam to Hang
Sea Ranch, CA
Pack up the whole family — up to eight — for a week in this Philip Bradley-designed 1970 Sea Ranch, which feels like a super-luxe, cedar-inflected upgrade on the Brady Bunch manse and sits halfway between here and Mendocino. Wood-burning stove, deck hot tub, and an outdoor shower for anyone coming up from a dive through the abalone beds.
For Couples Who Want to See Each Other, Empty Beaches and Nothing Else
Fort Bragg, CA
Just the two of you? Then check into this studio near Fort Bragg, with immediate access to the rocky shoreline and tidal pools at the ocean’s edge, below your ridiculously expansive deck (with hot tub). If you do decide to step foot off the property, head to Glass Beach, a bizarre and beautiful quirk of a dump site-turned-sea glass wonder.