Some California locations for 8-16 person vacation rentals

Collected 2003


Russian River


Shasta/Trinity Alps

Mid Sierras

South Sierras

Gold Country

Mid Coast




Note: "multiple" means are multiple units available in some fashion is there just one house.  It's often not clear how the limit splits between adults and kids.  As we narrow the list and get some confirms, I'll double check that.

Russian River

The Russian River is the weekend getaway for the Bay Area.  It's 1-2 hours from SF.  It's a mix of sleepy cottages, small towns, and rural settings over low rolling hills.  There is wading depth canoeing on parts of the river.  

Setting Sleeps $/week house URL Multiple Comment
Rural 8+, 4br 2000 Russian River n Pete: Beachfront (river!), cool weather, redwoods. Kayak to the ocean from the yard. 10 beds.
Rural 12, 5br 3000 Xanadu n  



reviewed by Amy 

Pacific Grove, CA

 PG is located about an hour from the South Bay on the coast, between Monterey and Carmel. 

There are some cottages at www.andrilcottages.com (Than and I have stayed there before).  You can walk to Asilomar beach and there is a playground nearby.  Point Lobos is a great place for a hike, and you can rent bikes and ride along the coast.  Big Sur is not too far if you want something less crowded.  There are some decent restaurants nearby (but not as fancy or expensive as Carmel).  Monterey offers the Aquarium and Dennis the Menace playground.  I am sure there are places to rent kayaks etc. 

I contacted the Andril cottages today and they have two "big" cottages -- one has 4 bedrooms and one has 5 bedrooms.  The 5 bedroom place rents for $360 a night (=$2520 for seven nights) and sleeps 12+.  It is available from July 19-23rd.  It is also available for shorter periods (July 2-4th, July 29-Aug 1st) but is otherwise booked solid for the month of Aug.  The 4 bedroom rents for $345-350 per night but is only available for short periods this summer (July 2-4, July 19-23, Aug 18-20).  The deposit is one night's rent. 

Setting Sleeps $/week house URL Comment Mutiple
near urban 12 2520 Andril,
 Rancho Reposo
Pete: 12 beds. Only Jul 16-23!. "Walking distance of pacific ocean and Pebble Beach's 17-mile drive." ?

Ervan's note: Monterey is a fun tourist stop.  There is diving, surfing lessons, and the usual ocean activities. 

Shasta/Trinity Alps

reviewed by Ervan

This is Northern California.  Most areas are medium-sized mountains and tree covered.  Mt. Shasta stands out and Lassen Volcanic Park has lots of interesting things to see.  This is a big area and those sites could easily be an hour or more away.  Depending on just where we are activities tend to be hiking, horseback riding, and lake activities (fishing, [darned cold] skiing, jet skis), visiting Shasta & Lassen.

It's a 4-5 hour drive from San Francisco.  Redding is much closer and has a small airport, but the cost delta over SFO will be about $200.

The pampered experience:

Coffee Creek Ranch --  These are small individual cottages set in the woods, away from most things, with food and linen service provided.  There is a large meeting hall, very close to the cabins, where the meals are served.   It's expensive, $1K/person/week, but as noted that does include prepared food.  Their big thing is horseback riding.  The pond and pool are okay for kids.  The stream is scenic, but too cold for lounging (except for Reinhard).  The volleyball, ping pong, etc. is rather cruddy and can be ignored.  It's located a couple of miles from a big lake (short drive) and in the national forest (lots of roll-your-own hiking/camping potential).


The vacation rentals:

I don't know any of these personally, and it's really too far for me to check out in person.  The first three all look like ranch homes on the highway basically, but with varying degrees of buffer space.  I'll try to ask useful questions going forward and narrow this down.

I'm omitted things >= $4K/week for all of us (for just lodging), things that cannot accommodate at least 8 adults, and houses that look like white trash renting their dumps near scenic places.

It's often not clear what the adult/kid breakdown is on occupancy.  As we narrow this down, I'll call and find out.

Setting Sleeps $/week house URL Comment Multiple
rural 10 adults + kids, 5br, firm limit 3000 Lodgehome Looks great, relaxing things on site, small lake, 100 acre lot, in the woods, a "destination", by Manton Creek, near Lassen, but not in the forest, "lodge style" n
rural pasture  10 total  including kids (hard limit), 4br 1100 Twin Meadows Looks like a nice house, but all activities are probably a short drive.  Cedar Hideaway is 3 miles away if we want to split.  Nice isolated spot on 50 acres, creek flows through front of property. n
Near forest 10, 2(!)br 900 Cedar Hideaway just N. of Shasta, small place though, don't know where 10 people would fit.  Could combine with Twin Meadows. n
rural 2+4+6 2000? Trash Trio, #1, #2, #3 These 3 homes are all on the same 5-acre lot just outside of Mt. Shasta (city), and only these 3 are on the lot.  They are separated from each other by a few hundred yards. just these 3
Forest 9+9 (including kids), or more 1800 Bear Cabin This spot has flexibility in terms of the number of units rented, all close, and some have small kitchens.  I'm promised it is really in the forest away from the road.  Nearest swimming is 6 miles though. y
Forest 14, 5br 2500 The Barrett House near Lake Shasta n
Forest? ?, 4br 2500 LSVR also near Lake Shasta n
? 11 1150 Berry Haven can't tell much about it n
Forest? 11 2250 Serenity can't tell much about it n
small town? 10/4br 1050 River View Retreat   n
small town 8/3br 1200 Three Tree Retreat on 1 acre, in the city n
small town 13/5br 1350 McCloud House looks like a dumpy farm house to me, but claims to be historic n


Mid Sierras

Reviewed by Amy

Kings Canyon/Sequoia area 

4 hours from Bay Area.

www.sequoia-kingscanyon.com.  The Grant Grove Cabins looked promising.  There is swimming at Hume Lake, hiking and horseback riding.  Bath cabins cost $112/night, Rustic cabins are $60/55, "tent cabins are $45.  I believe Kings Canyon is not as popular (ie crowded) as Yosemite in the summer, but I don't know whether Grant Grove is booked yet or not.  

It is www.sequoiavillageinn.com.  The Dogwood Chalet and Glacier Chalet are the largest, with 3 bedrooms each.  The Dogwood sleeps 12 people (one bedroom has 2 doubles and 2 twins).  Depending on the size of our group we might want to rent both it and a smaller cottage (maybe the Hummingbird).  One other thing worth noting about these chalets: they have A/C.  I haven't seen it listed at most of the other cottages I have researched.  Could be important in July, esp. since Three Rivers is at a fairly low elevation. 

One more option:  www.silvercityresort.com.  This resort is located in the Mineral King Recreation area of Sequoia National Park.  They have several chalets, "comfy" cabins and "rustic" cabins.  Three of the chalets have 3 bedrooms, full bath and kitchen and can sleep 8 persons.  They cost $250/night. The "comfy" cabins have toilets, hot and cold water, and a basic kitchen (but you have to use communal showers). They have 2 bedrooms and cost $160/night. The "rustic" cabins do not have bathrooms or hot water.  They cost between $70-125 per night.  The resort has a play area for kids and a nice looking creek for wading. hiking, horses etc are nearby.

Ervan's thoughts: I've been to Kings Canyon/Sequoia several times.  Both are beautiful parks with extraordinary hiking opportunities and plenty of roadside sites as well (huge trees, Moro Rock, Watchtower cliffs, Alta Peak, King's Canyon itself, the King's River is great wading fun, a couple of small waterfalls, the occasional bear in the wild).  The parks dominate the area.  There isn't much in the way of rafting/boating/history/food & wine.

The Grant Grove Cabins are at the joint park entrance.  Most sights are a 30-minute drive away from the cabins, but there are some trails right there as well, and they are in the trees.  A small store and restaurant are nearby.  Only negative I see for cabins in the park: these really are cabins, without any cooking facilities.  I'm not sure what communal facilities, if any, exist  Maybe consider Cedar Grove Lodge, right in the middle of the canyon?

Dogwood chalet and friends in Three Rivers are an interesting compromise.  I don't know these units, but Three Rivers tends to be a tourist drop off spot, some nice stuff, some just highway-servicing commerce.  Sequoia is 30+ minutes away and King's Canyon an hour+.  I think it exists mostly to service Lake Kaweah (which is nothing special).

Silver City: This is further up the Kaweah Valley from Three Rivers.  It's about the same distance to the parks.  The location is likely more pleasant.  I haven't been to Silver City, but in general, things further up the Kaweah Valley are nicer.

North Fork of King's Canyon:

Sierra Nevada/Stanislaus National Forest 

North of Yosemite (about 3.5 hours from Bay Area).  Check out these websites (all are for areas near the Dodge Ridge ski area, close to Pinecrest Lake): - 

www.cabinsatstrawberry.com.  These cabins are at 5230 feet, located at the South fork of the Stanislaus River.  All have 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, so we would need to rent two.  Cost depends on view, with river view cabins costing $189/night and forest view cabins costing $169/night.  I have emailed the contacts to ask about availability for July/August. 

-www.gorrr.com (The Rivers Resort).  There are some 4/2 cabins costing between $650-975 per week.  Not sure how people feel about being in a "resort" -- this one has 10 cabins and a swimming pool. I have emailed the contacts to ask about availability. 

-www.pinecrest-strawberry-realestate.com.  There are two cabins listed that sound good: 

1)Briner Cabin, which rents for $1404/week and has its own swimming hole. There are 4 bedrooms/3 baths, with lots of bunk beds for kids.  Says it sleeps up to 15 people. 

2)Bruzzone Cabin, which rents for $2106/week.  This one is also a 4/3 and is 5 blocks from the lake.  It is also remodeled (has a nice kitchen). 

--www.strawberryinn.com.  They have cabins, but not a lot of info on their website.  I have asked for details in an email.   


Joseph's Cabin 16 beds (4 br + loft), Stanislaw. In National Forest.

Terrapin Sleeps 11-40 :-) (11 in beds, rest in sleeping bags and couches).  5500 ft, 2 hours from Yosemite? Says no alcohol...

Ervan's notes: I haven't been to this area, but having been on both sides, this should be scenic mountain territory with plenty of outings.  Yosemite valley is uncomfortably far away though (almost 2 hours?).  This is closer to transportation than Shasta and probably has more choices of things to do, but less isolation (on average).

Mammoth lakes 

East of Yosemite, about a 6 hour drive from San Francisco.  The Tamarack Lodge has 29 cabins for rent.  See www.tamaracklodge.com for details.  The largest cabins are 3/2, so we would have to rent two cabins.  They vary in price depending on whether they are "rustic" or remodeled.  Remodeled 3/2 goes for $315/night in the summer. Activities at Mammoth include canoes, hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, gondola ride.

Ervan's thoughts: I was here one day last summer.  I didn't see anything this had that the west side didn't.  It's mostly a winter ski resort.  I get the impression this is mostly for fishing in the summer.  Still, it is in the Sierras with good scenery and plenty of trails to explore.  Highlight: Devil's Postpile.

Housing summary:

Area Setting Sleeps $/week house URL Comment Multiple
King's Canyon National Park 3? 784 Grant's Grove no kitchen y
King's Canyon Rural 2-4 600 Sequoia Village some have kitchen y
King's Canyon ? 4-6 1000-1400 Silver City some have kitchen y
King's Canyon National Park 2+kids 700 Cedar Grove really just a hotel room, but right in the park y
Stanislaus  National Forest 6+kids? 1260 Strawberry Cabins    y
Stanislaus  National Forest 8 adults +kids/4br 975 Three Rivers on the river 10
Stanislaus  National Forest 15 1400 Briner   n
Stanislaus  National Forest 8+kids?, 4br 2106 Bruzzone more Looks like it has 14 beds.   n
Stanislaus  National Forest ? ? Strawberry Inn   n
Forest Mammoth Lake 6+kids 2205 Tamarack   y
Stanislaus  ? 11 adults + 9 kids, 3br 1100 Terrapin "NO ALCOHOL", beds for 11 n
Stanislaus  Forest 8 adults+8 kids, 4br + loft 1000 Joseph's Cabin  5 miles to national forest.  Pine crest lake nearby.  Similar unit 1 mile away. 2


South Sierras

Lake Isabella is the obscure southern tip of the Sierras, approaching the desert in some of its qualities.  This is a more relaxed destination without so much happening.  Activities are lake activities and hiking.  I remember liking the canyon walls on the twisty road to get here.  

Setting Sleeps $/week house URL Comment Multiple
house by the road 8 1000 Mountain Home   n


Gold Country

The character is more rolling hills and agricultural.   Rafting is big around here, some decent wine tasting in part of the area.

It's a 3-hour drive from SF, less from Sacramento.

Area Setting Sleeps $/week house URL Comment
Gold Country Rural? 8+, 4br 2450 Arnold Just down the mountain from the Stanislaus forest area
Gold Country Lake front 11, 4br 1400 Nevada City Enjoy the lake, it's hours away from other attractions
Gold Country scenic town? multiple cottages ? Nevada City Inn has kitchens


Mid Coast

This is the sleepy part of California half way between LA and the Bay Area.  There are nice beaches, decent vineyards at artsy San Luis Obispo (just inland), and the Hearst Castle nearby.

Area Setting Sleeps $/week house URL Multiple Comment
Pismo Beach Beach 8, 3br 2600-3000 Endless Summer y  
Pismo Beach Downtown 12, 6br 1800 Wadsworth n 1.5 blocks to the beach
Pismo Beach Beach 8, 3br 1800 Sea Watch n  

could probably find more in the area if there is interest.


reviewed by Ervan

One of the Channel Islands, Catalina, has a real city, Avalon, and is more than just a park.  Avalon is about 3K people, but is mostly a tourist destination.  There would be lots to do, hiking, diving, sailing, jet skis, hanging out at the beach, dining and shopping, possible side trips to the other islands to really get away from it all.

Downside: There is nothing suitable for our group anywhere except in Avalon.  So, we would essentially be in the city with all of this stuff nearby, and maybe a view if we shop carefully.  Also, they seem quite strict about the number of occupants and insist that children over 2 count toward the limit.  We'd probably be split into  2 near, but not adjacent, houses.  I also expect everything to be pricey.

There is a short boat ride from LA to reach Avalon.

I've never been.  What you see in these links is all I know, though it looks very interesting.

Setting Sleeps $/week house URL Comment Multiple  
urban 8-10 2900-3600 219 Descanso

176 Middle Terrace

Similar ones available, in Avalon itself on same street Pete: 5 BR, $3400. Great views, gourmet kitchen (maybe Than will feel inspired). Expensive (both the place, and the surroundings), but might be fun.
urban 8 3600 Hamilton Cove 3bd condos, right on the water y  



Setting Sleeps $/week house URL Comment Multiple  
28/7br 4000 (for 2 units) Laytonville 600 acre lot on the river, but not obviously anywhere scenic big house, cottage, small house  
Mendocino coast 12/7br 4500 Dillon Beach Right on the ocean n  



Some generic resources:

Vacation homes

Great Rentals

Owner Direct

Cyber Rentals