Posted Jun 7, 2013

Manifest Your Rental Destiny! What $1,500 will get you on the California Coast

California’s coast represents some of the most sought after real estate in the world. From Southern California’s pristine beaches and surf havens to the Central Coast’s breathtaking shores and lively harbors to Northern California’s awe-inspiring cliffs and sunsets, this coastline offers something for everyone, that is of course, if you can afford it.

California’s coastal cities may be populated with luxury homes and expensive beachfront properties, but just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean your California dream cannot become a reality! We scoured listings up and down the #bestcoast to see what you can get for less than $1,500/month and picked some of our favorite properties currently on the market so you can have a sense for what is realistic near the Pacific in this price range.


Let’s start down south in San Diego. You’ll be glad to learn that finding a one bedroom rental in the home of the California Burrito for less than $1,500 is not only feasible, but common! If you prefer modern amenities, your best bet is to look in downtown San Diego where newer apartment complexes offer convenience and close proximity to the waterfront marina, like this listing asking $1,395. Other parts of San Diego are popular with students, like Pacific Beach, where it is common to find both one and two bedroom listings for under $1,500, like this listing just blocks from the beach.

Moving up the coast, we enter Southern California’s most dramatized region, Orange County. The OC represents SoCal living at it’s finest, complete with beach babes, surfer bros and luxury homes overlooking stunning beaches. For less than $1,500, the most common rental scenario is a studio or one bedroom in an apartment complex. These properties may not be completely upgraded or offer the most modern amenities, but who needs stainless steel when you’re walking distance to the ocean? It’s all about location in the OC. Check out this listing in Newport Beach asking $1,400 and consider signing up for surf lessons before you move in.

Continuing our tour through the Golden State, we arrive in Santa Monica. If  accessibility to the beach, dining, nightlife and shopping is your highest priority as a renter, this is the place for you.  Rentals under $1,500 are scarce, however you may get lucky to find a studio like this listing asking $1,495, a good deal considering it is upgraded with modern finishes and minutes to Santa Monica’s beach boardwalk.


Keep your eyes closed as we move past Malibu (you can’t afford anything on this budget) and suddenly we’ve entered Santa Barbara, located in California’s Central Coast. Availability is limited in this pricey coastal city, however you can find listings downtown for under $1,500, like this one bedroom asking only $1,250. Be forewarned, these properties are not likely to be upgraded so expect carpet rather than hardwood and basic kitchens, but again location is key as Santa Barbara offers some of the most breathtaking coastal vistas and best surfing California has to offer.

Just north of Big Sur in Monterey you’ll find a combination of one and two bedroom rentals available for under $1,500. Most are located in charming apartment buildings with a small number of units like this one bedroom asking $1,000 and if you get lucky you can land one that offers view of the Monterey Bay, like this two bedroom listing.

Up next, we hit popular surf destination, Santa Cruz where one bedrooms are common for well under the $1,500 budget. While not likely to offer modern amenities, small to midsize apartment complexes offer many affordable rental options within walking distance to downtown and most importantly, the coastline, like this one bedroom asking $1,250.

The ocean may get colder as we continue into Northern California, but the coastline’s beauty is not diminished. San Francisco’s Outer Sunset neighborhood offers close proximity to Ocean Beach and some of the most affordable living in the city. One bedrooms and studios are common in this area, most often found as in-law suites attached to single family homes like this one bedroom apartment just two blocks from the Pacific asking $1,295.

All the way up north in Humboldt County among the giant Redwoods you’ll find Eureka which offers plenty of rental options for under $1,500. While they may not be completely renovated these properties are spacious, like this 2 bedroom home asking $1,100, and often come with private outdoor space, perfect for a laidback NorCal lifestyle.


So there you have it, finding affordable rentals along the California coast can be done. While you may need to make some sacrifices when it comes to amenities, proximity to the beautiful coastline makes it well worth your while. Don’t forget, you can set alerts and get notified immediately when a listing that meets your needs becomes available in any of these coastal cities.

Here’s to you, California!


Elizabeth is the Communications & Marketing Lead at Lovely where she helps spread the word about Lovely's mission far and wide. She loves corgis, Beyonce and helping renters enjoy the best possible experience in their homes.

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One response to “Manifest Your Rental Destiny! What $1,500 will get you on the California Coast”

  1. This post is really very enlightening! I have always wanted a place on the California Coast ever since we visited a friend of mine. First time I saw the location and I fell in love with it. Anyway, thank you for sharing this informative post!

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