Finding a place to stay on your Cali vacation can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the 15 most unique Airbnbs in California. Keep reading to find the one that’s best for your next trip!
Why Stay at a California Airbnb?
Home to beautiful beaches, exhilarating theme parks, snowy slopes, and renowned wineries—there’s something freeing about the state of California. So why be confined to the walls of a hotel room when you visit?
An Airbnb is one of the best ways to experience the state while saving some money! They offer more privacy to enjoy the amenities, as well as a unique place to create memories.
Whether you’re visiting Disneyland, Big Bear, or wine country, there’s a wide variety of rental properties to fit your preference. From cozy and budget-friendly to over-the-top luxury, there’s something for everyone.
15 Best California Airbnbs
Keep reading to learn more about unique and highly-rated Airbnbs located inside and around California’s best vacation spots.
- Location: San Francisco, California
- Average price per night: $161
Unique neighborhoods, delicious eats, and world-famous landmarks fill San Francisco, but wouldn’t it be nice to unwind somewhere quiet at the end of a busy day in the city? That’s what this San Francisco gem is for its visitors.
The two-person suite is part of a larger Airbnb rental but complete with a private bathroom, separate locking entrance and exit, a hot tub, and a peaceful garden area great for soaking up the sun. It is situated in the hills of San Francisco and most ideal for romantic getaways.
Airbnb’s guests are always pleased to learn that they’re a short drive from attractions like the Golden Gate Bridge, McLaren Park, as well as popular districts filled with shopping and creative eateries.
- Location: Palm Springs, California
- Average price per night: $316
Blue Lemon Heaven is a two-bedroom vacation rental property complete with a swimming pool, hot tub, and breathtaking views of the Sonoran Desert mountains. The lowkey getaway is inside a quiet residential neighborhood, establishing it as a good choice for family vacations.
The outdoor space is surrounded by palm trees, splashed in tropical blues and yellows, and completed with a gas barbecue for making perfect summer memories! In contrast, warm hues, cozy living areas, a fireplace, and smart TVs fill the home’s inside, ensuring tranquility after a day in the sun.
The peaceful vacation rental is also a short drive from Downtown Palm Springs, where there’s plenty of fun for couples, friend groups, and children!
- Location: Little River, California
- Average price per night: $193
This quiet and cozy suite is just a three-minute walk from a secluded beach, making it one of Northern California’s best spots to recharge. The private room is part of a larger home but equipped with a separate entrance and bathroom.
There is also a garden, sauna, and spring-water tub to unwind in.
The suite hosts offer organic juices and cleanse packages upon request, providing their guests with a resort-like feel. However, before relaxing with some refreshing juice and spa-like treatment, be sure to take a trek through California’s nearby and notorious Redwoods.
- Location: Three Rivers, California
- Average price per night: $136
Located just two miles from Sequoia National Park at Ash Mountain, this modest guest house sits on the side of a hilltop. A wraparound deck and vast glass sliding doors reveal beautiful mountainsides, redwoods, and of course, the Kaweah River.
While the apartment comfortably sleeps three, the homeowners can accommodate more. Whether you go with family or friends, you guys can dive into the property’s refreshing pool after exploring nearby hiking trails.
The deck’s bistro tables provide an unmatched view of hummingbirds and, if you’re lucky, busy animal trails. Besides hiking and sightseeing, you can also enjoy mountain biking, river rafting, house boating, delicious dining, and guided tours through the park.
- Location: Santa Ynez, California
- Average price per night: $242
As you travel the dirt road that leads to this intimate cottage, you’ll feel as if you’re entering a far and distant land. The private space is surrounded by over 10 acres of space, making for a peaceful getaway from the city.
Although far from the busy cities of California, the property is close to a few must-visit wineries and tasting rooms. After a day of wine tasting, head back to your cottage in the hills and enjoy watching wild horses roam as the sun sets over the Santa Ynez Mountains.
The remote and quiet getaway is also complete with wifi, a fridge, microwave, coffee maker, toaster, hot plate, and barbecue grill.
- Location: Joshua Tree, California
- Average price per night: $182
Just a few minutes from Joshua Tree National Park, this mid-century modern cabin is situated in the middle of the Mojave Desert, offering a vacation filled with solitude.
Hundreds of acres of desolate land surround the 2.5-acre property, but it is still complete with wifi, a washer and dryer, and a full kitchen.
If you’re planning a physically demanding day at the national park, this is the Airbnb you want to unwind at after. Nothing says recharge like a hot bath beneath the stars in the outdoor cowboy tub. Wander over to one of the three patios or swing sets before heading inside to enjoy the fireplace.
- Location: Aptos, California
- Average price per night: $319
A cozy yet spacious cabin hidden in the middle of the Redwoods—does it get more relaxing than that? This Sparrow Valley retreat says yes!
Guests can enjoy a fireplace, serene outdoor tub, wraparound porch, full kitchen, outdoor bar, and of course the basics like wifi, television, as well as a washer and dryer. The cabin is perfect for families with children or kids at heart, as it includes a tree swing and rock climbing tree as well!
If waking up to the sun peaking over the Redwoods doesn’t fulfill your craving for nature, head over to the beach, walk down to the creek, or visit the nearby bike trails at Nisene Marks Park.
- Location: Sebastopol, California
- Average price per night: $195
If your perfect getaway consists of indulging in nature, The Rising Moon Yurt is for you. Located on a family homestead amidst Redwoods and wine country’s best vineyards, the property is best for couples seeking a romantic recharge.
The yurt’s bright but modern décor is hospitable and becomes even more appealing once you realize it’s complete with a turntable and records, board games, and a private deck with a warmed bathhouse.
Other luxury accommodations include a full kitchen, organic coffee, organic toiletries, robes, tv, wifi, a sound system, and more. If you venture from the property, consider visiting the town center as it’s filled with wineries, tasting rooms, farmers’ markets, and independent shops.
- Location: Half Moon Bay, California
- Average price per night: $500
Most people think of the beach when they consider visiting California. If that sounds like you, this cozy beachfront rental will not disappoint as it overlooks Miramar’s deep blue waters.
If you get tired of looking at the shore from the deck, slip down to the sandy area and through the gate for direct beach access! Guests can cozy up next to the fire pit or keep their suits in and climb into the hot tub after a long beach day.
If you’re not much of the beach bum type, head for the coastal trail or partake in the nearby horseback riding and golfing!
- Location: Carmel Valley, California
- Average price per night: $501
If you’re looking for a getaway that fulfills both the child and adult in you, the Secluded Treehouse is it. This quiet penthouse-like spot sits atop a hill that feels much more than a mere 2.5 miles from Carmel Valley Village.
Surrounded by towering Redwoods and mountains, the treehouse is complete with a fireplace, full kitchen, spacious deck, washer and dryer, barbecue grill, tire swing, and so much more!
Venture out of the homey shelter to Carmel Beach or follow the path, beginning at your front door, to the Waterfall Trail. If you’re in the mood for something more romantic, head to the village for some delicious eats and wine tasting.
- Location: Exeter, California
- Average price per night: $257
This large Airbnb overlooks a vast citrus ranch, surrounded by impressive views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It’s perfect for friend groups or large family getaways! Most guests are drawn to the deep pool and fire pit, while others enjoy relaxing in front of one of the massive flat-screen TVs.
Most visitors are reluctant to leave the serene hilltop house, but there’s plenty to do nearby. Sequoia National Park is only 22 miles away, and the town of Exeter is a 10-minute drive.
- Location: Oceanside, California
- Average price per night: $795
Home to some of the country’s biggest cities, California knows how to do luxury, and this beachfront property is proof!
Three stories overlook the Pacific Ocean and house multiple sleeping quarters establishing it as a good choice for group getaways. A 20-foot-wide glass door slides open, making the beach your playground.
The Oceanside gem makes for the ultimate California vacation as it’s reasonably close to Legoland, SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo, and Disneyland. If you’re not up for traveling that far, there are plenty of eateries and pubs within walking distance.
- Location: Ramona, California
- Average price per night: $329
Even if you’re not a Lord of the Rings fan, this Ramona treasure is worth your while. This rental mimics the hobbit home and is ideal for anyone desiring an unplugged vacation.
The property includes a wood-burning fireplace, outdoor shower and toilet, indoor camping stove, and a barbecue grill. Tucked away in a gated neighborhood, the Airbnb is near multiple wineries and vineyards and a short drive from San Diego.
If you’re one to appreciate craftsmanship, creativity, and the peace in simplicity, the cozy Hobbit House is the perfect spot for you.
- Location: Malibu, California
- Average price per night: $881
This spacious home, nestled on 2.5 acres of gated property, is the perfect way to immerse yourself in both nature and luxury. The cottage-like space has a modern design that promotes an open and airy feeling.
Large glass windows and doors make guests feel hidden in solitude by the Malibu hills. Furthermore, the property flaunts impressive features like a wine cellar, cedar hot tub, fire pit, fish pond, as well as basics like a full kitchen, wifi, tv, washer, and dryer, surround sound system, and more.
The ocean and Malibu’s best outings are less than a mile away if you choose to wander from the serenity of the spot.
- Location: Fullerton, California
- Average price per night: $110
This bright and comfortable cottage is perfect for a partner or best friend duo vacation! Tucked away behind a larger house, the small and charming space is complete with a private entrance, separate driveway, barbecue grill, private patio, wifi, and a few other essentials.
Most guests appreciate how central the location is to some of California’s most prominent attractions.
The cottage is approximately 10 minutes from Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm, and the nearest beach is only 15 miles away. Guests can also get active before their day out by biking, walking, or running at a nearby trail!
Finding the Best California Airbnb for You
There are multiple factors to consider before booking an Airbnb. We suggest asking yourself the following:
- How long will you stay?
- How many people are tagging along?
- Will children join the vacation?
- What is the nature of my vacation–celebration, relaxation, having fun, or exploring?
The California Airbnb buying guide below will assist you in making the best decision.
How Do You Check-In and Out of an Airbnb?
Most Airbnbs have a no-contact, self-initiated check-in and out process. In addition, the property will likely have a smart lock, keypad, or lockbox that allows you entrance to the property. However, this can vary by rental.
For example, hosts with secluded properties may prefer to meet you somewhere first so that they can guide you to their tricky-to-find rental. Regardless, your host should provide detailed instructions on the arrival and departure process before your booking date.
If you’re unsure how to check yourself in and out, finding these instructions is easy. Download the Airbnb app or visit the website and log in, then follow these steps:
- Go to trips.
- Click more trip plans.
- Hit show details.
- Read the checking in and out section.
Also, be aware that most of the hosts responsible for the highly-rated properties mentioned above are not flexible with check-out time.
They require you to leave at a specific time, so they have time to prepare the home for their next guest. If you’re running late, be sure to communicate that to your host.
Staying in an Airbnb Versus a Hotel
The main difference between staying in an Airbnb and a hotel is price and privacy. Airbnbs give you more bang for your buck as they permit a much more intimate experience. Let’s delve a little deeper into these differences.
Much like hotels, not all Airbnb’s are created equal. Some have far more accommodations than others, naturally making them pricier. However, finding one within your budget is easy to do.
If you’re going on vacation with a large group, renting a property with a full kitchen will likely save you some money on dining out.
If you’re visiting for a quick business trip, staying in someone’s cozy room will be less expensive than staying in a hotel room. However, it shouldn’t go without saying that some hosts require their guests to pay the transient occupancy tax, increasing the final price.
You also pay for this at a hotel. Surprisingly, some Airbnb hosts pay for it themselves. Unfortunately, most do not, and it is usually not included in the average price per night.
As previously mentioned, Airbnb offers a more intimate vacation. Not only do you have your own space, but coming and going as you please feels much less stressful.
You can step out of your front door to a world of outing options, giving your getaway the edge you probably never noticed was lacking.
There’s also something relaxing about feeling a bit like you’re at home. Run to the grocery store, then come home to cook dinner–in paradise, that is.
Depending on the nature of your stay, available amenities can make or break your getaway. Here are a few amenities that tend to vary from property to property.
- Laundry: If you’re planning for an extended stay, packed light, or are traveling with children, sometimes a washer and dryer feels like a necessity. If you’re renting out an entire home, it will likely have a washer and dryer.
- Kitchen: The kitchen’s situation varies quite a bit. Some properties have a microwave, refrigerator, and coffee pot, and some have a full kitchen, while others have nothing. If you’re hoping to save some money, opt for a full kitchen as it’ll reduce the need for dining. However, if your trip will be a quick one, there’s likely no need for a full kitchen.
- Wifi: Unplugged getaways aren’t for everyone. If you need to work or have responsibilities back at home, look for a property with wifi.
You must read the house rules before booking your stay. Some hosts are laid back, while others go above and beyond to ensure guests maintain the quality of their rental property. Let’s take a look at a few house rules to keep your eye out for:
- Noise ordinances: Some Airbnb’s are part of quiet residential neighborhoods, and others are part of cities, like Palm Springs, with extremely strict noise ordinances. If you’re planning on celebrating or partying during your vacation, be sure to read this section or ask your host before booking.
- Event permission: Some properties prohibit the use of their property or events, parties, or commercial use, like photoshoots. The properties that allow events and commercial use typically charge an additional fee for doing so.
- Pet policy: Many Airbnb’s allow pets but require an additional cleaning deposit.
- Smoking and fire policy: Multiple California Airbnb’s reside in high-danger fire zones. These properties prohibit smoking and only permit fireplace use during certain times of the year.
- Suitability for children: This is less of a rule and more of a safety issue. Some Airbnb’s are not childproof. Many hosts will blatantly say this under their house rules. However, some owners will attempt to accommodate your children if you tell them in advance.
Planning Your Trip to California
When it comes to things to do, California might be the most diverse state in the country. Whether you’re looking for a quiet and relaxing escape or something nearby the state’s most lively attractions, there’s an Airbnb fit to meet your needs.
Deserts, mountain ranges, wineries, fast-paced cities, and internationally recognized theme parks, there’s plenty to see in The Golden State. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular things to do in California:
- Ski or snowboard at Big Bear Mountain Resort.
- Find adventure and magic at one of the major theme parks, like Disneyland, California Adventure, Universal Studios, Seaworld, LegoLand, Knott’s Berry Farm, or Six Flags.
- Walk amongst giant Redwoods and Sequoias, unique to California, and experience gazing up at the largest tree in the world, in Sequoia National Park.
- Learn to surf at Huntington Beach.
- Sample wines from the state’s world-renown Wine Country.
- Trek through Yosemite National Park.
- Hike to the Hollywood Sign for a complete view of Los Angeles.
So, What’s the Best Airbnb in California?
So there you have it — our top 15 picks for the best Airbnbs in california. Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in California’s big cities or unmatched landscapes, there’s an Airbnb to make your stay unforgettable.