San Diego epitomizes the hip Southern California lifestyle. With surfer-filled beaches, delicious yet healthy eateries, and endless sunshine, a visit to this city is undoubtedly one of the top things to do in California.
Given its popularity, it’s no surprise that San Diego is full of stunning vacation homes and rentals. From hip loft apartments to sprawling beach-front villas and even several luxury yachts, San Diego has hundreds of incredible Airbnb options for you to choose from. In fact, with so many cool places to stay, you might feel a bit overwhelmed.
Luckily, I have done the hard work for you! Here you’ll find my list of the 12 best Airbnbs in San Diego. So take a peek at some of the most unique and memorable accommodations in town. Choose the San Diego Airbnb that is perfect for your holiday and get ready to hit the beach!
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Top 10 Things To Do in San Diego
San Diego is filled with sunny beaches, scrumptious eateries, and lively walking districts. What more could you ask for from this Southern California vacation destination?
- Shop and eat to your heart’s content at Liberty Station. If you happen to visit in the winter, they even have an outdoor ice skating rink! Ice skating in the sunshine anyone?
- Walk around Seaport Village and Embarcadero. Stop by a couple of museums, grab a bite to eat, and do a little shopping. While the Embarcadero is more famous, it is actually just an extension of the original Seaport Village.
- Stroll through Balboa Park. The Botanical Building and accompanying lily pond are two of the must-see stops in this expansive outdoor oasis.
- Take surfing lessons at Pacific Beach. The waves at Pacific Beach aren’t too large so it’s perfect for those just learning to surf.
- Spot sea lions at La Jolla Cove. Watch them lounge around in the sand or play together in the water.
- Spend a day at the San Diego Zoo. With over 3,500 animals to see, your day will be packed with excitement! Or, if you have more time, head 30 minutes north to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park – it’s one of the best day trips from San Diego.
- Embrace your inner child at Legoland. Hop on exhilarating rides, stare in awe at miniature versions of global landmarks, and build your very own creation out of Legos.
- Learn the history behind the Cabrillo National Monument. Built in honor of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo’s landing at San Diego Bay in 1542, this monument now stands proudly at the tip of Point Loma Peninsula.
- Take a hike at Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve. The Guy Fleming Trail, the Beach Trail, and the Razor Point Trail are a few walks I would recommend.
- Soak up the sun at the famous Coronado Beach. Spend the day lounging on the sand and then watch the sunset paint the sky in beautiful colors.
Why Stay in an Airbnb in San Diego
There are lots of advantages to staying in an Airbnb in San Diego. For starters, you can choose the exact area of the city that you want to stay in. You can stay near the ocean in Mission Beach, surrounded by delicious restaurants in Little Italy, or in one of the peaceful neighborhoods surrounding San Diego like Solana Beach, Coronado, La Mesa.
Plus, there are so many fun and unique Airbnbs to choose from in San Diego! Stay in a one-of-a-kind geometric dome house, a hip industrial loft, or a sprawling beachfront mansion – you can pick a vacation home that perfectly fits your vibe and style of travel.
And if you need another reason, most San Diego Airbnbs are significantly more spacious than your average hotel room. And they often offer cool extra amenities like a private pool with a slide or a mini golf course!
Staying at an Airbnb is also a wise way to spend your money. It’s typically much more cost-effective to stay in an Airbnb than at a hotel. For example, if you’re traveling with friends or family, you’ll find yourself paying for multiple hotel rooms. But with an Airbnb, you and your group can split the price of a single large vacation rental.
Finally, one of the greatest perks of staying in an Airbnb in San Diego is the fact that you can connect with a local before you even set foot in the city. Many Airbnb hosts are very friendly and they love to share their local tips. They’ll often clue you in on the best attractions, most delicious restaurants, and the hidden local gems you likely wouldn’t find on your own.
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The 12 Best Airbnbs in San Diego
Best San Diego Airbnbs for Couples and Solo Travelers
This hip loft in Little Italy fully embraces the latest trendy industrial vibe. With 20-foot-high ceilings, large vintage windows, and exposed gray brick walls, this San Diego Airbnb perfectly blends rough industrial elements with cozy furnishing and modern conveniences. Every time you return home from exploring San Diego, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into an interior design magazine.
Amidst all the trendy touches, this accommodation still manages to have everything you may need, including a comfy queen-sized bed, a small kitchenette, and a brightly lit living room. The host also provides locally roasted coffee and a Chemex coffeemaker.
Nestled in Little Italy, this industrial loft is centrally located in San Diego. But be sure to first check out Little Italy before venturing further afield. Take a picture with the iconic Little Italy sign, pop by the weekly farmer’s market, and devour some authentic Italian food at one of the many eateries.
Then, once you’ve fully explored your little neighborhood, you can easily make your way to Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo, and the USS Midway Museum.
Another one of the best Airbnbs in San Diego is the “Urban Treehouse” in Little Italy. This beautiful penthouse apartment is often booked months in advance – no surprise when you consider the stunning interior design and epic 180-degree views from the private patio!
While the term “treehouse” is really just a clever marketing term, you really will feel like you’re on top of the world in this 5th-floor apartment. Sip on a mug of local coffee while making some breakfast in the adorable kitchenette. And then snuggle up in hotel-quality sheets in the large bed, or enjoy a glass of red wine straight from the wine tap the host has installed.
With such a fantastic location in Little Italy, you simply must experience everything this cultured community has to offer! Sit by the fountain at Piazza della Famiglia, indulge in delicious Italian food, and grab a dessert from the award-winning Extraordinary Desserts.
Take note that guests must climb five stories of outdoor stairs to reach this Airbnb, but you’ll know the trek was worth it when you see the view of the San Diego Bay!
This geometric dome house is definitely one of the coolest Airbnbs in San Diego! The spherical, metallic exterior is unlike any of the other homes in the area. It was actually built in 1967 as a project for college art majors, so it is just imbued with creativity.
The interior of the geometric dome is also quite stylish with large glass windows, an adorable chalk wall, and a lofted bed. There is even a fully stocked kitchen, access to Netflix and Hulu plus, and a small outdoor deck.
This Airbnb is situated about 15 minutes outside of San Diego in the suburb of La Mesa, which is a destination in and of itself. While you could easily make the short drive into downtown San Diego, La Mesa has great attractions like Lake Murray, Cowles Mountain, and the Mission Trails Regional Park.
As you can already see, San Diego is filled with one-of-a-kind vacation homes, but perhaps the most unique Airbnb in San Diego is this magical little Hobbit House!
Modeled after the Bilbo Baggin’s comfy Hobbit home from The Lord of the Rings, this San Diego Airbnb has everything from the iconic round wooden door to rough stone walls. And it has all the things you need for an off-the-grid stay, including sleeping arrangements for two, running water, and an indoor fireplace. It is important to note that this Hobbit House is essentially glamping. There is no WiFi, electricity, or cell service.
This Hobbit House is located in the San Diego suburb of Ramona. So while it might take you a little over half an hour to get to all of the major San Diego sites, there are other remote landmarks nearby that you’ll want to visit. Take a tour of Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park or tackle a hike at Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve.
This casita in South Park is perfect for a quiet getaway in San Diego! With the cool blue color scheme, the friendly hummingbirds fluttering by the bright windows, and the calming fountain in the front courtyard, this Airbnb will put your mind at ease.
Not only does this home have a calming vibe, but it also has everything you need. With a cozy bed, a beautifully tiled bathroom, a kitchenette, and even a small laundry area, you’ll want for nothing in this colorful San Diego Airbnb.
While you could easily spend your entire trip relaxing in this amazing casita, you could also take advantage of this Airbnb’s amazing location. After all, it is located just a few blocks from both Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo.
Best San Diego Airbnbs for Small Groups and Families
Many of the things to do in San Diego revolve around the water, like going to the beach, doing a little kayaking, or trying your hand at surfing. So why not make your accommodation water-focused too by staying on the Luz de Luna luxury yacht?
With the shiny wood paneling, pristine white couches, and comfy TempurPedic sleeping arrangements, you’ll feel like a millionaire aboard this boat. Not only do you have full access to the yacht, but you’ll be able to use all of the amenities in the marina including an outdoor gym, fire pit, swimming pool, and hot tub.
While you could spend all of your time on the water, the land in the area has a lot to offer as well. Docked at the Sunroad Resort Marina, this yacht is within just a few miles of all of the main San Diego highlights like Seaport Village, Embarcadero, and Little Italy.
It is important to note that if you book Luz de Luna for a weekend, the owners require that you take a two-hour sailing cruise that costs $300 per hour. This private tour of the San Diego Harbor is one of the most luxurious ways to see many of San Diego’s sites from the water – the USS Midway Museum, Coronado Island, and the San Diego skyline to name a few.
San Diego is all about the ocean, so it makes sense that one of the best Airbnbs in San Diego is full of ocean-inspired art and furnishings. This beautiful 2-bedroom suite fully embraces a beachy white-and-turquoise color scheme, boasts a decorative surfboard, and displays a myriad of ocean photographs.
This San Diego Airbnb is filled with all of the essentials – two plush queen-sized beds, a fully stocked kitchen, and a spacious living room with a 55” TV. You’ll feel right at home at this clean and comfortable accommodation.
As for the location, this vacation rental is in the San Diego suburb of Chula Vista. While in the area, be sure to spot some animals at the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge and get some fabulous tacos from Tacos El Gordo. Then you can make the 15-minute drive to San Diego and all of the wonderful attractions there.
Many San Diego Airbnbs market themselves as being stylish, modern, or luxurious. This particular vacation rental promotes itself as a hi-tech hideaway, making it one of the most unique Airbnbs in San Diego.
With touchscreen Miele appliances, state-of-the-art entertainment options, and even a hi-tech living room couch that transforms into a pair of bunk beds, this accommodation certainly lives up to its marketing. And that’s not all that this lovely vacation home has to offer. Sit out on the beachfront patio, feast at a chic hardwood dining table, and wake up to sounds of the ocean from your plush bed.
This vacation home is located in Solana Beach, a suburb about 20 minutes north of San Diego. This puts you right in the middle of the Carlsbad attractions and San Diego attractions. And Solana Beach itself has quite a few fun things to offer including the Tabletops surf break and the Annie’s Canyon hike.
Finally, the host of this amazing San Diego Airbnb turned this already amazing space into a truly special find. She leaves welcome notes, responds promptly to any questions that guests may have about the new technology, and provides fantastic local recommendations.
Best San Diego Airbnbs for Large Groups and Events
Renting an Airbnb provides the opportunity to act like the rich and famous, if only for a few days. One way to do that would be by spending a night or two aboard The West Star, a 60-foot luxury yacht with sleeping arrangements for eight.
As you can imagine, staying on a boat is a little different from staying on land-based accommodation. In addition to the slight swaying of the ocean, many of the rooms aboard this yacht are open to each other. So the living area, kitchen, and wet bar are all in the same space. And another aspect of boat life that’s a little different is the presence of a helm – you’ll be able to peek at all the gears, knobs, and switches used to control The West Star when it’s out on the open sea.
Docked at Pier 32 Marina, this yacht is quite close to the famous Coronado Beach and the Cabrillo National Monument. If you would like to venture out to see the other main San Diego attractions, including Pacific Beach and La Jolla Cove, everything is 10-20 minutes away by car.
It is important to note that The West Star is a dockside-only yacht rental. So, unfortunately, even if you know how to captain a boat, you’ll have to keep it tied up during your stay.
This ocean-inspired beachfront home is definitely one of the best San Diego Airbnbs! With hundreds of top-notch reviews and an Airbnb Plus title, it’s an accommodation you should stay at if you get the chance.
The best part of this Airbnb is arguably the location. Situated right on the shores of Imperial Beach and just steps from the Imperial Beach Pier, you’ll truly get to experience San Diego beach life. Breathe in the fresh ocean air and watch surfers ride the waves for hours on end.
And don’t overlook the home itself because of its fantastic location. The home embraces an orange and blue ocean-inspired aesthetic through its bedding, pillows, and even plates. And with sleeping arrangements for 9, a fully stocked kitchen, a laundry room, and an outdoor patio, you can invite your extended family or a large group of friends to rent this amazing San Diego Airbnb along with you!
Casa Paradiso undoubtedly makes it onto the list of cool Airbnbs in San Diego. With a heated pool, a hot tub, a home theater, a game room, and even a mini-golf course, this accommodation looks like it came right out of Netflix’s The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes. Amidst all the fun amenities, this Airbnb also has all the necessities, like sleeping arrangements for 10, an in-home office, various spacious seating areas, and a sleek kitchen.
Assuming you’d like to leave the excitement of this modern mansion, the location of Casa Paradiso is unparalleled as well. All of the main San Diego attractions, including the San Diego Zoo, Seaport Village, Embarcadero, and the USS Midway Museum are within just a couple of miles of this Airbnb.
Guests who have previously stayed at this stunning villa in San Diego have said that it felt like staying at their own private luxury hotel. And with the relaxing outdoor seating, private pool with a slide, luxurious sleeping arrangements for 10, and elegant hardwood kitchen, there’s no question of why many past guests shared this opinion.
While the many amenities of the home are definitely something to boast about, so are the many aesthetic touches. This villa also has lovely stone walls, a tasteful open floor plan, and even a bit of an ocean view!
As for the location of this gorgeous villa, it is situated right in the middle of La Jolla and Mission Bay, two of the main hubs of San Diego. You can easily check out the sea lions at La Jolla Cove and then enjoy the waters at Mission Bay Park.
That’s it – 12 of the best Airbnbs in San Diego! Do you have a favorite vacation rental in San Diego? Let us know in the comments below.
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Sarah Etinas – About the Author:
Sarah is a travel writer based on the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii. When she’s not enjoying the stunning beaches and hikes of her home island, she’s going on exciting adventures all around the world. A few of her most thrilling adventures have included snowshoeing in the Swiss Alps, kayaking through a river of jellyfish in the Caribbean, and sleeping in a sandstorm in the Sahara Desert.