The 20 Best Airbnbs in California of 2022

California has strikingly beautiful mountains, oceans, deserts, and everything in between. If you’ve been looking for a fun way to experience the beautiful views and spectacular scenery, try one of the best Airbnbs in California.

By Meghan Wentland | Published Nov 1, 2022 1:07 PM

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The Best Airbnbs in California Options

Photo: airbnb.com

Getting away from the doldrums of everyday life is something everyone needs, but sometimes the promise of a plain hotel room with little privacy from fellow travelers just doesn’t seem like the right fit. Airbnb seeks to solve that problem—why stay in a cookie-cutter hotel room when guests could relax in a real home, decorated by real people to feel cozy, luxurious, minimalist, or something in between?

Airbnb rentals are available all over California, from the beach to the mountains. They come in all sizes, shapes, and styles, and if a potential guest is in California, they can find them by doing a quick search for “Airbnb near me.” Those outside California will have to look a little harder. We’ve identified the 20 best Airbnbs in California right now. Regardless of what style of home a traveler is looking for and what kind of amenities are of interest, they’ll find something architecturally interesting or stylistically intriguing on this list, and might be tempted to start booking the next vacation.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Temecula Wine Country Casa
  2. BEST IN LOS ANGELES: Sunny Historic Craftsman in Silverlake
  3. BEST IN SAN FRANCISCO: Meticulous Grand Edwardian Condo
  4. BEST IN SAN DIEGO: Cozy Cove Steps From the Sea
  5. BEST IN PALM SPRINGS: Casa de Colores
  6. BEST IN BIG SUR: Big Sur Dream Home
  7. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Quaint Lake Arrowhead Cabin Studio
  8. LUXURY PICK: Invisible House, Joshua Tree
  9. SUSTAINABLE PICK: Borrego Yurt
  10. MOST ROMANTIC: Montecito Magic With Mountain Views
  11. BEST FOR FAMILIES: Colorful Bungalow in Downtown Anaheim
  12. BEST FOR LARGER GROUPS: Hilltop Haven in Sonoma
  13. MOST UNIQUE DESIGN: Guard Tower Suite, Joshua Tree
  14. BEST OCEAN VIEWS: Amazing Ocean Views in Malibu
  15. BEST FOR SURFING: Luxury Beach View Apartment
  16. BEST FOR SKIING: Mountain Getaway at Moonridge Treehouse
  17. BEST TINY HOME: Yosemite/Bass Lake Tiny House With Llamas
  18. BEST CABIN: Designer A-Frame Cabin in the Trees
  19. BEST CAMPER: 1967 Airstream on the Coast
  20. BEST TREEHOUSE: Shasta A-Frame Cabin With a View
The Best Airbnbs in California Option

Photo: airbnb.com

What to Consider When Choosing One of the Best Airbnbs in California

Those who have used Airbnb to secure a rental booking before will be familiar with many of these considerations—but perhaps not all! The number of Airbnbs increases constantly, so it’s always a good idea to think about what kind of experience guests are looking for before they book.

Location

What do the party’s travel and activity plans include? Is the purpose of the trip sightseeing and daily outings, or is proximity to a beach, lakefront, or mountain the goal so nobody needs to leave the house to feel like they’re on vacation? Airbnbs can be found tucked into residential neighborhoods, in city structures, on the waterfront, and everywhere in between, so guests will want to limit the search to areas that are close to the desired activities and comb through the different types and styles of lodging to find the atmosphere they desire.

Number of Guests, Bedrooms, and Bathrooms

Guests will want to consider how many people will be traveling together and how much space they’ll need. It’s helpful to limit the search by the number of guests who will be staying and how many bathrooms are needed—and then, once the search has produced results, carefully check interesting listings to see what configurations the sleeping arrangements take. In addition, it’s a good idea to check the booking summary for rate changes: Some hosts change the rates based on how many guests will actually be staying at the property.

Rates

Airbnb is promoted as a less-expensive, more convenient way to travel, and in many cases, it is. However, guests need to pay close attention to what they’re actually going to pay. Every rental includes a service fee (what Airbnb charges for administrative functions and guest protection coverage) and cleaning fees, and every stay incurs local taxes. Those charges are clearly listed on the checkout page, so there’s no concern about “hidden” charges, but they are not included in the cost that’s listed in the search results. So to get a clear idea of what they’ll actually pay, guests will want to make sure they have selected the correct dates for their stay and the number of guests, then click through to the booking summary page before they get their heart set on a particular rental.

Ratings and Reviews

Airbnb limits its reviews to guests who have actually stayed at the rental, and while the host can respond to the reviews, they can’t remove them. This assigns a level of objectivity to the ratings, so potential guests will want to read them! Many travelers, especially new users of the Airbnb service, stick with Superhosts for their stays (hosts that have provided at least 10 trips with no cancellations and have at least a 90 percent response rate for reviews, with at least 80 percent of those reviews being 5-star). And that makes some sense, as Superhosts are proven to provide solid service. But they’re not the only great hosts out there; some hosts simply haven’t been using the service that long or don’t offer their home for many dates. Seeking out properties that work best for the guest and then contacting the hosts to see if the response is promising can result in a great stay whether the host is listed as a “Superhost” or not.

Amenities

The flexibility to select a great location that’s within budget is one of the most convenient parts of using Airbnb over a more traditional hotel. But choosing the amenities available in an Airbnb is the part that can make the vacation feel like a luxurious home away from home. Most Airbnb rentals will include appliances, cooking utensils, basic linens, and Wi-Fi, while others include toiletries and streaming services. Pools, spas, steam bathrooms, and soaking tubs, along with professional-grade outdoor kitchens, are among the options, as are items that guests might not think to bring from home, such as beach chairs and towels. Because an Airbnb is not actually a hotel, it’s important to double-check on any amenities that are listed if they’re critical to a guest’s stay (especially accommodation amenities and necessities such as baby cribs or playpens). Open communication with the Airbnb host can prevent unpleasant surprises and make the stay much more successful.

Our Top Picks

How does an Airbnb claim a spot on our “Best of” list? There are many factors, including structural interest, nearby attractions, and all the elements that make a lodging feel like home away from home. These 20 selections represent the best option in a variety of categories that appeal to many California renters.

Best Overall

The Best Airbnbs in California Option Temecula Wine Country Casa
Photo: airbnb.com

Why It Made the Cut: This airy property on extensive grounds is a perfectly private getaway for adults—and it features its own waterfall pool and hot tub exclusively for your use.

Seven vineyards are within walking distance of this 2-bedroom, 1-bath home nestled into a hillside overlooking 2.5 acres of land. Walls of windows look out over the private pool and hot tub featuring waterfalls and underwater lighting and across the fields beyond. There’s a barbecue and fire pit in the private backyard and a table for poolside dining. There are also two vintage Airstreams on the property that are rented as well, but the outdoor amenities are exclusively for the use of guests at the Casa itself, and that backyard is enclosed with thoughtfully placed walls and plantings for an escapist feel.

Inside, a vaulted ceiling gives the home a breezy, open feel that belies its 1,008-square-foot dimensions. A large, well-appointed kitchen invites guests to cook up their favorite meals before relaxing on the leather couches in front of the fireplace and TV. Clean, modern lines and neutral decor make the Casa feel relaxing without being fussy. Linens, toiletries, and a stocked coffee bar are included, as are books and reading materials, free Wi-Fi, and streaming services, so for guests who really just want to chill out at home, the Casa offers plenty to do without exiting the gates.

For those who do want an excursion, the nearby vineyards offer a wealth of tasting and dining options (and the kitchen includes a wine fridge to keep the spoils of afternoon tastings at just the right temperature for dinner). A washer and dryer are available on request, and the Superhosts who rent this lovely home to guests stipulate that it is an adult-only property: It’s not intended for kids, babies, or pets. In exchange for this limitation, guests can anticipate a quiet retreat into the valley.

Specs

  • Location: Temecula
  • Maximum number of guests: 4 guests/2 bedrooms/2 beds
  • Number of bathrooms: 1 bath
  • Rate: $334 per night
  • Rating: 4.99 stars
  • Standout amenities: Valley views, vineyard views, private pool and hot tub

Pros

  • Striking valley and vineyard views
  • Location in the heart of California wine country within walking distance to 7 wineries
  • Relaxing outdoor living space
  • Totally private backyard c

Cons

  • Adults-only residence

Sample Review: “Our stay at the Airstream Ranch Casa was amazing! We were greeted at check-in and provided a tour of the house and everything we needed. The location was perfect for visiting the vineyards, old town Temecula, and hot air ballooning. The property is secluded with a lovely view with an awesome pool and hot tub. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay and recommend it to anyone wanting to experience the vineyards!”

Best in Los Angeles

The Best Airbnbs in California Option Sunny Historic Craftsman in Silverlake
Photo: airbnb.com

Why It Made the Cut: Authentic period detail in a house that’s been renovated for comfortable modern living in a quiet neighborhood close to a historic entertainment and dining district? Sold. Well, rented.

If Craftsman style is your jam, this is the Airbnb you’ve dreamed of. Located in the historic Silverlake district, this 2-bedroom, 2-bath home is cozy without feeling cluttered and oozing with period detail. Built in 1919, this house features the low-pitched roofline, coursed shingle siding, and extensive covered front porch with exposed beams and pillars that distinguish traditional Craftsman style. The recent renovation stayed true to the style, using a balance of paint and exposed wood to create a modern feeling without losing the charm and natural elements. Details like the corbels under the wood mantel and open floor plan remain in place, while updates in the kitchen and baths provide understated modern comforts. Large windows and original French doors let natural light spill into every room, and the wood-tone ceiling fans keep the air moving and feeling fresh.

A private backyard with a barbecue encourages outdoor dining on this quiet residential street, but those looking for entertainment don’t have to go far: the nearby Sunset Junction in the Silverlake district offers dining, shopping, and nightlife, along with a farmers’ market. It’s a great place to wander, then retreat home to a quiet, private space that feels authentically like a home where guests can relax and recharge for the next day. If you’d rather drive than walk, you’ll be able to recharge your electric vehicle in the EV charger provided. It’s not often that a modern renovation retains such a sense of history: This house has stories to tell, so if you’re looking for a little piece of history, give this one a try.

Specs

  • Location: Los Angeles
  • Maximum number of guests: 4 guests/2 bedrooms/2 beds
  • Number of bathrooms: 2 baths
  • Rate: $239 per night
  • Rating: 4.96 stars
  • Standout amenities: EV charger

Pros

  • Walking distance from local restaurants, bars, and markets
  • Original historic architecture and home features
  • Abundance of natural light

Sample Review: “Maya has a beautiful home that is in such a convenient location. Easy walking distance to all the essentials in Silverlake, and the house itself provides a relaxing escape from city life. Maya is a great communicator as well and made check-in/check-out very easy.”

Best in San Francisco

The Best Airbnbs in California Option Meticulous Grand Edwardian Condo
Photo: airbnb.com

Why It Made the Cut: Traditional 1908 San Francisco architecture just blocks away from world-famous attractions and transportation makes this Edwardian charmer a winner.

When you picture traditional San Francisco-style homes, what do you see? Check out this San Francisco Airbnb and see how closely it matches that vision. Built in 1908, this building houses three condominiums, and Airbnb renters will occupy a condominium that makes up one full floor of the building. Bow windows grace the front of the building, which is accented with detailed plasterwork and gold crests. Inside, you’ll find an immaculate space: The hosts pride themselves on their attention to cleanliness, wanting their guests to experience a worry-free stay. Beautiful Victorian woodwork, tray ceilings, and extensive built-in cabinetry with leaded glass windows and restored traditional furniture give the interior a vintage yet funky vibe, mixed with more modern comfortable furniture for lounging. Bathrooms are beautifully updated and luxurious without being ostentatious, and the kitchen is state-of-the-art with professional-grade Viking appliances and plenty of space to prepare a gourmet dinner—or heat up leftovers from one of the many nearby establishments. The condominium has central heating, but not air conditioning, which is fine most of the time in San Francisco where the breeze off the water takes the edge off the heat in the summer.

Walk to the Golden Gate Bridge, the famous Painted Ladies, and other San Francisco landmarks, along with restaurants and coffee shops. Public transportation is readily available to take you elsewhere to sightsee and experience this beautiful city before you return home to take a bath or shower and settle in to read or watch TV.

Specs

  • Location: San Francisco
  • Maximum number of guests: 4 guests/3 bedrooms/3 beds
  • Number of bathrooms: 2 baths
  • Rate: $307 per night
  • Rating: 5.0 stars
  • Standout amenities: Piano, luggage drop-off

Pros

  • Historic, quintessential San Francisco architecture
  • Short walk from local landmarks
  • Convenient access to public transportation, restaurants, and coffee shops

Cons

  • No air conditioning

Sample Review: “Roy’s place is beautiful: a classic San Francisco apartment with gorgeous Victorian details. The house is stocked with everything you might need. The neighborhood is great, close to everything, with a good market and several restaurants and cafés nearby.”

Best in San Diego

The Best Airbnbs in California Option Cozy Cove Steps From the Sea
Photo: airbnb.com

Why It Made the Cut This pretty suite located a block from the coast makes a great landing pad for those who plan to tour extensively or work while visiting San Diego.

Looking for houses for rent San Diego-style? Located on the first floor of a townhouse condominium in the Ocean Beach neighborhood, this rental is small but beautiful and private. The suite has a private entrance and is closed off from the rest of the house, so there are no concerns about other tenants aimlessly wandering into your private space. A fully equipped two-person workstation allows guests who are staying in town for business (or who just need to get a little work done in a gorgeous location) to be productive without the hassle of digging for plugs and ports. Sunset Cliffs is just steps away, so after work (or instead of it!) guests can grab one of the provided beach towels and head out for a little relaxation.

The location is second to none, with restaurants and yoga studios close by along with several beaches. It’s good that the restaurants are nearby, because while the suite includes a decent kitchenette, it doesn’t include cooking facilities beyond a mini-fridge, microwave, and coffee machine, along with free coffee, tea, snacks, and drinks. Basic tableware is provided, but the cooking will need to be done elsewhere! However, the bed is clean and comfortable, supplied with extra linens and pillows, and the suite is less than 4 miles from the San Diego airport, making it perfect for guests who want to fly in, spend a few days on the beach, and fly back out.

Specs

  • Location: San Diego
  • Maximum number of guests: 2 guests/1 bedroom/1 bed
  • Number of bathrooms: 1 bath
  • Rate: $114 per night
  • Rating: 4.86 stars
  • Standout amenities: Ocean views, smart lock, books and reading materials

Pros

  • Stunning ocean views
  • Short walk from local beaches, shopping, and restaurants
  • Convenient location less than 4 miles from San Diego airport

Cons

  • Relatively small room
  • No full kitchen

Sample Review: “The Cozy Cove is the perfect little spot for a nice, quiet, relaxing vacation right next to beautiful Ocean Beach, with Sunset Cliffs to the south, and the mellow bustle of Newport Ave. and Voltaire just to the north. It has a ton of fun and chill all in one amazing little neighborhood. Janice is amazing, and checking in/getting settled was super easy. Will definitely be booking this spot many more times in the future!”

Best in Palm Springs

The Best Airbnbs in California Option Casa de Colores
Photo: airbnb.com

Why It Made the Cut: The Casa de Colores has space for a whole family to spread out, share time together, and then retreat to separate spaces to unwind before they wander into downtown Palm Springs.

Three bedrooms, three bathrooms—this home has enough room for everyone in the family to get a little alone time. In addition to the nicely appointed beds and baths, there is a wealth of shared space near the fireplace, outside by the grill, in the pool or hot tub, or in the front courtyard. A vaulted beamed ceiling in the great room makes the single-story home feel spacious, and the traditional Southwest styling feels casually elegant. The spacious kitchen is well designed for family-style food preparation and eating. For those who plan on sticking around the house, the host has provided books and toys, along with free Wi-Fi and televisions with Roku. Anyone looking for an adventure can walk or take one of the provided bicycles for a spin into Palm Springs, or they can take the beach toys or tennis racquets out to play.

The host has included the required occupancy taxes in the rental cost. However, the rental cost shifts seasonally, so the host suggests that renters check the cost prior to booking. During some seasons there may be a minimum 7-night stay, which may make this option less suitable for travelers who only have a long weekend available. The pool heater is also an added charge for guests who are staying in the cooler months and prefer the water to be warmer. While these extras may sound like a bit of a hassle, the host has qualified as a Superhost and has outstanding reviews, so it seems that this property is worth the minor inconveniences or extra costs. An excellent choice for a family or a group traveling together, the Casa de Colores has room to spread out or gather together.

Specs

  • Location: Palm Springs
  • Maximum number of guests: 6 guests/3 bedrooms/3 beds
  • Number of bathrooms: 3 baths
  • Rate: $229 per night
  • Rating: 4.91 stars
  • Standout amenities: Indoor fireplace, barbecue grill, private pool and hot tub

Pros

  • Totally private backyard patio with pool and hot tub
  • 5-minute walk to downtown Palm Springs
  • Books, toys, bikes, and tennis racquets available

Cons

  • 7-night minimum stay

Sample Review: “Lovely. This home is beautiful and welcoming. Every room is charming and well supplied. The kitchen is well stocked and has everything you need. The patio areas are excellent with plenty of comfy lounge chairs. Susan was a pleasure to work with and made everything so easy.”

Best in Big Sur

The Best Airbnbs in California Option Big Sur Dream Home
Photo: airbnb.com

Why It Made the Cut: With panoramic views of oak ridges and mountain lines, this home truly lets guests be one with nature.

If your wildest vacation dream is to escape from the modern world and immerse yourself in nature (but still have a flush toilet), this home is the answer. Huge glass windows set into hand-carved wood fittings that mimic the rings on a tree let light flood into the first floor, where a small kitchen and sitting area with an arched, beamed ceiling provide places to sit, cook, and stare out into the redwoods and oaks. The bedroom is surrounded by canvas shades for privacy from the outside world (not that there’s anyone out there other than trees and wildlife to see inside) and features an oculus opening in the ceiling so guests can stare up at the sky while drifting off to sleep. A second bed is tucked under the eaves on the second floor next to slit windows that offer a stunning view of the forest. An indoor fireplace offers cozy warmth, while a hot tub gives guests a place to relax outside and enjoy the silent scenery while birds wheel overhead.

The architecture is a huge part of this home’s appeal; designed to blend into the trees, there are no boxy walls or harshly angled roofs. Rounded where you expect angles, curves where you expert edges, it bends and blends into the forest around it so visitors have to look closely to determine what they’re seeing.

The basics are here: a functional kitchen, linens, Wi-Fi, and a barbecue mean you’ll have what you need, but no excess. Your job here is to enjoy the nature that surrounds you and really soak it in. There’s a minimum 5-night stay, and long-term stays over 28 days are offered for guests who really want to get away.

Specs

  • Location: Carmel
  • Maximum number of guests: 2 guests/2 bedrooms/2 beds
  • Number of bathrooms: 1 bath
  • Rate: $565 per night
  • Rating: 4.92 stars
  • Standout amenities: Hot tub, mountain views, indoor fireplace

Pros

  • Panoramic view of redwoods and oak ridges
  • Unique architecture inspired by local landscape

Sample Review: “Mary has created the most wonderful space of tranquility. Her property is very private. It feels like a complete escape amongst the trees. In the evening, everything cools down as the fog rolls in. At night, you can fall asleep to the sounds of nature. In the morning, I highly recommend a meditation session on the front patio as the sun warms your face. If you are looking for a spot to recharge and refill your cup, this is the perfect spot!”

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Airbnbs in California Option Quaint Lake Arrowhead Cabin Studio
Photo: airbnb.com

Why It Made the Cut: This lovely home is steeped in nature but is still only a quick trek away from Lake Arrowhead Village, and it has room for a family for far less than the cost of a hotel.

Sometimes luxury is overrated: Formal finishes and white sofas can feel like an escape, but some people simply can’t relax when their chief concern is whether they’ll spill a drink on the cushions. This great cabin is a 20-minute walk out of Lake Arrowhead Village and a shorter walk to the lake itself, and it provides up to six guests (one full-size bed, one room with bunks, and a comfortable sofa bed) with a clean, comfortable space to hang out when they’re not hiking, swimming, snowshoeing, or skiing. The rental is a studio apartment on the lower level of the home, with a private entrance, private deck, and a fireplace for cozy, snowy nights. Because it’s a studio, it does not include a kitchen, so guests will need to rely on the many restaurants and dining establishments in Lake Arrowhead Village and nearby hot spots.

One thing to note: There is a steep, winding staircase to access the home, so it is not accessible to wheelchairs or those who have trouble walking, and isn’t appropriate for small children. Additional stairs do lead to a balcony with stunning views of the lake, so they’re worth it if you can manage them, but those who can’t should choose another listing. Also, it gets quite snowy in Lake Arrowhead, so guests will want to check the weather, decide how comfortable they are driving, and take careful note of the host’s clearly stated cancellation and refund policy regarding weather. All in all, if you’re looking for a clean, comfortable place to stay without breaking the bank, this is a great choice.

Specs

  • Location: Lake Arrowhead
  • Maximum number of guests: 6 guests/2 bedrooms/4 beds
  • Number of bathrooms: 1 bath
  • Rate: $80 per night
  • Rating: 4.54 stars
  • Standout amenities: Mountain views, outdoor deck, indoor fireplace, lake access

Pros

  • Peaceful, quiet surroundings in nature

Cons

  • Access via 40 steep steps
  • No kitchen
  • No air conditioning
  • Somewhat outdated furnishings

Sample Review: “The Airbnb is cozy with a beautiful bathtub. The balcony has a nice view of the forest and it has everything you want in a cabin for a weekend. 20-minute walk to the main Lake Arrowhead town—very close to small towns like Blue Jay, Crestline, and the amazing SkyPark.”

Luxury Pick

The Best Airbnbs in California Option Invisible House, Joshua Tree
Photo: airbnb.com

Why It Made the Cut: Overwhelming and dramatic, the Invisible House offers incredible views, unusual architecture, luxury accommodation, and privacy, all inside a mirrored exterior that provides privacy indoors without impeding the panoramic view.

It’s been featured in multiple design publications and newspapers, and you can rent it for your vacation. It’s probably one of the world’s most amazing vacation rentals. Why? The Invisible House is so named because its fully reflective exterior makes it nearly disappear into the 90 acres that surround it. Rather than trying to blend in or stand out, it simply reflects the astonishing vista that surrounds this Joshua Tree Airbnb It’s 5,500 square feet of luxury with a nearly-zero carbon footprint.

The mirrored exterior provides privacy for those inside but is crafted from floor-to-ceiling sliding doors on every side of the home. Inside, sleek and modern finishes grace the multiple seating areas, designer kitchen, and three large suites. The beds are crafted from marble or glass, and the bathrooms feature walk-in glass showers with outdoor views and deep soaking tubs. A 100-foot indoor swimming pool runs along one end of the home, surrounded by loungers and tables for relaxing after a swim. Every detail has been considered, and every choice has been made to provide luxury without taking an unnecessary toll on the environment. If you can stop staring at the house, you can take a quick ride to the entrance to Joshua Tree National Park, which shares several miles of border with the grounds of Invisible House.

Staying at this property isn’t a rental home—it’s an experience. It’s pricey, but for those who can afford it, the solitude, beauty, simplicity, and natural surroundings will make it feel as if they’re living in the pages of a magazine or inside a piece of artwork, without it feeling overwhelming or contrived.

Specs

  • Location: Joshua Tree
  • Maximum number of guests: 8 guests/4 bedrooms/3 beds
  • Number of bathrooms: 5 baths
  • Rate: $2,729 per night
  • Rating: 4.78 stars
  • Standout amenities: Desert views, EV charger, sound system, luxury appliances, indoor swimming pool

Pros

  • Unique, modern, and dramatic architecture with floor-to-ceiling windows
  • Spacious outdoor and indoor entertaining areas
  • Sweeping desert views
  • 100-foot indoor swimming pool
  • 90 acres of private property
  • Modern, luxury high-tech appliances and amenities

Sample Review: “Totally incredible experience. Every square foot of this house provides unparalleled views and photo ops. The whole house is a breathtaking piece of art. Waking up in the master suite was simply amazing!”

Sustainable Pick

The Best Airbnbs in California Option Borrego Yurt
Photo: airbnb.com

Why It Made the Cut: Simple and honestly sustainable, the Borrego Yurt provides an upscale camping experience in an area that has a designated “dark sky,” so guests will be able to experience beautiful desert views by day and the stunning expanse of the stars at night.

The Borrego Yurt offers a unique experience: Guests can stay in a 1-room circular structure, but sleep in a comfortable bed and enjoy basic conveniences like a hot shower, toilet, and gas cooktop without schlepping their own gear to a campsite. The yurt features solar lighting, and while it does employ propane to heat the shower, the yurt is designed to be as eco-conscious as possible. A fire pit and patio are in place to support outdoor stargazing, relaxing, and dining.

There is no Wi-Fi, because the purpose of the yurt is to disconnect from the world for a while and sink into the nature around you. The town of Borrego Springs is close by, so there is excellent cellular service if it’s important that you not completely disconnect from the grid, but if you’ve chosen this as a respite from your busy life—try. Spend the time you’d otherwise spend scrolling aimlessly through your phone staring at the night sky instead, or enjoying a desert sunrise, or just decompressing.

Specs

  • Location: Borrego Springs
  • Maximum number of guests: 2 guests/2 beds
  • Number of bathrooms: 1 bath
  • Rate: $96 per night
  • Rating: 4.86 stars
  • Standout amenities: Barbecue grill, backyard

Pros

  • Solar-powered, eco-conscious yurt
  • Ideal location for stargazing

Cons

  • Bathroom located outside living quarters
  • Outdoor shower
  • No running water inside yurt
  • No Wi-Fi

Sample Review: “What a gem! We absolutely loved stargazing at night by the campfire and slept so peacefully in the snuggly bed. The yurt is quite spacious with all the necessary amenities, and the location is great for many wonderful hikes nearby. Thank you so much! We’ll be back—and I’m even thinking of moving to a yurt permanently.”

Most Romantic

The Best Airbnbs in California Option Montecito Magic With Mountain Views
Photo: airbnb.com

Why It Made the Cut: Beautiful, oasis-like setting is ideal for a couple looking to escape for a few days (or even just 1 night!) without the hassle of managing a whole property.

The beautiful grounds on which this home in Montecito is situated almost cause guests to miss the scenic vista beyond—but not quite. The property has views of mountains, the canyon, or the ocean, depending on which direction you choose to look. On the property itself are landscaped gardens with stone pathways leading to an enormous private pool. The pool is set at the lower end of the property, so while placidly floating, guests can look over at the mountains and the rest of the world falls away. Should you choose to leave the property, hiking trails of various levels and several beaches are just a short walk away, and shops and restaurants are a quick drive.

The space you’ll be renting is inside a private home, and it includes a small but lovely bedroom with an en suite bathroom and private entrance. You’ll enjoy use of the main deck, a small private deck, the pool, and included parking. The host is very accommodating; while some dates may indicate booking a minimum number of nights, she encourages guests to contact her directly with any requests and aims to fulfill them as often as possible. A very stately dog lives with the owner on the premises, and while he won’t be spending time in your room, it’s worth noting in the event that a guest is highly allergic.

The quiet solitude of the room; enclosed atmosphere of the gardens, deck, and pool; and the opportunity to escape to town then return to gorgeous mountain views all combine to make this hideaway a great option for a romantic weekend.

Specs

  • Location: Montecito
  • Maximum number of guests: 2 guests/1 bedroom/1 bed
  • Number of bathrooms: 1 bath
  • Rate: $115 per night
  • Rating: 4.98 stars
  • Standout amenities: Mountain views, luggage drop-off, private backyard

Pros

  • Striking mountain, canyon, and ocean views
  • Large backyard with pool surrounded by local flora
  • 5-minute walk from hiking trails and beaches

Cons

  • Not ideal for those with pet allergies
  • No air conditioning

Sample Review: “Words cannot describe how amazing Sheba is and how generous she is! She is definitely one of the best hosts we’ve ever met…Her place has the most beautiful panoramic view of the mountains from the deck/patio. It was breathtaking! A perfect place to enjoy a meal and/or read a book! Very serene! Her dog Blu is so sweet too!”

Best for Families

The Best Airbnbs in California Option Colorful Bungalow in Downtown Anaheim
Photo: airbnb.com

Why It Made the Cut: This fun, immaculate property is located close to Disneyland and the Anaheim Packing District. It’s filled with amenities and charming decor that makes it fun for the kids and relaxing for the parents—at a much lower cost than a theme-park property.

Traveling with a family can be expensive and tiring, and it can be full of decisions that make a vacation not-so-vacationlike for the parents. Do you get adjoining rooms? Who sleeps where? Are the kids old enough to be in a room (even an adjoining one) without a parent? This bungalow in Anaheim is a 9-minute drive from Disneyland, and it’s close to other attractions that will invite families who need a break from the park to stretch out their experience. A king-size bed in one room, a queen in the second, and two sets of bunk beds in the third monster-themed room easily sleep a large group, and a couch folds out for additional space. The two baths are spacious and clean. There’s a small breakfast bar that seats four, a long dining table that seats 10, and an outdoor table in the fully fenced backyard that is under an awning so parents can sit and relax while the kids play.

Details are thoughtful: There are hooks for towels and robes in the right places, the furniture is comfortable but sturdy, and the common spaces are uncluttered and easy to keep clean. The host has provided plenty of things to keep guests occupied when they’re in the home: a ping-pong table, pool table, toys, and books. Laundry facilities are in the basement, and the kitchen is well stocked with everything you’ll need to dish up familiar favorites if dining out gets too expensive (or if you have children who will only eat their particular favorites). If it’s time to crash, the large-screen television and cozy sectional can help everyone relax before bed—or the next adventure.

Specs

  • Location: Anaheim
  • Maximum number of guests: 9 guests/3 bedrooms/6 beds
  • Number of bathrooms: 2 baths
  • Rate: $196 per night
  • Rating: 4.88 stars
  • Standout amenities: Ping-pong and pool tables, children’s books and toys

Pros

  • Under-10-minute drive to Disneyland
  • Family-friendly activity equipment available, including ping-pong, pool table, toys, and games
  • Walking distance from Anaheim Packing District and restaurants
  • Enclosed backyard

Sample Review: “This is our second time staying here—that should say it all. Great house! Has everything you need. Has long table for the entire family to sit (10 people) and share a meal. Open floorplan home. Close to Disneyland (about an 8-minute drive). AC works great—which was nice for the unprecedented heat we had during our stay (the entire state of California was in the triple digits). Kitchen had everything you needed. We did a load of laundry after a day at the beach (which was nice to have that feature). We will definitely be staying here again!”

Best for Larger Groups

The Best Airbnbs in California Option Hilltop Haven in Sonoma
Photo: airbnb.com

Why It Made the Cut: This home easily accommodates up to 10 guests without crowding, and it provides a removed and private space to spread out while remaining close to wineries, dining, and activities in Sonoma.

When someone says “wine country,” many people immediately think of Napa. Sonoma is Napa’s more zen cousin on the other side of the mountain. Casual wineries, spas, hot-air ballooning, hiking in nature parks, and kayaking abound, and the scenery is lush and beautiful. This home is situated 15 minutes up a one-lane winding road, so it’s safe to say it’s an escape from even the relaxed atmosphere of Sonoma. The large home features an enormous master suite and three other good-size bedrooms. Three bedrooms have en suite bathrooms, and there’s a fourth bathroom as well. The interior spaces are calmly decorated in soothing but cheerful colors, and the large windows and French doors draw natural light throughout the space. The home has an open floor plan, so the large and well-appointed kitchen and dining area eases into a comfortable but gracious great room with a fireplace and large television, deep couches, and comfortable chairs. A second seating area provides more deep seating. Everything about the home is fresh and elegant without being high-maintenance. There is Wi-Fi available, though the remote nature of the home occasionally renders it slow or difficult to connect.

Outside, an infinity pool gives the impression that swimmers are floating at the top of the mountain, while lounge chairs align on the deck for relaxed reading or sunbathing by the pool. A second, smaller deck offers some privacy for guests looking to find a few moments of peace.

The host helpfully notes some of the noise ordinances and parking restrictions in the area: There is no parking on the street, as it would present an obstruction in an emergency, and there is absolutely no burning of any kind permitted (fire pits, open flames, etc.) because of the extreme fire risk in this area. In addition, no pets are permitted. The host is welcoming and available to answer questions and will happily provide high chairs or a pack-and-play for younger guests upon request. For larger travel parties who are looking for a place to stay that is comfortable, family-friendly, and yet still elegant, this home is a win.

Specs

  • Location: Sonoma
  • Maximum number of guests: 10 guests/4 bedrooms/6 beds
  • Number of bathrooms: 4 baths
  • Rate: $561 per night
  • Rating: 4.94 stars
  • Standout amenities: Pool, barbecue grill

Pros

  • Convenient driving distance to vineyards and wineries
  • Abundance of natural light

Cons

  • Limited Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Limited AC use
  • Guests must be 25 years or older to book

Sample Review: “My family and I really enjoyed everything in the house. The location is perfect, close to downtown Sonoma, surrounded by lots of trees, and it was really quiet and peaceful. House was super clean, everything same as photos, well equipped, and my kids loved the welcoming goodies. The pool is also amazing, good-enough size for swimming; bigger than I thought…I definitely would love to come back in nearest future!”

Most Unique Design

The Best Airbnbs in California Option Guard Tower Suite, Joshua Tree
Photo: airbnb.com

Why It Made the Cut: A tiny house tucked into the middle of Joshua Tree that looks like a small castle has a lot going for it from the start—these suites are the ultimate glamping experience.

The unique architecture of these structures captures the eye immediately, even though the surrounding vistas are stunning. They look vaguely like tall, round Lego pieces, and at first it’s difficult to imagine how they’re habitable. But they work, because every piece of furniture is custom-designed to fit in the space that was allotted for it. Each floor is only 120 square feet: The first and second floors offer beautifully crafted chairs and tables that exactly fit the space, along with a mini-fridge and coffee machine. Open staircases snake around the curve of the outer walls to provide access to the upper floors. The third floor is the bedroom, featuring a sumptuous, deep queen-size bed with luxury linens, a wall-mounted television, and windows that display the splendor Joshua Tree National Park to guests upon waking. Next to the bed is a steel ladder that offers access to the roof, where, weather permitting, guests can sleep under the stars.

The bathroom facilities are housed in the second structure and include private toilets and hand sinks. The shower is outdoors, to take advantage of the beautiful scenery, as is a large fire pit to sit near while enjoying the sunset and stars. While there is no kitchen, the Guard Tower Suite does include full mini-bar service, including pizza, cookies, snacks, and drinks. The property is located on 8 acres, so there’s no real need to leave the property for spectacular views. However, Joshua Tree National Park is just minutes away if you’d like to change up the scenery during your stay.

Specs

  • Location: Joshua Tree
  • Maximum number of guests: 2 guests/1 bedroom/1 bed
  • Number of bathrooms: 1 bath
  • Rate: $144 per night
  • Rating: 4.78 stars
  • Standout amenities: Sauna, full mini-bar service

Pros

  • Unique and striking architecture
  • Convenient location near Joshua Tree National Park
  • Rooftop campouts under the stars

Cons

  • Bathroom and shower located outside of living quarters

Sample Review: “This place is so cute. You’ll get some great pictures from your stay here. Don’t forget to go to the top of the tower for stargazing!”

Best Ocean Views

The Best Airbnbs in California Option Amazing Ocean Views in Malibu
Photo: airbnb.com

Why It Made the Cut: Tucked underneath the main home, this beautifully appointed studio space gives the impression of hovering above the water.

The ground falls away from this modern home in Malibu so sharply that residents and guests can’t actually climb down the slope to the beach—but the view is unparalleled. Two sides of the unit are closed with stackback sliding glass doors, so the unit can essentially become open air (though the owners note that the beauty of open-air living is sometimes paid for with a bug or critter in the living space). Even when closed, the huge glass doors let the outside view in.

In addition to a small dining area, you’ll enjoy a private deck area with lounge chairs to take in the view and relax. Inside, a kitchenette includes an induction cooktop, toaster oven, microwave drawer, and Sub-Zero mini-fridge, along with a sink and coffeemaker. The single-room studio includes a comfortable sectional sofa, large-screen smart TV, and a king-size bed, along with a small dining table and a work table. The finishes are appropriate for their beach aesthetic.

The bathroom is small but also luxurious. A glass-enclosed walk-in shower with two rain shower heads and a marble-topped vanity is paired with built-in open shelving for efficient use of space. Toiletries, fluffy towels, and robes are included.

While you can’t get to the beach directly from the house, the home is just a few minutes off the Pacific Coast Highway and a few more from Duke’s Malibu, from which several beaches are immediately available. This convenient access to beaches, restaurants, and shopping makes this Airbnb a convenient rental, but the open ocean views make the rental itself the star.

Specs

  • Location: Malibu
  • Maximum number of guests: 3 guests/studio/1 bed
  • Number of bathrooms: 1 bath
  • Rate: $359 per night
  • Rating: 4.99 stars
  • Standout amenities: Beach views, radiant heating, luxury appliances

Pros

  • Panoramic ocean view
  • Convenient access to local beaches
  • Luxury organic linens provided

Sample Review: “This place is nothing short of amazing, jaw-dropping, stunning, breathtaking! If we could give this place 10 stars, we would! It was my wife and my third time staying at Robby’s beautiful studio. We came this time to celebrate my wife’s birthday. Let me tell you, this place only gets better every single time. The pictures honestly don’t do it justice. This place is perfect.”

Best for Surfing

The Best Airbnbs in California Option Luxury Beach View Apartment
Photo: airbnb.com

Why It Made the Cut: Panoramic ocean views from this studio apartment are spectacular, but the beach access and surfboard rental included in the cost of the stay make this a great option for new or experienced surfers.

This studio apartment is on the ground floor of a home in which the hosts live, and it’s immediately on the beach. Because of the way the unit is situated, there are ocean views from every single room. The design is simple but attractive and modern: A small seating area, a comfortable king-size bed, and a kitchenette are enough to make your stay comfortable without taking attention away from the amazing view. You’ll enjoy the use of a private deck with lounge chairs that looks out over the ocean. The local surf shop and restaurants are also just a short stroll away.

For surfers (or wannabe-surfers), the proximity to the surf shop and the inclusion of a board rental in the cost of the rental is a huge plus. The hosts are careful to remind guests to be aware of the surf conditions and the limits of their own skills, as the risk undertaken in surfing is the guest’s responsibility. Even if you only paddle around for a few waves, this rental provides a great opportunity to try out West Coast surfing without too much financial risk.

The ocean breeze will have to take the place of air conditioning, and the hosts ask guests to remove their shoes when indoors, but when the view can include humpback whales and the waves are calling, that won’t seem like a huge sacrifice.

Specs

  • Location: Pacifica
  • Maximum number of guests: 2 guests/studio/1 bed
  • Number of bathrooms: 1 bath
  • Rate: $197 per night
  • Rating: 4.77 stars
  • Standout amenities: Mountain views, ocean views, private backyard

Pros

  • Striking mountain and ocean views
  • Beachfront access and beach essentials included
  • Relaxing outdoor patio area
  • Included surfboard rental

Cons

  • Shoe-free living quarters
  • No air conditioning

Sample Review: “Book this place now! Don’t let it pass you up! Literally the best views you can get and the value…insane! So cute, super comfy bed. Woke up and had coffee on the deck and saw whales in the bay!”

Best for Skiing

The Best Airbnbs in California Option Mountain Getaway at Moonridge Treehouse
Photo: airbnb.com

Why It Made the Cut: Located just a few minutes from several ski resorts, this traditional chalet with a modern spin houses six guests for a delightful après-ski experience.

While it’s close to the major Big Bear resorts, this chalet is tucked more deeply into the woods than others, offering more privacy and removed from the busy atmosphere of a resort town. The traditional lines of a Swiss chalet on the exterior, including stunning floor-to-ceiling windows that provide views of the winter wonderland just outside the doors and let the light in, shift to a more modern vibe inside. Creamy-white paint draws the light up into the vaulted ceiling, while the stained beams delineate the height and preserve the traditional shape of the arch. Wood paneling frames and fills the walls of other rooms, keeping the lighter paint from seeming too stark against the snow-covered trees outside. The furniture has clean lines but is eminently comfortable.

The three bedrooms are small but feature comfy beds, and the bathrooms are modern and bright, one including a glass shower and the other a tub. The kitchen includes all the necessary appliances to cook or heat up meals, and it includes a Keurig.

All of the activities and amenities you’d expect in a major ski-resort town are just a few miles away, but once ensconced in the chalet, you’ll simply enjoy the solitude. The host notes that guests staying in the winter must have a four-wheel drive vehicle with chains to access the chalet—but what that really tells you is that the snow cover will be outstanding for your ski getaway.

Specs

  • Location: Big Bear
  • Maximum number of guests: 6 guests/3 bedrooms/3 beds
  • Number of bathrooms: 2 baths
  • Rate: $166 per night
  • Rating: 4.83 stars
  • Standout amenities: Indoor fireplace, private balcony

Pros

  • Convenient location 3 to 5 miles from ski resorts
  • Traditional ski-chalet design with a midcentury-modern twist
  • Abundance of natural light

Sample Review: “Absolutely stunning experience! Well above what I could’ve asked for a Big Bear escape. Their attention to detail in decor and ambience is exquisite. I will definitely be booking this Airbnb again, and I recommend it to anyone.”

Best Tiny Home

The Best Airbnbs in California Option Yosemite Bass Lake Tiny House With Llamas
Photo: airbnb.com

Why It Made the Cut: With llamas? Yes, please. But the handmade feel of this tiny house is what really put it on the list.

Located close to Yosemite and Bass Lake, this tiny house has a story. Built as part of a program that provides jobs to those recovering from homelessness or addiction to aid in their rehabilitation, the house has some quirks and oddities—but guests will know that those quirks are the result of someone working hard to build themselves a new life, and there’s a value to that. In addition, the hosts donate a portion of their proceeds from the rental to charity, so guests can feel like their vacation is helping someone other than themselves.

Beyond these altruistic aspects, the tiny house is just delightful. Everything you really need is here—not necessarily every modern convenience (there’s Wi-Fi, but no television), but the things you need in order to unplug and have a little time away. A small living room, full (but tiny) kitchen, a bedroom with a comfy queen bed, and a full bathroom mean this isn’t camping—it’s actually living in an extremely small home and spending quality time with your traveling companion.

Outdoors, you’ll enjoy a small deck and the beauty of the outdoors—and the two rescue llamas, who would just love to meet you, as long as the hosts (who also live on the premises) accompany you. “The girls” are a little skittish, but they are clearly part of the adventure that makes this tiny house a great escape.

Specs

  • Location: Oakhurst
  • Maximum number of guests: 2 guests/1 bedroom/1 bed
  • Number of bathrooms: 1 bath
  • Rate: $108 per night
  • Rating: 4.97 stars
  • Standout amenities: Backyard area, llamas on property

Pros

  • 15 percent of proceeds support 3 charities
  • Handmade tiny house with rustic charm
  • 30-minute drive to Yosemite National Park
  • No cleaning fee

Cons

  • No door separating bathroom from living space
  • Loft only accessible via ladder
  • Relatively limited amenities

Sample Review: “We enjoyed our stay in the tiny house. It has everything you need and is located close enough to Yosemite for extensive day trips. Sam is an amazing host and has the tiny house stuffed with cute messages and lots of goodies to make your stay even better. The view with the llamas is an extra bonus!”

Best Cabin

The Best Airbnbs in California Option Designer A-Frame Cabin in the Trees
Photo: airbnb.com

Why It Made the Cut: A cabin in the woods suggests you should be able to open your eyes and see nothing but trees, and this A-frame ticks that box.

There are so many windows. The entire front wall of this lovely, traditional A-frame cabin is glass, so from the living room or the loft bedroom, all you can see is trees (and snow, and possibly the small creek in front of the home). From the outside, this home, which is located near Arrowhead Village and Blue Jay, looks traditional. Inside, however, it has been renovated with rustic designer charm. Unfinished wood paneling is balanced with white paint for a clean, crisp look, while modern geometric tiles give the bathrooms a modern touch. The kitchen backsplash and table introduce a black-and-white balance against the natural shading of the wood for a comfortable but unmistakable modern look. The comfortable seating area takes full advantage of the glass-front wall, so guests can enjoy the view while sitting by the fireplace. Three loft bedrooms offer sleeping for six.

While the location of this cabin feels remote, it’s not far from the resort towns and the activities and amenities that go with them, so this is a great spot both for guests who are seeking the silent isolation of the woods in winter and those who need a little more activity to enjoy themselves.

Specs

  • Location: Lake Arrowhead
  • Maximum number of guests: 6 guests/3 bedrooms/4 beds
  • Number of bathrooms: 2 baths
  • Rate: $223 per night
  • Rating: 4.92 stars
  • Standout amenities: Indoor fireplace, board games

Pros

  • Cozy, rustic home with modern design touches
  • Convenient location near Arrowhead Village and Blue Jay
  • Luxurious waterfall shower

Sample Review: “Love this place! So well designed and immediately felt at home. The fire pit and deck are lovely, and the upstairs loft bedroom couldn’t be more fantastic. It is well appointed and felt very clean. The location is very centrally located to all the towns, shopping, restaurants as well. We can’t wait to come back again!”

Best Camper

The Best Airbnbs in California Option 1967 Airstream on the Coast
Photo: airbnb.com

Why It Made the Cut: It’s a genuine vintage Airstream with a modern tiny-house rebuild inside—the best of both the vintage and modern worlds.

Have you ever seen a shiny, vintage Airstream camper fly by on the highway and thought, “Gosh, I bet it would be fun to stay in one of those”? Through this Airbnb rental, you can. The shiny exterior is in near-perfect condition, so rather than experiencing vintage as “old,” you can experience it as “time machine.”

Inside, it’s essentially a modern tiny house. Somehow, restorers fit a full kitchen and walk-in shower, along with a seating area, television, and bedroom, into this small space without it feeling cramped. The interior is bright white with light hardwood flooring, and the modern curtain rods make it genuinely feel like a small living room rather than a camper. There’s Wi-Fi and a television, but in keeping with the historical aspect of the camper, there aren’t many more amenities.

Outside, there’s a terrace, small courtyard, and fire pit, and you’re just a quick walk away from the local beach. It’s convenient to local restaurants as well. But the real charm in this rental will include figuring out how to cook (and live!) in this tiny space as the original owners did in 1967, off on an adventure.

Specs

  • Location: Half Moon Bay
  • Maximum number of guests: 2 guests/2 beds
  • Number of bathrooms: 1 bath
  • Rate: $199 per night
  • Rating: 4.93 stars
  • Standout amenities: Private fenced-in yard

Pros

  • Charming and completely refurbished 1967 Airstream RV
  • Walking distance from local beach
  • Private fenced-in yard

Cons

  • Relatively limited amenities

Sample Review: “We had a wonderful time and are so glad we stopped over. Staying in the Airstream is fun and the site is a quiet oasis—super close to the beach and very comfy. Locals are very friendly and Half Moon Bay is a lovely town.”

Best Treehouse

The Best Airbnbs in California Option Shasta A-Frame Cabin With a View
Photo: airbnb.com

Why It Made the Cut: Tucked deeply into the trees (or rather, the trees are tucked into it!), this home brings modern conveniences to a traditional home.

The sharp to-the-ground A-frame of this cabin gives it a fairy-tale appearance, as do the unusual and sometimes inconveniently positioned walls and lintels that are a result of the angled roof. The interior has all the amenities you’d expect: a beautiful full-service kitchen, two lovely bedrooms with glorious windows, and a comfortable seating area, all walled in natural pine paneling that creates a warm and homey experience.

But it’s the surroundings that make this cabin truly spectacular. It’s high in the trees, elevated so that guests are looking across the tops of nearby trees from inside or on the deck. Guests with small children need to be aware of this: The deck is appropriately enclosed, but the drop away is significant enough that keeping a hand on little ones is key. A lake and mountains are in view, and three national parks are close by, along with miles and miles of hiking and biking trails. This is ideal for adventurers for whom the solitude of the cabin has become too much and need somewhere to go. There’s limited or no cell service, and the Wi-Fi is slow because you’re in the mountains. But the deer you’ll probably see won’t care, and once you see them, neither will you.

Specs

  • Location: Shasta County
  • Maximum number of guests: 4 guests/2 bedrooms/2 beds
  • Number of bathrooms: 1 bath
  • Rate: $206 per night
  • Rating: 4.91 stars
  • Standout amenities: Lake views, mountain views, EV charger

Pros

  • Cozy and whimsical design
  • Stunning lake and mountain views
  • Convenient location near 3 national parks and 200 miles of hiking and biking trails

Cons

  • Limited cell service
  • Slower Wi-Fi speeds
  • Not ideal for guests with an aversion to heights

Sample Review: “Awesome gem away from civilization. Perfect place to unplug and get away. The hosts were very available and the spot was cozy. The rooms are upstairs with the bathroom downstairs. The porch was so perfect for having meals and looking into the forest.”

Our Verdict

Temecula Wine Country Casa, our top overall pick, earned that distinction by providing everything a guest needs to have a delightful getaway right on the premises—but also offering wineries, dining and shopping, and activities nearby if and when guests want them. In other words, it’s balanced, reasonably budget-friendly, and offers the choice between pleasant seclusion and active vacationing.

How We Chose the Best Airbnbs in California

California has thousands of Airbnbs listed on its service. How did we choose the best options? First, we considered which aspects of a rental are most critical to those renting an Airbnb. Cost was important, as always, as was the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Because we are concerned with the aesthetic rooms, architectural interest, and construction of homes, the build, facilities, and overall look and feel of the home were some of the criteria we weighed, along with reputation and history of the host. Proximity to attractions was also on our list, as was the balance between outside activities and things guests could do at home. Customer reviews provided a lot of information: patterns began to emerge, and it became clear that great rentals have a pattern of strong, specific reviews, but also some honest reviews that mention the occasional problem and give the host the opportunity to adjust their listings. Those reviews (and the hosts’ responses to them) combined with our other criteria to help us select the best options across a range of audiences.

Before You Book One of the Best Airbnbs in California

Airbnbs are not hotels, so things that guests might assume are basic tenets of short-term rental lodging may or may not be the case. It’s important to double-check anything that is critical to the success of the stay, such as check-in and check-out times, amenity basics such as linens and kitchen utensils, and parking options. As with any purchase, guests will want to carefully check the final cost of the stay so there aren’t any surprises on the credit card later—those cleaning fees, service fees, and taxes can take some renters by surprise. California’s tax policies can mean that the amount of tax will vary based on the city closest to the Airbnb, as each city can set its own policies. Some areas charge a transient occupancy tax (the percentage varies based on the city), while others charge an additional per-night fee. The rates on these taxes can substantially affect the total cost of the rental, so if the number seems high, guests can check out another listing in another area.

Because Airbnbs are individually owned, many of the listings are in neighborhood areas. California requires that Airbnb guests follow local noise and parking ordinances, so if a guest is planning to rent a large Airbnb to host a wild party, it’s key to check the local rules before booking, as it may be more prudent to choose a listing a little more distant from neighbors who might be disturbed. Another concern often shared by Airbnb guests is that there could be cameras located inside the home they’re renting—because how would they know? These guests should be comforted to learn that California specifically precludes an Airbnb host from placing cameras inside a home without the express consent of the guest. Cameras may be placed outdoors, however, as a security measure.

Cost of Booking One of the Best Airbnbs in California

The average cost of an Airbnb in California is $258 per night, but it’s important to note that this cost can vary widely based on the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the amenities, and the location. For example, the average cost per night in Los Angeles is $194 per night, while a rental in San Diego will run $299 per night on average. Added to these costs will be taxes, a service fee, and a cleaning fee. The service fee covers Airbnb’s administrative costs, cancellation costs, and AirCover, which is a protection plan that is included in every rental that includes booking protection, a check-in guarantee, a Get-What-You-Booked guarantee, and a 24-hour Safety Line. The cleaning fee is a one-time charge by the host that covers the cleaning of the entire unit in between guest stays. Neither of these fees is negotiable and may add considerably to the total cost of the rental, but all fees are spelled out completely after clicking through to the booking confirmation (just before a guest enters their credit card information).

FAQs

Especially for first-time renters, choosing and booking an Airbnb can be overwhelming, because it feels like a much different type of experience than a traditional rental lodging (and it is!). Reading reviews will tell anxious users that most people have a great experience with their Airbnb rentals, but to help clear up some common questions, here are answers to some of the things would-be Airbnb guests want to know.

Q. Is Airbnb banned in California?

It is not. California has delegated the licensing, registration, and permitting of Airbnb units to local cities, but the state maintains certain standards that apply to all units.

Q. Is Airbnb cheaper than hotels?

Airbnb units can be cheaper than hotels, but not always. If guests are traveling with a large party, the cost of the Airbnb can be lower than the combined cost of multiple hotel rooms—plus guests can save money by cooking at the rental rather than dining out for every meal. For smaller groups or single travelers, especially if they’re not qualified for a short-stay discount, an Airbnb can be as or more expensive than a hotel.

Q. How much does an Airbnb cost per night in California?

The average cost of an Airbnb in California is $258 per night, plus cleaning fee, service fee, and taxes. Costs will vary based on the size and location of the Airbnb and the number of guests.

Q. How do I find the best Airbnb?

Use the well-developed search function to your advantage. Rather than opening the Airbnb landing page and typing in “California,” consider your needs—where do you want to stay? Make the location more specific. Include the type of neighborhood, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and any amenities, plus the dates of travel. This will narrow your list considerably so you can focus on the details of each property without worrying about whether or not it will meet your party’s needs.

Q. What should I know before staying in an Airbnb?

Check the dates, check the amenities, and absolutely check the final price before you book.

Sources: All the Rooms