The Best Airbnb in California

While the phrase ‘something for everyone’ is overused and cliched, the Golden State of California really has it all. This ranges from natural scenery like stunning mountains, vast deserts, national parks, and beautiful beaches to some of the best restaurants and sights in the country. For exploring so much, we’d need somewhere to rest our heads, wouldn’t we? That’s when we started looking for the best Airbnbs in California, which are as varied as the state’s landscape. We found everything ranging from artists’ lofts in Los Angeles to treehouses and mountainside yurts in the Napa Valley. And, of course, there are even homesteader cabins in the desert and luxury beachside stays to consider!

One of the best things about California is how it has varied kinds of vacation rentals within miles of each other. One of our favorite Los Angeles vacation rentals is this 1930s Hollywood Hills villa on the left. Shaded by Cyprus trees, it screams ’30s glamor inside out. Case in point: Merely 30 mi (48 km) away sits the vintage lodge on the right. With charming rustic interiors and modern additions, this romantic lodge was an absolute dream to stay in.

Of course, there’s so much to see and experience here. These include the world’s most stunning saltwater flats, the world’s largest zoos, as well as the highlight – the best beaches. Check out this quick visual snapshot from California Tourism of what makes it such a fantastic destination. That and our comprehensive guide to vacation rentals should help you plan your itinerary to the Golden State.

Earthy Modern Casita Pool Home, Palm Springs


Staying in the middle of the desert seems like a challenging proposition. But when it’s staying in the middle of the desert in California, it means the ultimate in comfort and luxury. That’s what this Earthy Modern Casita Pool Home in Palm Springs is all about. After all, a pool is a must when it comes to beating the desert heat, and this one has a gorgeous one – along with all the bells and whistles we could imagine. These include a covered patio, an outdoor daybed, and even resort-style lounge chairs.

Pool time at Earthy Modern Casita Pool Home, Palm Springs - by Airbnb
Pool time at Earthy Modern Casita Pool Home, Palm Springs – by Airbnb

On the inside, the three-bedroom home is airy and bright with bohemian, desert-friendly touches. Think woven wall hangings, geometric wallpaper, and mid-century modern furniture. Along with that, we had all the amenities we could possibly need for our extended stay, including a dishwasher, a washer/dryer, and a full kitchen. A king bed, three queen ones, and four single beds meant that our party of 12 guests could sprawl out comfortably without compromising on comfort or privacy.

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Living area at Earthy Modern Casita Pool Home, Palm Springs - by Airbnb
Living area at Earthy Modern Casita Pool Home, Palm Springs – by Airbnb

Beachfront Malibu Apartment


Best for couples. Do you know that there’s a California Airbnb with a 4.99 rating? And it’s what SoCal beach dreams are made of. We’re talking about this beautiful Beachfront Malibu Apartment, which sits right on a quiet sandy beach in Malibu, California. Romance is the name of the game at this cozy one-bedroom rental, complete with a four-poster queen bed. The open-concept living area is equally cozy with white loveseats, with a fully equipped kitchen perfect for whipping up romantic meals.

But the best part is that both the bedroom and the living area lead out to the spacious covered deck. Our mornings began with coffee on the sun loungers before we headed out for a day at the beach. The rental even has a surfboard, boogie boards, and a two-person kayak, which we had a wonderful time exploring the water. If there was ever the perfect place to enjoy a romantic Californian weekend by the sea, then this is it.

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1930s Hollywood Hills Villa, Los Angeles


When in Los Angeles, live like a Tinseltown celebrity, right? All our dreams of stepping back in time to Hollywood’s glamorous era came alive in this 1930s Hollywood Hills Villa. Tall cypress trees surround the entire villa, whose crowing glory is the ’30s original cobalt-blue mosaic pool. Reminiscent of a sun-kissed, secluded paradise, we spent all the time we got in the pool, the accompanying hot tub, and on the loungers. The best bit? The pool boasts a modern upgrade with both hot and cool settings.

The pool at 1930s Hollywood Hills Villa, Los Angeles - by Airbnb
The pool at 1930s Hollywood Hills Villa, Los Angeles – by Airbnb

The interiors can only be described as jaw-droppingly gorgeous, complete with carved stone archways and a winding staircase. The centerpiece is the Ballroom which is the perfect example of the Golden Age of Hollywood and boasts a grand white fireplace and 25-foot ceilings. Three giant picture windows look out to the pool, and we’d spend the afternoon practically lounging here.

Off The Ballroom is a storybook kitchen with ornate fixtures and modern appliances that make cooking meals as easy as it gets. We especially loved the charming dining room with a staircase leading to a California tropical garden and French doors opening out onto the wooden deck. Two luxuriously comfy bedrooms and a basement laundry room with a washer-dryer complete the place. Perhaps the best bit of the Airbnb is its location; it sits in the heart of the action beneath the Hollywood Sign. Thus, it’s within walking distance of the top things to see in LA and still away from the noise below in Downtown Hollywood.

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Archways at the 1930s Hollywood Hills Villa, Los Angeles - by Airbnb
Archways at the 1930s Hollywood Hills Villa, Los Angeles – by Airbnb

Santa Cruz Mountains Redwood Treehouse


California’s lush heartland is full of thick forests full of the dreamiest vacation rentals we’ve ever seen. We were craving outdoor adventures when we chanced upon this stunning Redwood Treehouse in the coastal Santa Cruz Mountains. This cozy treehouse is built around two redwood trees off the ground and made for a staying experience like no other.

For a treehouse in the mountains, the interiors are some of the most luxurious we’ve ever seen. We were thrilled to see a live tree growing right in the middle of the open-place main living area. Besides a cozy couch sits a bookshelf and a gas stove for when the weather turns cold. The large high bed ensured a wonderful night’s sleep, and we were able to prepare simple to lavish meals in the kitchen, which had both a fridge and a stove. A full bathroom aside, the place even had a TV with a whole DVD movie collection to choose from!

We especially appreciated the addition of the hot tub, where we could enjoy a long soak after an equally long day of seeing Santa Cruz’s sights. Plus, this place is a short walk from the parking area, right on the Pacific Coast Highway. The brainchild of talented stained glass artist Randy, a friend of the host, this is one Airbnb you should definitely be staying in.

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Villa Nel Bosco, Glen Ellen


Best for luxury enthusiasts. When one hears wine country, there’s only one thought that springs to mind – luxury, and oodles of it, at that. Our group of friends was looking for a luxurious stay in California’s wine country when Villa Nel Bosco caught our attention. The three-bedroom Tuscan-inspired farmhouse California Airbnb in Glen Ellen was “la dolce vita” at its indulgent best and transported us to Italian wine country without a passport! Think wrought-iron fixtures, shuttered windows, and exposed beam ceilings.

Most of this villa, including the three bedrooms, boasts views of the emerald forest and grapevines. The crown jewel of this property is the outdoors, specifically the backyard that’s set up for living the good life. Not only does it have a fire pit surrounded by Adirondack chairs and a bocce ball court, but as a divine swimming pool. It was where the entire group would get together for drinks, snacks, and poolside fun. But that’s not all. Did you know that if requested, the hosts even arrange for a local chef who’ll whip up a Tuscan feast in the gourmet kitchen? Yeah! We dined together outside, under the stars, making memories of a lifetime.

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Modern A-Frame Mountain Cabin, Lake Tahoe


Best for budget travelers. Imagine staying in a wonderfully budget-friendly cabin just a five-minute walk from the shores of Lake Tahoe. That’s the Modern A-Frame Mountain Cabin for you. This ultra-cozy two-bedroom cabin is tucked in Carnelian Bay on the northwestern edge of the lake. It was perfect for our week-long Lake Tahoe stay on a budget. It might look like a tiny mountain cabin from the outside, but we were welcomed by a wonderfully spacious living room and a full kitchen, with a breakfast island separating them.

“Spending a week at Lake Tahoe was an absolute dream while staying at this Airbnb, which was as comfortable as it got – and that too on a budget.”

WOW Travel

The front porch was ideal for our morning cup of joe, but it was the large back porch with a BBQ grill that was our favorite. Most evenings, we’d spend grilling our dinner here, with the starry sky for company. The washer-dryer and fireplace aside, we appreciated that the place had two bathrooms, which we haven’t seen in many vacation rentals. Nest and Sonos speakers to play music and a Tesla charger complete the place.

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Ocean Road, Irish Beach


We can’t have a list of the best stays in California without a few amazing beach listings, can we? Welcome to Ocean Road, a beautiful two-bedroom home on a bluff above Irish Beach on the ruggedly beautiful Mendocino County coast.

The uncrowded beach is a mere 15-minute walk down from here, where we’d enjoy long morning walks. We’d stock up on groceries from the market and prepare meals in the kitchen, with sweeping ocean vistas to accompany us through the large windows. It’s what added charm to the entire experience! The highlight was definitely the sea-facing sun deck, which had not only daybeds and table-and-chair seating but even a hot tub with panoramic views of the beach and the ocean. With two bedrooms, the four of us loved staying here, enjoying the serenity and solitude to the hilt.

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Interiors of Ocean Road, Irish Beach - by Airbnb
Interiors of Ocean Road, Irish Beach – by Airbnb

The Dutra Inn, San Diego


San Diego is one of our favorite California towns for its small-town character melded with big-city vibe. When we went looking for Airbnbs here, we found particular praise for the Dutra Inn in Little Italy, and boy, do we agree! Everyone wanted to stay in Room D at the Dutra Inn, and we could also see the draw when we stayed there. Firstly, it’s the only room of the five rooms here that’s a street-level loft.

100-year-old naval train station doors and a cool welcome drink greeted us as we entered the loft, whose 20-ft-high ceilings we had to crane to look at. Industrial decor abounds everywhere, and a staircase leads to the cozy lofted bedroom with the queen-size bed. Malin + Goetz bathroom products and Dark Horse Coffee Roasters coffee are just some of the thoughtful additions to the stay here. And even though the kitchenette just has a mini-fridge and espresso machine, we could opt for take-outs and enjoy them on our private patio. And since we’re light sleepers, the hosts were even kind enough to provide us with a white noise machine.

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Patio of Room D at the Dutra Inn, San Diego - by Airbnb
Patio of Room D at the Dutra Inn, San Diego – by Airbnb

Desert Sage House, Joshua Tree


Best for large groups. It’s one thing to stay in relatively desert-y Palm Springs, but it’s a whole other thing to stay right in the desert. Behold the four-bedroom Desert Sage House California Airbnb in the heart of the Yucca Valley, just outside Joshua Tree. The property is actually made up of six individually designed homes spread over five acres. These include day trailers, a ceremony yurt, a cozy casita, and a stylish main cabin, perfect for our party of 12 people.

The main cabin houses a large kitchen and a few living areas, which is where we’d get together to prepare meals and generally hang out together after a long day. That said, we loved the outdoor areas, which practically felt like we were in the middle of the desert. On starry nights, we’d gather at the covered dining area or around the fire pit and enjoy our meals outdoors. However, the most interesting parts of the vacation rental were the outdoor relaxation areas, which included a hot tub and even a bathtub right on the sandy expanse! If there was ever a desert jewel that was laidback and had all modern comforts, then this would be it.

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1967 Airstream Coastal Retreat, Poplar Beach


Quirky vacationing doesn’t get quirkier than staying at this 1967 Airstream Coastal Retreat, which was a blast from the past, but with all the modern comforts we needed. Sitting practically on the sandy shores of Poplar Beach, this Airbnb was all about sleeping to the sound of waves. This small but mighty trailer has a lot going for it. On the inside, we had our own kitchenette for whipping up light meals on the fly. Full marks to the ultra-comfy queen-sized bed to rest our weary heads, as we didn’t feel we were sleeping in a trailer at all.

That said, the outside was equally lovely, especially since we had complete access to the private, fenced-off yard that the trailer sits on. It’s for this reason that you can even bring Fido along if you’re renting this Airstream. The best bit is that it even comes with alfresco seating and a fire pit to enjoy those Californian skies at night.

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1967 Airstream Coastal Retreat, Poplar Beach - by Airbnb
1967 Airstream Coastal Retreat, Poplar Beach – by Airbnb

Cactus Flower, Los Angeles


It’s hard not to keep circling back to La La Land, especially when it comes to an Airbnb as amazing as this one. In a city as frenetic and sprawling as LA, finding a serene spot that’s both stylish and central is like hitting the jackpot. That’s what Cactus Flower, a modernist solar guesthouse near Santa Monica and Venice Beaches, is. This bright one-bedroom urban oasis was perfect for us to zen out in hectic Los Angeles. Its name stems from the fact that it has a private, extremely Instagrammable desert-style cactus garden in the secluded backyard! The space, with daybeds, hammocks, lounge chairs, sofas, and desert-style landscaping next to an outdoor fireplace, was where we’d be most of the time – not even in the house!

Floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors lead from the garden to the bright interiors, which boast mid-century modern furniture, a cable TV, and free Wi-Fi. But the real talking point of this place is that it’s environmentally friendly and powered entirely by solar energy. Right from the radiant floor heating to the full indoor/outdoor connection, everything runs on solar electric power. That, along with organic bedding and hi-efficacy appliances, certainly makes this sustainable Airbnb perfect for eco-conscious travelers. The smartly-stocked kitchen was a chef’s dream, and the washer-dryer ensured we were comfortable during our long stay here.

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Interiors at Cactus Flower, Los Angeles - by Airbnb
Interiors at Cactus Flower, Los Angeles – by Airbnb

Our Verdict!

While we love all the above-mentioned Airbnbs in the Golden State, the ones below are special and should help you zero in on one.

Where to Stay in California?

California has hundreds of amazing cities and towns spread across the coast, in the mountains, and in the desert.

We begin with Los Angeles, the largest city in the state, and primed for celebrity spotting and all the good things in life. In fact, the top things to do in Los Angeles range from beach activities to everything Hollywood-related. It’s not called Tinseltown for nothing, is it? The coastal Malibu in Santa Monica is also celebrity-central but in a much more laidback manner than Los Angeles. What’s more, there are a lot of activities to do here, such as whale spotting. Plus, it’s home to Zuma Beach, which is one of the most pristine beaches we’ve ever seen. A little more south along the coastline lies San Diego, which is the best spot in all of California for authentic Mexican food, Spanish-style architecture, amazing nightlife, and the lovely La Jolla Beach.

Moving inward, we have the famous Sonoran Desert resort city of Palm Springs, with the surrounding mountains offering breathtaking views. Just further north of Palm Springs is the equally gorgeous Yucca Valley, which is the base for Joshua Tree National Park. Not only are there hiking activities to do here, but also camping and glamping opportunities in the stunning desert. It’s not just one of the best California camping grounds but also one of the best camping sites in the US. Finally, there’s South Lake Tahoe, a Northern California resort city set on Lake Tahoe and offering an array of hiking trails and water activities.

How Much Does An Airbnb Cost In the Golden State?

While costs for California vacation rentals vary a lot, the average price is around 260 USD per night, with ones in popular destinations like Palm Springs, LA, and San Diego having a range of price points.

That would be the Dutra Inn in San Diego and the beachfront apartment in Malibu, which has a rating of 4.99!

What Are The Best Places In California To Rent An Airbnb?

LA and Palm Springs are two of the most popular places to rent a vacation rental in California.

Some images on this article are copyrighted by Airbnb.

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