Santa Barabara, California sits on a pristine swath of California’s central coastline. Santa Barbara is known for its sandy beaches, perfect sunsets, and world-class food and wine. From surfing at Leadbetter Beach to sipping glasses of California red, to whale watching, Santa Barbara makes for an incredible spot for your next vacation.

While you might be looking forward to kayaking through caves or paddle boarding, you might not be so excited about figuring out where to stay in Santa Barbara. Hence, our creation of the best Airbnbs in Santa Barbara!

Why deal with the exorbitant California hotel rates or moan over the incredible lack of hostels, when Airbnb rentals in Santa Barbara is the way to go?! Let’s dive into the best Airbnbs for your budget, style, and vibes.

Welcome to Santa Barbara, California!

Quick Answer: These are the Top 5 Airbnbs in Santa Barbara


Relaxing Oasis Close to Beach

  • > $$
  • > 2 Guests
  • > Pool, Hot Tub & Gym
  • > Close to Beach & Zoo
Tiny House in the Mountains

Tiny House in the Mountains

  • > $$
  • > 2 Guests
  • > Entire space to yourself
  • > Mountain views
Enchanted Cottage in the Heart of SB, Santa Barbara

Enchanted Cottage in the Heart of SB

  • > $$
  • > 2 Guests
  • > Self Check-In
  • > Keurig Machine

Crown Jewel of a Beach House

  • > $$$$
  • > 8 Guests
  • > Outdoor Patio & Grill
  • > Trusted Babysitter Available
Stunning Villa w/ Mountain & Ocean Views

Stunning Villa w/ Mountain & Ocean Views

  • > $$$$
  • > 6 Guests
  • > Mountain and ocean views for days!
  • > Amazing pool and private patio

What to Expect from Airbnbs in Santa Barbara

What to expect from Airbnbs in Santa Barbara depends on where you plan to stay. If you’re staying somewhere like Golata, you can expect a beachfront villa with a swimming pool and awesome views. If you’re staying in downtown Santa Barbara, you can expect a loft apartment in a historical building.

Something else that might dictate what you get is your budget. While we would all love to stay in a luxury villa, these can cost upwards of $1,000 per night. If you’re travelling with a large group, split between you it’s not so bad, but still pricey…

What’s certain is whichever location you’ve got your heart set on in Santa Barbara, there’ll be something to suit your budget, taste, and personality. It’s just up to you to find it, and I don’t mind giving my help at all!

But before you take a look at my top picks, here’s a quick overview of the most common types of Santa Barbara vacation rentals.

Santa Barbara’s beaches are out of this world!

Private rooms in Homestays

Whether you want to be right smack in the middle of all the action or a little further away by the coast, private rooms are the cheapest way to go – perfect for those backpacking California.

A tip is to check the listing for private bathrooms as some private rooms may have shared bathrooms. You might also be lucky to have your own private entrance, but this is quite rare.

Staying in a private room on a property gives you the luxury of your own private space with all the amenities of the main house, including a communal kitchen where you can cook your own meals.

Plus a house owned by locals gives you an advantage. Airbnb hosts have excellent insider tips and they can tell you their favorite local haunts for the best coffee, the best meals, and the best places to shop for an epic California road trip.

You’ll find Santa Barbara’s homestays in many of the best locations

Apartments and Condos

Modern, spacious and worth their price, condominiums are pretty much all over the state, especially in the more urban areas like San Diego Bay or downtown San Francisco. They are perfect for all types of travelers – couples, single travelers who want a whole place to themselves, groups of friends, and even families.

You can select from simple one bedroom condos to more exquisitely decorated units with expensive furnishings situated in prime locations.

Most condos have shared amenities, such as gyms and pools, which guests can use at no additional cost, but do verify this first before booking. Again, you don’t want your vacation ruined with unexpected charges.

Make sure to check out Santa Barbara Harbor…

Residential Homes and Villas

Traveling with friends and family means needing a little space all to yourself, and luxurious amenities such as a game room, outdoor hot tub, a pool, and perhaps ever direct access to the beach. This type of accommodation understandably costs more because of all the extra perks but you’ll be guaranteed a comfortable and unforgettable stay.

When booking entire homes, make sure to check with your host if there are any additional fees if you want to use the added amenities, so you are not surprised with fees that you haven’t figured into your budget.

Some of the best vacation rentals are in downtown Santa Barbara…

Why stay in an Airbnb?

I can think of many reasons why you would choose an Airbnb over a hotel, but here are just a few!

  • Local Experience: Having a local as a host means you can find out all the best places to visit and things to do that are off the beaten tourist track. That doesn’t just go for Santa Barbara, but for all travel destinations in the USA.
  • Unique Properties: In a place chock full of unique vacation rentals, why on earth would you want to stay in a drab and dull hotel?!
  • Privacy: Another great filter – choose an entire place to ensure you won’t be disturbed during your trip.
  • Affordability: When it comes to value for money, Airbnbs offer so much more than hotels at the same price.
  • Airbnb Experiences: Choosing Airbnb isn’t just about where to stay – it’s about enjoying the area like a local with curated tours, too!
What is the One Item Every Traveller NEEDS???

There is one item every traveller NEEDS. Some travellers don’t even know they need it, but those travellers need it more than anyone.

What is this forgotten essential of the backpacker-life? SPOILERS! Guess you’ll just have to click the button to find out. 😉

Find Out What It Is!

The 15 Top Airbnbs in Santa Barbara

Now you know what to expect from vacation rentals in Santa Barbara, it’s time to choose the ultimate place to stay!

Overall Best Value Airbnb | Relaxing Oasis Close to Beach

  • $$
  • Close to Beach & Zoo
  • 2 Guests
  • Pool, Hot Tub & Gym

Ever wanted to live the California dream and be right beside the beach?! This Santa Barbara apartment rental is a one-bedroom and one bathroom that couldn’t be in a more perfect location.

It’s just a few minutes from the beach! For this budget-friendly price, it is incredible all the amenities you get— especially access to the complex’s outdoor pool, hot tub, and gym! This short-term rental is located in the highly desired El Escorial gated community.

Make sure you take time to relax on the peaceful private patio and the large living space. I also appreciate the 24-hour security this complex provides.

Best Budget Airbnb in Santa Barbara | Cozy Space at Basement Price

  • $
  • Close to the Beach & Downtown
  • 2 Guests
  • Tastefully Designed

This is one of the absolutely most affordable options for Airbnbs in Santa Barbara. It’s for a private bedroom and shared bathroom in a quaint house.

It’s a wonderful Santa Barbara homestay that was arranged and created for those who want a cheap place to stay but still want comfort and convenience. The convenient location is also perfect as it is close to the beach, the freeway entry, and just a quick 5 minutes to downtown!

The hosts also welcome their guests to use the fridge or the microwave and to make a hot cup of coffee in the morning. This is the place for you if you plan on spending minimum time in your digs and making the most of beautiful Santa Barbara!!!

Perfect Rental for Digital Nomads | Downtown Clean and Cozy Room

  • $$
  • Free Bottle of Wine
  • 2 Guests
  • Fridge & Microwave in Room

Ever dreamed of been a Digital Nomad in California? Then you can borrow the dream for a very reasonable price!

This Santa Barbara Homestay is perfect for the digital nomads out there who need a spacious, airy room, and all the essentials. This is a peaceful guest bedroom that has a private bathroom and is stocked with its own coffee maker, microwave, and small fridge. There is also a desk, office chair, and desk lamp where you can get all your work done!

What’s better is that if you want to do some work in a state of relaxation, pull your laptop out on the La-Z-Boy Recliner chair in your room and work in comfort and ease. The hosts also generously give a complimentary bottle of California red wine to welcome guests to their Santa Barbara Homestay.

Is This the Best Travel Pack EVER???

We’ve tested countless packs over the years, and now we’ve found our absolute favourite: the nomad-approved Nomatic Travel Bag.

Want more deetz on why we love it so damn much? Then read our comprehensive review for the inside scoop!

Learn More Now!

Perfect Airbnb for Solo Travelers | Chic Room in Downtown Apartment

Chic & Comfortable Room in Downtown, Santa Barbara
  • $
  • Free Coffee and Tea
  • 2 Guests
  • Kitchen & Front Porch Access

This Santa Barbara homestay comes at quite the bargain rate for this one-bedroom and shared bathroom rental right in the heart of downtown.

It’s a lovely room, perfect for the solo travellers out there with gold accent pillows and faux fur throws. It’s a comfortable queen-sized bed that very nearly guarantees peaceful dreams. Guests are invited to use the kitchen, living room, and front porch. The host kindly provides coffee and tea for all guests!

If you plan on spending more time and money at the beach and bars of Santa Barbara, then this may be the best digs for you.

Best Airbnb in Santa Barbara for Nightlife | Treehouse Vibes Downtown

  • $
  • Enormous Veg. & Fruit Garden
  • 4 Guests
  • 2 Free Bicycles

This is one of the best Airbnbs in Santa Barbara for location and vibes. It’s for a short-term rental of the entire guest suite with a private bedroom and bathroom, which offers privacy at a budget price.

There is a sofa bed, which makes accommodating four guests a breeze. The location is truly fantastic, just three blocks to State Street and tons of restaurants and shops. This artistic one-bedroom actually enjoys views of the mountain range from the windows.

Outside, you will find a huge fruit and vegetable garden, which you are welcome to sample goodies from! From figs to avocados to oranges to broccoli, you’ll love picking fresh fruit and vegetables and cooking them in your own private kitchen. The hosts also provide complimentary use of two bicycles to explore Santa Barbara with!

With its prime location, you’ll be able to take advantage of all the swanky Santa Barbara Bars. From the Good Lion with their ever-changing menu of inventive cocktails to the eclectic tapas at Milk & Honey, to the contemporary Bar 29 with an upscale atmosphere, you’re sure to love staying so close to the Santa Barbara scene!

Best Rental for Couples | Enchanted Cottage in the Heart of SB

Enchanted Cottage in the Heart of SB, Santa Barbara
  • $$
  • Keurig Machine
  • 2 Guests
  • Self Check-In

This is a Santa Barbara Airbnb for an entire private one bedroom and one bathroom guesthouse. The decor is charming and sweet and will be perfect for your romantic getaway. Windows face a beautiful garden, so you’ll feel like you are in a truly idyllic place.

This Santa Barbara short-term rental is within walking distance of State Street and it’s just a quick drive to the beach. You’ll love sitting out on the patio. Your guest unit is surrounded by trees, which only adds to the privacy and tranquil setting!

Best Homestay in Santa Barbara | Tiny House in the Mountains

Tiny House in the Mountains
  • $$
  • Entire space to yourself
  • 2 Guests
  • Mountain views

This is one of the best Santa Barbara vacation rentals especially if you’re looking for a homestay that offers you privacy and freedom. In this cute tiny house, you will have an entire space to yourself but be on your host’s property, so you have the luxury of your own space but the perks of having a local to give you hints and tips nearby.

You have your own private bathroom with a bathtub, a good-sized kitchen, living area, and flatscreen TV. The highlight is the outside deck which has views of the surrounding mountains.

Located at the foothills of the Foothill Preserve, within driving distance of Downtown and the beach, you’ll be staying within nature, surrounded by birds tweeting and rabbits hopping in the garden. You can’t get much better than that!

Runner-Up Homestay in Santa Barbara | Room in Montecito Stone near Hikes

Room in Montecito Stone near Hikes
  • $$
  • Located in a converted barn
  • 2 Guests
  • Shared pool

This one-bedroom condo comes with a private bathroom, small kitchen and living area inside a 1918 Montecito Stone Carriage House. You’ll be staying in a gorgeous mountain location, just a few minutes from the beach. Guests are allowed to use the shared pool and patio.

What makes this one of the best vacation rentals in Santa Barbara is that the owner has a cute little jack russel who likes to say hello to guests. There is also other guest rooms available onsite so if you’re feeling social, you can say hello to other travelers. If you prefer privacy, your guest room has it’s own private entrance so you can be antisocial if you feel like it.

Your room is bright, airy, spacious, and filled with thoughtful touches. Free parking on the street is usually available directly outside the house.

Amazing Luxury Airbnb in Santa Barbara | Deluxe Cottage Full of Flair

Deluxe Cottage Full of Flair, Santa Barbara
  • $$$
  • Thoughtful Extras like Beach Chairs
  • 4 Guests
  • Gourmet Kitchen & High-End Linens

This Santa Barbara Airbnb is for a deluxe two bedrooms and one-bathroom cottage rental super close to the beach, near Stearns Wharf. It is also close to Chase Palm Park and Leadbetter Beach as well, which are two of the best places to spend some hard-earned relaxation time in Santa Barbara. The living room offers great views of the Santa Barbara Riviera.

The decor throughout the property is sophisticated and tasteful. What’s more is that this host takes great pride in going above and beyond in terms of not just decor, but in thoughtful amenities as well.

The host has provided not just the usual luxury amenities, such as a gourmet kitchen and high-end linens, but has also stocked this rental with beach chairs, towels, and even flip flops.

Over-the-Top Luxury Airbnb | Stunning Villa w/ Mountain & Ocean Views

Stunning Villa w/ Mountain & Ocean Views
  • $$$$
  • Mountain and ocean views for days!
  • 6 Guests
  • Amazing pool and private patio

This luxurious Airbnb in Santa Barbara offers an entire house with three spacious bedrooms and three bathrooms. In fact, this rental sits right on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding mountains. It is located in the Foothills, just short drive from Arroyo Burro Beach and Downtown.

The open concept design of this home makes the entire home feel bright and airy, especially with the outside/inside living concept. This Santa Barbara Airbnb will make for a truly memorable stay with its gorgeous ocean views and abundant fresh Pacific ocean air.

You’ll also adore the outdoor pool, where you can cool off from the California heat. At night, light up the fire pit and watch the sunset from 180 degrees around you. Each room comes with floor-to-ceiling windows so you’ll never have to argue over which room is whose, as they are all nice!

Best Airbnb in Santa Barbara for Families | Crown Jewel of a Beach House

  • $$$$
  • Trusted Babysitter Available
  • 8 Guests
  • Outdoor Patio & Grill

This four bedrooms and two bathrooms Santa Barbara beach house is a dream come true for families. Located just three blocks near Leadbetter Beach and Shoreline Park, you’ll love this crown jewel of a Santa Barbara beach house!

Moreover, it’s not too far away from downtown State Street—known for its lovely pier and the popular shopping spots! The hosts thoughtfully provide beach towels, beach chairs, beach umbrellas, and a cooler for an even more convenient beach experience.

Moreover, there is a lovely outdoor space complete with a gas grill, and the kitchen is topped with gorgeous granite countertops and comes with stainless steel appliances.

Best Airbnb for a Group of Friends | Downtown Victorian Home

  • $$$
  • Use of Surfboards & Boogie Boards
  • 12 Guests
  • Incredible Backyard & Patio

This three-bedroom and three-bathroom house is an incredible Santa Barbara Airbnb. It is newly renovated and trust me —it is completely stunning.

While there are only three bedrooms, there are quite a few sofa beds and air mattresses provided to make hosting a total of twelve guests a possibility. The wide-open floor plan and enormous outdoor spaces are enough to make you swoon. The 100-year-old hardwood floors and beamed ceilings are to die for.

This Santa Barbara Airbnb is located right in downtown, so if you are staying with friends who want to take full advantage of all Santa Barbara has to offer— from the restaurants to the bars to the wine— then this rental is for you! One of our favorite amenities is that the hosts have graciously provided surfboards and boogie boards for guests to freely use!

Great Apartment in Goleta | Lovely Garden Studio Rental

Lovely Garden Studio Rental, Santa Barbara
  • $$
  • Private Garden Courtyard
  • 2 Guests
  • Self Check-In

This is a beautiful garden studio rental in Goleta, that connected to a home in Old Town Goleta with a private and separate entrance.

It is a charming studio that is positively drenched in natural light. It even has its own private garden courtyard! In this private studio, you will have your own microwave and refrigerator, as well as access to complimentary coffee and tea.

This studio is satiated close to all the Goleta action, just a quick bike ride to the beach, UCSB, and plenty of cafes, shops, and restaurants too. What’s more, is that the hosts have kayaks on hand that they are happy to rent to you!

Another Great Airbnb in Goleta  | Artsy Studio near UCSB

Artsy Studio Apartment near UCSB, Santa Barbara
  • $
  • Artistic Design
  • 2 Guests
  • Fully Equipped Kitchen

This Santa Barbara Apartment is a steal! It’s located right near the University of California Santa Barbara and near the new city park as well. Its design is very artistic, leaning towards Eastern taste and thoughtful touches.

It’s a one-bedroom and one bathroom apartment, that is yours for the taking. It is on the first floor of the building, so you won’t have to work about trekking up flight after flight of stairs. Everything is clean and cozy throughout.

This location is perfect in Goleta as it puts you close to grocery stores and plenty of restaurants. Free parking on the street is readily available outside.

Top Value Airbnb in Montecito | Sweet & Small Montecito Cottage

Sweet & Small Montecito Cottage, Santa Barbara
  • $$$
  • Picturesque Outdoor Garden
  • 2 Guests
  • Fully Equipped Kitchen

This one-bedroom, one-bathroom cottage is full of old-world charm. It’s an eclectic rental full of antique furniture and tasteful touches.

The outdoor garden is especially notable, as you’ll love the trees and tranquillity. It is located in the highly coveted quiet neighborhood of Montecito’s “hedgerow” and is just 10-minutes walking distance to the Miramar beach. Moreover, it is just a short drive to Hammonds Beach and Butterfly Beach.

This over 100 year old cottage is a history lover’s dream for those who are passionate about unique things and special stays.

FAQ about Airbnbs in Santa Barbara

Here’s what people usually ask us when they look for vacation homes in Santa Barbara.

Don’t Forget Your Santa Barbara Travel Insurance

A banner creative for World Nomads travel insurance

It’s good to get lost sometimes, but it’s also good not to get too lost. There are people that want you home in one piece.

There’s one travel insurance provider The Broke Backpacker trusts for all his wildest shenanigans… World Nomads!

Click the button below to get a quote on your insurance or read our in-depth review of World Nomads’ coverage. And then… let the shenanigans begin. 😉

Final Thoughts on Santa Barbara Airbnbs

Santa Barbara, California makes for a wonderful holiday getaway! No matter what’s on your Santa Barbara to-do list, you’re sure to have a lovely stay with plentiful California sunshine and maybe even some whales…

There sure are some incredible Airbnbs in Santa Barbara that are perfect short term rentals or long term rentals too for the matter!

From ocean-view beach-side houses to arts apartments with avocado orchards, there are more than a few Santa Barbara Airbnb gems to choose from!

Thanks for reading – that was fun! 😀

We bring you epic FREE content!
Find out how YOU can help support us.

We’re a big site with a big team and this job isn’t always easy. But we do it because we love it – we love providing epic and free content. We love the knowledge that our content keeps you adventuring. We don’t ask for money, but if you’d like to find out how you can help the site in more organic ways, click the button below.
Thank you for your support 🙂

Bye for now, but not forever!

If you want MORE top-tier Broke Backpacker content like this, then sign up for our weekly newsletter below to get the latest and greatest!

    And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!