You know, it’s very hard to believe that San Diego is the 8th largest city in the USA. That’s not the vibe I got at all ; the people are really friendly and as I explored, I felt like I was getting to know a collection of villages. I visited San Diego twice during my visits to the States and got quite the feel for the city.

But San Diego does sprawl so how do you decide where to stay in San Diego? There are several different areas to choose from and each has their own pros and cons. And beyond that you need to decide what kind of accommodation you want. Hostels and hotels are often a great shout but if you want something more then Airbnbs in San Diego are a solid choice. From beach houses to cute homestays, there are some seriously cool rentals in San Diego.

If it seems like a task trawling through all those pages on the website, don’t panic. That’s where I come in. I’ve put together this list of the 15 best Airbnbs in San Diego. I’m sure you’ll find something that matches your budget, travel style, and personality on our extensive list. So, let’s jump right in!

Welcome to San Diego!

Quick Answer: These are the Top 5 Airbnbs in San Diego

Pacific Beach Private Studio, San Diego

Pacific Beach Private Studio

  • > $$
  • > 2 Guests
  • > Bikes included
  • > Cosy private patio
Small Room near Gaslamp and Seaworld

Small Room near Gaslamp

  • > $
  • > 1 Guest
  • > Cosy Shared Backyard
  • > Awesome location
Designer Four-Bed Home

Designer Four-Bed Home

  • > $$$$
  • > 14 Guests
  • > Birdrock and La Jolla Neighborhood
  • > 3 Parking Spaces
Private Room in Cottage, San Diego

Private Room in Cottage

  • > $
  • > 2 Guests
  • > Meet other travellers!
  • > 5 minutes from the beach
Room and bath with private entrance, San Diego

Room with private entrance

  • > $
  • > 2 Guests
  • > Private entrance and bath
  • > Free use of bikes

What to Expect from Airbnbs in San Diego

The best Airbnbs in San Diego ranges from downtown lofts and condos, to spacious apartments and beachside houses by the coast. If you’re looking for unique, affordable, and comfy vacation rentals in San Diego, this list is for you.

As with any other city in America, centrally located properties, such as those in The Gaslamp Quarter (where I stayed), Little Italy, or La Jolla, are perfect bases for exploring San Diego. However, they will cost more than those in rural areas such as North Park.

However, spending a little extra means more convenience and comfort. If you’re willing to travel a little, you can find more affordable Airbnbs in San Diego on the outskirts or near San Diego University. I rented a bicycle for my time San Diego and was quite happy to ride for miles between attractions but I get that not everybody else is!

Downtown San Diego has the best apartments.

Private rooms are an economical way to stay in San Diego on a budget and they are the best option for solo travelers or couples wanting to save money. They are found all over the city, but mainly in the Gaslamp Quarter and downtown where the nightlife is thriving, as well as near the Convention Center or University.

Usually found all over the city, apartments, lofts, and studios are ideal for couples or single travelers although some may be spacious enough to accommodate more than six people. You can either rent one of the rooms or have the entire space to yourself if you want privacy. Some apartments and studios come with extra amenities that are reminiscent of hotels such as 24-hour security, pools, gyms, and sometimes a sauna.

Beach homes and cottages are in no short supply in San Diego since Ocean Beach and Mission Beach are right there. If you want to travel to the countryside, this is the most common type of vacation rentals in San Diego. Charming and sometimes historical, most come with exceptional design, modern amenities, and plenty of space to make your stay super comfortable.

We love a good deal!

We’ve included links to as well throughout this post — as we have found many of the same properties available on Booking and they are usually at a cheaper price! We’ve included both button options where we can to give you the choice of where you book 🙂

The Top 15 Airbnbs in San Diego

Now you know what to expect from Airbnbs in San Diego, it’s time to take a look at the best ones!

Pacific Beach Private Studio | Overall Best Value Airbnb in San Diego

Pacific Beach Private Studio, San Diego

This is our top pick San Diego Airbnb simply because it ticks all the boxes. Great location? Check. Wi-Fi? Check. Kitchen, yep that too.

However, there’s a whole lot more you get in this one such as a king bed, a cosy private patio, and an indoor fireplace. But what’s that, there’s even more?!  This host really goes above and beyond by supplying you with tea, coffee, and snacks,  complimentary toiletries too and even bikes which are great for using in Diego.

Don’t miss out on this little gem! It’s located in one of the best places to visit in San Diego as well – you can’t go wrong with this Airbnb!

Small Room near Gaslamp | Best Budget Airbnb in San Diego

Small Room near Gaslamp and Seaworld

Looking for an awesome San Diego Airbnb on a budget? I’ve found the perfect spot for you. It’s somewhere between a guest house and a homestay – there are four rooms available to rent on this property so you can mingle with other guests.

The quiet neighbourhood is in a great location in The Gaslamp Quarter – it’s not hard to get to Mission Bay or downtown San Diego from here. The home is light, bright, and airy, and it offers a full kitchen too – perfect for relaxing!

Is This the Best Backpack EVER???
audy on top of a mountain in japan with the osprey aether

We’ve tested countless backpacks over the years, but there’s one that has always been the best and remains the best buy for adventurers: the broke backpacker-approved Osprey Aether and Ariel series.

Want more deetz on why these packs are so damn perfect? Then read our comprehensive review for the inside scoop!

View on Osprey View on REI

Designer Four-Bed Home | Over the Top Luxury Airbnb in San Diego

Designer Four-Bed Home

Who wouldn’t want to enjoy San Diego in a designer home? I know I would. You have to be quick though – there’s a chance 14 other guests could get there before you in this totally awesome over-the-top San Diego luxury Airbnb!

If you can actually drag yourself away from this clean, comfy, and cool property, there are tons of restaurants, bars, and the beach just moments away on foot. There’s plenty of stuff to keep you entertained at the house, and you have free parking for three cars!

Private Room in Cottage | Perfect San Diego Airbnb for Solo Travellers

Private Room in Cottage, San Diego

One of the best parts of staying in a hostel is meeting other travellers – especially if you’re on your own. However, I know that hostels aren’t for everyone, especially if you enjoy privacy and comfort. This awesome property offers you the best of both worlds.

You’ll have your own private room, a clean bathroom, and a queen mattress. This cute San Diego homestay has more than one room on offer though, so you’re likely to meet other travellers as well as your friendly host and her cats! You’re also just minutes away from great restaurants and bars, so it’ll be easy to make friends, however you decide to do it!

Room with private entrance | Perfect Short Term Airbnb in San Diego for Digital Nomads

Room and bath with private entrance, San Diego

Ideally, you want to spend as little time indoors as possible when you’re on holiday. However, for Digital Nomads things are a bit different and you need to spend some time stuck inside. So, the least I can ask for is lots of light and a pleasant space to lay down your laptop and that’s exactly what you’ll get at this private room in a pleasant neighbourhood near the beach.

It goes without saying that there’s a laptop-friendly workspace and decent Wi-Fi too! When you’ve finished working for the day, jump on one of the bikes that your host provides for you and explore San Diego’s beaches. The nearest is just a few blocks away!

Travel with peace of mind. Travel WITH a security belt.
Active Roots Security Belt

Stash your cash safely with this money belt. It will keep your valuables safely concealed, no matter where you go.

It looks exactly like a normal belt except for a SECRET interior pocket perfectly designed to hide a wad of cash, a passport photocopy or anything else you may wish to hide. Never get caught with your pants down again! (Unless you want to…)

Hide Yo’ Money!

More Epic Airbnbs in San Diego

Here are a few more of my favorite Airbnbs in San Diego!

Historic Loft with Roof Deck | Best Airbnb in San Diego for Nightlife

Historic Loft with Roof deck, San Diego

Those heading to San Diego for nightlife will want to get right into the Gaslamp Quarter. Clubs, dive bars, speakeasies, and cocktail lounges attract the majority of revellers, while those looking for a more sophisticated evening can hit one of the theatres. Whatever your preferred nightlife option, this awesome loft is in the centre of it all.

It really is one of the coolest San Diego Airbnbs too – just look at that awesome interior design! Start off your night by soaking up the atmosphere of the Gaslamp quarter from your own shared roof terrace. There’s even a BBQ and dining area up there! Plus, you are just a short walk from Petco Park and Little Italy.

Romantic Private Canyon Retreat | Best Short Term Rental for Couples

Romantic Private Canyon Retreat, San Diego

When travelling with your other half, you’ll want something above and beyond your normal place to stay. This is one of the most romantic Airbnbs in San Diego, without question. So, it’s perfect for travelling couples! It’s the only apartment I’ve included in the charming Mission Hills neighbourhood.

Mission Hills is not as central as other areas in this list but you do get awesome views across the valley and it’s one of the most coveted historic neighbourhoods in town. The Spanish Renaissance architecture is simply stunning. Alternate between the tranquil and relaxing patio deck and the comfy studio apartment.

Private room in North Park | Best Homestay in San Diego

Private room in North Park

What more could you want from your San Diego homestay than a private room in a shared house with other travelers? The home is also in a quiet and safe neighbourhood in North Park, perfect for walking around at night.

Alternatively, you can enjoy cooking in the fully equipped kitchen or walk over to Little Italy for a real Italian treat! Finally, as a bonus, there’s a cute courtyard garden where you can bask in the sun while drinking your morning coffee. What more could you want?

Crown Point Beach Home | Runner Up Homestay in San Diego

Airbnb in San Diego

There are so many awesome homestays in San Diego that I couldn’t just leave it at one. This property close to Ocean Beach has a friendly listing where you’ll be staying in the home of two seafaring adventurers – which is really reflected in the décor!

You’ll have access to the house’s common areas which include the kitchen, living room, and shabby chic back deck. Your hosts will leave a shelf free in the fridge for you and you’re even welcome to use some of the oils and condiments. It’s like a home away from home which is exactly what Airbnb is all about.

The Ultimate Beach Escape | Amazing Luxury Airbnb in San Diego

The Ultimate Beach Escape, San Diego

If you’re planning a big celebration with a group of friends or family, then you can all chip in and can afford to splash out a little more. So, why not check out some awesome, exclusive beachfront properties?

This beautiful San Diego Airbnb townhouse can fit up to 8 guests across 4 rooms in a mixture of king beds and sofas. You’ll have stunning views across the bay from the balcony, and a fully equipped kitchen to prepare all your meals.

Although this is a luxury option, you’ll find it’s not all that expensive if you manage to fill all 8 spaces in the house!

The Rockaway House | Best Airbnb in San Diego for Families

The Rockaway House, San Diego

No matter how great a vacation you’re on, let’s face it the kids can get bored. This is a great San Diego Airbnb to prevent any boredom! It’s geared towards families of all ages, but a bonus is that you can pull out a travel cot, highchair, children’s books and toys, and even children’s tableware if you’ve got young children with you. There are plenty of spaces for the family to chill together too, including a living room and outdoor area!

Awesome Crown Point Home | Best Airbnb in San Diego for a Group of Friends

Awesome Crown Point Home, San Diego

Nestled between two beautiful bays, this San Diego Airbnb on Crown Point has awesome views and plenty of space for you and 5 mates. It’s in one of the most popular areas in Mission Bay, in large part due to the stunning sunsets!

There’s a fully equipped kitchen so you can rustle up something that will feed the whole group, and Apple TV so you can watch a movie after dinner. That’s if you don’t fancy heading out to one of the nearby bars or restaurants of course!

Zen-Like Studio | Best Airbnb in Mission Beach

I know you’ve already seen an awful lot of rentals in San Diego’s mission beach, but I have a couple more for you. This zen-like studio is another perfect option for a couple – as there’s a queen bed. It’s just a hop, skip, and a jump from the beach, so it’s really not far to carry the boogie boards that you can take advantage of during your stay!

Mission Beach Studio | Another Great Apartment in Mission Beach

Mission Beach Studio, San Diego

I promise this is the last awesome apartment in Mission Beach! It’s a little more expensive than the one above, but another great option for couples. All essentials are included and there’s a fully equipped kitchen. There’s even free overnight parking 5 minutes away which is really useful if you are on a California Road trip.

Cozy Unit with Bikes | Top Value Airbnb in Pacific Beach

Cozy unit with bikes included, San Diego

Last but not least is our favourite apartment in San Diego’s Pacific Beach. The compact, cosy, and comfy unit comes with bikes so you can explore the beach and surrounding areas to your heart’s content! There’s even an outdoor space where you can enjoy your morning coffee or a cigarette. It really traps the sun!

FAQs about Airbnbs in San Diego

Here’s what people usually ask me when they look for vacation homes in San Diego.

What To Pack For San Diego

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for an Airbnb stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

Make Some New Buddies…
Make Some New Buddies…

Monopoly Deal

Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!
Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

Grayl Geopress Water Bottle

Always travel with a water bottle! They save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. The Grayl Geopress acts as a purifier AND temperature regulator. Boom!

Don’t Forget Your San Diego Travel Insurance

Hey, I’m not going to lecture you. But you know that good travel insurance is always the best way to prepare for a trip, right?

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

Final Thoughts on San Diego Airbnbs

San Diego

So, that concludes our list of the best Airbnbs in San Diego. I hope that you’ve found my list useful and I’ve taken some of the stress away from planning your holiday. After all, now you can just plan the cool and exciting stuff!

As you can see from the list above, there’s a lot going on in San Diego. Whether you want a beachfront house for you and all your pals, a loft in the booming Gaslamp District, or a quiet cottage in the hills overlooking the city, there’s a San Diego Airbnb with your name on it. I’m just a little worried I’ve given you too much choice!

If that’s the case, keep it simple and go for our best value Airbnb in San Diego – Pacific Beach Private Studio. It combines a great location, price, and style to make it an awesome shout – no matter who you are.

All that’s left is for me to wish you an amazing vacation in San Diego, in your perfect vacation rental!

Looking for more info on visiting San Diego?

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!