15 Airbnbs in California So Amazing You Won’t Believe You Can Afford Them

Experience California dreamin' on a dime with these jaw-droppingly affordable Airbnbs.

host welcoming guest at rental house
Updated May 28, 2024
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California has something to offer vacationers with all interests. Enjoy the natural beauty, redwoods, and many vineyards in the north to the sunny shores of San Diego in the south (and major cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco in between).

You can stay in a bustling downtown area or in complete seclusion if you want to keep more money in your bank account.

If you’re visiting for the first time or simply looking for a unique experience, we’ve rounded up 15 incredible (and affordable) Airbnb options across the state. Rates can change based on the dates you’re looking to book.

Geodesic private dome – Palm Springs

Courtesy of Airbnb Geodesic private dome - Palm Springs

If you don’t mind traveling a few blocks on a dirt road to arrive at your destination, this geodesic private dome is an incredible vacation spot (with fantastic photo ops) that offers views of Joshua Tree Park, Coachella Valley, downtown Palm Springs and more.

The home is stocked with modern luxuries — like a full kitchen, fast Wi-Fi, and entertainment options — and sits on five acres of land. The listing can sleep six guests, and a typical night costs around $175.

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Redwood Treehouse – Santa Cruz Mountains

Courtesy of Airbnb Redwood Treehouse - Santa Cruz Mountains

You can live among the breathtaking redwoods with this treehouse in the Santa Cruz Mountains. They’re not joking when they call it a treehouse either — there are literally trees growing through multiple parts of the home.

Aside from the beauty and tranquility, this rental provides many modern comforts — a fully functioning kitchen and bathroom, a TV and DVD player, and even a hot tub. The treehouse sleeps two and typically rents for around $170 a night.

Dope Artist Loft near Hollywood – Glendale

Courtesy of Airbnb Dope Artist Loft near Hollywood - Glendale

Artsy types will adore this nearly 1,000-square-foot loft in Glendale. It was designed and beautifully decorated to foster creativity in all who visit.

Aside from the incredible installations, murals, and plants that line the walls, guests can enjoy a kitchen, shared patio, free street parking, and a thriving neighborhood within walking distance.

The loft sleeps two and typically goes for about $157 a night.

Oceanview Retreat – Stinson Beach

Courtesy of Airbnb Oceanview Retreat - Stinson Beach

This is an excellent spot for vacationers looking for ultimate relaxation.

This oceanside home, located in Stinson Beach (north of San Francisco), is inspired by Japanese architecture. It offers serene views, a traditional soaking tub, and an intimate space for guests to quiet their minds, create, or just enjoy some alone time.

It’s a short walk from the beach, has a balcony with peaceful ocean views, and comes with a mini fridge, a small cooktop, and a microwave. The guesthouse sleeps two and typically goes for around $190 a night.

Angel City Historic Loft – Los Angeles

Courtesy of Airbnb Angel City Historic Loft - Los Angeles

An ideal location for those looking to stay in downtown LA, this loft is centrally located, beautifully decorated, is on the tenth floor (which gives you some space from the hustle and bustle of the streets below), and offers guests access to a rooftop pool and hot tub.

The loft sleeps four and typically goes for about $149 a night.

Pro tip: If you book with a credit card, make sure you can earn cash back to get some of the fees you’re paying back.

1967 Airstream on the Coast – Half Moon Bay

Courtesy of Airbnb 1967 Airstream on the Coast

For a unique stay along California’s coast, this 1967 Airstream in Half Moon Bay is an excellent option. The campervan sits on a 4,000-square-foot lot and is just a short walk from Poplar Beach.

Despite its retro look inside the van, you’ll find everything you need for a comfy vacation — from a stocked kitchen to a cozy queen bed.

The van sleeps two guests and typically rents for about $183 a night.

The ‘Nugget’ tiny home – Costa Mesa

Courtesy of Airbnb The ‘Nugget’ tiny home - Costa Mesa

The “nugget” will meet all your tiny home needs. It’s an ideal spot for a tranquil escape together (the home sleeps two) or for those looking for a solo adventure.

The home features a queen bed, a “business corner” for those taking a working (or semi-working) vacation, a private deck, and is just an eight-minute drive from the beach.

The tiny home is in Orange County, Costa Mesa, and typically costs $170 a night.

Traditional Japanese Tea House – Berkeley

Courtesy of Airbnb Traditional Japanese Tea House

Just a few blocks from the University of California, Berkeley, lies another Japanese-inspired vacation getaway.

The “tea house” comes with Tatami mats, a queen size futon, and a deep traditional soaking tub, and offers an air of tranquility — even with public transportation, many dining options, and UC’s campus so close by.

The home sleeps two, and a typical night costs around $150.

Tiny house near Yosemite – Coarsegold

Courtesy of Airbnb Tiny house near Yosemite - Coarsegold

This bright and decked-out tiny home has everything you need for a relaxing vacation — including a steel outdoor pool in the spring and summer months and a toasty fire pit when it gets cooler.

There’s a pop-up mini bar outside, a cozy living room inside, and plenty of room to prepare simple meals in the kitchen. Yosemite is about 26 miles away.

The tiny home sleeps four guests and typically rents for about $175 a night.

Cottage by the Bay – San Diego

Courtesy of Airbnb Cottage by the Bay - San Diego

Decorated in bold, bright colors to get you in a beachy mood and appropriately located just a block from the shore, this cottage by the bay is ideal for a quiet, relaxing vacation in San Diego.

In addition to the proximity to the Pacific Ocean, there are also plenty of restaurants and bars within walking distance. The home sleeps four and typically costs around $159 a night.

Pro tip: Traveling can be expensive. Make sure you book early to eliminate some money stress from your trip.

Floating guest cottage (houseboat) – Sausalito

Courtesy of Airbnb Floating guest cottage (houseboat)

This is the priciest accommodation on our list, but it was too cool to leave off. This houseboat is located in Yellow Ferry Harbor in Sausalito — a short (and scenic) ferry ride from San Francisco. 

The boat offers plenty of outdoor space, beautiful views on the large upper deck, and plenty of modern comforts — a stocked kitchen, cozy living room space, and two bedrooms.

The floating cottage sleeps four and typically costs $261 a night, but this vacation will require some planning — it’s often booked out for months.

Venice Beach guest studio – Los Angeles

Courtesy of Airbnb Venice Beach guest studio - Los Angeles

This Venice Beach studio has all the charm you’d expect from the hip Los Angeles neighborhood — plus an amazing pool.

The rental includes access to the pool, cabana, fire pit, grill area, and hot tub. It’s also just a 15-minute walk to the beach and a thriving shopping and restaurant scene.

The studio sleeps two and typically goes for $176 a night.

Garden apartment retreat – San Francisco

Courtesy of Airbnb Garden apartment retreat - San Francisco

This cozy garden apartment is centrally located — near the Golden Gate Bridge and Presidio National Park.

Whether you’re looking for hiking trails or to enjoy the hustle and bustle of San Francisco (or both), this garden apartment is the place to do it. It’s a simple apartment with a kitchenette, beautiful French doors, and a wrap-around deck.

The space sleeps two and typically goes for about $185 a night.

Sol Ridge Joshua Tree – Yucca Valley

Courtesy of Airbnb Sol Ridge Joshua Tree

This gorgeous home is located between Joshua Tree and Palm Springs and is an ideal destination for groups hoping to enjoy the California desert.

The large outdoor area features a steel pool, fireplace, and hot tub, and the inside is spacious and cozy and can sleep up to seven guests.

With three bedrooms total and stunning views, the home typically goes for about $183 a night.

Tiny home cottage – San Diego

Courtesy of Airbnb Tiny home cottage - San Diego

This tiny home cottage in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood has everything you need for a delightful beach getaway — and it’s a total bargain.

There’s a private patio, full kitchen, space for four guests to sleep, and a picnic table for outdoor dining, and the hosts even throw in beach cruisers to help you explore the neighborhood and beach supplies for your day trips. The typical nightly price is $158.

Bottom line

Daniel Krasoń/Adobe Woman is installing Airbnb application on Lenovo tablet

California cities — particularly hot spots like San Diego, San Francisco, and Los Angeles — have some of the highest average Airbnb rates in the country. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a great deal.

If you plan to book an Airbnb, check out the property’s cleaning and service fees first to get a better idea of the total cost. This can help you keep more money in your wallet while you travel.

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Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore

Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore is a seasoned freelance writer who also teaches writing courses at Rutgers University. She's based in Jersey City and enjoys travel, live music and, of course, spending quality time with her pup.