Looking for somewhere to stay in Santa Barbara? Here’s our round-up of the best Airbnb’s in California’s iconic coastal paradise. From glamorous abodes to boho dwellings, these Santa Barbara Airbnb’s demonstrate the diversity of the city, which attracts everyone from celebrities to surfers to hippies. Stay downtown to be within walking distance of all the major sights, or perhaps head to the charming beach town of Montecito or the hills of Mission Canyon. We’ve included options for all tastes and budgets. And don’t miss our Handpicked City Guide for all the best things to do in Santa Barbara and our California road trip guide.
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The Best of Airbnb Santa Barbara
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Fantastical cottage on epic dream land
Just five minutes’ from Santa Barbara, but feeling like a world away, host Jennifer has several unique rentals on her 11-acre land. This playful cottage is set on a 3-acre grove along with one more cottage – both have privacy and secluded views, but guests share common areas, including an outdoor lounge/kitchen area, pool, hot tub, trampoline, and shower/bath house. Plus everyone can help themselves to free eggs from the chickens. The views of the grove and Santa Barbara mountain range are stunning. The whole place has an emphasis on getting back to nature and is a particularly special find so close to the centre of town. Also see Jennifer’s listings for the glass house, yurt and home.
What the guests say: “Jennifer and her magical grove were wonderful. The environment unique and stunning. Jennifer’s hospitality was unsurpassed. She loaned us a cool box and beach towels for our channel island kayak tour, made sure I had coffee and sugar for my morning caffeine fix. She gave us good advice on local restaurants and neighbourhoods. The house was cozy, the silence complete and the we had such a lovely sleep. I would recommend to anyone looking for an unique experience in a gorgeous atmosphere.”
Cabana las Flores
Live the celeb lifestyle in glam Montecito at this cute poolside cabana in tropical, lush surrounds. Spend your days enjoying the private, natural pool and hot tub and exploring the nearby beaches. There’s even a teahouse pavilion where you can meditate and do yoga overlooking the pool – or order a personal masseuse. The cabana itself has a spacious bedroom, lounge and bathroom, all decorated in the Spanish style typical of Santa Barbara. Free parking is available for one car. It’s a proper dreamland in Santa Barbara.
What the guests say: “WOW! Five stars are not enough. This place is paradise. My husband and I had a magical long weekend stay at Cabana Las Flores. The pictures do not do the serene setting justice, and the gardens extend far beyond what you can see in the AirBnB listing. The house itself is incredibly comfortable, and Dino and Florida are wonderful hosts–helpful and available, but give you complete privacy so you feel like you’re at your own resort. We took them up on several restaurant recommendations and each one was top notch. We can’t wait to come back. Thanks Dino and Florida!!”
Warm Wooded Barn
Get cosy in this historic barn, which was part of an old early 1900’s estate. The rustic, wood-panelled décor creates an inviting warmth and a place to get snuggly in front of the fire after a day of sightseeing. This listing is for the downstairs, but you can also book the upstairs loft. There’s a private bedroom, plus a sofa bed in the large living area, a bath tub, and a small kitchenette that leads out onto a private patio. And there’s also a communal garden with a pretty seated area for lounging. The barn is in Mission Canyon, a wooded area just a couple of miles from Santa Barbara.
What the guests say: “The Barn Loft is extremely comfortable and charming. The kitchen is fully equipped, the location excellent, the grounds lovely. Tom is super responsive and accommodating, and could not have been easier to deal with. I was able to have my octogenarian parents over for dinner at Christmas, which was very special for me and for them. Highly, highly recommend.”
Beachy Blue Hideaway
Summerland is one of the most popular places to stay on a visit to Santa Barbara. It has all you could wish for from a classic California beach town, complete with cosy cafes, inviting restaurants, a wine-tasting bar and a gorgeous beach, just a 10-minute walk away from the house. The bright home is decorated with flashes of blue against a white background and wooden floors, creating a classic beachy vibe. You can sit back and enjoy the ocean view from the lounge or step out onto the deck for a bbq and to catch some rays. At night, sit back and enjoy some Santa Barbara wine around your own private fire pit. Do note that the house is on a main road and not directly on the beach.
What the guests say: “Charming coastal cottage with great attention to detail. This cottage was a lucky find for our family of five, while we had a sports tournament 1.5 miles down the road. Lots of great details from beach chairs, beach towels, umbrella to beautiful bed linens and a fun patio and fire pit out back. There was thoughtful beach themed artwork throughout, and the furniture and rugs were updated and fresh. We enjoyed amazing sunsets from the front porch and had a great place to relax after a long day on the playing fields. One room has 2 full sized beds, and we added a twin air mattress on the floor so that all 3 leggy teenagers could spread out a bit more, and that worked well. It is also nice being able to do some laundry and cook some meals while away from home. It was noted in other reviews, so we were prepared, but the street runs parallel to Hwy 101 and the noise is constant. Summerland has a quaint little downtown, and it is a great starting spot for exploring the greater Santa Barbara area.”
Laid-back beach casita
Get the best of both worlds at this beach casita just 10 minutes’ walk from State Street and downtown Santa Barbara. The house is two blocks from the beach and an ideal romantic getaway, complete with a corner spa tub for two and a fire for getting cosy in front of. It’s part of a larger house, but guests have a private entrance and patio. There’s no dividing wall between the bedroom and lounge, so not so good for groups or those with young children.
What the guests say: “All I can say is WOW. I rented this cottage for the night for my boyfriend’s 21st birthday and it was everything I could have asked for and more. The whole cottage was set up to romantically and the bubbles and bath package I ordered made our time especially amazing, with champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, bath salts, and rose petals. I will definitely be coming back, me and my boyfriend even talked about coming back annually for our anniversary! I definitely recommend, you will not be disappointed.”
Airstream on organic ranch
This one’s outside of Santa Barbara (a 25-minute drive from the centre or 13 minutes to Summerland) but worth it if you’re looking for a stay in an iconic airstream. It’s also close to Ojai, a bohemian town filled with galleries and new age shops. The 33-foot Airstream is stylishly decorated with tan leather and wooden floors against the classic metallic walls. It’s fully equipped with a full kitchen and space for dining both inside and out. Plus to top it all off, it’s situated in a small avocado orchard on a 5-acre working farm – can you get more Californian than that?!
What the guests say: “ We thoroughly recommend Delia’s Airstreamer. True to the listing, this is a charming location and a great place to stay while exploring the Santa Barbara area. Our stay was very comfortable with helpful additional amenities (e.g. washing machine) and surprising spacious. It is also private, bar the welcomed visit from two very friendly dogs. Our highlight was spending serene evenings by the outdoor fire with a glass of wine. The hosts were helpful and attentive, but not intrusive. We would recommend having a car to truly experience this AirBnB as it is somewhat off the beaten track. Thank you to Delia for a wonderful trip.”
Casa Sonrisa Cielo Suite
Stay in this private room within a family home for a taste of Santa Barbara life. Casa Sonrisa – the house of smiles – promises to welcome you with open arms and wide sweeping views of the islands, ocean, harbour and coastline. There are three rooms available, including the master suite (Cielo) with a king-size bed, a second master (Eden) with a queen bed and fold-out couch; and a smaller room (Cozy) with a queen-size bed. Both Cielo and Eden have large private baths and double shower head. All have access to the living room, family room, dining, kitchen and large outdoor living space. Breakfast supplies are provided. The home is in a quiet residential area just a 15-minute walk from the beach. The family have dogs and a cat.
What the guests say: “ This house fit our needs perfectly. It offered the comforts of being able to have a spacious kitchen, outdoor space to relax, private (huge) bedroom and bathroom with an amazing view, and lots of toys and kid-friendly activities for our two-year old. The location was great too. Tracy was not around when we were there, which was unfortunate since I heard great things about her, but she made sure that we were comfortable and was very responsive to all of our needs and questions. I loved looking at all of the beautiful family photos that decorate the house and make it feel warm and homey.”
The K Lounge
The K Lounge can be found in the peaceful neighbourhood of Misson Canyon, not far from downtown (2 miles), but also close to lots of beautiful nature and hiking opportunities. Situated on the top floor of a private home, it’s a circular and architecturally unique abode with an abundance of minimalist style. Light pours in through the skylight, ensuring a bright and airy space, complete with modern décor and facilities. The bathtub is particularly inviting and the private terrace is ideal for kicking back after a day enjoying the city.
What the guests say: “ To stay at The K Lounge is a real treat. G&M have created a beautiful home filled with personal touches and styling. An easy car journey takes you to The Mission or The Wharf. Lots of shops & restaurants locally. Alternatively it’s hard to beat sitting on the terrace with a glass of wine watching the sunset. Would definitely recommend staying here if in Santa Barbara.”
La Petite Maison Blanche
I’m not sure you can find somewhere cuter to stay than this picturesque cottage in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. Owned by an avid traveller, the cottage is decorated with artefacts from around the world and touches of African décor. The rooms are small but well-appointed and the location couldn’t be better – just two blocks from State Street, one block from the Saturday Farmers’ Market, a short stroll to the Funk Zone and in walking distance of pretty much everything. Bikes, a BBQ, game table and portable music system are available for guests to enjoy.
What the guests say: “Amazing cottage! Location is perfect. Dawn has thought of everything for her guests! From comfy beds, every kitchen gadget you may need, to the welcome guide with suggestions for everything (restaurants, hiking, running, how to work everything in the house and more!). Highly recommend!”
Another option in the Mission Canyon area is the Jasmine Cottage, a private guest suite/cottage on a larger estate (it was originally home to the chef). The cute little building has plenty of character and includes, a separate bedroom, full kitchen, bathroom, a cosy living area with fire and a private patio and backyard. Guests also have access to the estate’s picturesque gardens and lounge areas.
What the guests say: “Enchanting delightful hideaway in the amazing town of Santa Barbara…I have not been to the US for over 20 years and this place made me remember what I loved about coming here! Quirky cabin full of little antiquey touches and a wonderful aromatic & tranquil garden with double lounger and lots of other secret places to sit & read with a good glass of wine! Tom is the perfect host…always around never too much our 8 year fell in love with Sadie the retriever/setter cross!”
Patio garden suite in Goleta
This sweet little garden suite is a peaceful place to stay in the Goleta district of Santa Barbara. The bedroom has large French doors, opening out onto a charming tropical patio, complete with a private six-person jacuzzi tub. The suite itself is decorated with quintessential Santa Barbara style including local artwork and bright, bohemian touches. A microwave, fridge and coffee pot are provided for making simple meals and there’s a good selection of local restaurants to choose from. The home is in an attractive local neighbourhood, filled with purple jacaranda trees and a friendly vibe.
What the guests say: “Catherine’s place is a perfect little oasis to escape to outside of Santa Barbara. The space looks exactly as it does online and is so comfortable and beautiful. We loved having the jacuzzi to relax in after lots of walking. A very special place. Next time we will take advantage of the bikes for hire as there is a brilliant cycle track.”
Historical adobe with mountain views
This peaceful, historical adobe has magnificent views of Santa Barbara and offers a quiet place to stay in the company of hummingbirds and nature. Sleeping six guests in three bedrooms, there’s plenty of room for families to enjoy a comfortable stay just outside the city. It’s especially ideal for hikers with a trail within steps of the front door – perfect for trying a full moon night hike. Plus many other trails are nearby. This is the perfect place for those looking to get away from it all while also being close to the city.
What the guests say: “This beautifully situated and stylishly decorated house was a great find. The views out of the windows are incredible, and there are gorgeous trails nearby. The building is stunning, and the main window is a thing of beauty. It’s well decorated and is in a nice part of Santa Barbara. When we didn’t want to drive any more we just took an Uber into the centre of the town and it cost around $15, so although you’re not in the centre of things, it’s not long before you can be. Carla was lovely, really helpful and kind. Thanks for a great stay!”
Ocean View Tiny House
What’s a list of best Airbnbs without a tiny house option? This one is near the beach town of Carpinteria and hippy Ojai and has gorgeous views across the avocado orchard out to the ocean. Sleeping four guests the house is compact yet still spacious with high ceilings and large cantina windows and patio doors that allow in plenty of natural light. A highlight is the 400 sq-ft deck where you can sit back and enjoy the views. There are full size cooking and washing appliances as well as beach toys provided.
What the guests say: “The tiny house was amazing – we had such a wonderful week’s stay in the Carpinteria hills. The property was fantastic, and the outdoor seating area was so tranquil and beautiful that we cancelled our dinner reservations and stayed in every night. We were initially concerned, as others may be, by the lack of AC. However, don’t let this deter you. The temperature inside throughout the day and night was completely fine. Couldn’t have imagined a better setting for a relaxing 5 days break in beautiful California!”
Rustic hiking cabin
This ridiculously cute little cabin with mountain and sea views is right next to the Inspiration Point hike, making it the ideal spot for keen hikers. In the winter you can get cosy with the fire on and in warmer weather enjoy al fresco dining on the patio under the stars. It’s a simple cabin with only basic kitchen facilities (microwave and hot plate) but it’s enough for creating simple meals.
What the guests say: “Carla and Thomas’s place is really cool and lovely perched up in the hills overlooking Santa Barbara. It’s small and quirky- but has all the amenities and basics you need- including cooking equipment, silverware, soaps etc. We loved the outdoor space, and also the bed was super comfy! Thanks again Carla “
Bright Mesa Beach house
This is a good value option close to Mesa Beach with its photogenic steps leading down to the sand. It’s a residential neighbourhood near to the Douglas Family Nature Preserve, so you can get a taste of local life, but you’ll need to drive to get into central Santa Barbara. The guesthouse itself is newly renovated with a private bathroom, kitchen and double bedroom. It’s attached to the main house but has its own private entrance. And the shared patio area is a delight with oranges, lemons, figs, persimmons, plums, avocados, limes, and loquats, depending on the season
What the guests say: “This place is all hospitality and warmth, we had a lovely welcome to the house with a quick tour of their garden and even the opportunity to try some delicious fruit. The rooms inside were nice with a lovely and very comfortable bed. As well as being a great place to stay it was also very convenient with everything in Santa Barbara within 10 minutes drive.”
This little artist studio in Montecito is perhaps the most characterful on the list. Just a 5-minute walk to all the best Montecito restaurants, the studio is ideally located for exploring this upscale and charming Santa Barbara neighbourhood. The outdoor terrace is particularly inviting. Note that the hot, outdoor shower is the only shower in the property, so you need to be happy to wash al fresco (in my mind, this is a bonus).
What the guests say: “ It’s exactly like you see in the pictures, actually better. The location is perfect as it is in a quiet road but minutes away from where everything is! Plenty of restaurants, bars and beautiful shops and boutiques. And the beach also is at walking distance.”
Lux Spanish Charm
A few blocks from the Wharf, State Street and Funk Zone, this luxury pad in a Spanish Style home has been thoughtfully planned by the owner who wanted to create a rental that she would be happy to stay in – think Biltmore meets the Kimpton. Touches such as luxurious bedding, tons of natural light, tiled steps and a high-end kitchen mean all your needs are met. And there are beach chairs, towels, toys and flip flops provided for your beach days.
What the guests say: ” We couldn’t recommend this place more! A beautiful home, stylish and so thoughtfully kitted out, very comfortable, a real home away from home. The location is very central with a number of excellent bars and restaurants close by as well as the beach. Kathy was an excellent host – super communicative and with wonderful recommendations.”
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All photos courtesy of Airbnb.