By Lauren Phillips

With miles of soft beach, a lively downtown, local passion for water sports, and a stunning mountainous backdrop, Santa Barbara, California—the American Riviera—certainly has a lot going for it. If you're like us, you don't live there, but you wish you did! We'll just have to settle for visiting. Luckily, with websites like Airbnb, we can stay for a few days—or for a few weeks!—without sacrificing the comforts of home or feeling like a tourist.

To help you plan your perfect trip, we've chosen our favorite Airbnbs in Santa Barbara. They have everything anyone could want: easy beach access, proximity to Santa Barbara's shops and restaurants, and—most importantly—that laid-back California coastal vibe! Whether you're looking to find a place for the night or planning your next family vacation, you can find your next Santa Barbara vacation rental right here.

Striking Downtown Loft

In downtown Santa Barbara, less than half a mile from the beach and with easy access to some of the best restaurants, shops, and bars in the area, this 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom loft beckons foodies and wine enthusiasts looking for an upscale urban escape. The icing on the cake? The third floor of the loft is an expansive rooftop deck with views of the city. $411 per night.

Contemporary Family Retreat

This 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath home may seem like a typical California ranch home from the outside, but on the inside, it’s a gorgeously decorated contemporary escape. And as if that’s not enough, this house is just steps from the local-favorite Butterfly Beach in Montecito, on the east edge of Santa Barbara. $750 per night.

Quaint Hilltop Bungalow

In the enticingly named Summerland community (only a 5-minute drive out of downtown Santa Barbara), this charming, low-key cottage with two bedrooms and one bathroom boasts water views and lush surroundings. The beach is only a stroll away, and guests can walk to the picturesque Summerland downtown, where antique shops and local restaurants abound. $195 per night.

Sustainable Surfer’s Haven

This surf shack is for the environmentalists among us. Reverently restored with non-toxic and sustainable materials and outfitted with organic bedding and linens, this 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom cottage provides all the comfort you could ask for, without the environmental guilt. Conveniently located in Montecito’s laid-back lower village, the eco surf shack is only half a mile from the beach; the owners even provide a bike for those who prefer to pedal. $250 per night.

Paradisiacal Villa

Anyone seeking celebrity-level privacy and security will adore this 1-acre estate. With six bedrooms and 7.5 bathrooms, it’s certainly large enough for a crowd (up to 16 people!), and an on-site caretaker is there to make your stay a perfect one. The outdoor living space includes a pool, a koi pond, a kitchen, and a bar; anyone seeking to venture past the walled and gated estate can reach the beach in 10 minutes. $900 per night.

Serene Garden Cottage

Find peace in this airy, sunlit studio. With soothing neutral hues inside and a bright garden just outside, time spent here is time spent at a nature retreat. This property is simple and picturesque, and visitors are within walking distance of downtown and the Santa Barbara mission; the beach is a short drive or bus ride away. Stay here for a full taste of the American Riviera. $205 per night.

Edenic Cabana

Nestled among the tropical trees and flowers of its 1½ acre estate, this restorative home epitomizes “retreat.” With one bedroom, one bathroom, a private spa, a pool, and a pavilion, it’s perfect for a couple seeking relaxation or a solo traveler looking for complete serenity. Its location, just over a mile from the coast and five miles outside Santa Barbara, only adds to the secluded appeal. $250 per night.

All images courtesy of Airbnb.

Want more Airbnb? Check out The Best Summer Airbnb Locations on the Water.

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