By Lauren Phillips
June 10, 2019
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Photo: Kevin Steele/Getty Images

With miles of beautiful beaches, 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.

Contemporary Family Retreat

Courtesy of Airbnb

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. Rent it: $950 per night, airbnb.com.

Quaint Hilltop Bungalow

Courtesy of Airbnb

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. Rent it: $175 per night, airbnb.com.

Sustainable Surfer’s Haven

Courtesy of Airbnb

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. Rent it: $250 per night, airbnb.com.

Edenic Cabana

Courtesy of Airbnb

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. Rent it: $300 per night, airbnb.com.

Want more editor-approved Airbnb ideas? Check out The Best Summer Airbnb Locations on the Water.

Related: The Cheapest Places to Travel Each Month of the Year

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