Treehouses in vineyards, domes you can stargaze from, outdoor soaking tubs, whimsical decor, towers in the middle of Redwoods….
Dang, California really does Airbnbs & VRBOs right. As a teenager, I never thought much of hotels. I was in the mindset that a vacation was about the place, and it didn’t’ matter where I slept. And then, we moved to California and I started traveling around more.
And then I realized that the hotel can totally be the destination, too. And thus was born my low-key obsession with finding the most whimsical, coolest Airbnb’s in California to visit in person.
I judge a cool Airbnb or VRBO listing based on the style, amenities, previous ratings/ reviews, and overall experience I think it’ll bring to my vacation. If the space is worth the drive alone, then I want to book that Airbnb. (Otherwise, I usually opt for hotels.)
These are the best Airbnbs in California for a unique vacation. These are all places I have visited in person or have read about and have on my bucket list for future trips.
23 Coolest Airbnbs in California For A Unique Weekend Getaway
Treehouses in vineyards, domes you can stargaze in, outdoor soaking tubs, water towers in Redwoods forests. These are the coolest Airbnb in California you can spend a night in for a unique weekend getaway.
This is basically heaven for grownups who never really grew up. I mean, it's a treehouse, but in the middle of a vineyard!! This treehouse has a super comfy bed and features like a heater and outlet inside for added comfort.
But, it requires a climb up a ladder, which totally spoke to my inner child. It sits on a property overlooking a vineyard and the Santa Cruz mountains. There's also dogs and chickens here for a true farm experience and the owners live on the property for any additional support. Near Santa Cruz County this makes for the perfect mix of South Bay and beach town. Read my full feature here.
Joshua Tree Castle (HGTV featured!)
I saw this amazing castle home on HGTV one day and it quickly made my list of top VRBOs and Airbnbs in California. I mean - look at how freaking COOL this desert castle is?! it's chic and modern, but still feels very "Joshua Tree" with the quirkiness. It's a quick drive from town and the National Park making it one of the coolest places to stay in Joshua Tree.
San Diego Hobbit House
Nope, not New Zealand! You can really find a hobbit house Airbnb in California! This one is outside of San Diego complete with a round door and everything a LOTR fan will love. The living room is super cozy and with that iconic round door, natural rock walls and beautiful wood beam ceilings, it's begging to be the center of a mini-vacation photoshoot. And like, a marathon of all the movies. It's one of the coolest Airbnbs in Southern California!
Santa Barbara Glass House
Now you see me, now you don't... this glasshouse Airbnb may take the cake for the most unique Airbnb in California. I mean, just take a look at ti (if you can spot it!)
It's off the grin on 3 acres of land, yet a close drive to the beach and Santa Barbara eats. Click over to look at that outdoor bathroom, it's awesome, or find more glamping spots in California if this one is booked.
Holy MOLY you guys, this was one of the coolest cabins in California I've stayed in. It's just 15-minute drive from Sequoia National Park, making it the perfect home base for adventures.
And yes, it's an entirely glasshouse. Yes - for real! There are curtains in the bathroom for privacy, but otherwise, you get 360 degrees of nature when staying here. It has Mid Century Modern vibes with a hanging fireplace, a projector for epic movie nights. One of my favorite spots in Northern California and one of the coolest Airbnbs California has to offer. See my full feature here.
There are a LOT of really cool Airbnbs in Joshua Tree, so it's easy to find a magical one. We stayed at Cabin Cabin Cabin, a bungalow close to downtown and Joshua Tree National Park that had ALLLL the boho decor vibes I love.
But my favorite part was the large orange tub out back that was perfect for morning soaks with coffee. We spent 4 days here and I REALLY didn't want to leave! I would have booked more days but I ran of Airbnb credit. Read my full feature here.
Stinson Beach Bungalow
This Stinson Beach Airbnb looks like it was almost made for Instagram with all its modern boho decor, outdoor tub and natural light. There aren't many hotels or Airbnb around Stinson Beach, so this one books up fast since it's just so dang pretty. Take a California coast road trip from San Francisco up to Stinson Beach and spend a few days in this cute house!
Hidden in the woods of Mendocino County is this boho-chic off-the-grid water tower retreat. My husband and I stayed here recently for a little RnR time & loved all the thoughtful touches. Think: cozy covers, incense, hammock and a record player! Upstairs is a one bedroom with a queen bed.
The same family also has a cool charming country cottage cabin on property available, too! It's one o the top unique Airbnb Northern California has to offer.
An Entire Old West Town
You can rent an ENTIRE old West town!! Salons, Western decor, epic sunsets, your own private coral -- it's all right here. If you're looking for a unique California getaway with friends or a large group, this is it.
A large size glamping tent with a bed, electricity, heated blanketed, fire pits for marshmallows at night and other super chic touches. Robin and I stayed here on a Mendocino getaway a few years ago and fell in love with this glamping tent park. It's right outside of town so it's the perfect blend of nature (that's not too far of a drive!)
Juniper Rose Tiny House
How ADORABLE is this tiny house? Located in Shasta Valley this tiny Airbnb packs stunning views on the outside and fun Gypsy vibes on the inside. This spot is perfect for those looking for more of a camping experience and quality time with nature. It's probably the best Airbnb in California for couples who are looking for adventure.
PS - Skip Lake Tahoe - You'll be close to McCloud Falls if you want to go swimming!
The Warrington House
Every single inch of this house in Santa Rosa oozes with thoughtful touches and decor. I mean, just take a look at that cool cactus wallpaper, this sunken hot tub and tons of patio furniture for your whole group to lounge on... and just look at that kitchen!
They describe this house as "Think Joni Mitchell meets Willie Nelson meets Stevie Nicks." And it's perfect for a large group wine country getaway. It's a superhost instead of an Airbnb plus but still packs all those amenities.
Mid-century Cabin w/ Airstream
Cozy up next to the hanging fireplace or in the sauna (yes, there's a sauna here!) Or, stroll around the property and take photos next to the airstream. There are so many gems in this house! Tucked in the woods near Guerneville, this mid-century cabin feels private but it close to hiking trails, wineries and restaurants.
Pirates of the Caribbean Getaway
This looks a lot more like Disneyland to me than an Airbnb, which is why I LOVE this place! I haven't been yet, but it's on my list. I mean, how many places have waterfalls, night lighting, pirate decor and quirky touches like this? This Southern California house is EPIC.
Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me...
Fairytale Gingerbread House
You can't get more Fairytale than an IRL gingerbread house that you can actually sleep in! Don't worry, there's no evil witch here, but there is a cool outdoor shower and a loft that's perfect for children to sleep in. It's hands down the coolest of the cabin rentals in California for adventures.
Black Inverness A-Frame
Tucked past Marin County near Point Reyes is this cool house. I've been following this cabin on Instagram for months after a friend introduced me to the account. She had rented it out for her family for Thanksgiving and they loved using the outdoor patio for dinner (I mean, yes, sign me up, how cool is that?!)
The outside of this A-Frame is a beautiful black, but step inside to world of airy decor, patterned floor tiles, soft throws and tall cacti. Instagram goals: complete.
Palm Springs Dome House
There are a few dome houses in the Palm Desert area but this one wins for the best views. I mean, just look at all these windows!!
This large house has three bedrooms and (as you can see from the photos) is super close to Palm Springs yet out in the desert. It's perfect for friends getaways or Coachella!
Artist's Bungalow In Tecopa
My husband and I are staying here at the end of the month during part of our Death Valley trip & I'm so excited! This Airbnb is a room in a large house full of artists and the house itself is also an ever-changing art museum. Pretty cool!
If you're looking for an airbnb in Californa with a pool consider this -- hear me out. It doesn't have a pool but is right next to local hot springs. Way more fun to swim in if you ask me!
Joshua Tree Green Haus /w Hot Tub
Can you tell I love Joshua Tree in ? A photo speaks 1000 words and this photo makes me want to drive down to Joshua Tree this second so I can catch a sunset soak in this stunning hot tub. There are so many cool airbnbs in California but not many of them have private cowboy soaking hot tubs overlooking the san bernardino county desert.
If this stunning house is rented, I have you covered with a detailed list of other super cool Joshua Tree airbnbs.
Sierra Meadows near Yosemite
Hot dang this would make a great honeymoon Airbnb California for any adventurous newlyweds. My husband and I spent a few days at Sierra Meadows tiny cabins last fall. It's in Oakhurst, just outside Yosemite National Park. These cabins are SO COOL - they have a bed, fridge, outlets and heating inside.
Outside are chairs and a little deck to drink coffee on. It's glamping, so bathrooms are detached. I loved stepping outside and being in nature right away. If this cabin is all booked, try one of these other cool Yosemite Airbnbs and cabins!
Tucked at the top of Napa Valley is the tiny wine town of Calistoga, which is one of my favorite places to stay when visiting the valley. And these little bungalow are the COOLEST vacation rentals!
Each house is designed perfectly. I'm talking green bathroom tiles, cool paintings and mugs, and really nice backyard spaces. I felt like I had walked into my dream house while staying here. And they're within walking distance to downtown! See my full feature here.
The glamping grounds are in Soquel, just about a 10-minute drive from Capitola, which is a colorful California Coastal town right on the Pacific Ocean that I LOVE! Capitola is next door to Santa Cruz as well and both are chill beach towns with cafes, restaurants and fun things to do during the day.
These tents come with private decks, grills, fire pits, chairs and string lights for all the vibes. The owners are really nice, too! Perfect Bay Area Airbnb getaway when you need to take a break from tech. Read my full feature here.
modern light-filled haven in a tranquil setting
Ugg how cool is this house?! Hemingway House is full of light thanks to the large windows featuring views of mountains and reservoir below. It's one of the most beautiful and modernly chic vacation rentals in California!
Time to take a California Road Trip! I really can’t get over exploring my state. Every time I think I’ve found all the best-hidden gems, I discover a new hot springs, or restaurants, flower fields or more unique California Airbnbs.
Especailly after the past year, I love booking these private Airbnb experiences way more than large hotels with people and crowds. This year I’m planning so many road trips. I’m heading up north to Shasta County, down to San Luis Obispo County to wine taste in Paso Robles, San Diego to watch some baseball games and swimming hole hunting in the Sierras with some girls! I can’t wait to share that Airbnb with you — it’s a working farm so I get to pet all the animals during our stay. I can’t wait!
Do you think the best Airbnb California didn’t make the list? I’d love to hear about your favorite gems (I low-key may want to book them myself one day!) Drop a comment below so everyone (and myself) can see. Happy adventures!
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I'm the founder of Whimsy Soul (this blog you're reading!) I'm a type 3 enneagram cat lady who lives in San Francisco and loves to find everyday magic to share with others. You can probably find me hunting down hot springs with girlfriends, kayaking, cooking with my husband, petting strangers' dogs or watching like, all the things on Netflix. Follow me on Instagram for even more inspiration!