California’s Big Sur region has some of the most stunning landscapes in the country. And though you’ll find a few upscale inns scattered around the area, there’s not a whole lot in the way of affordable accommodations. Luckily, it’s easy to find plenty of unique home rentals near Big Sur ranging from oceanfront cottages and yurts to a converted water tower and a studio once owned by John Steinbeck. Here are 10 of our favorite Airbnbs within a short drive of Big Sur.
1. Carmel River yurt retreat 2. Converted water tower 3. Darren and Monte’s Jamesmont Ranch 4. Cozy studio 5. Self-contained studio in Carmel-by-the-Sea 6. Cottage in Pacific Grove 7. Second cottage in Pacific Grove 8. Glamping experience in Big Sur 9. Erin’s cabin 10. Beach-front two-bedroom apartment
Paste’s Airbnb columnist
Erica Jackson Curran
is a former alt-weekly editor turned moonlight freelancer based in Richmond, Virginia.
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Superhost Pete invites you to discover "the experience of living in the round" with his Carmel River yurt retreat. The 24-foot-diameter space is equipped with a bed, a seating area, table, and gas stove. There's also a projection screen for watching movies (choose from the host's collection of 15,000 DVDs) and a private hot tub, though the bathroom is in the Pete's house 100 yards away. There's a view of the Carmel River and Big Sur Land Trust Songbird Sanctuary.
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This converted water tower allows guests to stay in a secluded area overlooking Garland Park in Carmel Valley. Minutes from restaurants and more than 20 wine tasting rooms, the unique rental is ideal for hikers, bikers, and bird-watchers. There's not much of a kitchen, but there's a mini fridge stocked with snacks and drinks.
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This private second floor suite is in Darren and Monte's Jamesmont Ranch. The Superhosts have the rental set up like a traditional bed and breakfast, with a European style country breakfast included in the nightly rate. They can also provide a four-course dinner with seasonal menus and local wines on request. The space has a private bedroom, living room/office, and bathroom, plus access to the house's decks and outdoor spaces.
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This cozy studio's claim to fame is that it was once owned by John Steinbeck. The author reportedly used it as his writing studio in the 1940s, working on books like The Sea of Cortez while living there. It has a bedroom with a queen-sized bed, a sitting area, a large bathroom, and a full kitchen. It's in Pacific Grove on the tip of the Monterey Peninsula.
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Jeffrey's fully self-contained studio in Carmel-by-the-Sea
has a private entrance and courtyard. There's a cozy sleeping alcove with a queen-sized bed and a skylight above, along with a kitchenette and a recently renovated bathroom. Downtown Carmel is a 15-minute walk away, and the beach is a 10-minute drive. Past guests love that they were greeted with coffee, juice, and a bottle of wine.
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You can enjoy views of the Pacific Ocean from this quaint little cottage in Pacific Grove. The recently renovated spot has brand-new furniture (including a queen-sized bed that guests rave about) and a fully equipped kitchen. The second-story deck has comfy chairs for taking in the view. It's three blocks from the water as well as the Aquarium and recreational trails.
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You can bring your pets along to this 300-square-foot cottage in Pacific Grove, which is a five-minute walk from Asilomar State Beach. Tucked away behind the hosts' own home, the house has one bedroom, a kitchenette stocked with drinks and breakfast supplies, and a private patio. It's a 15-minute walk to downtown Pacific Grove, and a 10-minute drive to Old Town Monterey.
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"This ain't your Pappy's camping," says host Pher, who offers a glamping experience in Big Sur. He'll reserve the campsite for you and set up your arrangements, which include a roomy canvas tent with a memory foam mattress and a fluffy down comforter. The campground has a shower and bathrooms available for guests.
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Stay beneath a redwood canopy in Erin's cabin, located in a canyon between Carmel and Big Sur. A creek runs beside the one-bedroom studio, which is situated just minutes from Highway 1 and plenty of hiking. Guests have access to a large garden with a grill and patio seating. There's also a Murphy bed for additional guests. There's no TV or Wi-Fi, and cell reception tends to struggle through the redwoods, but there is a landline if you need it.
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This beach-front two-bedroom apartment is in the funky beach town of Cayucos, close to restaurants and family-friendly activities. It has an open floorplan with a brand new kitchen, a dining room, and a furnished deck with a grill and a view of Morro Rock. Hearst Castle is a 20-minute drive away, and Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo are nearby as well.