Suddenly, it’s September! Schedules resume, cooler nights arrive, and daydreams about speedy weekend escapes take hold. If you’re on the hunt for how to balance your hectic fall schedule with a hearty dose of adventure, we’ve got a list of Airbnb rentals that are perfect for families and a drivable distance from San Diego.

Larkspur House Mid Century Retreat in Joshua Tree


Five acres all to yourself! Yes, please. This mid-century home in Joshua Tree is the ideal escape. The modern updates such as wrap-around glass doors allow you to enjoy the desert scenery from all angles. The whole family will love the breezy shaded patio and outdoor dining area with hammock and lounge chairs. Turn off the screens and immerse yourself in nature; there's plenty of easy hikes and trails nearby to explore.

Sleeps: 4 (2 bedrooms, 3 beds, 1 bath) 

Cost: $166/night

What to do: The twisty tree shapes, Cholla cactus forests, and blobby boulders in Joshua Tree make wonderful Dr. Suess-style memories for your kids. After sunset and the stars come out, lay on the lounge chairs and take in the night sky.


Far Far Away in Vista Las Palmas


The ultimate family-friendly rental in Palm Springs, this four-bedroom Airbnb has it all and more. Comprised of a 3BR main house and a detached studio (perfect if you're taking a trip with extended family or friends) this rental is only a four-minute drive from downtown Palm Springs. Kick back in the poolside cabanas while burgers sizzle on the gas grill, then dine alfresco at a covered table for eight. Additional features include a badminton court, a shuffleboard court, an outdoor billiards table, an outdoor shower, and a sleek gas fire feature. A 5-hole putting green adds to the fun. A misting system delivers cool refreshment. Kids of all ages will delight in this weekend's getaway. 

Sleeps: 8 guests · (4 bedrooms. 6 beds, 4 baths)

Cost: $462/night

What to do: Check out our ultimate guide to Palm Springs with kids for an epic, memorable mini-trip. 


Cozy Cabin In Big Bear


Swap the surf for the snow and escape to Big Bear this fall or winter. This quintessential Big Bear cabin, located in the heart of Sugarloaf, is the perfect spot to call home for a long weekend. And, don't worry about leaving Fido, this AirBnB takes dogs (with an extra cleaning fee). The open-plan living area features wood floors, vaulted ceilings, and a contemporary couch. From teal floor cushions to patterned area rugs to soft blankets, you’ll love all the cool accents. There’s even a foosball table if you and your crew feel like some friendly competition!

Sleeps: 6 guests (2 bedrooms, 3 beds, 1 bath)

Cost: $168/night

What to do: Whether you're skiing or snowboarding or want to just enjoy the mountains, check out why Big Bear is a favorite family destination. 


Idyllwild: Bring the kids & dogs


Bring the kids and the dogs to this retreat nestled in the trees of beautiful Idyllwild. The quaint, family-friendly cabin is in the lovely neighborhood of Fern Valley and has hardwood floors, vaulted ceilings and pine wood finishes offering a charming cabin atmosphere. Dogs can run freely in the enclosed backyard, while kids enjoy their very own playhouse with toys at this stress-free spot. The fresh pine air is the perfect jump start to any mini-hiatus.

Sleeps: 4 guests  (2 bedrooms, 2 beds, 1 bath)

Cost: $222/night

What to do: Besides soaking in the fresh mountain air, hiking, and playing, Idyllwild offers a few unexpected perks like The Rustic Theater and tons of great restaurants with live music. So you can feel certain, your family will be happy and entertained. 


The Rustic Retreat: Lake Arrowhead


In search of fall foliage this year? Hit the road for Lake Arrowhead and stay at this beautiful rustic retreat. The open floor plan of this home is perfect for those who want to spend quality time together. With two living rooms, kids can enjoy playtime in one, while adults enjoy happy hour (or some well-deserved quiet time) in the other. The home has an almost perfect five-star rating with guests raving about their stay and the immaculate condition of the home. 

Sleeps: 6 (3 bedrooms, 6 beds, 2.5 baths)

Cost: $320/night

What to do: Be sure to check out Sky Park at Santa's Village


Oceanview Malibu Mountain Retreat


Head north for what some like to call road-trip gold and end up in Malibu at this beautiful, open concept loft that overlooks the Pacific Ocean and is surrounded by three acres of mature gardens. Bonus—help yourself to the fruit it's ready to pick on arrival. There are actually two acres of tropical garden to explore filled with fresh fruit and herbs. Access to the Malibu beaches and the Santa Monica Mountains are within minutes of the house. The house is dreamy, and the colorful, quirky feel makes us think staying here is practically guaranteed fun.

Sleeps: 6 guests (2 bedrooms , 4 beds, 1.5 baths)

Cost: $595

What to do: From exploring The Getty Museum to hiking in Corral Canyon Park, click here for our ultimate guide to Malibu. 


Hamilton Cove: Catalina


Nothing says instant get-away like a trip to an island! Catalina Island is the perfect mini-trip to take when you're craving a vacation. This beautiful condominium in the Hamilton Cove gated community on Catalina Island has exquisite ocean views. It's also equipped with board games, puzzles, cards, a playpen, and a high chair, as well as a car seat and booster seat. In addition, there's every type of racquet game you can imagine and access to the pool and private beach. 

Sleeps: 6 (2 bedrooms, 3 beds, 2 baths)

Cost: $482/night

What to do: Catalina island promises adventure, relaxation, and more. Read our full guide and start planning your ultimate visit. 


—Aimee Della Bitta

Photos courtesy of Airbnb


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