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Santa Barbara car rentals

Driver's age: 26-65
Fri 08.03
Fri 15.03

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Santa Barbara car rental information

Pick-up locationSanta Barbara
Car types
Rental locations13
Airport locations7

Cheap car rentals in Santa Barbara

Mini
Economy
Compact
Intermediate
Standard
Full-size
Luxury
Minivan
Passenger van
SUV
Commercial
Pickup truck

KAYAK’s top tips for renting a car in Santa Barbara

  • A hire car is the most comfortable and practical way to explore not only the city of Santa Barbara, but also nearby Los Angeles and other major destinations along the Californian coast. A car allows you to explore the city’s attractions at your own pace, including the Santa Barbara Harbor and the Maritime Museum. Los Angeles is a two-hour drive away, while San Francisco is five hours away.
  • All of the big car hire companies, including Alamo, Avis, and Hertz, can be found at Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (SBA), which is about 7 miles west of the city center. The hire car counters are located in the hire Car Building, which is right next to the airport terminal. Simply exit the terminal, go right, and follow the RCB signs.
  • Santa Barbara is at the base of the Santa Ynez Mountains, with some roads being quite hilly. Because it’s a colonial town, it still maintains some of its older characteristics, including narrow cobblestone streets with winding turns. If you’re not used to that type of driving, it’s best to park the car in one of the many lots and explore the Old Town by foot.
  • Traffic jams in California are a given, but Santa Barbara is easier to navigate. Traffic gets worse in the morning on the 101 heading north to Santa Barbara from other towns such as Carpinteria and Ventura, and on the opposite direction in the evening. Avoid driving within the rush hour periods, between 6:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., and then again between 4 and 7 p.m.
  • Book your rental car in Santa Barbara at least 1 day before your trip in order to get a below-average price
  • Intermediate rental cars in Santa Barbara are around 11% cheaper than other car types, on average

FAQs about renting a car in Santa Barbara

  • What type of car is recommended for driving in Santa Barbara?

    A hybrid car is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint while driving through Santa Barbara, but a convertible is a great option when cruising along the coast, especially in the summer, as you can drop the top and enjoy some scenic views. If you're going on a road trip with family or friends, a minivan offers more comfort and space for all the passengers.

  • What’s the speed limit in Santa Barbara?

    The speed limit in Californian cities is usually 25 mph, unless the posted signs say otherwise, particularly in school zones and other residential areas. Two-lane highways have a speed limit of 55 mph, while most highways have a 65 mph limit. However, some highways allow drivers to go a maximum speed of 70 mph.

  • Where are the best places to park in Santa Barbara?

    There are several parking lots in the downtown and waterfront areas. Downtown parking also provides access to State Street and its surroundings, the Old Town, and the Waterfront areas. Parking is paid between 7:30 a.m. and 11 p.m., Sunday to Thursday, and 7:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The first 75 minutes are free and the following hours have a $1.50 hourly rate.

  • What is the best rental car company in Santa Barbara?

    Based on ratings and reviews from real users on KAYAK, the best car rental companies in Santa Barbara are Budget (7.1, 85 reviews), and Hertz (6.2, 68 reviews).

  • How much is gas price in Santa Barbara?

    The average gas price in Santa Barbara is ₪12.52 per gallon over the past 30 days. Filling up a gas tank costs between ₪150 and ₪200, depending on the car size.

  • What is the most popular rental car in Santa Barbara?

    Intermediate (Toyota RAV4 or similar) is the most frequently booked rental car type in Santa Barbara.

  • Which car rental companies are at Los Angeles airport (LAX)?

    Car rental companies onsite at Los Angeles airport include Budget, Avis, Fox, Dollar, Thrifty, Sixt, Advance Car And Truck Rental, Hertz, Europcar and Yesaway.

  • Which car rental companies will pick you up at Los Angeles airport (LAX)?

    Car rental companies that offer shuttle or pick-up services from Los Angeles airport to off-airport locations include Budget, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Sixt, Alamo, Hertz, and Europcar.

  • How can I find car rentals near me in Santa Barbara?

    Take a look at our extensive car rental location map to find the best rental cars near you.

  • How much does an Intermediate car rental cost in Santa Barbara?

    An Intermediate car rental in Santa Barbara costs ₪228 per day, on average.

  • How much does a Standard car rental cost in Santa Barbara?

    A Standard car rental in Santa Barbara costs ₪281 per day, on average.

Santa Barbara car rental reviews and directory

Budget

Cleanliness

7.4

Comfort

7.6

Pick-up/Drop-off

7.0

Value for money

7.0

2 locations in Santa Barbara

Show locations

Locations in Santa Barbara

305 East Haley Street

+1 805 965 1070

Monday08:00 - 17:00
Tuesday08:00 - 17:00
Wednesday08:00 - 17:00
Thursday08:00 - 17:00
Friday08:00 - 17:00
Saturday08:00 - 17:00
Sunday10:00 - 16:00

500 Fowler Road

+1 805 964 6792

Monday08:00 - 17:00
Tuesday08:00 - 17:00
Wednesday08:00 - 17:00
Thursday08:00 - 17:00
Friday08:00 - 17:00
Saturday08:00 - 17:00
Sunday08:00 - 17:00

Filters

Reviews

10.0 Wonderful

Feb 2024

KAYAK
Super friendly and professional service. Clean nice car.

2.0 Poor

Nov 2023

KAYAK
At first, it said it would take $75, but actually it takes $240 without our faults.

6.0 Okay

Oct 2023

KAYAK
Pickup was poor. No one available in car lot to help find car. Car was not where counter staff told us it was. Counter staff were not rude but not friendly or helpful with questions about car. Tried to reach office during rental period and was impossible. Dropoff was the same. No one in the lot. Counter staff not friendly or rude, Great car and poor service.

4.0 Mediocre

Oct 2023

KAYAK
personnel were not helpful…deposit was huge and still not returned after 3 days. Return location and service at the airport was poor.

6.0 Okay

Oct 2023

KAYAK
like that spouse can also drive… did not like the disorganized return process, dirty banged-up Nissan pickup truck (it was that or an EV) in lieu of an actual car

2.0 Poor

Oct 2022

KAYAK
Nowhere to leave the keys if you drop the car off after hours.

1 out of 31

Hertz

Cleanliness

6.9

Comfort

6.9

Pick-up/Drop-off

6.1

Value for money

6.3

3 locations in Santa Barbara

Show locations

Locations in Santa Barbara

114 Moffett Pl

+1 805 967 0411

Monday07:00 - 21:00
Tuesday07:00 - 21:00
Wednesday07:00 - 21:00
Thursday07:00 - 21:00
Friday07:00 - 21:00
Saturday07:00 - 21:00
Sunday07:00 - 21:00

16 S. La Cumbre Road

+1 805 967 1927

Monday08:00 - 17:00
Tuesday08:00 - 17:00
Wednesday08:00 - 17:00
Thursday08:00 - 17:00
Friday08:00 - 17:00
Saturday09:00 - 12:00

633 E Cabrillo Blvd

+1 805 962 5305

Monday09:00 - 12:00
Tuesday09:00 - 12:00
Wednesday09:00 - 12:00
Thursday09:00 - 12:00
Friday09:00 - 12:00

Filters

Reviews

2.0 Poor

Dec 2023

KAYAK
We rented a “midsize” SUV to take our family of 5 to airport in LA with luggage for a long trip. Arrived at the counter and they gave me a Chevy bolt?? Which is a tiny car that will not accommodate our needs. I showed them the rental confirmation that showed confirmation of a mid size suv and the guys at the counter said yeah that’s our midsize suv? I told them our situation with the kid’s and luggage and asked if there was anything they could do to accommodate with another vehicle and they said yes but the next level up was a Chevy traverse (what I would consider an actual midsized suv) however, it was over 75% more for that vehicle than what I initially paid. I was bent over a barrel with my hands tied so I had to do it but it didn’t seem right. I felt very mislead and bait and switch…. Chevy Bolt…Ha!

8.0 Very good

Oct 2023

KAYAK
Overall good. The first person I interacted with was very friendly. A few issues arose in terms of picking up my car. They did not have a car available when I arrived, so in addition to waiting in line, I had to wait 30+ minutes to get a car. The person who processed my rental was less friendly and I realized after the fact, did not go through my rental agreement, etc. and just had me electronically sign a contract that I had not actually seen. I reserved a compact car and ended up with a Mustang. On one hand, this was fun, but difficult to drive/park in tiny spaces and also not very fuel efficient.

6.0 Okay

Dec 2021

KAYAK
This Hertz rental office is not at the airport. The car was rented at an inexpensive price, and we had no trouble with the car. The car had some chips and scuffs, and was not entirely clean. The people at the rental office were friendly, but not super efficient.

2.0 Poor

Dec 2021

KAYAK
Hertz had no cars available to rent in the price range of my reservation. They wanted to put me on a waiting list for a car to come in before completing my reservation (how many hours?). I asked they upgrade me to an available car but they would not do without making me pay for the upgrade. Slimy bait and switch tactic. Not what you'd expect for a class company

2.0 Poor

Dec 2021

KAYAK
The women who work here were so rude. Beyond rude. I won’t be back to a hertz location again.

4.0 Mediocre

Dec 2021

KAYAK
Air conditioner did not work properly which made it uncomfortable.

1 out of 29

Avis

8.5

Very good

44 reviews

Cleanliness

9.2

Comfort

8.9

Pick-up/Drop-off

8.6

Value for money

8.4

2 locations in Santa Barbara

Show locations

Locations in Santa Barbara

305 East Haley Street

+1 805 965 1079

Monday08:00 - 17:00
Tuesday08:00 - 17:00
Wednesday08:00 - 17:00
Thursday08:00 - 17:00
Friday08:00 - 17:00
Saturday08:00 - 17:00
Sunday10:00 - 16:00

500 Fowler Road

+1 805 964 4848

Monday08:00 - 17:00
Tuesday08:00 - 17:00
Wednesday08:00 - 17:00
Thursday08:00 - 17:00
Friday08:00 - 17:00
Saturday08:00 - 17:00
Sunday08:00 - 17:00

Filters

Reviews

10.0 Wonderful

Feb 2024

KAYAK
Great!

4.0 Mediocre

May 2021

KAYAK

Cons:

The staff at pickup in Santa Barbara used deceitful tactics to pressure us into paying for an upgrade.

4.0 Mediocre

Jun 2020

KAYAK

Pros:

Staff Sue gave me a car that needed an oil change and didn’t apply insurance to vehicle. Then when I swopped the cars I needed to make a new contract That didn’t honor the daily rate and cut my trip by 2 days

Cons:

Honesty and accountability of the staff

8.4 Very good

Jun 2019

KAYAK

Pros:

Friendly and professional staff.

Cons:

The rental car was not in the space on my card. No car was parked in that space. Luckily there was an attendant in the lot who approached me and found my car, and I did not have to return to the terminal.

10.0 Wonderful

Apr 2019

KAYAK

Pros:

Accommodated special request

2.4 Poor

Nov 2018

KAYAK

Cons:

I have lieved in SB for 40 years and have driven to the airport many times. I drove past the Avis return 2x before finding it. The parking area is very poorly lit at night and the sinage is terrible. There are no arrows, signs,etc as to where to return the keys, the car, etc. The staff at the Avis desk was most unhelpful. The attendant appeared lazy and like I was bothering her to return the keys. I had the impression I had really interrupted her evening and she had more important things to do than check me out ad take the keys back. Very poor expereince.

1 out of 8

Alamo

8.1

Very good

55 reviews

Cleanliness

7.9

Comfort

8.4

Pick-up/Drop-off

8.2

Value for money

8.2

One location in Santa Barbara

Show locations

Locations in Santa Barbara

500 James Fowler Rd

+1 805 692 0939

Monday08:00 - 17:00
Tuesday08:00 - 17:00
Wednesday08:00 - 17:00
Thursday08:00 - 17:00
Friday08:00 - 17:00
Saturday08:00 - 17:00
Sunday08:00 - 17:00

Filters

Reviews

8.0 Very good

May 2021

KAYAK

Pros:

The woman who helped me with drop off was incredibly helpful

2.0 Poor

May 2021

KAYAK

Cons:

They did not have my car available and said they tried to call me, but I never got a call. I needed a 12 person van, so it was not easy to find another one. Thankfully AVIS helped me out at the last minute!

2.0 Poor

Dec 2020

KAYAK

Cons:

Vehicle that I reserved was not available when I went go pick up.

10.0 Wonderful

Nov 2020

KAYAK

Cons:

I liked the small airport with car pick up right outside the terminal. Very convenient, quick, and simple. Would probably choose a slightly larger car than a Toyota Corolla for four adults.

9.6 Wonderful

Aug 2020

KAYAK

Pros:

Staff was friendly and efficient

Cons:

Car was a little dirty inside.

9.6 Wonderful

Jun 2020

KAYAK

Pros:

Easy, fast, and safe.

1 out of 10

Enterprise Rent-A-Car

7.9

Best rated

Cleanliness

7.7

Comfort

7.9

Pick-up/Drop-off

7.8

Value for money

7.6

3 locations in Santa Barbara

Show locations

Locations in Santa Barbara

3210 State St

+1 805 966 3097

Monday00:00 - 00:00
Tuesday00:00 - 00:00
Wednesday00:00 - 00:00
Thursday00:00 - 00:00
Friday00:00 - 00:00
Saturday00:00 - 00:00
Sunday00:00 - 00:00

500 James Fowler Rd

+1 805 683 3012

Monday08:00 - 17:00
Tuesday08:00 - 17:00
Wednesday08:00 - 17:00
Thursday08:00 - 17:00
Friday08:00 - 17:00
Saturday08:00 - 17:00
Sunday08:00 - 17:00

601 Chapala St

+1 805 966 3097

Monday08:00 - 17:00
Tuesday08:00 - 17:00
Wednesday08:00 - 17:00
Thursday08:00 - 17:00
Friday08:00 - 17:00
Saturday09:00 - 12:00
Sunday00:00 - 00:00

Filters

Reviews

10.0 Wonderful

Oct 2023

KAYAK
The employees went out of their way to make this a super easy, efficient and pleasant experience.

10.0 Wonderful

Sep 2023

KAYAK
Car needed a vacuum, windows were dirty inside. Outside was kinda dirty.

10.0 Wonderful

Nov 2020

KAYAK

Pros:

Very helpful staff, pick up and drop-off

Cons:

Nothing. Really appreciated the savings offered by using Kayak on the catastrophic coverage!

8.0 Very good

Nov 2020

KAYAK

Pros:

Staff was really friendly and very accommodating. The pick up and drop off was fast and easy

4.0 Mediocre

Oct 2020

KAYAK

Pros:

The staff was able to point me in the right direction after they recognized their mistake.

2.0 Poor

Sep 2020

KAYAK

Pros:

A refund on the vehicle i never used

Cons:

You guys couldve been more prepared with more vehicles

1 out of 15

National

2.0

Cleanliness

10.0

Comfort

10.0

Pick-up/Drop-off

2.0

Value for money

2.0

One location in Santa Barbara

Show locations

Locations in Santa Barbara

500 James Fowler Rd

+1 805 692 0939

Monday08:00 - 17:00
Tuesday08:00 - 17:00
Wednesday08:00 - 17:00
Thursday08:00 - 17:00
Friday08:00 - 17:00
Saturday08:00 - 17:00
Sunday08:00 - 17:00

Filters

Reviews

2.0 Poor

Nov 2021

KAYAK
I booked for 160 dls and my receipt was for more than 200 dls

1 out of 1

Sunnycars

No score available yet

One location in Santa Barbara

Show locations

Locations in Santa Barbara

500 Fowler Road, Goleta

Opening times not available

Filters

No reviews available

535 travelers who rented a car in Santa Barbara gave the car agency they used an average rating of 7.3

Car rental locations in or near Santa Barbara

Good to know

Most popular car type

Intermediate

When to book a rental car in Santa Barbara

Average daily price per month
Rental car prices as pick-up date approaches