Car rental San Diego: COMPARE all the prices!

Practical information for renting a car in San Diego

San Diego city centre
Lindbergh Field (SAN): 4 km from city centre

Rental cars in San Diego

Where to rent a car in San Diego

Welcome to “America’s Finest City!” San Diego is bursting with top-notch attractions like it’s world-famous zoo, it’s famous beaches and it’s unrivaled weather. Now that we’ve got your attention, it’s time to start planning your trip.

A rental car in San Diego is essential. Pick one up at the airport in the arrival’s lounge; there are dozens of companies to choose from including Budget, E-Z Rent-A-Car, Enterprise, Midway Rent A Car, National Car Rental and Pacific Rent-A-Car, among others.

Lesser known brands will likely be cheaper but it’s a good idea to use a car search engine, like liligo.com, to compare offers and find the best price. You’ll find all the major brands also have offices in the city, so you don’t necessarily have to pick up your rental at the airport upon arrival from your flight to San Diego.

Driving in San Diego: what you need to know

Driving is the easiest way to get around San Diego, especially if you plan to visit the North County beaches, the mountains and the nearby Anza Borrego Desert. Driving in and around the city is pretty painless, as most of the city’s attractions are within a few miles of the coast. Avoid the I-5 and the I-15 between the I-805 and Escondido during rush hour; it’s bumper-to-bumper traffic.

There is plenty of parking available on the street. It costs between 50¢ and $1.25 an hour. Just be careful during rush hour, as some on-street parking areas become tow-away zones. Parking downtown in the evening can be tricky, as it gets very busy so it may be better to leave your rental car at your hotel and grab a taxi. Parking is hard to find in La Jolla and Coronado but it’s plentiful in Balboa Park and Mission Bay.

Road trips from San Diego: what to see and do

Balboa Park

Balboa Park is the center of tourism in San Diego. This is where you’ll find most of the city’s finest attractions including museums, parks, gardens and arboretums… plus the San Diego Zoo with more than 3,000 animals. The zoo is home to some creatures that aren’t on display is any other zoo in the world and is a must-see while you’re here. Arrive early in the day, as the animals are most active in the mornings. A park map will be helpful for finding your favourite exhibits easily… which way to the panda enclosure?

Anza Borrego Desert

Explore more than 1,000 square miles of desert and mountain country in the beautiful Anza Borrego Desert State Park. If you’re looking for more than a day trip, this is one of the only parks in the country where you can pitch a tent just about anywhere you like. There is over 100 miles of hiking trails here, through canyons and past scenic vistas. It’s a 2-hour drive from San Diego and makes a perfect side trip if you want to explore some of California’s great outdoors.

Tijuana

Why not jump across the border for a little trip to Mexico while you’re in San Diego? Tijuana is a mere 30-minute drive from downtown San Diego but the easiest way across isn’t to drive; it’s to walk. Park your car rental at the border and walk across. It’s only a few more minutes to downtown Tijuana where you really can’t beat the Mexican food on offer.

Best car rental deals in San Diego

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  • January 2019
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  • price
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Advantage
$19 per day Verify
  • 5
  • 2
Nissan Versa Compact, 2/4 Door, Auto
Ezi-Rent Car Hire
$21 per day Verify
  • 5
  • 3
Kia Forte Intermediate, 2/4 Door, Auto
FOX Rent a Car USA
$21 per day Verify
  • 4
  • 2
Toyota Yaris Economy, 2/4 Door, Auto
$23 per day Verify
  • 4
  • 2
Mitsubishi Mirage Economy, 4/5 Door, Auto
$24 per day Verify
  • 4
  • 2
Chevrolet Spark Economy, 4/5 Door, Auto
$26 per day Verify
  • 4
  • 2
Ford Fiesta Economy, 4/5 Door, Auto
$26 per day Verify
  • 5
  • 3
Hyundai Sonata Standard, 2/4 Door, Auto
$26 per day Verify
  • 5
  • 3
Toyota Camry FullSize, 2/4 Door, Auto
$27 per day Verify
  • 4
  • 1
Kia Soul Compact, 2/4 Door, Auto
Advantage
$33 per day Verify
  • 5
  • 2
Hyundai Accent Economy, 2/4 Door, Auto
$40 per day Verify
  • 5
  • 2
Kia Rio Economy, 4/5 Door, Auto
$51 per day Verify
  • 5
  • 3
Hyundai Elantra Intermediate, 2/4 Door, Auto
$58 per day Verify
  • 5
  • 1
Chevrolet Sonic Economy, 2/4 Door, Auto
$67 per day Verify
  • 5
  • 5
Mercedes Glc Luxury, SUV, Auto
$86 per day Verify
  • 3
Ford Focus Compact, 2/4 Door, Auto
$106 per day Verify
  • 5
  • 5
Cadillac Xts Luxury, 4/5 Door, Auto
$137 per day Verify
  • 5
  • 4
Chevrolet Impala Premium, 2/4 Door, Auto

Find a cheap flight to San Diego

outbound: Jan 25, 2019
direct (1h30m)
Alaska Airlines
return: Feb 1, 2019
direct (1h35m)
Alaska Airlines
outbound: Feb 23, 2019
direct (2h37m)
Alaska Airlines
return: Feb 27, 2019
direct (3h05m)
Alaska Airlines
outbound: Jan 24, 2019
1 stop (14h49m)
Frontier Airlines
return: Jan 30, 2019
1 stop (9h40m)
United Airlines
outbound: Jan 24, 2019
direct (3h30m)
Alaska Airlines
return: Jan 25, 2019
1 stop (8h22m)
Spirit Airlines
outbound: Feb 19, 2019
1 stop (8h36m)
Spirit Airlines
return: Feb 25, 2019
direct (6h30m)
Spirit Airlines
outbound: Jan 27, 2019
1 stop (13h40m)
Spirit Airlines
return: Feb 3, 2019
1 stop (3h31m)
Spirit Airlines
outbound: Apr 3, 2019
1 stop (7h31m)
American Airlines
return: Apr 7, 2019
1 stop (9h52m)
American Airlines
outbound: Feb 6, 2019
direct (1h25m)
Alaska Airlines
return: Feb 13, 2019
direct (1h35m)
Alaska Airlines
outbound: Mar 3, 2019
1 stop (21h45m)
Air France
return: Mar 14, 2019
1 stop (18h20m)
Delta Air Lines