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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  • May 2019
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  • price
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Ace Rental Cars
$17 per day Verify
  • 4
  • 2
Mini Special, Special, Auto
$18 per day Verify
  • 4
  • 2
Chevrolet Spark Economy, 2/4 Door, Auto
$24 per day Verify
  • 5
  • 4
Nissan Rogue Intermediate, SUV, Auto
Ezi-Rent Car Hire
$23 per day Verify
  • 4
  • 2
Toyota Yaris Economy, 2/4 Door, Auto
Ace Rental Cars
$24 per day Verify
  • 5
  • 2
Hyundai Accent Economy, 2/4 Door, Auto
$25 per day Verify
  • 5
  • 3
Volkswagen Jetta Standard, 4/5 Door, Auto
$25 per day Verify
  • 5
Kia Rio Economy, 2/4 Door, Auto
$26 per day Verify
  • 5
  • 3
Buick Regal Premium, 4/5 Door, Auto
$26 per day Verify
  • 5
Ford Fiesta Economy, 4/5 Door, Auto
$28 per day Verify
  • 4
Mitsubishi Mirage Economy, 4/5 Door, Auto
$30 per day Verify
  • 5
Nissan Frontier Intermediate, Pick Up Regular, Auto
$31 per day Verify
  • 5
  • 4
Mazda 3 Intermediate, 4/5 Door, Auto
$34 per day Verify
  • 5
  • 1
Chevrolet Impala FullSize, 2/4 Door, Auto
FOX Rent a Car USA
$42 per day Verify
  • 5
Nissan Versa Compact, 2/4 Door, Auto
$47 per day Verify
  • 5
Dodge Challenger Standard, Sport, Auto
$54 per day Verify
  • 5
  • 2
Fiat 500 Economy, 2/4 Door, Auto
$71 per day Verify
  • 5
  • 3
Hyundai Elantra Intermediate, 2/4 Door, Auto

Find a cheap flight to San Diego

Spirit Airlinesoutbound: Jun 6, 2019
1 stop (8h17m)
Spirit Airlines
Spirit Airlinesreturn: Jun 9, 2019
1 stop (8h46m)
Spirit Airlines
Frontier Airlinesoutbound: Oct 25, 2019
direct (2h28m)
Frontier Airlines
Frontier Airlinesreturn: Oct 28, 2019
direct (2h27m)
Frontier Airlines
Spirit Airlinesoutbound: Aug 6, 2019
direct (1h10m)
Spirit Airlines
Spirit Airlinesreturn: Aug 9, 2019
direct (1h21m)
Spirit Airlines
United Airlinesoutbound: May 24, 2019
1 stop (5h20m)
United Airlines
United Airlinesreturn: May 31, 2019
direct (1h35m)
United Airlines
Alaska Airlinesoutbound: Aug 27, 2019
direct (6h20m)
Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlinesreturn: Oct 28, 2019
direct (5h40m)
Alaska Airlines
Spirit Airlinesoutbound: Jul 15, 2019
1 stop (18h23m)
Spirit Airlines
Spirit Airlinesreturn: Jul 22, 2019
1 stop (23h09m)
Spirit Airlines
Alaska Airlinesoutbound: Oct 18, 2019
direct (1h35m)
Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlinesreturn: Oct 24, 2019
direct (1h45m)
Alaska Airlines
United Airlinesoutbound: Jul 22, 2019
1 stop (4h34m)
United Airlines
United Airlinesreturn: Jul 25, 2019
1 stop (4h33m)
United Airlines
Spirit Airlinesoutbound: Jun 11, 2019
1 stop (6h)
Spirit Airlines
Southwest Airlinesreturn: Jun 28, 2019
direct (1h20m)
Southwest Airlines
Frontier Airlinesoutbound: Sep 24, 2019
1 stop (6h06m)
Frontier Airlines
Frontier Airlinesreturn: Oct 1, 2019
1 stop (6h11m)
Frontier Airlines
Alaska Airlinesoutbound: Aug 3, 2019
direct (3h05m)
Alaska Airlines
Spirit Airlinesreturn: Aug 7, 2019
direct (2h57m)
Spirit Airlines
Spirit Airlinesoutbound: Jun 17, 2019
direct (4h42m)
Spirit Airlines
Spirit Airlinesreturn: Jun 24, 2019
direct (4h30m)
Spirit Airlines
Alaska Airlinesoutbound: Jul 12, 2019
1 stop (14h45m)
Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlinesreturn: Jul 18, 2019
1 stop (24h55m)
Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlinesoutbound: Jul 22, 2019
direct (5h15m)
Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlinesreturn: Jul 29, 2019
direct (5h15m)
Alaska Airlines
United Airlinesoutbound: Jun 13, 2019
1 stop (5h42m)
United Airlines
United Airlinesreturn: Jun 18, 2019
1 stop (7h47m)
United Airlines
Frontier Airlinesoutbound: Aug 20, 2019
1 stop (13h33m)
Frontier Airlines
Frontier Airlinesreturn: Aug 28, 2019
1 stop (8h47m)
Frontier Airlines
Spirit Airlinesoutbound: Jun 25, 2019
1 stop (11h33m)
Spirit Airlines
Frontier Airlinesreturn: Jul 11, 2019
direct (5h23m)
Frontier Airlines
Frontier Airlinesoutbound: Nov 12, 2019
1 stop (7h49m)
Frontier Airlines
American Airlinesreturn: Nov 16, 2019
1 stop (9h)
American Airlines
Frontier Airlinesoutbound: Jun 21, 2019
1 stop (14h56m)
Frontier Airlines
Spirit Airlinesreturn: Jun 25, 2019
1 stop (8h22m)
Spirit Airlines
Delta Air Linesoutbound: Jul 9, 2019
direct (1h50m)
Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Linesreturn: Jul 11, 2019
direct (2h03m)
Delta Air Lines