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 2018
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  • price
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FOX Rent a Car USA
$15 per day Verify
  • 5
  • 3
Nissan Versa Compact, 2/4 Door, Auto
$23 per day Verify
  • 4
  • 2
Mitsubishi Mirage Economy, 2/4 Door, Auto
$24 per day Verify
  • 4
  • 2
Toyota Yaris Economy, 2/4 Door, Auto
$25 per day Verify
  • 4
  • 2
Chevrolet Spark Economy, 4/5 Door, Auto
Mex Rent a Car
$26 per day Verify
  • 5
Hyundai Accent Economy, 2/4 Door, Auto
$29 per day Verify
  • 5
Kia Rio Economy, 2/4 Door, Auto
$33 per day Verify
  • 4
  • 2
Ford Fiesta Economy, 2/4 Door, Auto
$35 per day Verify
  • 5
  • 2
Compact Special, Special, Auto
$41 per day Verify
  • 5
  • 3
Chevrolet Cruze Intermediate, 2/4 Door, Auto
$53 per day Verify
  • 4
  • 2
Fiat 500 Economy, 2/4 Door, Auto
$54 per day Verify
  • 5
  • 1
Chevrolet Sonic Economy, 2/4 Door, Auto

Find a cheap flight to San Diego

outbound: Sep 5, 2018
direct (6h27m)
Spirit Airlines
return: Sep 11, 2018
direct (5h59m)
Spirit Airlines
outbound: May 25, 2018
direct (1h35m)
Southwest Airlines
return: May 29, 2018
direct (1h35m)
Southwest Airlines
outbound: Nov 9, 2018
1 stop (8h24m)
United Airlines
return: Nov 14, 2018
1 stop (7h23m)
United Airlines
outbound: Jun 11, 2018
1 stop (12h25m)
Spirit Airlines
return: Jun 14, 2018
1 stop (5h05m)
Spirit Airlines
outbound: Jun 13, 2018
direct (1h15m)
Southwest Airlines
return: Jun 16, 2018
direct (1h10m)
Southwest Airlines
outbound: May 25, 2018
1 stop (12h22m)
Spirit Airlines
return: May 29, 2018
1 stop (21h34m)
Spirit Airlines
outbound: Jun 4, 2018
1 stop (28h18m)
Spirit Airlines
return: Jun 8, 2018
1 stop (21h04m)
Spirit Airlines
outbound: May 25, 2018
1 stop (8h26m)
Spirit Airlines
return: May 28, 2018
direct (2h55m)
Spirit Airlines
outbound: Oct 20, 2018
direct (5h24m)
Alaska Airlines
return: Oct 27, 2018
direct (4h50m)
Alaska Airlines
outbound: Nov 16, 2018
1 stop (8h26m)
Delta Air Lines
return: Nov 23, 2018
1 stop (9h42m)
Delta Air Lines
outbound: Jun 12, 2018
1 stop (7h14m)
United Airlines
return: Jul 3, 2018
1 stop (8h01m)
United Airlines
outbound: Jul 22, 2018
direct (5h52m)
American Airlines
return: Jul 25, 2018
direct (5h34m)
American Airlines
outbound: May 31, 2018
1 stop (5h52m)
Frontier Airlines
return: Jun 2, 2018
1 stop (13h03m)
Frontier Airlines
outbound: Jun 21, 2018
direct (8h13m)
Frontier Airlines
return: Jun 23, 2018
direct (7h30m)
Frontier Airlines
outbound: Jul 20, 2018
direct (1h50m)
Delta Air Lines
return: Jul 25, 2018
direct (1h55m)
Delta Air Lines
outbound: Jun 13, 2018
1 stop (15h41m)
Frontier Airlines
return: Jun 26, 2018
1 stop (14h14m)
Frontier Airlines
outbound: Jul 22, 2018
direct (5h55m)
Southwest Airlines
return: Jul 25, 2018
1 stop (7h35m)
Southwest Airlines
outbound: Jul 14, 2018
direct (5h11m)
United Airlines
return: Jul 21, 2018
direct (4h48m)
United Airlines
outbound: Jun 13, 2018
1 stop (6h24m)
Delta Air Lines
return: Jun 16, 2018
1 stop (3h39m)
Delta Air Lines