The 9 Best Hostels in San Diego

Updated on: May 8, 2024 by Mick

San Diego is renowned for its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and friendly local atmosphere, making it a top destination for travellers from all over the world. For those looking to explore this bustling city while keeping their travels affordable, the best hostels in San Diego offer a fantastic solution. These hostels not only provide a budget-friendly place to stay but also a vibrant social scene where travellers can meet and exchange stories.

Hostels in San Diego cater to a variety of tastes and preferences, ranging from beachfront properties that appeal to surfers and sun-seekers to urban retreats ideal for those eager to dive into the city's rich cultural offerings and nightlife. Each hostel offers unique amenities designed to enhance the stay of their guests, from social events and guided tours to communal kitchens and cosy lounges.

Quick Introduction to Hostels in San Diego

San Diego, with its sunny beaches, vibrant cultural scene, and buzzing nightlife, is a prime destination for travellers. To accommodate those on a budget, hostels in San Diego offer an affordable and sociable alternative to traditional hotels. These hostels are popular among young travellers and backpackers looking to save money and meet new people during their journeys.

Here are some of the things you should consider before booking a hostel in San Diego:

Price: One of the most appealing aspects of staying in a hostel in San Diego is the affordability. Prices are significantly lower compared to hotels, making it easier for travellers to extend their stay without stretching their budget too thin. Hostels in San Diego start at €33 but expect to pay €40 to €60 for a dorm bed in a good hostel with air-conditioning.

Location: Hostels in San Diego are strategically located to give guests easy access to the city's main attractions. Whether you want to be steps away from the sandy beaches, in the heart of the bustling downtown, or in the relaxed neighbourhood of Ocean Beach, there’s a hostel perfectly placed to suit your travel plans. This convenience allows guests to explore more of the city with less time spent on transportation.

Amenities/Services: The amenities and services provided by hostels in San Diego greatly enhance the guest experience. Many hostels offer free Wi-Fi, breakfast, and communal kitchens where guests can cook their meals. Additional services may include organized tours, social events, and even free bike rentals, which are especially useful for exploring the extensive coastline and lively urban settings.

Staff: The staff at these hostels often consists of fellow travellers who understand the needs of their guests. They are usually well-informed about the local area and can provide valuable tips on the best places to visit, eat, and enjoy nightlife. The friendly and helpful nature of the hostel staff can make a big difference in the quality of your stay, offering a personal touch that larger accommodations often lack.

Best Hostels in San Diego - Quick Answers

Here's a summary of the best hostels in San Diego organized into different categories:

The Best Hostels in San Diego

Here’s my comprehensive guide to the 9 best hostels in San Diego:

1. Samesun Ocean Beach

Samesun Ocean Beach Exterior

Samesun Ocean Beach is an amazing hostel that is easily the best hostel in San Diego. This hostel is situated right in the heart of Ocean Beach, San Diego, offering travellers a front-row seat to one of the city's most lively and picturesque areas. Just a short walk from the sandy shores, this hostel is perfect for those who crave a beachside vibe with easy access to water activities and beach cafes.

The atmosphere is laid-back and social, characterized by vibrant common areas where guests mingle and unwind. Its location and vibe make it an ideal spot for young, adventurous travellers looking to soak up the sun and local culture in a friendly setting.

Samesun Ocean Beach Dorm Room

The rooms at Samesun Ocean Beach cater to various types of travellers, featuring both shared dormitories and private rooms. Each room is designed with comfort and convenience in mind, providing a relaxed place to rest after a day of exploring.

Amenities are abundant, ensuring guests have everything they need for a comfortable stay. The hostel boasts a fully equipped kitchen for those who prefer to cook their meals, and comfortable lounges are perfect for socializing. Additionally, free Wi-Fi is available throughout the property, and laundry facilities are on-site for guest use.

A quick overview of Samesun Ocean Beach

  • Located just steps from Ocean Beach, offering easy access to sun, sand, and surf.
  • Vibrant common areas designed for social interaction and relaxation.
  • A variety of room types available, accommodating both private and communal preferences.
  • Fully equipped communal kitchen, allowing guests to prepare their own meals.
  • On-site laundry facilities, adding convenience for longer stays.

Dorm beds from €45, Private rooms from €182
Check Prices On Hostelworld!

2. International Travelers House Adventure Hostel

International Travelers House Adventure Hostel Common Area

International Travelers House Adventure Hostel is ideally positioned in San Diego's vibrant Little Italy district, making it a top choice for travellers eager to explore the city's cultural delights and culinary scene. The hostel exudes a dynamic and adventurous vibe, encouraging guests to engage in daily activities and explore the surrounding area.

The hostel's community-focused atmosphere makes it a hub for backpackers looking to share experiences and make new friends. The decor is bright and inviting, with common areas designed to foster interaction and fun.

International Travelers House Adventure Hostel Dorm Room

Rooms at the International Travelers House Adventure Hostel vary from private to shared dormitory options, catering to different preferences and budgets. Each room is equipped with comfortable bedding and secure storage for personal belongings.

The hostel emphasizes environmental sustainability and community living, offering amenities like a communal kitchen for cooking, a spacious lounge for socializing, and multiple bathrooms to ensure convenience. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the property, and guests can enjoy access to various entertainment options like board games and a book exchange.

A quick overview of Adventure Hostel

  • Situated in the heart of Little Italy, close to numerous restaurants, galleries, and shops.
  • Offers both private and shared room configurations to suit a range of traveller needs.
  • A communal kitchen is available for guests to prepare meals and share food experiences.
  • Daily organized activities that encourage exploration and community building.
  • Environmental focus with initiatives aimed at sustainability and responsible living.

Dorm beds from €34, Private rooms from €89
Check Prices On Hostelworld!

3. California Dreams Hostel Ocean Beach

California Dreams Hostel Ocean Beach Outdoor Terrace

California Dreams Hostel - Ocean Beach is perfectly located just steps away from the surf and sand of Ocean Beach, San Diego. This hostel is ideal for those looking to experience the laid-back beach lifestyle that San Diego is famous for.

With its prime beachfront location, guests can easily enjoy water sports, beach activities, and stunning sunsets. The vibe here is casual and friendly, attracting a mix of surfers, backpackers, and international travellers all looking to soak up the coastal charm and social atmosphere.

California Dreams Hostel Ocean Beach Dorm Room

The rooms at California Dreams Hostel - Ocean Beach are designed to accommodate a range of preferences, offering both private and shared options. Each room is clean and comfortable, featuring essential amenities that ensure a pleasant stay. Guests have access to shared bathrooms that are maintained regularly for cleanliness and convenience.

The hostel emphasizes comfort and community, with amenities like a communal kitchen for cooking, a cosy lounge area for relaxing, and outdoor seating to enjoy the ocean breeze. Additionally, free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hostel, allowing guests to stay connected.

A quick overview of California Dreams Hostel Ocean Beach

  • Located directly on Ocean Beach, offering immediate access to the beach and ocean.
  • Communal kitchen facilities for guests who prefer to prepare their own meals.
  • Cosy lounge areas and outdoor seating to relax and meet other travellers.
  • Regularly cleaned and accessible shared bathrooms for convenience.

Dorm beds from €40, Private rooms from €90
Check Prices On Hostelworld!

4. ITH Mission Beach Backpacker Hostel

ITH Mission Beach Backpacker Hostel Common Area

ITH Mission Beach Backpacker Hostel is ideally located in the heart of Mission Beach, one of San Diego’s most lively and scenic areas. This hostel is a stone's throw from the beach, perfect for guests who are enthusiastic about surfing or just want to relax by the sea.

The vibe is upbeat and friendly, making it a hotspot for backpackers from around the globe looking to enjoy a fun and engaging social environment. The hostel’s design is colourful and vibrant, reflecting the energetic spirit of its guests and the surrounding beach community.

ITH Mission Beach Backpacker Hostel Dorm Room

Rooms at the ITH Mission Beach Backpacker Hostel range from private to shared dormitories, catering to various traveller needs and budgets. Each room is equipped with comfortable beds and personal lockers for security. Amenities are thoughtfully provided to enhance guest comfort, including a communal kitchen for meal preparations and a dining area where guests can socialize over food.

The hostel offers free Wi-Fi throughout the property, ensuring that guests can easily stay connected. Additionally, there are several common areas, including a cosy lounge and outdoor spaces, where guests can relax and mingle with fellow travellers.

A quick overview of ITH Mission Beach Backpacker Hostel

  • Direct access to Mission Beach, perfect for beach lovers and water sports enthusiasts.
  • A range of room types available, accommodating both privacy and community living preferences.
  • Communal kitchen facilities for convenient meal preparation and social dining experiences.
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout the hostel, allowing guests to keep in touch and plan their adventures.
  • Multiple common areas, including a lounge and outdoor spaces, to relax and interact with other travellers.
  • Personal lockers in each room, providing security for guests’ belongings.

Dorm beds from €46, Private rooms from €152
Check Prices On Hostelworld!

5. California Dreams Hostel Pacific Beach

California Dreams Hostel Pacific Beach Common Area

California Dreams Hostel Pacific Beach is perfectly situated just steps from the vibrant and bustling Pacific Beach, known for its lively boardwalk and beautiful ocean views. This hostel offers a laid-back, friendly atmosphere that embodies the classic San Diego beach culture.

This hostel is an ideal spot for those looking to immerse themselves in outdoor activities or simply enjoy the laid-back coastal life. With its easy-going vibe and location near cafes, bars, and surf shops, it appeals to travellers eager to experience the local lifestyle and meet new people.

California Dreams Hostel Pacific Beach Dorm Room

The hostel features a range of rooms from private to dormitory-style accommodations, designed to suit various preferences and budgets. Each room is clean, comfortable, and equipped with the basic necessities for a relaxing stay.

Amenities include shared bathrooms, a communal kitchen for guests to prepare their own meals, and a lounge area for unwinding and socializing. Free Wi-Fi is accessible throughout the property, making it easy for guests to stay connected. The hostel also offers laundry facilities, adding convenience for those on longer journeys.

A quick overview of California Dreams Hostel Pacific Beach

  • Situated a short walk from Pacific Beach, offering easy access to beach activities and local nightlife.
  • A variety of room options, from private to shared dormitories, to accommodate different types of travellers.
  • A communal kitchen is available for guests wanting to cook and share meals.
  • Lounge area for relaxation and socializing with other guests.
  • Laundry facilities on-site, providing practical solutions for guest needs.

Dorm beds from €38, Private rooms from €120
Check Prices On Hostelworld!

6. Gaslamp Hostel

Gaslamp Hostel Common Area

Gaslamp Hostel is strategically located in the heart of San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, a vibrant area known for its historic architecture, bustling nightlife, and endless dining options. This hostel attracts a diverse crowd of travellers eager to dive into the urban experience.

The atmosphere is dynamic and social, offering an ideal base for young adventurers and culture seekers looking to explore the city's rich offerings. The modern decor and welcoming common areas provide a comfortable and engaging environment for guests.

Gaslamp Hostel Dorm Room

The rooms at Gaslamp Hostel cater to a variety of preferences, with both private rooms and shared dormitories available. Each room is equipped with comfortable beds, secure lockers, and air conditioning to ensure a pleasant stay regardless of the season.

The hostel boasts a range of amenities designed to enhance guest comfort and convenience, including clean shared bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen for self-catering, and a cosy lounge area perfect for relaxing and socializing. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the property, and there is also a laundry facility for guests’ use.

A quick overview of Gaslamp Hostel

  • Located in the energetic Gaslamp Quarter, perfect for those looking to enjoy nightlife and cultural attractions.
  • Offers a mix of private and shared accommodations to suit various needs and budgets.
  • Fully equipped communal kitchen for guests to prepare their own meals and save on dining out.
  • Air conditioning in every room, ensuring comfort during San Diego's warmer days.
  • Laundry facilities on-site, providing convenience for travellers on longer stays.

Dorm beds from €42, Private rooms from €135
Check Prices On Hostelworld!

7. HI San Diego Downtown

HI San Diego Downtown Common Area

HI San Diego Downtown is perfectly placed in the lively heart of San Diego's downtown area, an ideal location for travellers keen to experience the city's bustling urban life. Set amidst a thriving mix of cafes, shops, and entertainment venues, this hostel offers a vibrant, youthful vibe that resonates with energetic travellers.

The atmosphere is friendly and inclusive, making it a great choice for solo adventurers and groups alike who are looking to connect with other visitors and locals.

HI San Diego Downtown Dorm Room

The hostel offers a variety of room types, including shared dormitories and private rooms, each designed to provide comfort and convenience. All rooms are equipped with secure storage options and comfortable bedding.

Amenities are thoughtful and ample, featuring a fully equipped kitchen for guests who prefer to cook their own meals, several lounge areas for relaxation, and multiple clean, well-maintained bathrooms. Guests can also enjoy free Wi-Fi throughout the hostel, enhancing their stay and connectivity.

A quick overview of HI San Diego Downtown

  • Centrally located in downtown San Diego, surrounded by numerous dining and entertainment options.
  • Various room configurations available, catering to different preferences and group sizes.
  • Fully equipped communal kitchen, allowing guests to prepare meals and interact.
  • Multiple lounge areas, providing spaces for relaxation and socializing.

Dorm beds from €73, Private rooms from €184
Check Prices On Hostelworld!

8. Lucky D's

Lucky Ds Common Area

Lucky D's is located in the heart of San Diego's vibrant East Village, just steps away from the Gaslamp Quarter, known for its bustling nightlife and cultural scenes. This hostel offers a colourful and energetic atmosphere, making it a favourite among travellers looking to immerse themselves in the city's lively urban experience.

The hostel is decorated with quirky art and vibrant murals, Lucky D's sets a playful and inclusive tone, encouraging guests to socialize and participate in its many planned activities.

Lucky Ds Dorm Room

Rooms at Lucky D's range from private rooms to shared dormitories, each brightly decorated and equipped with comfortable beds and personal lockers. The hostel prioritizes guest comfort with amenities like air conditioning, clean shared bathrooms, and a fully equipped kitchen for self-catering.

Common areas include a cosy lounge and a games room, providing ample opportunities for relaxation and entertainment. Additionally, free Wi-Fi is accessible throughout the hostel, ensuring that guests can stay connected with friends and family.

A quick overview of Lucky D's

  • Situated near the Gaslamp Quarter, providing easy access to San Diego's best nightlife and dining options.
  • Variety of room types to accommodate individual travellers or groups.
  • Air conditioning in all rooms, ensuring comfort during the warm San Diego days.
  • Fully equipped kitchen, perfect for guests looking to cook their own meals.
  • Games room and multiple common areas for entertainment and socializing.

Dorm beds from €37, Private rooms from €81
Check Prices On Hostelworld!

9. ITH Beach Bungalow Surf Hostel

ITH Beach Bungalow Surf Hostel Outdoor Patio

ITH Beach Bungalow Surf Hostel enjoys a prime location directly on the sands of Pacific Beach, San Diego, offering stunning views and immediate beach access. This hostel boasts a laid-back, surf-inspired atmosphere, perfect for those looking to embrace the Southern California lifestyle.

With its friendly and open vibe, it attracts a community of young, active travellers who share a passion for the ocean and outdoor activities. The hostel's design incorporates beachy, rustic elements, making it feel like a cosy home away from home.

ITH Beach Bungalow Surf Hostel Dorm Room

Rooms at ITH Beach Bungalow Surf Hostel range from shared dormitories to private rooms, all maintaining a comfortable and casual aesthetic. Amenities are thoughtfully designed to enhance the beach experience, including surfboard rentals and bike access to explore the coastline.

The hostel offers a communal kitchen for guests to prepare meals, along with a spacious lounge area and an outdoor deck where people can gather and socialize. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the property, and the hostel also provides laundry facilities, making it ideal for longer stays.

  • Located directly on Pacific Beach, providing guests with unbeatable ocean access.
  • Offers a range of accommodation options, from shared rooms to private spaces.
  • A communal kitchen is available, perfect for self-catering and social interactions.
  • Free use of surfboards and bikes, encouraging active exploration of the area.
  • Outdoor deck for relaxation and social gatherings, with stunning beach views.
  • Laundry facilities on-site, convenient for guests planning extended visits.

A quick overview of ITH Beach Bungalow Surf Hostel

Dorm beds from €33, Private rooms from €155
Check Prices On Hostelworld!

Final Thoughts on the Best Hostels in San Diego

The best hostels in San Diego provide an exceptional opportunity for travellers to explore this vibrant city without overspending on accommodation. With their unique blend of affordability, social interaction, and convenient locations, these hostels make it easy to enjoy everything San Diego has to offer. Whether you're here to catch waves at the beach, enjoy the nightlife, or explore cultural sites, staying in a hostel can enhance your experience by connecting you with fellow travellers and local insights.

Hostels in San Diego are designed to cater to a variety of preferences, ensuring that there's something for everyone. From beachfront setups ideal for surfers to urban locations perfect for city explorers, these accommodations offer more than just a place to sleep. They serve as hubs of activity, often featuring communal spaces where guests can relax and socialize, sharing stories and tips about the best local spots.

More Hostel Guides for North America

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps to keep the site running. Thanks For The Support!