Your Guide to Finding the Best Place to Stay at Coachella

So, you’ve got your tickets and your cool, floppy hat, but you still need a place to stay if you’re going to enjoy a whole weekend at Coachella. Because Coachella is held in Indio, California near Palm Springs, accommodations can be a bit challenging depending on what kind of experience you are after. Some fans are perfectly fine pitching a tent and roughing it for the weekend, but not everyone wants to sleep on the ground for two or three nights. Luckily, there are options—you just have to make sure you plan ahead because a lot of these options will disappear as the festival approaches. In this post, we’re going to go over all of your accommodation options including camping, Coachella short term rentals, and everything else. We’ll also cover how much is an Airbnb during Coachella, and other things you can do while you’re out in the desert. If you’ve travelled all that way, you might as well get the full experience. Let’s get started.

What are the camping options?

Before we get in to Coachella short term rentals, let’s first cover your camping options. These include camping on the festival site as well as off-site camping options that may appeal to certain visitors. Many urban festivals no longer offer camping options, but Coachella has been a camper’s paradise ever since they started back in 1999. Because the area is fairly remote, there definitely will not be enough accommodations for all visitors without a camping option. If you choose to camp, you have several options. Car camping is the most popular option, and it offers visitors 30’ x 10’ sites that can be reserved ahead of time. One vehicle is allowed per site, but you can pack as many people on to your site as you wish. While there are no food or drink options available directly within the car camping area, campers are allowed to bring food and beverages, but you are limited to one case of beer can or one box of wine per camper (21+). Make sure not to bring any glass or knives into any camping areas as these will be confiscated upon entry. Near the camping area, guests will find plenty of food and drink options via food trucks and food stands. These will vary from year to year. If, for some reason, you’ve totally forgot to bring anything, there are shuttles that run to local grocery stores. If you choose the preferred car camping option, all of the same basic rules and features apply, however, you will have a reserved site located near the entrance of the camping area for easy arrival and departure. Note that once your vehicle has entered camping, you cannot leave with your vehicle until you leave for good. No ins or outs. If you prefer a car-free atmosphere, you can choose the tent camping option, which allows you to pitch your tent in a grassy field located a short walk from the festival. The tent camping sites are 15’ x 10’, but you are still allowed to pack in as many friends as you’d like. Each site comes with an overnight parking spot, but your car will be parked in an adjacent lot rather than at the actual campsite. If you’re looking for a more stylish camping option, you can book a campsite or cabin at Lake Eldorado, which is just a short distance from the festival grounds. The cabins are stocked with cots and bedding and offer flush toilets and showers as well as 24-hour concierge service. Just keep in mind that admission to the Lake Eldorado area is restricted to Lake Eldorado guests only. For a glamping option, look no further than the Safari Tent Campground which offers guests the opportunity to camp in luxury just behind the festival venue. These tents offer AC power, mini fridges, and air conditioning for a pretty posh experience in the desert. Just keep in mind that these tents start at $7,500 for two people for the weekend. So, not cheap. If you’ve waited too long to book, and all of Coachella’s on-site camping has already been booked, there are dozens of tent camping and RV camping options in the Coachella and Indio areas. Just make sure to check with the campsite for amenities before you arrive.

Can you Airbnb at Coachella?

The short answer is: yes. There are certain rules that renters must abide by, and these rules vary from city to city. Because a lot of festival attendees don’t feel like camping, Airbnbs are some of the most popular Coachella short term rentals. You just need to know what to prepare for, and what to expect before you book. First, it’s important to keep in mind that the Coachella festival—as well as some other festivals like Stagecoach—routinely draw upwards of 125,000 people per year. The problem is that the greater Coachella area only has around 16,000 hotel rooms. Obviously, that’s not enough for everyone. Camping takes some of the burden off of Coachella short term rentals, but in many cases, Airbnb may be your only option. So, what should you expect?

How much is an Airbnb during Coachella?

Short answer: More that during any other time of year. Residents of the Coachella valley realized they were sitting on a bit of a cash cow when the Indio Polo Grounds became home to several yearly festivals, and it created a lucrative opportunity for the locals. Typically, the price for an Airbnb during Coachella depends on certain factors. First is proximity to the festival itself. The closer you stay to the Polo Grounds, the more expensive the lodging will be. Obviously, capacity is also going to be a big factor in terms of the rental price. And Coachella short term rentals can get pretty creative. This year, a four-bedroom house with pool in La Quinta (located just a few minutes west of the Polo Grounds) rented for $3200 per night—not for the weekend. So, if you figure on staying three nights, that house will run you a whopping $9600. While there’s a good chance that you can fit a bunch of people into that rental to share the cost, make sure you contact the host to see how many total guests they allow in their house. This will vary from listing to listing. On the other hand, an RV that sleeps six rented for $350 per night, so there are less expensive options if you are willing to be creative. Some renters are also willing to rent out bedrooms in their home, and this can be a more inexpensive option if you don’t mind staying in a partially owner-occupied house. Accommodations like this often rent for around $300 per night. As we mentioned, different localities have different rules for what can be used as an Airbnb, but these restrictions are more a matter for the renter than the guest. Just make sure your host is aware of the rules in their city, so your reservation isn’t cancelled due to the host not following the rules. The other factor you should consider is how early you book. If you buy your Coachella passes as soon as they go on sale, and you know that you want to stay in an Airbnb rather than camping, it is advisable to make your Airbnb reservation as soon as possible. Airbnbs and all Coachella short term rentals are more expensive than any other time of year, but the sooner you book, the lower prices will be. When it comes to how much is an Airbnb during Coachella, it all comes down to demand. Once a lot of the houses are booked up, the remaining ones know they can charge a premium as festival goers get more and more desperate to find a place to stay. This also leads homeowners to realize that they can fetch a pretty penny for even a spare bedroom. In recent years, more and more homeowners have decided to go this route because they’ve realized that, especially late in the game, they can charge almost anything they want. This is another reason to book early. And again, the rules for rentals vary from city to city. Coachella and Palm Desert allow Coachella short term rentals, but only for certain types of dwellings. La Quinta, on the other hand, requires that homeowners have a permit and business license in order to rent their houses on a short-term basis.

Why are there restrictions on Airbnb houses?

This is a fairly new thing that is happening, and it’s not just happening in places like the Coachella Valley. Even Los Angeles has a law on the books that says that renters must register with the city and notify their neighbors that they intend to host short term rentals. While it might seem like big cities like Los Angeles as well as small cities like Coachella would want to attract the maximum number of tourists, short term rentals can cause problems for residents of these cities. For highly in-demand cities, homeowners can often rent their homes on a short-term basis for a great deal more money than if they were renting on a long-term basis. Cities started to realize that this was contributing to the housing crisis because it raised the market value of traditional long-term housing. The restrictions are meant to limit the number of short-term rentals in order to keep the price of long-term housing down.

Are short-term rentals allowed in Palm Springs?

Visitors to the Coachella music festival often wonder are short-term rentals allowed in Palm Springs because it is another great destination if you’re already headed out to the desert. The short answer is: yes, you can Airbnb in Palm Springs, but the city is trying to crack down on real estate investors who are buying up houses specifically to use as short-term vacation rentals. Before the restrictions were in place, Palm Springs saw a huge influx of investors buying up houses, and the result was an increase in property values that priced out a lot of potential buyers. The new restrictions require that hosts have an annually renewed permit for their vacation rental, but they are only allowed one permit per year. So, if you own five houses for vacation rentals, you can only legally rent one of them at a time. Coachella short term rentals are still permitted in Palm Springs, but it’s always a good idea to check with your host beforehand just to make sure they are following all local rules and regulations.

Does the city of Coachella allow short-term rentals?

Again, the short answer is: yes, you can rent a short-term rental in the city of Coachella, but you need to make sure your host is following all of the cities rules. This is even more important if you are looking for a Coachella short term rental because a lot of unpermitted houses will end up on the short-term market and these reservations can be cancelled if the city gets wise. The Coachella city rules state that homeowners who wish to rent their homes on a short-term basis register with the city and have their homes inspected once per year. So, if you’re wondering: does the city of Coachella allow short term rentals, just make sure you’ve done all your homework before you book. Airbnb can’t police their listings until they go live on the platform. Because of this, there is a chance that you might book a rental that turns out to be against the rules, and you will lose your reservation.

What else is there to do in the desert?

While it might seem like the options for entertainment in the California desert are somewhat limited, there are actually plenty of places to visit if you find yourself in the desert. The Coachella music festival is just one of the many attractions you will find. We’ve already mentioned that Palm Springs is a great city to check out either before or after you attend Coachella. Palm Springs is home to a beautiful downtown with shops and restaurant, and there are various activities like a tour of San Jacinto Peak. The city of Palm Springs is tucked beside the San Bernardino mountains, and as a result, there are plenty of fun hiking and bus tours that will take you to the tops of various hills and peaks which overlook the valley below. After a day out in nature, you can kick back and relax at any number of restaurant that line Palm Springs’ main drag. From there, it’s only a quick drive to one of the most spectacular places in the United States: Joshua Tree National Park. The park actually combines two separate deserts—one high and one low—for an absolutely breathtaking vista of Joshua trees and dramatic rock formations. The meeting of the Mojave and Colorado deserts also offers an interesting contrast. The low, Mojave Desert is hotter and more barren than the high, Colorado Desert which is actually teeming with plant life you’ve likely never seen before. The difference in elevation also comes with another big difference: temperature. While the low desert might see temperatures well over 100 degrees, the high desert might be 50 degrees cooler at the same time. Camping is permitted in Joshua Tree National Park, but camping reservations are recommended, especially in busy months. You should also be aware of the more restrictive camping regulations that you will find in national parks. If you don’t feel like camping in the rugged desert, there are plenty of very nice short-term vacation rentals in the town of Joshua Tree or nearby Twenty-One Pines. If you happen to be a golfer, there are plenty of great courses out in the desert as well. Coral Mountain Golf Club, Indian Palms Country Club, and the Rancho La Quinta Golf Club are all great places to hit the links. The PGA Pete Dye Mountain Golf Club is also nearby but getting a tee time there might be a little challenging.

What’s the best way to get to Coachella?

There are a number of ways to get to Coachella, but they all come with their own limitations. Driving is probably the most popular options, and from Los Angeles the cost is about $30 and will take you about 2 hours and 15 minutes. The Coachella Festival recommends that people don’t all try to arrive at the festival at the same time, so if you can, try to plan your trip for a non-peak time. Carpools are always a great way to travel to a festival, and it cuts down on carbon emissions. There’s also a train that takes you from Union Station in Los Angeles to Palm Springs station, but there’s a catch: It doesn’t run on Thursday, which is a problem because the next train doesn’t arrive in Palm Springs until Friday night. That means you’ve missed most of the first day of the fest. Of course, some people will travel by air, and it’s only a one-hour flight from any Los Angeles airport to Palm Springs, but there’s another catch: Now that you’re in Palm Springs you have to find a way to travel about 30 minutes to the festival. Our recommendation is to drive or carpool and leave at an off-peak time.

So, there you have it. Everything you need to know about Coachella short term rentals and other things to do in the desert. Here at we know that music festivals are all about sharing music with friends and discovering new and exciting experience. Our goal is to give you all the tools you need in order to make the most of you festival season.