$11 Car Rentals in Santa Monica, CA

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Find cheap car rental deals in Santa Monica, California

Santa Monica has everything: gorgeous coastline, easy access to Los Angeles, and proximity to rugged mountains and outdoor adventure. Hang out on the iconic Santa Monica pier, dine in some of California’s best restaurants, or hop in a car to go camping in Malibu or hiking just outside the city. Orbitz can help you find the perfect rental car for your needs.

Renting a car in Santa Monica: What you need to know

You might have some questions about the process of renting a car for your Santa Monica vacation. If so, just read on – we’ve covered the basics below.

How old do I have to be to rent a car in Santa Monica?

You can expect to be able to rent a car from the age of 21. Do note that if you are under 25, there will be an additional charge, known as a ‘young driver surcharge’ or a ‘young driver fee’.

Drivers over the age of 70 may also be subject to an extra charge. Terms vary between rental providers, so it’s worth shopping around.

Do I need to bring any proof of identification when picking up my rental car?

Yes. If you’re a US resident, you’ll need to present a valid driving license as well as a credit card in your name.

If you’re traveling from overseas, bring your full home country’s driving license, as well as an international driving permit and, of course, a credit card.

Is a deposit required when booking?

A deposit should not be required in advance, only at pickup. Be aware that most car rental firms only accept credit cards, not debit cards.

Do I have to pay at the time of booking?

For Santa Monica rentals you can, as a general rule, ‘reserve now, pay later’, paying your bill at pickup.

Which car rental companies operate in Santa Monica?

Santa Monica is home to a wide range of car rental operators, including Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, National, and Thrifty. Offers vary, so make sure you compare and contrast.

Explore Santa Monica: Sun and sand in Southern California

Cruising down Santa Monica’s sun-soaked roads in a car with the windows (and top, if possible) down is a quintessential Californian experience. But having access to a car here isn’t just a novelty; it’s also a necessity if you want to make traveling to the area’s top sights simple. Here are just a few ideas for hot spots to explore in Santa Monica and beyond.

Santa Monica Pier

Spend a day on the Santa Monica beach, stopping for boardwalk fries or ice cream at the famous pier. Go wild on the rides, try your hand at carnival games, and enjoy breathtaking sunsets. You’ll be a few steps from Downtown Santa Monica, where Third Street Promenade is packed with shops and eateries.

Downtown Los Angeles

Hop in a car and head into LA, where museums, comedy shows, and Hollywood stars await. Take a photo with your favorite celebrity star on the Walk of Fame, explore the city’s diverse neighborhoods, check out the dozens of museums, and generally soak up the unmistakable glamour of the place.


Malibu is only 18.4 miles away, and the drive along the Pacific Coast Highway offers stunning views of cliffs meeting the waves. There are plenty of seafood stops along the way where you can sample the catch of the day. End up at Malibu Creek State Park for hiking, camping, and seriously pretty beaches.