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Durham's Best Short-Term Rental Experiences

If you're the type of traveler who wants to experience the city like a local, planting yourself in the middle of one of Durham’s established neighborhoods is a great first step.

Posted By Elizabeth Wilcox & Amy Eller

Durham’s many short-term rental homes hosted by locals who love Durham and love to share the city with their guests offer a way to step seamlessly into everyday life in Durham. Durham’s Airbnb market offers options to meet every traveler’s style and budget. Whether you’re visiting one of our great universities, here for a medical-related stay, want to check out our renowned food and beverage scene, or you’re traveling for work and need a great home-office setup – Durham’s short-term rental options have you covered.

As short-stay consultants and Airbnb superhosts ourselves, the team at So Well Appointed put our heads together to bring you a list of Durham’s best options throughout our diverse neighborhoods. From homes nestled in nature to those in walkable downtown neighborhoods, these rentals that earn consistent 5-star reviews are waiting to welcome you to the Bull City. How about a 3-bedroom home built by a celebrated local design and construction team, or is a cozy bus converted into a studio home tucked into the woods out in the county more your speed? We have something in between, too, like a tiny house in the trees not far from town! You’ll find it all in Durham.

Bright Modernist City Escape - Hylton Daniel

Area/Neighborhood: East Durham | 3 bedrooms | 2.5 baths | 6 guests | Rating: 5 stars, Superhost

Your host Roger is a founding partner of Hylton Daniel Design + Construction, along with his wife, celebrated interior designer Alicia Hylton-Daniel. This particular property offers impeccable detail in design and construction grounded in culture, art history and architectural engineering, synthesized with the stunning interior design for which Alicia Hylton-Daniel, recently celebrated in the pages of Dwell Magazine, is known. Browse the company's other Durham listings on their website.

The Sidekick: A Stylish Poolside Carriage House

Area/Neighborhood: Hope Valley | 1 bedroom | 1 bath | 4 guests | Rating: 5 Stars, Superhost

Jane will be your host. She and her husband Justin welcome you into their backyard retreat, complete with a luxurious saline pool and peaceful gardens. Launching shortly before the pandemic, The Sidekick was well-positioned to offer a quiet & safe oasis, and now it’s a perfect home base for Durham exploration. Take in all the Bull City has to offer, and end your days with a dip in the pool!

Fairytale Cottage Near Duke

Area/Neighborhood: Forest Hills | 3 bedroom | 1 bath | 6 guests | Rating: 5 Stars | pet-friendly

Elizabeth and Amy will be your hosts (hey, that’s us!). This is one of the properties that we co-host at So Well Appointed, LLC and it’s fairly new on Airbnb. It’s a real gem if we do say so ourselves! Chock full of art by local painter Kerry Burch, this sweet 1930s cottage is steps away from Forest Hills Park, including its public pool. It is the perfect home away from home for anyone who needs a little extra room to spread out while in town for any number of leisure activities. Added bonus: your pets are welcome at Fairytale Cottage, too.

The Stable: a peace-filled, creative retreat

Area/Neighborhood: Northwest Durham | 2 bedrooms | 1 bath | 6 guests | Rating: 5 stars, Superhost

Claudia and Kelly will be your hosts. If you look toward the outskirts of town, near the Eno River, you will find this hidden gem for your next stay in Durham. With a screened-in back porch and a labyrinth in the garden, this is a place to find your chill and truly relax. Claudia and Kelly live next door to the Stable, so they’re available if you need them and love sharing their favorite things about Durham (they’ve lived here for over 30 years!).

Historic Mill House - Downtownish

Area/Neighborhood: Downtown | 3 bedrooms | 2 baths | 8 guests |Rating: 4.95 stars, Superhost

Chris and Shannon will be your hosts. If you’re traveling with a large family or Durham is the destination for your next exciting couples trip, this historic home is a perfect landing pad. Its three king beds make it ideal for sharing with friends. Built in 1891 and lovingly renovated in 2012, this home offers historic charm and all the modern amenities you’ll need for a perfect stay.

“Happy” the Cozy School Bus Getaway

Area/Neighborhood: North Durham County, near Hillsborough/Orange County line

1 bed | 1 bath | 2 guests | Rating: 5 stars, Superhost

Carleigh and Tina are your hosts. If you need to get away and want a break from the ordinary, well, we think we’ve found your spot – though the listing boasts Hillsborough as the location, this cutie is technically still in Durham County, and we’re so happy about that! Carleigh and Tina have poured their heart and soul into restoring and converting this bus into a home, and we’re certain that a stay in “Happy” will cure what ails ya! The couple loves creating intentional spaces and is committed to providing a customized experience for each guest they have the pleasure of hosting.

Tiny Farmhouse in the Heart of Durham

Area/Neighborhood: Southside | 1 bedroom | 1 bath | 2 guests | Rating: 4.97 stars, Superhost

Deon will be your host. Between this and one other property in Durham, he has many years of experience on Airbnb and knows how to nail the little details that make a stay much more than just a place to sleep at night. Located in Durham’s Southside neighborhood, this centrally located spot is perfect for enjoying Durham’s downtown nightlife, campus highlights and other top attractions.

Beautiful Farm Stay

Area/Neighborhood: North Durham/Eno River | 2 bedrooms | 2 Bath | 6 guests | Rating: 4.99, Superhost | pet-friendly

Jodie will be your host. Need some breathing room and wide open spaces for the dog and the whole family, too? How about a working horse farm in North Durham? Sounds perfect to us! Jodie is an experienced host who gets rave reviews on Airbnb, so you’ll be in good hands for a leisurely getaway, but still close to everything Durham has to offer.

Historic Cabin Located Close to Duke University

Area/Neighborhood: Near Duke Forest | 2 bedrooms | 1 bath | 3 guests | Rating: 5 stars, Superhost | pet-friendly

Josh will be your host. Hop onto the fantastic hiking trails of Duke Forest without getting in your car when you stay in Josh’s adorable, historic cabin - an even perkier perk when you bring your dog along to enjoy the trails with you! This little spot is booming with personality and every detail of your stay will be right on point.

Tiny House in the Trees

Neighborhood: Northgate Park | Studio | 1 bath | 2 guests | Rating: 4.95 stars, Superhost

Jarret and Mira will be your hosts. This adorable tiny home in the backyard of Jarret and Mira’s Northgate Park home is one of the longer-standing Airbnb rentals in Durham. With over 750 stays in this tiny Studio/Loft nested in their private backyard, the people have spoken! They are great hosts who offer more than just a bed for sleeping; it’s a true Durham “stay-like-a-local” experience.

About the Author

Elizabeth Wilcox & Amy Eller - Co-founders, So Well Appointed
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Elizabeth Wilcox & Amy Eller are the founders of So Well Appointed, a short-term rental co-hosting and consulting firm located in Durham, providing design, marketing, and co-hosting support for independent short-term rental hosts in Durham.