I dunno, you don't have to rent a car and can still get variety. The extra 30-50$ a day you save can be thrown at a beach room. You could surf reef at PB Point, beach at Tourmaline & Diamond, structure at Crystal Pier, beach at Reed and then structure at MB jetty if you wanted to, all from a rented bicycle. I jogged down to the Mission Beach jetty every morning before my morning sesh, I think it was like 7-8 miles round trip, depending upon where I was in PB at the time. There's some cheap motels too, November's the off season. I've never made it from Hotel Circle to Mission Blvd in 5 minutes though. It usually takes me longer just to park there, the light at Mission Bay and Mission Blvd is a traffic pain and the lots are pretty full. Not in November. I rarely surfed South of Windemere though, the MB Jetty wasn't that appealing and neither were the MB crowds. Kane's was fun back in the day. I remember seeing Sublime there. I think Kane's got closed down though.
I can't imagine flying out from the east coast and just surfing weak assed Tourmaline, Crystal Pier, and Mission Beach jetty - below average spots in that stretch to avoid dropping $200 on a ****ty car rental.
We're used to surfing in crowds on the east coast...when in SD, i want to surf high quality waves to justify the five hour flight. Wave for quality wave, Blacks- Sunset- Church- arent as crowded as decent spots in the mid atlantic. Mission Beach, and the Pier at PB are mushier, more average waves (not all days - they do get fun but they seem weak a lot of the time) than a lot of what we deal with in the mid atlantic.
None of the reef spots are hard to find. Nothing out there is hard to find - especially fake racks on rollerblades. Crazy.
EDIT: i realize im talking about a big stretch of coast and driving up to an hour north to get to some of those spots. When i go our there i dont mind doing it. I've scored fun chest high Church with 5 people out on a random afternoon check. But theres something to be said for just posting up in PB like you said and surfing nearby. I should probably try it sometime. I drive way to much and have kind of grown immune to it.