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How to travel from San Diego to San Francisco, United States

Do you want to travel from San Diego to San Francisco? Find here the best travel options from San Diego to San Francisco, USA.

San Francisco is the cultural hub of Northern California. The city displays a laid-back vibe and is home to the well-known Golden Gate Bridge, the best cafes and galleries, and the freshest seafood at Fisherman’s Wharf.

Tip: We offer detailed guides about transportation in the US.

Universal Traveller recommends the following websites to plan & book your trip

  • Get Your Guide helps you find the best tours wherever you are heading to.

How far is San Francisco from San Diego?

The distance from San Diego to San Francisco is 501.8 miles or 807.6 kilometers.

Transportation Options from San Diego to San Francisco

The following table outlines all transportation options from San Diego to San Francisco:

MethodTravel timePrice
Flight from San Diego to San Francisco1 hour 30 minutes
Car Drive from San Diego to San Francisco8 hours 30 minutes
Train from San Diego to San Francisco12 hours
Bus from San Diego to San Francisco~11 hours
How To Travel From San Diego To San Francisco United States2
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How to get from San Diego to San Francisco

Protect your trip: With all our travel experience, we highly recommend you hit the road with travel insurance. SafetyWing offers flexible & reliable Digital Nomads Travel Medical Insurance at just a third of the price of similar competitor plans.

1. Flight San Diego San Francisco

Journey Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

The total flight time between these two cities is nearly one and a half hours. It is a fast way to travel between San Diego and San Francisco, even if you add some check-in and baggage clearance hours.

Southwest Airlines is a popular option for this trip, with no baggage fee and no change fees. You’ll get the lowest rates if you reserve at least a couple of weeks ahead of time, but you’ll have to go to their website to do it – they don’t participate in other websites’ fare searches.

For all other airlines, you can compare airfares using, for example, Tripadvisor or Skyscanner. You can identify the flights using the three-letter codes: SFO for San Francisco and SAN for San Diego.

How To Travel From San Jose To San Francisco2 1
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2. San Diego to San Francisco Drive by car

Journey Duration: 8 hours 30 minutes

The distance between San Diego and San Francisco is nearly 500 miles. So, if you are lucky enough to find no traffic jams, it will take you around 8.5 hours to get there.

The California freeways have so many options to travel between San Diego and Los Angeles that it would take you the same time to select a route as it would take to drive it. I’ve made this trip many times and can help you narrow down the options to just a couple.

If you want to travel this long journey from San Diego in one day, you must reach Los Angeles as fast as possible.

Most online mapping sites will route you through Los Angeles on Interstate Highway 5, but that freeway can be frustratingly jammed up, adding more than an hour to your trip, even when it isn’t rush hour.

Traffic jams can happen anytime on any road, so it’s best to check the current traffic situation to ensure it’s the optimum route. If you don’t have a mobile device that provides traffic info, Los Angeles radio station KNX 1070 has frequent traffic updates.

Where Is San Francisco Located2
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3. San Diego to San Francisco Train

Journey Duration: 12 hours

The high-speed train system between San Diego and San Francisco that you might have heard about is doubtful ever to happen.

There is no path from Sacramento to San Diego; however, you can travel on the Amtrak train.

The train goes from San Diego’s Santa Fe Depot through Los Angeles and north. But it doesn’t go all the way into the city of San Francisco.

Instead, the train goes to Oakland, across the San Francisco Bay Area.

If you select this route for travel, Amtrak will take you from Oakland to San Francisco by bus.

A more practical option is to get off Amtrak in the center of San Jose, where you can take the CalTrain train that goes directly to San Francisco.

Traveling from San Diego to San Francisco takes just over 12 hours by train.

How To Travel From San Diego To San Francisco1

4. San Diego to San Francisco Bus

Journey Duration: ~11 hours

The Greyhound buses travel from San Diego to LA. Expect many stops, each lasting ten minutes to an hour. The fastest time is slightly more than eleven hours, and fares are somewhat less than flying.

Once you get to Los Angeles, you’ll have more options, including a couple of luxury buses.

How To Travel From San Diego To San Francisco3

Best day tours in San Francisco

Get Your Guide helps you find the best tours wherever you are heading to. It’s usually the first website I check when I plan a trip to a new place.

The following widget shows some of the best tours in San Francisco.

How To Travel From San Diego To San Francisco2

Frequently Asked Questions

Protect your trip: With all our travel experience, we highly recommend you hit the road with travel insurance. SafetyWing offers flexible & reliable Digital Nomads Travel Medical Insurance at just a third of the price of similar competitor plans.

How much does it cost to take a train from San Diego to San Francisco?

The train from San Diego to San Francisco usually costs around USD 86.

Is there a direct train from San Diego to San Francisco?

No, there isn’t a direct train between San Diego and San Francisco.

How much is a bus from San Diego to San Francisco?

On average, a bus ticket from San Diego to San Francisco costs around USD 81.

How long is a car ride from San Diego to San Francisco?

The drive from San Diego to San Francisco will take at least 8 hours if you drive directly, not counting stops.

Can you fly to San Francisco from San Diego?

There are daily nonstop flights from San Diego to San Francisco, so flying is always an option.

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