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How to travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco, United States

There are different ways to travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco. We all have our likes and dislikes for traveling. So, you choose how you want to go to San Francisco. We will explore the choices for traveling by bus, airplane, car, or train from la to san Francisco.

How far is San Francisco from LA?

The distance from San Francisco to Los Angeles is 382 miles or 560 kilometers.

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.

Tip: We offer detailed guides about United States transportation.

Transportation Options from Los Angeles to San Francisco

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

MethodTravel timePrice
Car Drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco~6 hours
Flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco~1 hour
Bus from Los Angeles to San Francisco8 hours 30 minutes
Rental Car7 hours

Getting to Los Angeles from San Francisco

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1. By Rental Car from Los Angeles to San Francisco

Journey Duration: ~6 hours

There are a lot of different ways to drive between Los Angeles and San Francisco, but here we will discuss the most common ways:

1. I-5 from Los Angeles to San Francisco

This route is nearly 382 miles from the city center to the city center and takes around six hours. I-5 is the fastest route to get to San Francisco but also boring.

2. US Highway 101 from Los Angeles to San Francisco

This route is nearly 430 miles long and follows the coast partway.

It will take you approximately 90 minutes more than the I-5. This highway is less stressful and more scenic.

Leave LA on Interstate 405 north to CA Hwy 14; then, you connect to US Hwy 395 north. Follow this path up the eastern side of Sierras to Lee Vining and Mono Lake.

Cross Yosemite National Park when Tioga Pass is open and head west to San Francisco.

If Tioga Pass isn’t open, go north to Lake Tahoe and then to San Francisco on Interstate 80.

How To Travel From San Jose To San Francisco2 1
©bluejayphoto via Canva.com

2. Flights from LAX to San Francisco

Journey Duration: ~1 hour

The flight time is nearly one hour; however, you must spare 1-2 hours to reach the airport early and to collect baggage once you arrive.

You will not be surprised that the flights between Los Angeles and San Francisco are quicker than the bus or train; however, the minor fare difference might be unexpected.

If you buy your tickets two weeks ahead of your travel time, you will only have to pay a little more for traveling by air than a train or bus fare.

If you travel alone, you should consider taking the flight rather than driving by car as gasoline gets expensive.

You can compare the prices of tickets for all airlines by using any fare comparison tool or website.

By doing this, you will discover many different options that will help you get from LAX to San Francisco for a reasonable price.

Los Angeles To San Francisco1

3. Bus from San Francisco to Los Angeles

Journey Duration: 8 hours 30 minutes

There are a lot of different buses to get to San Francisco from LA. Let’s explore all of our options:

  • Flixbus offers bus services to San Francisco from LA. They have stops at five locations on the Los Angeles end, including some on the Westside. You can go to Berkeley, Fremont, San Francisco (Townsend Street near CalTrain Station), San Jose, and Oakland.
  • A convenient shuttle bus service between Monterey Park and San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland, or Cupertino can also help you reach your destination. There is just one trip a day that leaves from each place in the morning. It usually takes nearly 8.5 hours to travel between these two locations.
  • The Megabus operates from LA Union Station to San Francisco CalTrain station, with fares as cheap as $1 if you book your seats in advance. The trip takes nearly 7.5 hours.
  • The California Shuttle Bus takes about 7.5 hours and offers picks up and drops off at numerous locations. You will get better prices if you reserve your tickets in advance.
How To Travel From San Diego To San Francisco United States2
©Sean Pavone via Canva.com

4. Los Angeles to San Francisco Train

Journey Duration: 7 hours

You might have heard about the high-speed rail system between San Diego and San Francisco; that project is unlikely ever to happen. However, you can travel using the usual Amtrak train.

The Amtrak Coast Starlight line is from LA’s Union Station to San Jose or Jack London Square in Oakland but doesn’t extend to San Francisco.

But they offer bus/train combos to help you get to San Francisco.

The trip using Amtrak from Los Angeles to Oakland is slightly more than eleven hours.

A number of the choices comprise long bus rides; in a few situations, you will need to change conveyances two times to get to the destination.

You can take an Amtrak train to San Jose and switch to Caltrain to reach San Francisco.

Los Angeles To San Francisco2

Conclusion

You can travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco by following the ways mentioned above.

But it is always better to explore other options as well. So, choose the best option after exploring all the possibilities because research is better than regret.

Los Angeles 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.

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.

Is there a direct train from Los Angeles to San Francisco?

Most of the time, there are 17 scheduled trains departing from Los Angeles. All of them, however, require you to get off your initial train and board a connecting one because they are not direct connections.

How much is a train ride from Los Angeles to San Francisco?

The train from Los Angeles to San Francisco will usually cost around USD 60.

Is it better to fly or drive from LA to San Francisco?

It is better to fly from Los Angeles to San Francisco rather than drive the distance by road. It is cost-effective and way more convenient.

How do I get from Los Angeles to San Francisco without a car?

You can catch a flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco, get on a bus or ride the train!

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

The journey from Los Angeles to San Francisco on US 101 takes about 7 hours, without making stops.

What is the cheapest way to get from Los Angeles to San Francisco?

The cheapest way to get from Los Angeles to San Francisco is by bus, which costs around USD 50.

What is the fastest way to get from Los Angeles to San Francisco?

The fastest way to get from Los Angeles to San Francisco is by catching a plane, which takes about 1 hour. 

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