When planning a road trip, there are many things to consider – like how far the drive is, how long it will take, and where to stop along the way. If you’re looking to go from San Diego to Santa Barbara, here’s what you need to know about the distance, drive hours, and best route to get there.
J.D. Power ranks Hertz as the best car rental company in North America, and for good reason. Their focus on customer satisfaction means you’ll have a great time renting from them – from start to finish.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car has locations all over the world, so they’re bound to have one close by. Plus, they offer a wide selection of cars – from economy to luxury – so you can find the perfect ride for your trip.
Fox Rent-A-Car is the perfect solution for budget-minded travelers. They offer low rates on all of our vehicles, so you can hit the open road without breaking the bank.
* With Expedia member prices, you could save 10% or more right now on thousands of cars.
San Diego to Santa Barbara Distance: How far is San Diego from Santa Barbara?
The distance from San Diego to Santa Barbara is about 218 miles (350.8 kilometers).
If you’re driving, it will take you around 4 hours to get there without stops. Of course, if you’re planning on making any stops along the way (which we recommend), it will take longer about an hour longer (depending on the traffic).
San Diego to Santa Barbara Drive Hours
The drive from San Diego to Santa Barbara will take you about 4 hours if you’re planning on driving straight through.
However, we recommend making a few stops along the way so that you can stretch your legs, grab a bite to eat, and explore some of the great attractions that California has to offer.
What is the time difference between San Diego and Santa Barbara?
There is no time difference between San Diego and Santa Barbara. Both cities are in the Pacific Time Zone.
San Diego to Santa Barbara – Fastest Route
The fastest route from San Diego to Santa Barbara is via the I-5 N and US-101 N freeways. This route will take you about four hours without stops. You’ll get to the I-5 N, and then take that all the way up till you get to the cross-section with the US-101 N, then exit to the US-101 N freeway and take it all the way into Santa Barbara.
San Diego to Santa Barbara – Best Route
The best route from San Diego to Santa Barbara is via the US-101 N freeway. This route will take you a bit longer than the fastest route (about half an hour), but it’s much more scenic. You’ll get to drive outside of downtown LA and avoid most of the traffic. Plus, you’ll get to see some beautiful coastlines as you drive up the Pacific Coast Highway.
The Cheapest Way to Get from San Diego to Santa Barbara
The cheapest way to get from San Diego to Santa Barbara is by bus. You can take a Greyhound bus for as little as $30 one-way. The downside is that the ride will take you about six hours, so it’s not the most time-efficient option.
Another cost-effective way is to rent a car and split the cost with friends or family. This will end up being cheaper than taking a bus, and you’ll have the freedom to make stops along the way and see some sights.
Denver to Phoenix Drive – Rent A Car In San Diego
Here are rental car companies to rent a car from in San Diego:
- Alamo: starts at $87 per day
- Avis: starts at $57 per day
- Budget: starts at $57 per day
- Enterprise: starts at $42 per day
- Hertz: starts at $54 per day
- Thrifty: starts at $52 per day
- Dollar: starts at $42 per day
San Diego to Santa Barbara – Driving Stops Along The Way
Here are some stops that you can make along the way when driving from San Diego to Santa Barbara:
- California Legoland
- San Clemente
- Crystal Cove
- International Surfing Museum
- Queen Mary Anchored Cruiseliner
- Long Beach Harbour Cruise
- Venice Beach
- Santa Monica Pier
- Hollywood’s Walk of Fame
- In-N-Out Burger in Los Angeles
- The Comedy Store, Los Angeles
- Beverly Hills
- Malibu Surfrider Beach
- Point Dume
- Zuma Beach
- Malibu Wine Country
- Channel Islands National Park
- Santa Barbara winery
#1 California Legoland
California Legoland is one of the most popular tourist attractions in California. It’s a great place to stop if you’re traveling with kids (or if you’re a kid at heart). There are over 60 rides, shows, and attractions, as well as a water park.
Address: One Legoland Dr., Carlsbad, CA
Hours: Monday – Friday 10AM – 5PM, Saturday 10AM – 9PM, Sunday 10AM – 6PM
Price: Varies by season, but generally starts at $90 per person.
#2 San Clemente
San Clemente is a beautiful beach town in Orange County. It’s known for its surf culture and unique Spanish Colonial Revival architecture. There are also a number of great restaurants and shops. Alongside the beach, there’s also a pier and a playground.
#3 Crystal Cove
The Crystal Cove Historic District is a part of the beautiful and historic state park located in Newport Beach, California. This area has been listed on the National Register for its significance to early Americans as well as being an excellent example of mid-century modern architecture with many innovative designs from renowned architects like Frank Lloyd Wright or Walter Gropius
It is known for its tide pools and beautiful beaches. It’s a great place to go hiking, swimming, or just to relax.
#4 International Surfing Museum
The International Surfing Museum is located in Huntington Beach, California. It’s a great place to learn about the history of surfing and see some iconic surfboards. The museum also has a number of programs and events throughout the year.
Address: 411 Olive Ave., Huntington Beach, CA
Hours: Thursday to Sunday: 11AM – 5AM
#5 Queen Mary Anchored Cruiseliner
The Queen Mary is a retired ocean liner that is now permanently docked in Long Beach, California. It’s a popular tourist attraction with a number of restaurants, bars, shops, and museums onboard. You can also take guided tours of the ship.
Address: 1126 Queens Hwy, Long Beach, CA 90802, United States
Hours: 10AM – 5PM
#6 Long Beach Harbour Cruise
The Long Beach Harbour Cruise is a great way to see the city from the water. The cruise lasts about an hour and gives you views of the skyline, the Queen Mary, and other landmarks. You can also enjoy some refreshing drinks onboard.
Address: 100 Aquarium Way Dock #2, Long Beach, CA 90802, United States
Hours: Monday-Sunday 9AM – 6PM
#7 Venice Beach
Venice Beach is a world-famous beach in Los Angeles. It’s known for its canals, Muscle Beach, street performers, and eclectic shops. There’s also a boardwalk where you can go people-watching or grab a bite to eat.
Address: Venice, Los Angeles, CA
Hours: 24 hours
#8 Santa Monica Pier
The Santa Monica Pier is a historic pier located in Santa Monica, California. It’s home to a number of shops, restaurants, and attractions, including an amusement park and an aquarium. The pier also has a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean.
Address: 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401, United States
Hours: Monday-Sunday 6AM – 10PM
#9 Hollywood’s Walk of Fame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a world-famous sidewalk located in Hollywood, California. It’s home to over 2500 stars, which have been placed there to honor celebrities from the entertainment industry. The Walk of Fame is a great place to take a selfie or two.
Address: 6901 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028, United States
Hours: 24 hours
#10 In-N-Out Burger in Los Angeles
In-N-Out Burger is a popular fast food chain located in Los Angeles, California. The chain is known for its fresh burgers and fries, as well as its secret menu items. In-N-Out Burger is a great place to go if you’re looking for a quick and tasty meal.
Address: various locations throughout Los Angeles
Hours: varies by location, but typically Monday-Sunday 11AM-11PM or 12AM
#11 The Comedy Store, Los Angeles
The Comedy Store is a comedy club located in Los Angeles, California. It’s a popular spot for stand-up comedians and has featured some of the biggest names in comedy, including Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, and Amy Schumer. The Comedy Store is a great place to go for a night of laughs.
Address: 8433 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069, United States
Hours: varies by event, but typically Monday-Sunday shows open at 7PM and closes at 2AM
#12 Beverly Hills
Beverly Hills is a wealthy city located in Los Angeles County, California. It’s known for its luxury shops, upscale restaurants, and celebrity residents. Beverly Hills is a great place to window shop or people watch.
#13 Malibu Surfrider Beach
Malibu Surfrider Beach is a popular beach located in Malibu, California. It’s known for its great surfing conditions and beautiful views. The beach is also a great place to relax, go for a swim, or catch some rays.
Address: 23200 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265
#14 Point Dume
Point Dume is a beautiful beach located near Malibu, California. It’s known for its dramatic cliffs, stunning views, and whale watching. The beach is also a great place to go for a hike or a swim.
Address: Cliffside Dr &, Birdview Ave, Malibu, CA 90265, United States
#15 Zuma Beach
Zuma Beach is another beautiful beach located in Malibu, California. It’s known for its long stretches of sand, stunning views, and great surfing conditions. The beach is also a great place to go for a swim or a walk.
Address: 30050 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265, United States
#16 Malibu Wine Tours
Malibu Wine Country is a beautiful region located in Malibu, California. It’s known for its vineyards, wineries, and stunning views. The region is also a great place to go for a hike or a picnic.
Address: 32111 Mulholland Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265, United States
Hours: Wedensday – Monday 10am–5pm
Ventura is a city located in Ventura County, California. It’s known for its beaches, restaurants, and proximity to Los Angeles. Ventura is a great place to go for a day trip or a weekend getaway.
#18 Channel Islands National Park
Channel Islands National Park is a national park located off the coast of Ventura, California. You can get there by boat or plane. The park is known for its beautiful beaches, hiking trails, and wildlife. Channel Islands National Park is a great place to go for a nature hike or a day of fishing.
Address: Ventura, CA 93001, United States
#19 Santa Barbara winery
The Santa Barbara Winery is a winery located in Santa Barbara, California. It’s known for its beautiful grounds, delicious wines, and stunning views. The winery is also a great place to go for a tour or a wine tasting.
Address: 202 Anacapa St, Santa Barbara, CA 93121-300
Hours: Monday – Sunday 11AM – 6PM
San Diego to Santa Barbara is a beautiful drive with plenty of things to see and do along the way. From world-famous beaches to historic landmarks, there’s something for everyone. The best route takes you through some of California’s most iconic locations, including Los Angeles, Venice Beach, Santa Monica Pier, and Malibu. Whether you’re looking for a day trip or a weekend getaway, this drive is the perfect way to explore California. Thanks for reading! Safe travels!