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Distance between San Diego and Santa Barbara

Driving non-stop from San Diego to Santa Barbara

How far is Santa Barbara from San Diego? Here's the quick answer if you are able to make this entire trip by car without stopping.

Nonstop drive: 218 miles or 351 km

Driving time: 3 hours, 27 minutes

Realistically, you'll probably want to add a buffer for rest stops, gas, or food along the way. To get a better idea of how long this trip would really be, scroll down to calculate how many hours it would take if you drive with stops.

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Flying non-stop from San Diego to Santa Barbara

Now let's assume you have a private jet and you can fly in the fastest possible straight line between San Diego, California and Santa Barbara, California. Because of the curvature of the Earth, the shortest distance is actually the "great circle" distance, or "as the crow flies" which is calculated using an iterative Vincenty formula.

Flight distance: 188 miles or 302 km

Flight time: 53 minutes

The straight line flight distance is 30 miles less than driving on roads, which means the driving distance is roughly 1.2x of the flight distance.

Your plane flies much faster than a car, so the flight time is about 1/4th of the time it would take to drive.

This is a relatively short flight in a private plane, but you might be planning to book a commercial flight. In that case, your travel time would really need to include how many minutes to get to your local airport, wait for security, board and taxi on the runway, land at the other airport, and get to your destination. Scroll down to see a more realistic calculation that takes into account all these factors to get a more accurate estimate of your actual flight time.

San Diego to Santa Barbara road trip

Let's say you're actually planning a road trip to Santa Barbara, and you want to stop on the way to explore. If it's a real road trip, you might want to check out interesting places along the way, or maybe eat at a great restaurant. That's what Trippy is perfect for, helping you figure out travel plans in detail.

Road trip: 1 day of driving

With the full itinerary planned out, we can estimate your total travel time for this trip.

Travel time: 5 hours on the road


Start in San Diego.

Drive for about 36 minutes, then stop in Carlsbad (California) and stay for about 1 hour. Next, drive for another 51 minutes then stop in Laguna Beach and stay for 1 hour. Drive for 1 hour then stop in Los Angeles and stay for 2 hours. Drive for 59 minutes then stop in Malibu and stay for 1 hour. Drive for 47 minutes then stop in Ventura and stay for 1 hour.

Finally, drive for about 29 minutes and arrive in Santa Barbara.

To see all the details on this itinerary, including recommended restaurants, hotels, and things to do along the way, check out the full road trip planner:

San Diego to Santa Barbara airports and flights

In the quick calculation above, we assumed you had a private plane and just wanted to know the time in the air from city to city. But for most of us, we're going to be flying on a commercial airline (whether it's first class or coach). So that means we really need to account for all the extra travel time getting to the airport, waiting for our flight, and making it to the destination.

To give you a better estimate of real-life travel, we've put together a flight itinerary with actual airports. Eventually you'll be able to customize this plan, choosing your own airports and flights. But for now, here's an example we've selected to give you an idea of how traveling might work between airports.

Departure airport: San Diego International Airport (SAN)

Arrival airport: Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (SBA)

With the airports selected, we can estimate the travel time to and from the airport, based on how far the airport is from downtown.

Getting to the airport: 7 minutes

Getting to your destination: 25 minutes

Now finally, let's look at an actual flight from SAN connecting through PDX and arriving at SBA flying on Alaska Airlines. We can figure out how long it would take to fly including take-off and landing, time to taxi on the runways, and an average layover time of about 2 hours.

Initial flight time: 2 hours, 28 minutes

Connecting airport: Portland International Airport (PDX)

Connection flight time: 2 hours, 6 minutes

So now we can finally get an idea of the total travel time from San Diego to Santa Barbara including time spent getting to and from the airports, roughly 2 hours at the departure airport for TSA security lines and waiting at the gate, plus the connecting flight with a 2-hour layover.

Total travel time: 9 hours

To see the details on this flight plan, including recommended airports, airline, and route, check out the flight planner:

Plan a trip to Santa Barbara

Trippy has a ton of information that can help you plan your trip to Santa Barbara, California. Start by reading the Trippy page on where to stay in Santa Barbara. If you're looking for a place to stay, you might want to check out Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara. A great place to eat might be McConnell's Fine Ice Creams. Trippy members can suggest things to do in Santa Barbara like Butterfly Beach. Check out some of the questions people have asked about Santa Barbara like Favorite restaurants in Santa Barbara?. Click the button below to explore Santa Barbara in detail.

How far is it the other way?

The distance is the same either way if you're flying a straight line (or driving the same roads back and forth). But for a real trip, there can be plenty of differences so go ahead and check the reverse directions to get the distance from Santa Barbara to San Diego, or go to the main page to calculate the distance between cities.

If you happen to know San Diego, don't forget to help other travelers and answer some questions about San Diego!

At a Glance
without making any stops
total driving distance is 218 miles
driving time of 3 hours, 27 minutes
flight distance is 188 miles
flight time of 53 minutes
256 San Diego travel answers
189 Santa Barbara travel answers

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