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San Diego to San Francisco drive

2 travelers   /   driving   /   2 days



San Diego to San Francisco road trip planner

Here's a sample itinerary for a drive from San Diego to San Francisco. If you're planning a road trip to San Francisco, you can research locations to stop along the way. Find the best restaurants, hotels, and attractions based on the most talked about places recommended by Trippy members.

customize this trip
 Day 1

10:00 am  start in San Diego
drive for about 1.5 hours

11:16 am  Laguna Beach
eat at Javier's Restaurant - Newport Beach
stay for about 1.5 hours and leave at 12:46 pm
drive for about 1 hour

1:54 pm  Los Angeles
stay for about 2 hours and leave at 3:54 pm
drive for about 59 minutes

4:52 pm  Malibu
stay for about 1 hour and leave at 5:52 pm
drive for about 1 hour

7:07 pm  Santa Barbara
stay overnight at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara
leave the next day around 8:00 am

day 1 driving ≈ 4.5 hours
find more stops

 Day 2

8:00 am  leave from Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara
drive for about 1.5 hours

9:36 am  San Luis Obispo
stay for about 2.5 hours and leave at 12:06 pm
drive for about 2.5 hours

2:35 pm  Carmel
stay for about 1.5 hours and leave at 3:50 pm
drive for about 10 minutes

4:00 pm  Monterey
stay for about 2 hours and leave at 6:00 pm
drive for about 49 minutes

6:49 pm  Santa Cruz
stay for about 2 hours and leave at 8:49 pm
drive for about 1.5 hours

10:14 pm  arrive in San Francisco
stay at Top of the Mark

day 2 driving ≈ 6.5 hours
find more stops

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Enter a city to drive through on the way from San Diego to San Francisco.
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Where does my trip begin?

Your starting point is San Diego, California.

You can enter an exact street address if you want to get precise directions, but this is optional.




How many cars do we need?

Since there are only 2 travelers, we assume you're driving 1 car. You can adjust the number of people traveling at the top. We assume a maximum of 4 passengers per car, but you can change the number of cars to fit your situation.




Where should I stop along the way?

Laguna Beach  (60 answers)
    Crystal Cove State Park  (10 mentions)
    Balboa Island  (8 mentions)
    Balboa Island  (3 mentions)
    Victoria Beach  (3 mentions)
    Dana Point Harbor  (2 mentions)
    restaurants around Laguna Beach:
        Javier's Restaurant - Newport Beach
        Las Brisas
        Cafe Zoolu
        The Beachcomber Cafe
        Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa
    questions about Laguna Beach:
        Where to stay and non-surfing things to do in Laguna Beach
        What is your favorite restaurant in Laguna Beach?
Los Angeles  (563 answers)
    Santa Monica Pier  (70 mentions)
    Griffith Observatory  (63 mentions)
    Venice Beach Boardwalk  (62 mentions)
    Abbot Kinney  (56 mentions)
    Third Street Promenade  (55 mentions)
    restaurants around Los Angeles:
        Gjelina
        Perch
        Bottega Louie
        Grand Central Market
        Bestia
    questions about Los Angeles:
        Where are the top 5 places to see a celebrity in L.A.?
        What's your favorite burger in L.A?
        Free things to do in Los Angeles?
        What are the top 3 beaches in Los Angeles?
        Best restaurants in Los Angeles?
Malibu  (66 answers)
    Malibu Beach  (44 mentions)
    Zuma Beach  (22 mentions)
    Point Dume State Beach  (14 mentions)
    Malibu Country Mart  (12 mentions)
    El Matador State Beach  (12 mentions)
    restaurants around Malibu:
        Nobu Malibu
        Paradise Cove Cafe
        Malibu Seafood
        Geoffrey's Malibu
        Malibu Farm Cafe
    questions about Malibu:
        Places to eat in Malibu?
        Lunch recommendations near Getty Villa - Views? Kid Friendly?
        Wine tasting in Malibu?
Santa Barbara  (185 answers)
    Butterfly Beach  (7 mentions)
    Bacara Resort & Spa  (6 mentions)
    Hendry's Beach  (4 mentions)
    Stearns Wharf  (4 mentions)
    The Funk Zone  (4 mentions)
    restaurants around Santa Barbara:
        McConnell's Fine Ice Creams
        La Super-Rica Taqueria
        The Lark - Santa Barbara
        Boathouse at Hendry's Beach
        The Palace Grill
    hotels around Santa Barbara:
        Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara
        Isla Vista
        San Ysidro Ranch
        El Encanto Hotel
    questions about Santa Barbara:
        Favorite restaurants in Santa Barbara?
        Bachelorette Weekend Getaway in Santa Barbara
        Best Beach in Santa Barbara?
        24 hours in Santa Barbara, what do I have to see/eat/do?
        Santa Barbara wine country ideas?
San Luis Obispo  (119 answers)
    Bishop Peak  (4 mentions)
    San Luis Obispo Mission  (3 mentions)
    California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo  (3 mentions)
    Edna Valley  (2 mentions)
    F. McLintocks Saloon and Dining House  (2 mentions)
    restaurants around San Luis Obispo:
        Firestone Grill
        Novo Restaurant & Lounge
        Bello Mundo
        Splash Cafe
        Avila Valley Barn
    questions about San Luis Obispo:
        Exploring SLO in March to scout moving there - what should I check out?
        Lodging
        Where to stay outside of San Luis Obispo for Cal Poly graduation
        What is your favorite restaurant in San Luis Obispo?
Carmel  (103 answers)
    Monterey Bay Aquarium  (41 mentions)
    Pebble Beach  (21 mentions)
    Point Lobos  (9 mentions)
    Point Lobos State Reserve  (8 mentions)
    17-Mile Drive  (6 mentions)
    restaurants around Carmel:
        Passionfish
        Katy's Place
        Epsilon Fine Greek Restaurant
        Flaherty's Seafood Grill & Oyster Bar
        Sunset Lounge
    questions about Carmel:
        Favorite Restaurants & Wineries
        Luxurious but not pretentious hotels and any restaurant recommendations
Monterey  (165 answers)
    Monterey Bay Aquarium  (41 mentions)
    Pebble Beach  (21 mentions)
    Point Lobos  (9 mentions)
    Point Lobos State Reserve  (8 mentions)
    17-Mile Drive  (6 mentions)
    restaurants around Monterey:
        Passionfish
        Katy's Place
        Epsilon Fine Greek Restaurant
        Flaherty's Seafood Grill & Oyster Bar
        Sunset Lounge
    questions about Monterey:
        Restaurant recommendations for a large group dinner?
        What to do for a family outing in Monterey?
        Things to do with the kiddos besides the aquarium
        hotels in Monterey, CA
Santa Cruz  (82 answers)
    Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk  (20 mentions)
    Natural Bridges State Beach  (4 mentions)
    The Mystery Spot  (4 mentions)
    Santa Cruz Beach  (4 mentions)
    Seabright State Beach  (3 mentions)
    restaurants around Santa Cruz:
        Gayle's Bakery & Rosticceria
        Marianne's Ice Cream‎
    questions about Santa Cruz:
        Activities during reunion in santa cruz
        What are some must places to go to in Santa Cruz, CA
        Names of beaches that aren't so crowded
        Best Things To Do In Santa Cruz?
        Are there any good restaurants in Santa Cruz?




Where does my trip end?

Your final destination is San Francisco, California.

You can enter the exact street address of your destination, but this is optional.




Where's the best place to stay in San Francisco?

Are you going straight to a hotel, or looking for a vacation rental or Airbnb?

The best resource on neighborhoods, areas, and hotels is the Trippy page on where to stay in San Francisco.

You can also see most people recommend as the best amount of time to visit. Find out how many days in San Francisco to stay.

If you're looking for a quick answer, you can check out Top of the Mark, which was mentioned 13 times on Trippy.

Here are some more hotels people talk about:

Hotel Vitale  (8 mentions)
Cavallo Point  (4 mentions)

Want to research more popular hotels in San Francisco? Click the blue button below.






Where's the best place to eat in San Francisco?

Need some recommendations on somewhere to get food?

Trippy members suggest Ike's Place, which was mentioned 23 times.

Here are some more restaurants people talk about:

Swan Oyster Depot  (22 mentions)
Kokkari Estiatorio  (21 mentions)
Tartine bakery  (20 mentions)

Want to research more popular restaurants in San Francisco? Click the blue button below.






What are some things to do in San Francisco?

This section could be endless, so rather than trying to suggest every local activity or attraction, we'll leave it open-ended.

These are some of the places people talk about on Trippy:

Golden Gate Bridge  (130 mentions)
Golden Gate Park  (112 mentions)
Alcatraz  (85 mentions)
Fisherman's Wharf  (82 mentions)
Union Square  (79 mentions)

Of course, Trippy is the perfect place to ask questions because there's an entire community of travelers talking to each other and sharing tips and advice. Trippy is where you can get answers personalized for your tastes, budgets, trip dates & more!

For example, here are some questions people have asked about San Francisco. Click on any question to see answers from the community!

 Jessica Franco from asked:
Best seafood restaurant in S.F.?  (29 answers)

 Dina Romanov from Dallas asked:
What are the top 5 can't miss tourist attractions in S.F.?  (20 answers)

 Julie Griffin from Atlanta asked:
Best activities for kids  (19 answers)

 Valerie Sacksworth from Los Angeles asked:
What is your favorite restaurant in San Francisco?  (19 answers)

 harmony hunt from Marina Del Rey asked:
Any restaurant recommendations greatly appreciated for a girls trip  (17 answers)

Click the button below to explore more questions and answers related to San Francisco.






Do I really have to go back home?

Yes, even this step is optional, because if you're on vacation who wants the trip to end? It's okay, you can start planning your next trip!

Want to plan the trip back? Get the reverse directions for a San Francisco to San Diego drive, or go to the main page to plan a new road trip.

You can also compare the travel time if you're flying or driving by calculating the distance from San Diego to San Francisco. Or get a full San Diego to San Francisco flight plan.

Don't forget about exploring your own hometown with a staycation. You can also find some cool day trips or get away for a weekend. Maybe try typing in a faraway location like London, Hong Kong, or Sydney, and get inspired for your dream trip around the world.

And if you know San Diego well, please help your fellow travelers and answer their questions about San Diego!






Return to top of page
At a Glance
without making any stops
total driving distance is 501 miles
driving time of 7 hours, 34 minutes
San Francisco is the same time as San Diego
214 San Diego travel answers
60 Laguna Beach travel answers
563 Los Angeles travel answers
66 Malibu travel answers
185 Santa Barbara travel answers
119 San Luis Obispo travel answers
103 Carmel travel answers
165 Monterey travel answers
82 Santa Cruz travel answers
598 San Francisco travel answers





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