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San Francisco to Santa Barbara via Santa Cruz

driving   /   2 days   /   no pets   /   no RV

San Francisco to Santa Barbara road trip planner

Here's a sample itinerary for a drive from San Francisco to Santa Barbara. If you're planning a road trip to Santa Barbara, you can research locations to stop along the way. Make sure you check road conditions to double check the weather. Traveling with a dog or cat? Find pet-friendly stops. Camping along the way? Search for RV campgrounds. Find the best hotels, restaurants, and attractions based on the most talked about places recommended by Trippy members.

customize this trip
 Day 1

11:00 am  start in San Francisco
drive for about 1.5 hours

12:25 pm  Santa Cruz
stay overnight and leave the next day around 10:00 am

day 1 driving ≈ 1.5 hours
find more stops

 Day 2

10:00 am  leave from Santa Cruz
drive for about 3 hours

12:46 pm  San Luis Obispo
eat at Firestone Grill
stay for about 3 hours
and leave at 3:46 pm
drive for about 1 hour

4:56 pm  Solvang
stay for about 1 hour
and leave at 5:56 pm
drive for about 43 minutes

6:38 pm  arrive in Santa Barbara
eat at McConnell's Fine Ice Creams
stay at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara

day 2 driving ≈ 4.5 hours

drive this trip in  


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Where should I stop along the way?

Santa Cruz  (85 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
        Are there any good restaurants in Santa Cruz?
        Names of beaches that aren't so crowded
        Best Things To Do In Santa Cruz?

San Luis Obispo  (122 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:
        Lodging
        Exploring SLO in March to scout moving there - what should I check out?
        What is your favorite restaurant in San Luis Obispo?
        Where to stay outside of San Luis Obispo for Cal Poly graduation

Solvang  (46 answers)
    Firestone Vineyard  (3 mentions)
    Fess Parker Winery  (3 mentions)
    R Country Market  (2 mentions)
    Blackjack Ranch  (2 mentions)
    Saarloos And Sons Tasting Room  (2 mentions)
    restaurants around Solvang:
        Los Olivos Wine Merchant Cafe
        Olsen's Danish Village Bakery & Coffee Shop
        Industrial Eats
        Panino
        Petros
    questions about Solvang:
        What to do in Solvang... good places to stay, eat, etc.


Where's the best place to stay in Santa Barbara?

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 Santa Barbara.

If you're looking for a quick answer, you can check out Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, which was mentioned 15 times on Trippy.

Here are some more hotels people talk about:

Isla Vista  (2 mentions)
San Ysidro Ranch  (2 mentions)
El Encanto Hotel  (2 mentions)

Want to research more popular hotels in Santa Barbara? Click the blue button below.




Where's the best place to eat in Santa Barbara?

Need some recommendations on somewhere to get food?

Trippy members suggest McConnell's Fine Ice Creams, which was mentioned 5 times.

Here are some more restaurants people talk about:

La Super-Rica Taqueria  (5 mentions)
The Palace Grill  (4 mentions)

Want to research more popular restaurants in Santa Barbara? Click the blue button below.




What are some things to do in Santa Barbara?

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:

Butterfly Beach  (7 mentions)
Bacara Resort & Spa  (6 mentions)
Hendry's Beach  (4 mentions)
Stearns Wharf  (4 mentions)
The Funk Zone  (4 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 Santa Barbara. Click on any question to see answers from the community!

profile  Veronica from San Francisco asked:
Favorite restaurants in Santa Barbara?  (9 answers)

profile  Kay from Vermont asked:
Bachelorette Weekend Getaway in Santa Barbara  (6 answers)

profile  Darren from Jersey City asked:
Best Beach in Santa Barbara?  (5 answers)

profile  Stephanie from Venice Beach asked:
24 hours in Santa Barbara, what do I have to see/eat/do?  (5 answers)

profile  Valerie from asked:
How far from santa barbara to palm springs and PS to Phoenix?  (1 answer)

Click the button below to explore more questions and answers related to Santa Barbara.




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 Santa Barbara to San Francisco 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 Francisco to Santa Barbara. Or get a full San Francisco to Santa Barbara 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 Francisco well, please help your fellow travelers and answer their questions about San Francisco!





At a Glance
without making any stops
total driving distance is 332 miles
driving time of 5 hours, 26 minutes
630 San Francisco travel answers
85 Santa Cruz travel answers
122 San Luis Obispo travel answers
46 Solvang travel answers
189 Santa Barbara travel answers





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