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Santa Barbara to San Diego drive

driving   /   1 day   /   no pets   /   no RV

Santa Barbara to San Diego road trip planner

Here's a sample itinerary for a drive from Santa Barbara to San Diego. If you're planning a road trip to San Diego, 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

9:00 am  start in Santa Barbara
drive for about 30 minutes

9:30 am  Ventura
stay for about 1 hour
and leave at 10:30 am
drive for about 46 minutes

11:15 am  Malibu
eat at Nobu Malibu
stay for about 1 hour
and leave at 12:15 pm
drive for about 56 minutes

1:12 pm  Los Angeles
stay for about 2 hours
and leave at 3:12 pm
drive for about 38 minutes

3:50 pm  Disneyland
stay for about 1 hour
and leave at 4:50 pm
drive for about 1 hour

6:05 pm  Carlsbad (California)
stay for about 1 hour
and leave at 7:05 pm
drive for about 35 minutes

7:40 pm  La Jolla
stay for about 1 hour
and leave at 8:40 pm
drive for about 20 minutes

9:00 pm  arrive in San Diego
stay at Hotel Del Coronado

driving ≈ 5 hours


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Where should I stop along the way?

Ventura  (16 answers)
    Downtown Ventura  (2 mentions)
    C Street  (2 mentions)
    questions about Ventura:
        What to see, do & eat in Ventura, CA
        Romantic weekend events/entertainment

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
    hotels around Malibu:
        Malibu Beach Inn
    questions about Malibu:
        Places to eat in Malibu?
        Lunch recommendations near Getty Villa - Views? Kid Friendly?
        Wine tasting in Malibu?

Los Angeles  (612 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
    hotels around Los Angeles:
        Shutters On the Beach
        Hotel Erwin
        The Standard Downtown LA
        Ace Hotel Los Angeles
        The Huntley Hotel
    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?
        Area an hour away from LAX airport
        What are the top 3 beaches in Los Angeles?

Disneyland  (46 mentions)

Carlsbad (California)  (30 answers)
    Legoland  (8 mentions)
    Self-Realization Fellowship  (6 mentions)
    Swami's Beach  (5 mentions)
    San Elijo Lagoon  (3 mentions)
    The Flower Fields  (3 mentions)
    restaurants around Carlsbad (California):
        Swami's Cafe
        La Costa Resort & Spa
        Vivace
        PAON
        Vigilucci's Seafood & Steakhouse
    hotels around Carlsbad (California):
        Park Hyatt Aviara Resort
        Tamarack Beach Resort

La Jolla  (35 mentions)


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

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 Diego.

If you're looking for a quick answer, you can check out Hotel Del Coronado, which was mentioned 28 times on Trippy.

Here are some more hotels people talk about:

Glorietta Bay Inn  (2 mentions)

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




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

Need some recommendations on somewhere to get food?

Trippy members suggest The Prado at Balboa Park, which was mentioned 10 times.

Here are some more restaurants people talk about:

Hash House a-Go-Go  (10 mentions)
Extraordinary Desserts  (6 mentions)
Juniper & Ivy  (5 mentions)
Snooze, an A.M. Eatery  (5 mentions)

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




What are some things to do in San Diego?

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:

Balboa Park  (40 mentions)
San Diego Zoo  (25 mentions)
Mission Beach  (25 mentions)
Old Town San Diego  (16 mentions)
Ocean Beach  (16 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 Diego. Click on any question to see answers from the community!

profile  Claudia from asked:
LOCATION  (14 answers)

profile  Holly from Calgary asked:
Fun for a family with small children (NOT Disneyland!)  (11 answers)

profile  Lily from Los Angeles asked:
Restaurant & activities ideas for couples weekend getaway in San Diego  (8 answers)

profile  Beverly from San Luis Obispo asked:
Weekend road trip from LA to San Diego  (8 answers)

profile  Liv from Cape Cod asked:
Wondering which beach is better to stay at? Ocean Beach or Mission Beach?  (8 answers)

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




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 Diego to Santa Barbara drive, or go to the main page to plan a new road trip.

Looking for ideas for more destinations within driving distance of Santa Barbara? Try searching for places within 3.5 hours of Santa Barbara.

You can also compare the travel time if you're flying or driving by calculating the distance from Santa Barbara to San Diego. Or get a full Santa Barbara to San Diego 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 Santa Barbara well, please help your fellow travelers and answer their questions about Santa Barbara!





At a Glance
without making any stops
total driving distance is 218 miles
driving time of 3 hours, 27 minutes
189 Santa Barbara travel answers
16 Ventura travel answers
66 Malibu travel answers
612 Los Angeles travel answers
30 Carlsbad (California) travel answers
256 San Diego travel answers





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