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Gill
Auckland

Santa Barbara, Los Angeles

Santa Barbara proximity to Los Angeles airport?

Is Santa Barbara a good place to be, before heading to LAX airport for mid afternoon the next day? 


13 Answers

top answer by
Elizabeth

Gill, if you're coming all the way from New Zealand and have a chance to spend some time in Santa Barbara, do it!

Note that most of the people not recommending it are not from Los Angeles. They may be sad and negative because they don't live in Santa Barbara. That's understandable.

To make the travel between Santa Barbara and Los Angeles easier, I recommend the Santa Barbara Airbus. You can reserve a ticket from Santa Barbara to LAX online for less than $50 and travel in comfort right to your airport terminal. They can also help you determine which bus you should be on to make your flight if you tell them your departure time.

Even if you only have time for breakfast and a walk on the beach, you'll have had a nice morning. Maybe you'll see a dolphin. You can climb the stairs at the Santa Barbara Courthouse Docent Tours and enjoy the view of the red tile roofs of downtown and the mountains. 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Santa Barbara Courthouse Docent Tours (attraction)
5 thanks


answered by
Breanna from Los Angeles

As others mentioned, Santa Barbara isn't exactly easy for getting to LAX. Santa MonicaVenice BeachManhattan Beach are all great places to check out instead if you're really looking for the beach vibe, and very close to Los Angeles International Airport

If you're really hoping to get the wine country experience, try Malibu Wines - it's a bit farther than the beaches mentioned above, but the experience is spot on.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Santa Monica (city)
  2. Venice Beach (city)
  3. Manhattan Beach (city)
  4. Los Angeles International Airport (attraction)
  5. Malibu Wines (attraction)
4 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Kelsey from Los Angeles

Is it doable? Yes. Will it make your travel day a whole lot longer with little reward? Yes.  

Since your flight is mid afternoon and you will want to be at Los Angeles International Airport 2 hours before, that means you will need to leave Santa Barbara by late morning. Traffic probably won't be terrible at that time, but you can never be too sure. Taking all of that into account, you Won't have time to do much that day. Breakfast or an early morning walk on the beach will be all that you can fit in. 

If you're already going to be in SB the day before and you're wondering if you can reasonably make it to the airport, then yes. But if you're just adding SB to your itinerary at the last minute I'm not sure it will be worth it. If you're not going to have at least a full day in SB you would be better off making sure you're in LA for your last night.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Los Angeles International Airport (attraction)
  2. Santa Barbara (city)
3 thanks


answered by
Suzanne from Pasadena

Gill:

Everyone is correct. I don't know if your question is clear. Will you already be in Santa Barbara or are you looking for a quick day trip before you leave? The traffic is very unpredictable. If you want to spend one night near a beach before departing, you should take a look at Santa Monica and Venice Beach (they are very close to LAX). You could travel to Newport Beach a bit further or Laguna Beach which is the farthest I would travel. There are so many beautiful places much closer to LAX with great food and great weather. I love Santa Barbara, but a one day turnaround is not optimal. 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Santa Monica (city)
  2. Venice Beach (city)
2 thanks


answered by
Scott from San Francisco

This issue isn't whether Santa Barbara is a good place to be or not, it's a wonderful place to visit.  The issue is traffic.  There are so many areas where one can get stuck in horrible traffic on the route from SB to LAX that it's imprudent to plan on leaving SB and getting to LAX the same day - UNLESS one is leaving outside of the traffic jam time slots.  So if one leaves SB at let's say 10AM, or even 11AM then it's reasonable to assume one could get to LAX in 2 - 2.5 hours even if they hit traffic (with smooth sailing, it could be much shorter than that - google maps says it's one hour thirty five minutes with no traffic, but you just can not bank on that.  One accident on the freeway and could cost you 45 minutes or more.)  So the answer is totally dependent upon what time you must fly out of LAX.  Don't bother leaving SB after 2PM on a weekday, it's too risky.  If you had a midnight flight, you could leave SB at 7PM on a weekday, but again, it's pushing it a bit.  Weekends are different but the traffic can be worse in the valleys on the 101 depending upon the time.  So there isn't one great answer.  It all depends upon what time your flight leaves.  If it's a morning flight, leave SB at night and spend the night at a hotel by the airport.  If not, then understand that you can't leave SB before 10AM and after 1PM (until 7PM) without serious traffic jam risk, and even then add in an hour buffer time in case of unforeseen traffic.  While you're there, make sure to go to McConnell's Fine Ice Cream and Yogurtor McConnell's Fine Ice Creams for some of the best ice cream or house made soft serve frozen yogurt in the business.  And if you have time, on the way there from LA or back, you can stop at the outlets Camarillo Premium Outlets as they have some serious high end outlets that most outlet centers don't have.  


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. McConnell's Fine Ice Cream and Yogurt (attraction)
  2. McConnell's Fine Ice Creams (restaurant)
  3. Camarillo Premium Outlets (attraction)
2 thanks


answered by
Christine from Los Angeles

No, it's not a good place to be! Santa Barbara is great, but it's too far from LAX. You could spend the day in SB and head back to LA, spend the night in LA and fly out the next day. Traffic can be terrible on the freeway between SB and LA- it should be about 2 hours, but during rush hour, or if there's an accident- it could be 4 to 5 hours!


2 thanks


answered by
Fritzi from San Francisco

Not really. You could go to Crystal Cove State Park or Laguna Beach and have a great experience and be much closer to LAX with considerable less hassle to the airport. Santa Barbara is really far from Los Angeles International Airport. It is a wealthy beach community and if you spend time in Santa Monica or Venice you will get the idea of CA beach vibe. Skip Santa Barbara and do a few more things in LA.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Crystal Cove State Park (attraction)
  2. Laguna Beach (city)
  3. Santa Barbara (city)
  4. Los Angeles International Airport (attraction)
2 thanks


answered by
Devon

It should only take about 2 hours, with no traffic.  If you plan to make the drive the same day as a flight be sure to give yourself plenty of time for unexpected traffic on the 405 freeway in LA.


1 thanks


answered by
Kelly from Santa Monica

Santa Barbara is a nice place to visit however as everyone else mentioned there are nice beaches closer to airport like Orange County, Venice Beach and Santa Barbara. You also never know what traffic will be like. If driving from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles International Airport I would allow 2.5 hours at least to be safe.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Santa Barbara (city)
  2. Orange County (metro area)
  3. Venice Beach (city)
  4. Los Angeles International Airport (attraction)
1 thanks


answered by
Alessio from Pisa, Italy

If you can spend a day in Santa Barbara I would highly recommend it (and gave you details in my other answer), but if you are already in Los Angeles and need to leave in the afternoon, then go to the Santa Monica Pier and walk by the beach to Venice. It will be pretty and colorful. Once in Venice make sure to see the Venice Canals Walkway. If you want a nice breakfast with your feet in the sand I recommend going to Paradise Cove Cafe in Malibu.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Santa Monica Pier (attraction)
  2. Venice Canals Walkway (attraction)
  3. Paradise Cove Cafe (restaurant)


answered by
Andreas from Sandviken, Sweden

You should assume ~2 hours of driving to get to LAX by the I-101.

Here are Directions




answered by
Heather Ann from Stamford, Connecticut

Santa Barbara is FAR from LAX -  there is a small airport in Santa Barbara and it has a Puddle Jumper to LAX - but you wont make your flight driving from Santa Barbara to LAX mid day - -airport in Santa Barbara and it has a puddle jumper


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Santa Barbara (city)


answered by
Alex from Santa Barbara

It's about a 2 hour drive from SB to LAX.






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