Trains from Santa Barbara to San Diego

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Santa Barbara - San Diego Train Schedule

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Trip Summary

There are 8 daily trains from Santa Barbara to San Diego. Traveling by train from Santa Barbara to San Diego usually takes around 8 hours and 31 minutes, but the fastest Amtrak train can make the trip in 5 hours and 56 minutes.

Distance188 mi (302 km)
Fastest train5h 56m
Lowest price$56.51
Trains per day6
Most frequent serviceAmtrak
Train lines2

Price trends for trains from Santa Barbara to San Diego

Average prices by travel date

$77$51$26AugAug

Monthly average prices

$96$77$58$38$19SONDJFMAMJJA

Prices as travel date approaches

$96$77$58$38$193020100

Which train should you take from Santa Barbara to San Diego?

2 train services operate from Santa Barbara to San Diego. Amtrak usually has more trains scheduled, with 7 trips per day. That said, it's still worth comparing the prices and trip durations:

TrainDaily TripsAvg. TimeAvg. Price
Amtrak78h 57m$69.05
Amtrak Pacific Surfliner16h 8m$56.79
  • Amtrak

    Amtrak

    Amtrak is the largest passenger railroad service in America, offering daily intercity trains to hundreds of destinations across the contiguous United States, as well as several cities in Canada. Every Amtrak train comes equipped with comfortable seats with extra legroom, as well as several four-seat areas with tables in the middle. In addition, each car has a freshly cleaned restroom, free WiFi and power outlets at every seat. There are also snack bars where you can purchase drinks or food during your journey. On average, there are 7 Amtrak trains from Santa Barbara to San Diego every day, as well as 21 trips on the weekends, with prices starting from $57.

  • Amtrak Pacific Surfliner

    Amtrak Pacific Surfliner

    The Pacific Surfliner is Amtrak’s passenger train service that runs along the Pacific coast of Southern California, connecting San Luis Obispo to the north with San Diego to the south. The line is among the most famous Amtrak routes due to the unique scenic views it presents, as the train parallels the coastline for large portions of the 268-mile railroad stretch. The Pacific Surfliner offers first-class amenities like onboard restrooms, free WiFi, seats with extra legroom and power outlets, as well as storage racks for surfboards. On average, the service offers 1 train trips from Santa Barbara to San Diego every day, and prices for a one-way train ticket start from $57.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to travel by train from Santa Barbara to San Diego during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Our train partners have implemented several different policies to keep you safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. From limiting vehicle capacity to enhancing cleaning protocols and upgrading air filters, train carriers are committed to maintaining a safe environment. For details on what each company is doing to ensure their fleet remains safe for travel, click here.

In addition, federal law requires all train passengers to wear a face covering for the entire duration of the trip. Please make sure you are wearing a face mask or you may not be allowed to board the train.

Please visit our COVID-19 Travel Guide for more information on all carrier policies and the latest travel advisories issued by every U.S. state, Canadian province, and European country.

Can you take a train all the way from Santa Barbara to San Diego?

Yes, there are trains that can take you the entire way from Santa Barbara to San Diego. However, there are also some trips on this route that require you to board another vehicle, such as a bus or a shuttle, during your journey. This is worth paying attention to as you book your trip, since a direct train may be preferable for its speed and convenience.

How long is the train journey from Santa Barbara to San Diego?

The distance between Santa Barbara and San Diego is approximately 188 miles, or 302 kilometers. The average train journey between these two cities takes 8 hours and 31 minutes, although the absolute fastest you could get there is 5 hours and 56 minutes.

Looking for ways to pass the time? Most trains are equipped with Wi-Fi, which means you can stream music, browse social media or get some work done during your ride. That said, in case your train has a spotty signal, or is among the few without Wi-Fi, we also recommend downloading TV shows and movies to your mobile device in advance of your trip. That way the ride will fly by whatever the Wi-Fi situation.

When are trains the most crowded?

Trains departing from Santa Barbara to San Diego tend to have the most passengers on Friday. With higher demand ticket prices also tend to be higher on Friday. If you are trying to snag a cheap train tickets or just want an emptier train you'll have better luck by booking travel departing on Wednesday as the least number of people tend to travel then.

When are the first and last trains of the day?

The earliest train departs Santa Barbara at 12:00am while the last train of the day leaves at 11:00pm. To see all scheduled departure times, use the search function on this page to get the full schedule for your specific travel dates.

Is there a direct train from Santa Barbara to San Diego?

There are 8 scheduled trains on most days. 6 of these are direct connections to San Diego. While direct trains may still make stops along the way, you will not need to switch trains at any point. If you're looking to get to your destination faster, a direct train is the convenient and time-efficient choice.

You can also take a train for your return trip from San Diego to Santa Barbara.

City Information

Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is a major travel destination along the southern coast of California. Dramatically situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains, Santa Barbara offers incomparable scenery with a comfortably warm climate year-round. White stucco buildings with Mediterranean-style architecture, gorgeous beaches, and upscale local cuisine give Santa Barbara the nickname "The American Riviera."

There are many kinds of vacations to enjoy in Santa Barbara. You can spend days on the soft sand of Leadbetter Beach, surfing in the swells at Rincon Point, or shopping for trinkets along Stearns Wharf. Or embrace the area's history by visiting the Mission Santa Barbara, a Spanish mission founded in 1786. Highlights from the mission include Spanish architecture, a rose garden, a museum, and even crypts.

Santa Barbara Airport, only a few miles from downtown, serves passengers to the region. Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner stops in Santa Barbara on its way from San Diego to San Luis Obispo, with plenty of connections to other SoCal hotspots. Intercity buses, including FlixBus, offer routes from Santa Barbara to destinations like L.A., San Diego, and Las Vegas.

San Diego

San Diego is known as "America's Finest City" for its sunny weather, white-sand beaches, and dazzling attractions from Belmont Park to SeaWorld. San Diego's 70 miles of pristine beaches include such gems as Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, La Jolla Cove, and Coronado Beach. The city's strong surfing culture may even inspire you to rent a surfboard and catch the epic waves, bro.

Visitors can spend days getting lost in Balboa Park, a 1,200-acre cultural hub which features 16 museums, immaculate gardens, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo. The historic heart of the city, Old Town, showcases San Diego's heritage and ties to Mexican culture, while other sights like the USS Midway pay tribute to the city's military and maritime history. Leave time for some evening exploring, too! San Diego is rated the #1 best city for craft beer in America, so don't miss out on the bars in the Gaslamp Quarter: 16 walkable blocks packed with nightlife and young crowds.

Two airports, as well as many bus and train options, mean it is easy to get to San Diego from afar or from nearby cities like Tijuana, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.

Station Information

Where is the train station in Santa Barbara?

Main departure station: 209 State Street

Because some trains make multiple stops before leaving the city, there are 15 stops and stations in Santa Barbara where you can board the train.

All train stations in Santa Barbara:

  • 209 State Street

  • Salesforce Plaza

  • Diridon Caltrain Station - 65 Cahill St

  • 1011 Railroad Ave

  • 1 Grand Avenue, Building 113

  • 245 Second St

  • 11 Station Pl

  • Intermodal Station - 800 Pine St

  • 5885 Horton St

  • Santa Maria Bus Stop

  • BART Station - 1700 Nevin Ave

  • 180 W Grand Ave

  • 601 Marina Vista Ave

  • 700 University Ave under University Ave overpass W of 4th St

  • Valley Station - 401 I St

Where is the train station in San Diego?

San Diego, CA - Santa Fe Depot (1050 Kettner Blvd) - SANAMT2-0

Image credit: Doug Letterman

Link to image attribution

Main arrival station: Santa Fe Depot - 1050 Kettner Blvd

The Santa Fe Depot is the main train station in San Diego and one of the end points of the Pacific Surfliner, the only Amtrak train line that serves the city. The station is also used by the Green Line of the San Diego Trolley light rail transit service and the COASTER commuter rail service that connects the city with the central and northern coastal regions of San Diego County. Opened in 1915, the Santa Fe Depot is famous for its Spanish Colonial Revival Style architecture and grand interior space that features natural redwood beam ceilings and ceramic details. The train station is located in the heart of Downtown San Diego, making it easy to reach from all parts of the city.

Train stations in San Diego:

  • Santa Fe Depot - 1050 Kettner Blvd

  • 4005 Taylor St

Need a return trip from San Diego to Santa Barbara?

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