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San Diego to Santa Barbara train

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San Diego - Santa Barbara Train Schedule

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Trip Summary

You can pick from 6 daily train trips between San Diego and Santa Barbara. The average train journey from San Diego to Santa Barbara takes 5 hours and 58 minutes, but some Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train trips are as short as 5 hours and 36 minutes.

Distance188 mi (302 km)
Fastest train5h 36m
Lowest price$44.00
Trains per day10
Most frequent serviceAmtrak Pacific Surfliner
Train lines2

Train Trip Reviews from Wanderu Customers

Average score for trains from San Diego to Santa Barbara

(Based on 2 ratings and reviews)

4.5

4.0

Justin

October 4, 2019- Business

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner

Pros: I liked that I did not have to drive and that I could get work done while traveling for work. Cons: The 4 seater seats should still come with desks. Tips: Get business-class if it is available for sure!

What is the price of a train ticket from San Diego to Santa Barbara?

In the last 30 days, the average cost of a train ticket from San Diego to Santa Barbara was $44.00. At this price, taking the train is the cheap and easy way to go. You have the best chances of scoring the cheapest ticket to Santa Barbara if you book your train tickets at least 2 days in advance. Waiting to purchase until the day of your trip could end up costing you an extra $4.93.

Average prices by travel date

$60$40$20AprMay

Over the next 30 days, a one-way train trip from San Diego to Santa Barbara will cost between $46 and $56. Book in advance to secure the best price in the next few weeks.

Monthly average prices

$75$60$45$30$15MJJASONDJFMA
The price of a train ticket from San Diego to Santa Barbara remains pretty stable, regardless of when you plan to travel. Tickets on this route usually cost $51 throughout the year.

Prices as travel date approaches

$75$60$45$30$153020100

Since ticket prices on this route stay pretty consistent, you don’t need to book way in advance. However, we recommend buying your train ticket to Santa Barbara at least 48 hours before your scheduled departure to prevent any unpleasant surprises, like last-minute surges in price or sold-out tickets.

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

2 train services operate from San Diego to Santa Barbara. Amtrak Pacific Surfliner usually has more trains scheduled, with 4 trips per day. That said, it's still worth comparing the prices and trip durations:

TrainDaily TripsAvg. TimeAvg. Price
Amtrak26h 18m$57.59
Amtrak Pacific Surfliner45h 47m$44.00
  • 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 2 Amtrak trains from San Diego to Santa Barbara every day, as well as 6 trips on the weekends, with prices starting from $44.

  • 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 4 train trips from San Diego to Santa Barbara every day, and prices for a one-way train ticket start from $44.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, there are trains that can take you the entire way from San Diego to Santa Barbara. 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.

The distance between San Diego and Santa Barbara is approximately 188 miles, or 302 kilometers. The average train journey between these two cities takes 5 hours and 58 minutes, although the absolute fastest you could get there is 5 hours and 36 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.

Sunday tends to be the busiest day of the week with travelers taking trains from San Diego to Santa Barbara. Ticket price also tend to be more expensive on Sunday than other days. If you are hoping to have more room on the train and even save some change check out travel options on Friday instead, as less people travel then and deals are more likely to be found.

The earliest train departs San Diego at 4:00am while the last train of the day leaves at 4:00pm. To see all scheduled departure times, use the search function on this page to get the full schedule for your specific travel dates.

There are 6 scheduled trains on most days. 10 of these are direct connections to Santa Barbara. 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 Santa Barbara to San Diego.

City Information

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.

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.

Station Information

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 departure 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.

All train stations in San Diego:

  • Santa Fe Depot - 1050 Kettner Blvd

  • 4005 Taylor St

Where is the train station in Santa Barbara?

Main arrival station: 209 State Street

Santa Barbara has one train station.

All train stations in Santa Barbara:

  • 209 State Street

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