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Trains from Santa Barbara to San Diego

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Trip Summary

There are 7 daily trains from Santa Barbara to San Diego. Traveling by train from Santa Barbara to San Diego usually takes around 6 hours and 26 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$44.20
Trains per day6
Most frequent serviceAmtrak
Train lines2

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

In the last month, $44.20 was the average price of a train ticket from Santa Barbara, CA to San Diego, CA. This is a good price that is inexpensive compared to most train fares. You can expect to find tickets at that price or lower if you book your trip at least 22 days in advance. Otherwise, expect to pay around $1.77 more than that for a same-day booking.

Average prices by travel date

$60$40$20NovDec

Over the next 30 days, the average cost of a one-way train trip from Santa Barbara to San Diego will vary between $44 and $55. Planning a train trip to San Diego within the upcoming week? The cheapest train ticket you can find from Santa Barbara over the next 7 days is $46. Make sure to book your trip as soon as possible as train fares tend to go up as you get closer to your travel date.

Monthly average prices

$50$40$30$20$10JFMAMJJASOND
Traveling from Santa Barbara to San Diego by train will cost you about the same regardless of the time of year for which you plan your trip. In general, train ticket prices for that route don’t fluctuate much throughout the year, so expect to pay around $46 whenever you decide to board the train to San Diego.

Prices as travel date approaches

$50$40$30$20$103020100

Since the average price of train trips from Santa Barbara to San Diego remains pretty consistent throughout the year, there’s no need to book your tickets too far in advance. However, we still recommend you purchase your train tickets at least 48 hours ahead of departure time to avoid surprise last-minute surges and the risk of the train selling out.

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

2 train services operate from Santa Barbara, California to San Diego, California. Amtrak usually has more trains scheduled, with 6 trips per day. That said, it's still worth comparing the prices and trip durations:

TrainDaily TripsAvg. TimeAvg. Price
Amtrak66h 30m$49.04
Amtrak Pacific Surfliner16h 8m$46.57
  • 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 6 Amtrak trains from Santa Barbara to San Diego every day, as well as 12 trips on the weekends, with prices starting from $44.

    AMT-0AMT-1AMT-2AMT-3AMT-4AMT-5AMT-6AMT-7AMT-8AMT-9
  • 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 $44.

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 6 hours and 26 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 passangers on Sunday. With higher demand ticket prices also tend to be higher on Sunday. 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 Friday 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 6:00am while the last train of the day leaves at 9:00pm. 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 7 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. If you're not not set on traveling by train, you could always take the bus from Santa Barbara to San Diego for $9.99.

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.

Station Information

Where is the train station in Santa Barbara?

Departure stations

There are two stations in Santa Barbara where you can board the train to San Diego.

All train stations in Santa Barbara:

  • 209 State Street

  • UCSB Bus Loop

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

Arrival stations

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

Need a return trip from San Diego to Santa Barbara?

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