Getting from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara (and return)


“Riviera of the West” or Santa Barbara is perfect for a day trip from Los Angeles . Located about 100 miles from the City of Angels, Santa Barbara is well known for its beaches, wineries and the many shopping options. You might know it to be the playground of the rich and famous, but don’t worry, a day or two here won’t break your budget.

Quick summary

If you choose the afternoon train between Los Angles and Santa Barbara, then that’s the cheapest option: $16* one way. Otherwise, buses remain the most affordable way to travel between the two cities ($19.35 one way).

Flights from Los Angeles (airport code: LAX) to Santa Barbara

Although LAX is the closest large airport to Santa Barbara, the city is served by its own airport Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (SBA), which handles about 30 daily flights to/from US cities, including Los Angeles. The airport is located about 7 miles from downtown.

Flights to/from Los Angeles are operated by American Eagle and United Express. The flight time is 40 minutes. In late December 2011 or late March 2012, expect to pay from $91 one way on American Eagle or United Express.

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Trains from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara

Amtrack provides eight daily connections between Los Angeles Union Station and Santa Barbara. The first train leaves Los Angles at 7:35 a.m. and the last at 9:10 p.m. The first train leaves Santa Barbara at 6:46 a.m. and the last at 6:59 p.m.

The travel time is 2h 25 min. The cheapest fares are in the afternoon: just $16 for a single adult ticket. On the morning train, the fares start at $36 one way.

Buses from Los Angles to Santa Barbara

Greyhound offers four daily buses between Los Angles and Santa Barbara. The buses leave Los Angeles at : 6:10 a.m., 1:25 p.m., 6:10 p.m. and 10:20 p.m. Buses leave Santa Barbara at 6 a.m., 9:30 a.m. 2:45 p.m. and 8:10 p.m. The journey time is between 2h 10 min and 2h 40 min. The web only single adult fare is $19.35.

Driving from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara

You can rent a car and drive the 95 miles via US-101 N between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. Part of the road is along the coast, so you’ll be rewarded with superb views. The travel time is 1h 45 min.


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Note:*at the time the article was written

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