San Diego, the second largest city in California, is almost always a sunny 72 degrees. With 70 miles of beaches, you can visit it for a day of fun surfing, sailing or lying on the clean sand. Others come to the warm city to see the many family attractions including the world famous San Diego Zoo, home to the giant panda, or to visit Sea World where the famous whale Shamu will put on a spectacular show. Whatever the reason for a visit, thousands of people migrate from Los Angeles to San Diego every week.
There are a few ways to get to San Diego from Los Angeles. While the two cities are only 116 miles apart there are airlines that offer flights between them. Alaskan Air has a 45-minute flight that is around $330. American Airlines also offers a similarly priced flight, which is about the same flying time. Finally, United offers a flight for $350, which is also about 40 minutes. In other words, unless you are rich and crazy, you are probably going to want to find another way of getting between these two cities. When you factor the flight time along with the airport check-in and security time, plus getting to and from each airport, this method will take longer than driving almost every time.
A bus is a more economical way to get to San Diego. The LuxBus offers an $88 dollar roundtrip ticket from Los Angeles to San Diego and takes approximately 3 hours each way. The bus departs from many major hotels within both cities at regularly scheduled times, giving a door-to-door non-stop service. It is a large coach bus referred to as “airline on the ground” due to it’s snack and drink service, leather seating, on bus movies and a restroom facility. The Greyhound bus is very inexpensive, around $35, and departs frequently every day. Buses depart and arrive at Greyhound terminals of which there is only one in both Los Angeles and San Diego.
The train is a cheap, hassle free way to travel from Los Angeles to San Diego, avoiding traffic en route while leaving from central locations in each city. Amtrak offers a $68 roundtrip ticket which leaves Union Station in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, arriving approximately 3 hours later at the marina in San Diego. The train has a snack car, a baggage check in, and a selection of seating classes, which vary in price. With beautiful views along the route from each city, the train has the ease of flying without the price.
Finally the most popular way to travel between the two cities is by car. Whether renting a car from your local rent-a-car location or using your own automobile, this is the cheapest way to get to San Diego. The ride is about 2 hours but can be upwards of 3 hours or more if there is heavy congestion on the freeways, which is true much of the time. You begin by taking the San Diego Freeway Interstate 405 going South. You then take the exit towards California 73/California 55/San Diego merging onto the California 73/Corona Del Mar Freeway. After about 17 miles you will take the Interstate 5 South freeway where you will hit a partial toll.
The I-5 S. Freeway is beautiful, running right along the Pacific Ocean. Along route I -5 S. as you get closer to the city you will pass the Marine Base Camp Pendleton, a base located right on the Ocean, started in 1942 and a major training location for the Marine Corps. Once you have passed Pendleton you will take exit 17 which will put you directly into downtown San Diego, home to the famous Gas Lamp quarter. From here you can easily find a place to stay, restaurants to eat in and things to see and do.