1. Travel
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

San Diego Transportation

Getting to and Around San Diego


San Diego spreads over some 300 square miles (514.0 sq km). Most of the popular San Diego attractions are clustered along a five mile wide strip near the ocean, but you'll still need some transportation to see them all.

San Diego Transportation: Getting to San Diego

  • San Diego Airport (SAN), sometimes called Lindbergh Field, is conveniently located near downtown, and most major airlines fly to it.
  • Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner goes to San Diego from Los Angeles.
  • Most San Diego visitors, 65% of them, come in their personal cars. The most common approaches are I-5 from Los Angeles and northern California, I-15 from Las Vegas, and I-8 from Phoenix. We've made it easy to plan your route: find out San Diego transportation options from Las Vegas.

San Diego Transportation: Around Town

Most San Diego visitors find it convenient to use an automobile for transportation, driving from place to place. Remember that San Diego is a big city, and subject to traffic jams during rush hours.

If you want to rent a car, search Travelocity. Wheelchair Getaways rents accessible minivan transportation with ramps or lifts, scooters and wheelchairs - and they offer airport pickup.

If you plan to drive as your main form of transportation and don't have some kind of GPS-enabled device to help navigate, most tourist maps suffer from a lack of detail. Buy a good map before you go.

If you're flying into San Diego, consider skipping the rental car for much of your trip and use one of these San Diego transportation options instead:

  • Try the Trolley: The San Diego Trolley goes to Old Town, Gaslamp Quarter, Tijuana, downtown, Convention Center and Seaport Village. It also stops near many hotels and goes to Mission Valley and Fashion Valley Center. Use our trolley map to see how many of the things you want to see are near a trolley stop.
  • Skip the Other Trolley: The Old Town Trolley costs much more than the San Diego Trolley, and they go to most of the same places.
  • Take a Taxi: You'll need another way to get to the zoo and Sea World. Taking a taxi from downtown to Sea World will only cost a little more than a day's car rental by the time you take into account that you do not have to pay to park at Sea World.
  • Take to the Water: If you want to go to Coronado, take the Coronado Ferry or a water taxi.
  • Rent a Car for One or Two Days: You'll need a car to get to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, La Jolla, the beach, the Carlsbad Flower Fields and the San Diego Mission. Try to find a rental company that has an office in or near your hotel if the price is right.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.