San Diego to Las Vegas Travel Options

Travel time from San Diego to Las Vegas

TripSavvy / Alisha Wilkerson 

People often ask about how they can get from San Diego to Las Vegas. This is a roundup of the ways you can do it.

Driving from San Diego to Las Vegas: The Fast Way

Distance: 332 miles
Driving Time: 5 hours in good traffic

The primary highway between San Diego and Las Vegas is I-15, passing through San Bernardino and Barstow. The directions are simple: just get onto I-15 and drive until you see all the bright lights.

The map above shows the fast route in general. If you'd like to see a bigger map, zoom in and out or get detailed driving directions for your road trip and explore what you might see along the way, go to the interactive version.

You might not believe that it snows in the desert, but as recently as 2017, I-15 was almost closed near the state line because of snow and ice in the mountain pass. Check road status on California highways between Los Angeles and the Nevada border at the Department of Transportation website or call 800-427-7623. Enter "15" get information about road repairs and closures. For conditions in Nevada, go here.

If your automobile contains restless people who need a break, you may want to stop at Calico Ghost Town just east of Barstow for a quick stretch of the legs. Or in Baker to see the world's largest thermometer and buy some Alien Jerky.

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Driving from San Diego to Las Vegas: Scenic Route

San Diego to Las Vegas Using the Scenic Route
Map Data ©2015 Google

Distance: 393 miles
Driving Time: 8.5 hours

If you'd rather not be bored to tears on the endless Interstate, try this desert route from San Diego to Las Vegas. It will take you past Anza-Borrego Desert, the Salton Sea, through Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave National Preserve. It takes about 3 hours longer than I-15 if you drive straight through, but there's enough to do that you might just want to take a few days instead.

This scenic car trip route leaves San Diego on I-8 eastbound, then cuts across the desert on several California highways and local roads, finally connecting with I-15 near the California-Nevada border.

The map above shows the scenic car trip route in general. If you actually want to drive it, you'll need an even bigger version, where you can zoom in and out, get detailed driving directions for your road trip and explore what you might see along the way. For that, go to the interactive version.

You might not believe that it snows in the desert, but in 2010, I-15 was closed near the state line because of snow and ice in the mountain pass. Check road status on California highways between Los Angeles and the Nevada border at the Department of Transportation website or call 800-427-7623. Enter each highway number separately to get information about road repairs and closures. For conditions in Nevada, go here.

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Flights from San Diego to Las Vegas

5488743911_e9b09c83e2_o.jpg
Michael Dorausch / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Travel Time: Flight time is about 3 hours. Add another 1.5 to 2 hours to that for getting to the airport early and collecting your bags when you arrive. All of that makes it just a little faster than driving yourself.

No matter which airline you choose for a flight from San Diego to Las Vegas, you'll get the cheapest tickets if you plan ahead. Do that more than two weeks in advance - four weeks is better - to get the best deals.

Southwest Airlines operates between San Diego and Las Vegas. We love this airline because they don't have all those annoying (and costly) baggage fees and ticket change fees that other airlines charge. You won't find them on any of the online travel sites and should always check airfare directly with their website, where you can also find hotel and airfare packages that can make planning your trip quick and easy.

The three-letter code for the San Diego airport is SAN, and Las Vegas is LAS.

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San Diego to Las Vegas by Buses or Train

greyhound station, downtown san diego.
eggrole / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

People often ask about how they can get from San Diego to Las Vegas (or vice versa) without renting a car and driving. The previous page offers flight options, and this is a roundup of other ways you can do it. Options for getting from San Diego to Las Vegas by buses or a train are limited and more time-consuming than driving or flying. Prices are current as of early-2015.

San Diego to Las Vegas by Bus

You'd think there would be more than just one bus service between San Diego and Las Vegas, but unfortunately, there isn't.

  • Greyhound Bus runs between San Diego and Las Vegas. The fastest time is 8 hours. You'll find web-only prices and other specials when searching for a ticket.

San Diego to Las Vegas by Train

No train routes operate directly between San Diego and Las Vegas.

If you're really determined to take a train/bus from San Diego to Las Vegas, you can get part way there on the rails. This is how you do it: Take an Amtrak train from San Diego to Los Angeles Union Station, then they'll put you on a bus to Las Vegas. The whole trip takes a little more than 10 hours and there are 2 departures a day. Check fares here. To reserve, select Las Vegas - Bus Service, NV (LVS) as your destination.

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