How to Travel from Los Angeles to Dallas by Train, Bus, Car, and Plane

TripSavvy / Julie Bang

They don’t call it The Big D for nothing. Dallas—the ninth largest city in the United States—is 1,434 miles from Los Angeles. To get there from Southern California, travelers can take a plane, train, bus, or car. 

Consider the pros and cons of each option to figure out which one best suits your needs. The fastest option for getting to Dallas from LA is obviously flying, which typically takes less than three hours. All of the other transportation choices take 20 hours or more. 

The cheapest choice varies depending on what amenities you can’t live without and the time of year. Booking in advance and scoping out promotions and sales usually garners additional savings. Most airplane alternatives, including Greyhound and Amtrak, also have free-to-join loyalty programs that work like frequent flyer miles.

  Time Cost Best For
Train 39 hours, 20 minutes from $129 Traveling comfortably
Plane 2 hours, 57 minutes from $81 Arriving on a time crunch
Bus 29 hours, 35 minutes from $110 Eco-conscious travel
Car 19 hours, 50 minutes 1,434 miles (2,308 kilometers) An extended road trip
How to Get From Los Angeles to Dallas

What Is the Fastest Way to Get From Los Angeles to Dallas?

Flying is easily the fastest way to get to Dallas, which means more time on the ground enjoying your destination. The nonstop flight time from LA varies, but is usually a hair under three hours. Obviously that does not take into consideration time spent getting to and from airports, delays and cancellations, checking and collecting baggage, or airport security lines. Drawbacks to consider include how expensive it can be to change/cancel flights and book travel last-minute. 

Dallas is served by two airports: Dallas/Ft. Worth International (DFW) and Dallas Love Field (DAL). There are on average 23 to 29 nonstop flights from LAX to Dallas daily. DFW is a hub for American Airlines; as such, there are multiple options every day going between LA and Dallas for under $150 round trip. Most major carriers including United and Delta also fly between the two cities nonstop daily at competitive prices. Occasionally, visitors can score a $95 round-trip fare. 

Southwest Airlines maintains their corporate headquarters at DAL and has several nonstop and one-stop flights there from LAX. Wanna Get Away fares start as low as $81 one way. Alaska also has daily direct flights there for about the same price. DAL, arguably a smaller, more peaceful airport, is only 7 miles from the downtown historic district whereas DFW is 19 miles.

Other regional airports—which tend to service far fewer passengers each day than LAX and therefore offer a more tranquil travel experience—might be a good alternative starting point if you aren’t worried about paying slightly more. Southwest also flies to DAL from Burbank’s airport (BUR) every day, but there are less directs and it costs more. The same goes for flights originating from John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Orange County.

How Long Does It Take to Drive?

The most-used routes all go east through Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, and either West or North Texas on the way to Dallas. Travel time varies wildly depending on the season, day of the week, and traffic as all of the routes go through cities of substantial size like Phoenix, Riverside, Albuquerque, Tucson, or El Paso. If you time your departure badly, you could hit rush hours in multiple cities and potentially add hours. The shortest route goes by way of the I-40 and is 1,434 miles long—but it typically takes more time to drive than the I-10/I-20 route, which is two miles longer. The latter itinerary averages 19 hours and 50 minutes, but can take as long as 23 hours and 30 minutes.

Road trips aren’t fast but can be a fairly economical choice, especially if you don’t need to rent a car or you have a large group. It also buys travelers freedom. Unlike buses and trains, you call the shots. Stop when and where you want. Eat where you want. Grab a hotel to sleep in a real bed. Take detours. The most common routes take drivers through forests and gorgeous deserts, along parts of historic Route 66, to the Petrified Forest National Park, and near the Grand Canyon.

How Long Is the Train Ride?

The whole trip takes 39 hours, 20 minutes and involves one transfer. At the historic Union Station in downtown LA, hop on an Amtrak train bound for Eddie Bernice Johnson Union Station in Dallas. The Sunset Limited, which chugs along Amtrak's southern-most route, connects three days a week with the Texas Eagle in San Antonio. The Eagle then runs passengers from there to Dallas. A saver seat starts around $129, but a premium fare will likely run closer to $504.

Amtrak has five classes of service from saver (only refundable within 24 hours of purchase) to premium (comes with sleeping accommodations, includes meals, and is 100 percent refundable prior to departure without a cancellation fee). All levels come with two free checked bags and WiFi (of course, that’s if the train has the technology—some long-haul trains still don’t). A dining car means nourishment is more readily available than it is on bus trips.

Is There a Bus That Goes From Los Angeles to Dallas?

Taking a Greyhound bus from the Seventh Street station in downtown Los Angeles to the Lamar Street station in Dallas is another option, although the quickest route takes 29 hours and 35 minutes. The 11-stop journey is spread over three days and requires overnight travel. Not all stations have dining options, and passengers are not allowed to disembark during stops that are 10 minutes or less. So pack snacks. Per person, a one-way ticket can cost between $110 and $196 depending on the level of service (economy, economy extra, and flexible). Be careful not to book the express trip unless you’d like to add a transfer in San Antonio and four hours to the travel time.

If you take the bus, you will travel through four states and see cities including Phoenix, El Paso, and San Bernardino. New buses also have WiFi, extra legroom, no dreaded middle seat, and a free checked bag no matter what class of service. Greyhound claims traveling by bus is better for the environment than using cars and trains thanks to new technology like low-sulfur fuel, idle management systems, and diesel particulate filters. The new, free onboard entertainment system is currently on 71 percent of the fleet. 

Sunrise, Dealey Plaza, Bank of America Building, Old Red Museum, Dallas, Texas, America
joe daniel price / Getty Images

What Time Is It in Dallas?

Dallas is in the Central Time Zone, so set clocks forward two hours from LA time when you arrive. 

Can I Use Public Transportation to Travel From the Airport?

Those arriving at DFW can take public transit from Terminal A to downtown Dallas via the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) rail service. You can purchase a Midday Pass for $2, an AM/PM Pass for $3, or a Day Pass for $6 at a DFW Airport Station kiosk or with the GoPass app. See the DART website for more information on fares.

For those traveling to Fort Worth, you can pick up the TEXRail or Trinity Railway Express at DFW.

If you are flying into DAL, you can pick up the Love Link 524 bus, which is free to DAL passengers and will take you to the Inwood/Love Field DART station. From there, you can take either the Green or Orange Line into downtown.

What Is There to Do in Dallas/

According to Visit Dallas, 24.9 million people visit the Lone Star State’s third largest city annually. It’s home to five pro sports teams, the largest urban arts district, the Dallas ranch, the George W. Bush presidential library, and the Sixth Floor Museum/John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza. More itinerary-filling ideas can be found in our complete guide to the city