Getting from San Diego to Palm Springs (and return)

San Diego is the second largest city in California and is well known for the excellent weather, beaches, the famous Zoo and quick access to the Mexican border and Tijuana. San Diego offers a lovely escape from the hustle and bustle of Los Angles .

Palm Springs is a resort city in California and offers a lot of indoor and outdoor activities. You can spend the day hiking or trying other outdoor activities and relax in the evening.

Quick summary

There isn’t any direct route to travel between San Diego and Palm Springs, unless you plan to drive. The cheapest option for traveling between San Diego and Palm Springs is the bus. Single tickets cost $31.50* and the travel time is up to 5h. Train tickets are more expensive and the connection is via Los Angeles. Flights aren’t even an option due to the very expensive fares for the Los Angles to Palm Springs leg of the trip.

Flights from San Diego (airport code: SAN) to Palm Springs

There aren’t any direct flights from San Diego to Palm Springs, but you can fly via Los Angles, which makes it a very expensive journey.

For the first leg of the trip, book a flight between San Diego and LAX. San Diego International Airport (SAN) is located 3 miles from the central business district of San Diego and is the second busiest single runway airport in the world (after London Gatwick). It is a focus city for Southwest Airlines. Flights to LAX are operated by: American Eagle, Delta Connections and United Express. The flight time is 40 minutes. In late December 2011 and mid-March 2011, expect to pay from $119 one way on United.

For the second leg of the trip, book a flight from LAX to Palm Springs, which is served by Palm Springs International Airport (PSP). Flights between LAX and Palm Springs are operated only by United Express. In late December 2011 and mid-March 2012, expect to pay from $511 for the 51 minutes flight. Indirect flights start at $211 one way.

>>read more about Flights to Los Angeles

Trains from San Diego to Palm Springs

Amtrak offers train connections between San Diego and Palm Springs via Los Angles. The total journey time is 6h 45 min and the single adult fare is $83.

The train leaves San Diego daily at 10:50 a.m. and arrives in Los Angeles at 1:35 p.m. Another train leaves for Palm Springs at 3 p.m.

The train leaves Palm Springs daily at 4:45 a.m. and arrives in Los Angeles at 8:30 a.m. Another train leaves for San Diego at 9:40 a.m.

Buses from San Diego to Palm Springs

Greyhound offers bus connections between San Diego and Palm Springs but this is not a direct service either. Buses go either through San Bernardino or Riverside.

The travel time is 4h 25 min (via San Bernardino) and 4 h 50 min (via Riverside) and the web only single adult ticket is $31.50 regardless of which route you choose. Buses depart San Diego at 10:45 a.m. and 4:10 p.m. Buses depart Palm Springs at 11:05 a.m. and 5:45 p.m.

Driving from San Diego to Palm Springs

When you rent a car and plan to drive from San Diego to Palm Springs , there are three possible routes to choose from. The on highlighted in the map below is via I-15 N and CA-74 E. The 133 miles can be covered in about 2h 40 min.

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Note: *at the time the article was written

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Los Angeles Things to Do

Going to Coachella

Whether or not you love everything about L.A. and southern California, you probably love the weather during most of the year. There aren’t many places in the United States where you can plan an outdoor music festival during mid-April and count on nice weather. With the case of the Coachella music festival, however, you get not just lovely weather but the pretty surroundings outside Palm Springs.

If you’re planning to go to Coachella this year and you don’t already live in the Los Angeles area, your first order of business is to find a flight. Time is running out, but you still should be able to find a cheap plane ticket to one of the area airports that will get you close enough to the festival.

The closest airport, of course, is Palm Springs International (PSP) – but it’s a smaller airport and may not have the best deals on tickets. Next in line is the LA-Ontario Airport (ONT), and after that is the monster of LAX. In every case you’ll still need to rent a car or find ground transportation to the festival site, since even the Palm Springs airport is 20 miles from Coachella, but you’re more likely to find more cheap flights to Los Angeles if you’re looking at LA-Ontario or LAX simply because of their size and/or proximity to L.A.

Of course, if you already live in L.A. and you don’t want to drive all the way to Indio for Coachella, you can absolutely make use of airport parking at LAX, hop on a short flight to Palm Springs airport, and then rent a car or hitch a ride with another festival attendee for the rest of the way. But that seems a bit like overkill, unless you’re actually playing in the festival, in which case you probably shouldn’t need to drive yourself anywhere in the first place.

photo by sputnik mi amor