How far is San Francisco from Los Angeles?Here"s the quick answer if you are able to make this entire trip by car without stopping.

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Nonstop drive: 381 miles or 613 km

Driving time: 5 hours, 48 minutes

Realistically, you"ll probably want to add a buffer for rest stops, gas, or food along the way. To get a better idea of how long this trip would really be, scroll down to calculate how many hours it would take if you drive with stops.

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Now let"s assume you have a private jet and you can fly in thefastest possible straight line between Los Angeles, California andSan Francisco, California. Because of the curvature of the Earth, theshortest distance is actually the "great circle" distance, or"as the crow flies" which is calculated using an iterativeVincenty formula.

Flight distance: 347 miles or 559 km

Flight time: 57 minutes

The straight line flight distance is 34 miles less than driving on roads, which means the driving distance is roughly 1.1x of the flight distance.

Your plane flies much faster than a car, so the flight time is about 1/4th of the time it would take to drive.

This is a relatively short flight in a private plane, but you might be planning to book a commercial flight. In that case, your travel time would really need toinclude how many minutes to get to your local airport, waitfor security, board and taxi on the runway, land at the otherairport, and get to your destination. Scroll down to see a more realistic calculation that takesinto account all these factors to get a more accurate estimateof your actual flight time.

Let"s say you"re actually planning a road trip to San Francisco, and you want to stop along the way to rest. If it"s a real road trip, you might want to check out interesting stops along the way, eat at great restaurants, and maybe even find a hotel to stay overnight. That"s what is perfect for,helping you figure out travel plans in detail.

Based on the length of this trip, we think you could spread out this fun road trip over more than one day.

Road trip: 2 days of driving

With the full itinerary planned out, we can estimateyour total travel time for this trip.

Travel time: 8.5 hours on the road with 1 overnight


Start in Los Angeles.

Drive for about 49 minutes, then stop at Six Flags Magic Mountain and stay for about 1 hour.Next, drive for another 57 minutes then stop in Grapevine and stay for 1 hour.Drive for 1.5 hours then stop in Lost Hills and stay for 1 hour.Drive for 1 hour then stop at Harris Ranch Inn & Restaurant. Stay overnight.The next day, drive for about 1.5 hours, then stop at Pea Soup Andersen"s and stay for about 1 hour.Next, drive for another 53 minutes then stop in Modesto and stay for 1 hour.Drive for 54 minutes then stop in Livermore and stay for 1 hour.Finally, drive for about 54 minutes and arrive in San Francisco.

To see all the details on this itinerary, includingrecommended restaurants, hotels, and things to do alongthe way, check out the full road trip planner:
Road trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco
In the quick calculation above, we assumed you had a privateplane and just wanted to know the time in the air from city to city.But for most of us, we"re going to be flying on a commercial airline(whether it"s first class or coach). So that means we really needto account for all the extra travel time getting to the airport,waiting for our flight, and making it to the destination.

To give you a better estimate of real-life travel, we"veput together a flight itinerary with actual airports. Eventuallyyou"ll be able to customize this plan, choosing your own airportsand flights. But for now, here"s an example we"ve selected togive you an idea of how traveling might work between airports.

Departure airport: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

Arrival airport: San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

With the airports selected, we can estimate the travel time to andfrom the airport, based on how far the airport is from downtown.

Getting to the airport: 36 minutes

Getting to your destination: 33 minutes

Now finally, let"s look at an actual flight from LAX to SFO on American Airlines and figure out how long it would take to fly includingtake-off and landing, and time to taxi on the runway.

Commercial flight time: 1 hour, 21 minutes

So now we can finally get an idea of the total travel time fromLos Angeles to San Francisco including time spent getting to/fromthe airports, an estimated wait time of 2 hours at the airport for TSAsecurity lines and waiting at the gate, and the actual flight itself.

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Total travel time: 5 hours

To see the details on this flight plan, includingrecommended airports, airline, and route, check outthe flight planner:
Los Angeles to San Francisco flight time has a ton of information that can help you plan your trip to San Francisco, California. Start by reading the page on where to stay in San Francisco, or find out how many days in San Francisco to visit. has an entire Q&A community where you can post questions and get answers from expert travelers or locals who know the area. For instance, you might be interested in the answers to this question: Where to stay half way between S.F. and L.A.?. If you"re looking for a place to stay, you might want to check out Top of the Mark. A great place to eat might be Ike"s Place. members can suggest things to do in San Francisco like Golden Gate Bridge. Check out some of the questions people have asked about San Francisco like Best seafood restaurant in S.F.?. Click the button below to explore San Francisco in detail.