If you're travelling from neighbouring states such as Nevada, Oregon, or Arizona then driving is the best way to get to California, especially if you plan on visiting a couple of areas within the state itself. If you're travelling from a state that's further away like Texas, Florida, or New York, then flying is the quickest and most convenient option. Alternatively, you can also opt to travel to California via public transport with train and bus services running between states. 

By plane

Catching a flight to California is the quickest way to get into the state, regardless of where you're travelling from. There are 27 passenger airports scattered throughout the state, with 9 of those being international airports. This means you can fly into many regions and cities from Burbank to Fresno and from Los Angeles to San Francisco. 

The cost of flying and how much time you'll spend in the air depends on where you're travelling from, with tickets being cheaper and flight time shorter the closer you are to the state of California. 

For example, flights between Texas and California take around 3 hours. If you're travelling from further away, your flight time will be longer (think 5+ hours). 

By car 

Driving to California is not only a great way to see beautiful landscapes such as desert expanses and rugged coastlines, but it also allows you to get around easily when you reach your destination whether that's in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, or somewhere else. 

The total travel time by driving largely depends on which state you're travelling from and where in California you want to go. Regardless of whether you're travelling from a neighbouring state or a state that's further away, the car journey will be multiple hours, so prepare yourselves for the road trip of a lifetime. Driving from Oregon to California will take you roughly 12 hours, while a car trip between Nevada and California will take you 8 and a half hours. 

The good news is that the freeways in, out, and around California are relatively easy to navigate and are well maintained. Be aware of traffic when you come to well-populated areas, as traffic buildup can occur during peak times in cities such as Los Angeles. 

Remember that you might be subjected to a border inspection when crossing over state boundaries.

By train 

While catching a train from other states into California is relatively easy, it's not the most time-efficient way to travel with day-long and overnight journeys the norm depending on which state you're travelling from. 

USA's national train service, Amtrack, offers routes in and out of every region, including the South, Northeast, and the Midwest. These services travel to over 500 destinations in 46 states including California with the most popular Californian routes being from Seattle to Los Angeles, Chicago to Los Angeles, and New Orleans to Los Angeles. 

By bus 

It's relatively easy to catch a bus into California with an excellent bus network that's set up to travel to 141 destinations within the state. In these 141 destinations, over 350 stations ensure you reach your preferred city or region. Eight major companies facilitate this including Greyhound, Jefferson Lines, and Flixbus US.  

Some popular routes include Phoenix to San Diego and Las Vegas to Los Angeles. 

Join a tour in California

Not keen on the thought of driving through the United States? Join one of our California tours. We’ll immerse you in the region’s magnificent landscapes and give you an unforgettable experience. We have departures and drop-offs in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. 

Read more about getting around Los Angeles

Click to return to California FAQs

Read more about the United States