We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Vegas from LA or San Diego, which is easier?

Which California hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
glasgow
posts: 11
reviews: 47
Vegas from LA or San Diego, which is easier?

Travelling from LA or San Diego to Vegas - which is the shorter drive and do we need to stop over on the way, travelling in July.

Did LA to Vegas once and took 6hours in 111 degree heat! Wondering if San Diego route is easier?

14 replies to this topic
Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 49,630
reviews: 42
1. Re: Vegas from LA or San Diego, which is easier?

From San Diego it app will take one hour longer and most of it is the same route. I usually count 5 hours between LA and LV and 6 hours between SD and LV with a short stop but it all depends on traffic on the way. On a friday afternoon it usually takes a lot longer. So no, the route from SD is not easier.

San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
posts: 21,772
reviews: 114
2. Re: Vegas from LA or San Diego, which is easier?

what do you mean by easier ? if by that you mean shorter then as Tet mentions it will be shorter to LA. (depends on which part of LA of course) There are freeways to both parts of Southern California and depending on when you travel (weekend or weekday) and time of day, you may hit traffic as you get closer. Temperatures -- well since you are doing vegas in July -- it will be very hot. just as it was the last time you were there and I presume you want to do a similar drive.

have you mapped it out on maps.google.com

If you have done LV to LA you could do LV to Palm Springs spend time there and then to Temecula for its wineries and then drive onto San Diego

Edited: 5:58 am, January 26, 2014
Fortaleza, CE
posts: 7,032
reviews: 348
3. Re: Vegas from LA or San Diego, which is easier?

To determine distances, Google Maps (or MapQuest) is your friend:

http://goo.gl/maps/I4nxU

http://goo.gl/maps/BbNb8

L.A. is so big, however, that exactly where you're leaving from, and on what day (and at what time), can have a big effect. The drive shouldn't normally take 6 hours, but in rush hour, it could. Drive from SD could be longer than avereage if you leave on a weekday afternoon. Either drive will be boring. Flying is easiest. Not sure where you hit 110 degree heat. Not the time of year I'd want to go to LV at all.

Edited: 7:38 am, January 26, 2014
Anaheim, California
Destination Expert
for Anaheim
posts: 23,686
reviews: 13
4. Re: Vegas from LA or San Diego, which is easier?

If you look at a map, you will see that you can take the I-15 freeway straight from Las Vegas to San Diego.

To get to much of the Los Angeles area, you take I-15 to the Riverside area, and then head west on one of many different freeways.

So much of the trip for either area is the same I-15. Where did you have issues, the majority of issues are between Las Vegas and Ontario, so you have the same issues, unless you make a long detour. Better to pick when not to drive from Las Vegas, the worst day is usually Sundays (or Mondays if it is a Holiday Weekend).

For example, taking the detour to Palm Springs can add a couple of hours to the drive from Las Vegas to the drive.

San Diego
Destination Expert
for San Diego
posts: 42,681
reviews: 59
5. Re: Vegas from LA or San Diego, which is easier?

It takes us the same 5hrs. to Las Vegas on the same basic route, north on I-15.

I suppose it depends where you start from in LA and exactly where you start from in San Diego but pretty much the same.

You can also get very inexpensive short flights from either place instead of driving if you prefer.

glasgow
posts: 11
reviews: 47
6. Re: Vegas from LA or San Diego, which is easier?

thank you all, will check out flight prices to compare whether affordable vs time etc driving

Anaheim, California
Destination Expert
for Anaheim
posts: 23,686
reviews: 13
7. Re: Vegas from LA or San Diego, which is easier?

OK, flying you have many options.

From San Diego, basically one airport (SAN) to Las Vegas (LAS), and two airlines, Southwest and Spirit, both are discounted domestics, Southwest is well known and offers two free bags per person, while Spirit is known for lots of extra fees, but for some, they like the lower fares, especially with little to no luggage.

From the Los Angeles Area, you have 5 main airports, LAX, Long Beach (LGB), John Wayne (aka Orange County/Santa Ana/SNA), Bob Hope (Burbank/BUR) and Ontario (ONT). Along with Southwest and Spirit, you have jetBlue (One free bag, and reserved seats, something Southwest does not offer), plus many other airlines.

San Diego...
posts: 7,924
reviews: 29
8. Re: Vegas from LA or San Diego, which is easier?

The distances will depend on your starting and ending points, and travel times will depend on time of day, day of week and traffic conditions of course. If you are driving, I would try to wait until the morning rush hour is over and leave maybe around 10 am.

Downtown San Diego (7th and Broadway) to Las Vegas (Flamingo Road and Las Vegas Strip) is 326 miles (522 km).

Downtown Los Angeles (1st and Main) to Las Vegas (Flamingo Road and Las Vegas Strip) is 265 miles (424 km).

So the actual distance to Las Vegas is shorter from Los Angeles, though of course it depends on your starting point. The driving time will vary depending on traffic conditions. I believe you are more likely to encounter heavy, slow traffic in the Los Angeles area compared to San Diego.

Once you reach the Cajon Pass on Interstate 15 (near Glen Helen Regional Park), the 2 routes become the same thing - simply Interstate 15 north the rest of the way to Las Vegas. Both routes go through Victorville, Barstow and Baker. Barstow is approximately the halfway point of the drive.

As far as which one is “easier” I would judge them to be the same, although traffic in Los Angeles might be heavier, so the San Diego -> Las Vegas route might be judged “easier” from that standpoint.

As mentioned above, you can also fly from a choice of airports to Las Vegas. The flight is one hour in the air, but there is also airport time at both ends, and time getting to/from the airports, so it’s going to take up half a day when all these times are added up. Flights are frequent, so getting a seat is relatively easy. Southwest Airlines is a popular carrier for these flights and you can get tickets somewhat cheaply if you book in advance and are willing to take an early morning flight.

Santa Monica...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Mammoth Lakes
posts: 20,457
reviews: 21
9. Re: Vegas from LA or San Diego, which is easier?

Fly - it's an unremarkable drive, and one of the most dangerous highways in the US. It's so easy and cheap to fly there, that's your best option.

Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
posts: 23,603
reviews: 50
10. Re: Vegas from LA or San Diego, which is easier?

I'm with Elle. If you've driven it once, why do it again? From the Los Angeles, I recommend flying out of tiny Bob Hope Airport in Burbank (airport code: BUR). You can get to this airport a number of ways:

a. Drive (and drop off your hire car there). Some (not all) car hire companies allow you to drop your car AT the airport -- not off-site like at LAX. So, you park, hand over the keys and walk less than a minute to enter the terminal. Easy! The companies that offer this feature are: Avis, National. Hertz and Alamo.

b. Take local public transit (the Metro #222 bus makes the journey in 25 minutes from central Hollywood). The bus stops IN FRONT OF the tiny airport so you must walk into the airport (a 7-minute walk along the sidewalk there)

c. Take an above-ground train from Union Station in downtown L.A. (trains from Anaheim also connect at Union Station). The train station at BUR is a 3-minute walk from the terminal building or you can wait for the free shuttle bus.

Here are the advantages of flying to LV from BUR:

a. The flight is very short -- an hour or less. (Flying from ONT -- Ontario -- is 5 minutes faster but it takes 45 minutes to drive to Ontario from downtown L.A. -- and downtown L.A. is near the eastern edge of our city so driving from your hotel will, probably take even longer).

b. BUR is a small airport -- just 2 terminals and no international flights.

c. Southwest.com loads their Boeing 737s from both the forward and aft doors simultaneously so even though the airline doesn't give assigned seats, you can enter the plane from the rear and you are likely to get an excellent seat in the middle or even the front of the plane as most others will be busy stowing their luggage after entering via the forward door thereby holding up the queue, affording you the ability to get very close to the front of the plane. I've flown Southwest dozens of times and have used this method of boarding from BUR and it has never failed me. Also, to expedite boarding, be sure to request an online boarding pass as close to 24 hours before departure as possible (that's when the airline first allows the printing of boarding passes and you will board in the order in which the passes are printed so be sure to PRINT EARLY). They also allow boarding preference to their frequent flyers and to those who pay a small premium (usually around $10) to 'board early'. If you want to pay this fee, do so, but it's not really necessary, especially since the flight is only an hour.

d. LAS (airport) is 5 to 10 minutes from most hotels on the Las Vegas Strip.

e. You needn't be at BUR more than an hour before departure for this domestic flight.

Edited: 2:51 pm, January 26, 2014
Reply to: Vegas from LA or San Diego, which is easier?
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted