How to get to Paso Robles from San Francisco

Stop at McWay Falls when traveling to Paso Robles from San Francisco

Trying to navigate the distance between these two different locations requires careful consideration, and in this blog post, we’ll explore the best ways to go from San Francisco to Paso Robles Wine Country seamlessly. Whether you prefer the scenic route through California’s beautiful countryside or the efficiency of a quicker transportation method, we’ve got you covered. Join us as we unravel the optimal strategies for traveling from the bustling heart of San Francisco to the country charm of Paso Robles, ensuring that your adventure begins with ease and enjoyment.

Where do you fly into for Paso Robles?

The closest airport to Paso Robles is the San Luis Obispo Regional airport (SBP) with direct flights to San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Portland, Seattle, Dallas/Ft. Worth and Denver on Alaska Airlines, American Airlines and United.

However, flying into San Francisco (SFO), Oakland (OAK) or San Jose (SJC) can be a great alternative and offers more diverse travel times and airline options.

Check flight options here.

Is Paso Robles closer to LA or San Francisco?

It’s about a 3-hour, 190-mile, drive from San Francisco (SFO) or Oakland (OAK) to Paso Robles and about a 3.5 hour, 210 mile, drive from Los Angeles (LAX). In general, the traffic coming from SFO is slightly less congested than from LAX. San Jose (SJC) is a little closer to Paso Robles, about 160 miles or 2.5 hours of driving.

How to get to Paso Robles from San Francisco

The most convenient and fastest way to get to Paso Robles from San Francisco is either by car or arranging a pickup by a local TCP licensed transportation company.

You can choose to drive straight to Paso Robles down the 101, which will take you about 3 hours or you can choose to make a daytrip out of it!

Some popular spots you could choose to include are the Coastal Redwoods, Monterey Bay with charming towns like Santa Cruz, Monterey and Carmel, the 17-Mile drive with the famous golf course Pebble Beach or even drive down the stunning Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) route 1 and see the Bixby Bridge, McWay Falls and Big Sur.

Paso Robles also has an Amtrak train station (PRB) and you can catch the Coast Starlight train at Jack London Square in Oakland (OKJ) or in San Jose, CA – Diridon Station (SJC). 

Amtrak offers one train daily to Paso Robles and it takes about 5 hours from Oakland, or 3.5 hours from San Jose, and arrives at downtown Paso Robles around 2pm.

Big Sur

Top sites to see while driving to Paso Robles

California is a beautiful state for a road trip and if you’re not in a hurry, you can make the trip to Paso Robles Wine Country a great day trip from San Francisco.

There are two options when it comes to scenic drives from the Bay Area to Paso Robles.  The first option is exploring Monterey Bay, and the second option is exploring Big Sur and Route 1.

If you choose to explore Route 1, you want to check if route 1 between Monterey and Cambria is open, since rockslides and weather can cause the road to be closed for months or sometimes even years at a time.

Option 1: Visit Monterey Bay on your way to Paso Robles

Some highlights you can choose to visit on this itinerary:


You can spend as much or as little time enjoying some of these highlights, but in order to maximize your time, here is a great one-day itinerary to enjoy the most highlights on your way to Paso Robles

8:30amget on the road!

Grab a cup of coffee & a quick bite, jump in the car and after about 90 minutes driving from San Francisco you’ll find Henry Cowell State Park.

10a – 11amShort Morning Hike in Henry Cowell State Park.

Here you’ll be staring at some of the tallest and oldest redwood trees in the world. The Redwood Grove Loop Trail is a quick .8 mile easy trail that takes about an hour and meanders through a cathedral-like canopy of redwoods. If you’re lucky you may see the 2nd largest slug in the world that can grow up to almost 10 inches long, the banana slug.  

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

11:30am1:30pm Lunch and visit Santa Cruz.

After enjoying a nice morning hike, you’re probably ready for some lunch. Santa Cruz is only a short 30 minute drive from the redwoods where you’ll find places such as the crow’s nest with one of the best views over the bay and some delicious seafood. Santa Cruz has a lot to offer from the natural bridges to the boardwalk, it’s worth spending some time there.

Group of sea lions swimming off the coast of California

2p Quickly stop to View Sea Otters!

Halfway between Santa Cruz and Monterey, about 30 minutes south, there is a good chance you’ll see some sea otters at Moss Landing.

2:30p – 5p Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium OR enjoy the 17-Mile Drive

Once on the south end of the Monterey bay, depending on the timing, you may need to choose between visiting the second largest aquarium in the world, the Monterey Bay Aquarium or one of the most scenic drives in the world, the 17-mile drive, which is a scenic road through Pebble Beach with gorgeous coastal views (there is a fee to enjoy the ride, and you can learn more about some highlights to enjoy along the way here).

5:30p – 6:45p Grab a Quick Dinner before Driving South to Paso Robles

Before you hit the road for the last 2 hour stretch to Paso Robles we suggest you grab a beer and some food at the #3 best brewery in America, Alvarado Street Brewery in Carmel by the Sea. 

If you need to break up the last leg, you can always use the restroom and grab a coffee at the Starbucks in Greenfield.

8:45p arrive in Paso Robles

You can either choose to relax in your hotel room and decompress from an awesome day, or head out on the town and check out some of the nightlife such as elevated cocktails at 1122, or some karaoke at Pine St Saloon.

Option 2: Visit Big Sur and PCH Route 1 on your way to Paso Robles

Your second option could be enjoying a leisurely drive along one of the most beautiful drives in the world between Monterey and Cambria.

This windy two-lane road is a 90-mile stretch that takes about 3 or more hours if you don’t plan to stop, but we recommend planning for about 5 hours if you want to do it right.

Pro tip: Make sure you start with a full tank of gas and check beforehand that Route 1 is open here. Due to rockslides and poor weather, this road can be closed for months or even years at a time.

There are many places along route 1 that are worth stopping, but here are some beautiful spots that you don’t want to miss:

Hearst Castle is at the end of the drive, and if you have time could be a great way to finish the day!

The most popular tour for first time visitors is the Grand Rooms tour, and you should plan to be here around 2 hours from start to finish (not including watching the Building the Dream Imax video).

The last tour offered starts at 3:40p, but on select nights between the end of November and the end of December they offer a Holiday Twilight tour later in the evening.

From Hearst Castle it’s about a 45-minute drive to Paso Robles Wine Country.

Sunset along the central coast of California

Let the Pros Build Your Perfect Customized Itinerary

At Toast Tours, we pride ourselves on having knowledgeable guides and we love creating custom itineraries in wine country, on the coast along highway 1 or anywhere along the Central Coast in California.

Whether you decide to fly into San Luis Obispo, San Francisco, or Los Angeles let us know what you’re looking for and we’re more than happy to help plan your perfect itinerary.


Private Wine Tasting Tour Paso Robles

Private Wine Tour

As a boutique tour company with years of experience, we use our knowledge and expertise to create custom tours for your group. We guarantee that we will take the hassle out of planning to give you the best wine tasting experience in Paso Robles.




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