Will I Need a Car when I’m on Vacation in San Diego?

February 20, 2022

Millions of people visit San Diego each year. Some drive to the city in their personal vehicles, while others may fly in and rent vehicles at the airport. However, the metropolis is more than adequately serviced by various types of public transportation. Guests opting to rely on San Diego’s public transportation should consider getting the PRONTO app or card, which enables users to purchase tickets for different city systems at kiosks or by tapping the screens on their smartphones. Here are some alternatives to having a car when visiting San Diego, brought to you by the friendly staff from Sunrise Inn, one of the most welcoming and budget-friendly hotels in San Diego.

Trolley Service

The city’s bright-red trolleys take passengers to various locations in and around the metropolitan area. The 134 cars and 53 stations provide service on the blue, green, orange, and silver lines. Passengers board cars that arrive every 10 to 30 minutes. Trolleys aren’t hindered by traffic and are the least expensive transportation option in San Diego. Tickets are available for one-stop trips or two-hour access. One- to four-day and monthly tickets are also available. The service runs seven days a week year-round with the exception of holidays. Depending on the route and day of the week, rides are available from 4:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. Trolley schedules and maps are available for download from the San Diego Metropolitan Transportation System website as well as at many hotels in San Diego. 

Coaster Trains

These trains service downtown and Old Town San Diego along with nearby Carlsbad, Encinitas, Oceanside, and Solana Beach. This transportation option provides a relaxing, laid-back ride that offers stunning views of the Southern California landscape. Children under five years of age ride free. The trains travel north and south seven days a week. Rides are available Monday through Friday from 5:16 a.m. to 7:36 p.m., with the exception of Friday evening, when the trains are available until 9:16 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, the trains run from 7:36 a.m. to 9:16 p.m.


This light rail system is ideal for visitors desiring to venture anywhere along the 22-mile route that extends from Escondido to Oceanside. The inexpensive travel option has trains that run every 30 minutes daily from 4:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Rides are available up to 11:30 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 

City Buses

The SDMTS system is another low-cost transportation option in the city of San Diego and throughout the county. The city system operates 104 routes with 4,189 stops. Buses run seven days a week. However, bus line starting and ending times vary depending on individual routes. Schedules for each route are available on the SDMTS website. The Breeze bus system is another option that has 30 routes in northern San Diego County. The fleet has 152 buses that make 1,600 stops. 

When you visit San Diego, you’ll definitely want to stay for a while, so reserve your room today at Sunrise Inn San Diego. When they’re looking for comfortable and affordable hotels near downtown San Diego, visitors will be amazed by our unbeatable rates as well as our spacious rooms, stunning views of the harbor, and proximity to the most popular attractions in America’s Finest City. Call one of our friendly staff members today at (619) 223-5544 to make your reservation.

Book Your Stay