One way car rental San Diego to San Francisco

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Car rental from San Diego to San Francisco

California, the state of Sunshine, is also the best place in the whole US to go on a road trip. In this blog post we are covering one of the many iconic US road trips that originate in California; it starts in the sunny San Diego and ends in San Francisco.

Note that there are two main routes that run from San Diego to San Francisco. One is along the pacific highway, is full of scenic views and natural beauty, while the other is a faster route than the latter one though not that good on the eyes.

Trip information

Distance 508.3 mi
Best route I-5 N
Best car for the trip SUV
Popular pickup point San Diego Airport
Popular drop-off point San Francisco Airport

Car rental suppliers that offer deals for the trip

One-ways are quite popular within the state of California. Our rental suppliers understand that and always keep deals handy for the travelers irrespective of the time gap between the pickup and the booking.

  • HertzHertz
  • AlamoAlamo
  • DollarDollar
  • ThriftyThrifty
  • FoxFox
  • AdvantageAdvantage
  • NationalNational
  • EuropcarEuropcar

One way car hire fee

If you are a non-US resident coming from UK, Canada or Australia, the one-way fee is really low, but it is true that most of the car hire agencies charge a one-way fee for the service. The per day one-way charges depend on a lot of factors like the supplier’s one way policy, the car size you are renting, etc.

It is interesting to note that some of our suppliers like Sixt provide free one way rentals, i.e., for no one-way fee for a selected location in the state of California. You can check out with our team before placing a booking.

Where to pick the car rental in San Diego?

In San Diego, car hire companies have their rental desks at major city locations, given as under:

Where to return the car hire in San Francisco?

When returning a car rental in San Francisco, you can choose the location that suits you the best. Here are a few popular points:

Renting a car from San Diego airport to San Francisco Airport

Distance between the airports 501.0 mi via I-5 N

Hundreds of people rent cars between San Diego Airport & San Francisco Airport because of reasons like canceled flights. When people fail to get on the next immediate flight, instead of waiting they choose to drive to the airport in a rental car.

What car types are available for renting at USA Cars Rental?

Irrespective of the popularity, our suppliers provide deals paired with a variety of car types. Though convertibles and SUV cars are more popular, in summer and winter holidays, van are rented more frequently when families and larger groups take trips. Here is a list of car sizes you are more likely to see while searching for a rental car for the trip:

Places to see on the way from San Diego to San Francisco

The fastest route

If you are planning for a day trip and would like to finish the drive in a day. The fastest route, I-5, is not that beautiful but gets you to your destination in under 7 hours.

The scenic route (Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), aka Highway 1)

Best time to take the drive through PCH September/October

To cover the scenic route you need at least 2 to 3 days to savor all the experiences and see the places that lie on the way.

Places to see on the way from San Diego to San Francisco

Frequently asked questions

  • How old to rent a car for the trip from San Diego to San Francisco?

    Most car rental agencies only allow 21+ year old drivers to rent cars for one-ways in California. However, there might be different age restrictions for different car types. Every deal has a term and condition section, there you can check out the minimum car hire age for that specific car-type.

  • Is there an option to add insurance to the one way rental car?

    Yes, the majority of the deals listed come with the option that allows you to add insurance at the time of the booking.

  • Can I rent a car for a week?

    The car rental brands that provide deals through USA Cars Rental, provide both long term and short term rentals. The short term deals cover not only 1 week rentals, but weekend and 1 day rentals too.

  • Which is the most popular car size for the trip?

    Both SUV and convertibles are the most frequently booked rental car types for the trips between San Diego and San Francisco.

  • What do I need to rent a car?

    Most of the suppliers ask for a valid driving license, identity proof and a credit card. Check the list of the documents on the rental voucher carefully, you are supposed to present all the listed docs at the time of the pickup.

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