Getting Around

Buses, planes, trains, oh my! Here’s everything you need to know about navigating through the Golden State.

California is the most populous and third largest state in the country. However, despite its size, California is fully equipped with transportation channels to get you from Point A to Point B as quickly and simply as possible, no matter where those points may lie.


California is full of extraordinary scholastic opportunities and one-of-a-kind tourist destinations, and people from all over the world come to live and visit here. Traveling by air is a simple way to connect anyone to the Golden State.

California’s major international and transcontinental air travel hubs are Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO.)

Below is a list of the state’s largest airports in alphabetical order:


Nearly every county in California has its own local bus line. Local bus transit agencies such as the San Francisco Muni serve a specific city or county, while other agencies such as the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System serve a specific region regardless of city or county borders. Bus service providers such as Greyhound and Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach allow you to travel between regions.


Known for its cultural focus on cars, California has approximately 32 million registered vehicles on file and one of the most extensive freeway systems in the country. The state’s various regions are connected by a widespread system of freeways, expressways and highways, all which are maintained by the California Department of Transportation. You can travel on almost all of California’s roadways for free – however, certain roads and bridges require you pay a small toll fee to access them, so be sure to have a small amount of cash on hand if you are traveling by car.

No matter where you’re headed, there is a road to take you there. And don’t forget to watch for California’s legendary beautiful bridges, such as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.


California has numerous subway and light rail systems. The largest is Metro Rail, which consists of six lines and serves 78 stations in Los Angeles County. The second largest is the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), followed by the Sacramento Regional Transit District, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, the San Diego Trolley, and the Sprinter line, respectively.

Commuter rail lines include the Altamont Commuter Express, Caltrain, the Coaster, and the Metrolink.

Intercity rail travel is provided by Amtrak’s California, Pacific Surfliner, and San Joaquin lines, and the Capitol Corridor.

Amtrak also provides national rail service from California to cities such as Chicago, Seattle and New Orleans.

Seaports and Harbors

If you’re looking to travel across the San Francisco Bay to other communities in the Bay Area, several ferry services can accommodate you. Ferrying is also available to those who wish to cross the San Diego Bay to the city of Coronado.


Bicycling can be an efficient and fun way to get to your destination. There are several bike routes in California such as the Los Angeles River bicycle path and the San Francisco Bay Trail. Additionally, many public transportation vehicles are bike-friendly. For example, many buses are equipped with bike racks and many rail systems allow passengers to carry bikes onto trains.

Car Rental

Renting a car can be a plausible travel option, even for non-U.S. citizens. In order to rent a car in California, you must have a valid driver’s license, a passport and a credit card. Also, most car rental companies require that you be at least 25 years old.

The price of car rental varies greatly. Typically the lowest rate is approximately $35 per day (not including insurance), and supplies you with a basic, compact car. If you want to rent a larger car or a car that is equipped with a CD player or air-conditioning, the rate typically falls somewhere between $45-$55.

Below is a list of the state’s major car rental companies in alphabetical order: