Legendary 7-Day California Road Trip - Native Campervans

Legendary 7-Day California Road Trip

Nothing says summer road trips like the California coast. Whether you’re looking for crystal clear waters to surf, rugged mountain ranges to hike, or all the creature comforts of the big city, this beautiful state has something for you. If any of those piqued your interest, you’re in luck because this list has them all! This is the best California road trip itinerary to add to your bucket list.

See California’s vast desert-scapes, its tree-lined mountains, and its world-class restaurants all in a week! What are you waiting for? Your trip starts with a campervan rental in Las Vegas and ends with checkmarks on your bucket list!


DAY 01

Las Vegas – Joshua Tree National Park

Start your trip by finding a campervan rental from our Native Campervans Las Vegas location and prep for a desert drive. While Las Vegas to Joshua Tree may not seem like the most glamorous drive, the three-hour trip has quite a few interesting spots along the way.

Where to eat: Grab dinner at the Joshua Tree Saloon
What to see: Joshua Tree NP, Noah Purifoy Desert Art Museum, Krblin Jihn Kabin
Where to camp: Jumbo Rocks Campground

Make sure to get a reservation if possible. If you can snag a spot here, you’ll be surrounded by Joshua Tree’s iconic rock formations.


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DAY 02

Joshua Tree National Park – Malibu

Make sure to get in a morning hike or two before hitting the road! Plan to hit LA traffic, so keep your schedule flexible. Get onto the 10 and head west. It’s a pretty straightforward route into LA, so stay on that highway until you see 210 west.

From there you merge onto the 605 south until it’s time to get onto the 60 and head west again. This will all lead you back to where you started, the 10 west. If you aren’t used to driving in LA, this is an approachable way to test your skills!

You’ll have some beautiful desert views as you start your drive which will give way to industrial areas in the heart of Southern California as you go through Riverside and the City of Industry. Beyond Industry, you’ll hit the eastern part of Los Angeles and get a look at the heart of historical LA. The closer you get to Malibu, the more you’ll find the modern LA and all of its attractions.

Where to eat: Lunch at Neptune’s Net
What to see: Getty Villa, Zuma Beach, Malibu Family Wines
Where to camp: Malibu Creek State Park

A popular option for all visiting Malibu. Lots of outdoor activities and plenty of space for your campervan.


road trip califronia
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DAY 03

Malibu – San Francisco

The only time the cliché, “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey” holds true is driving the Pacific Coast Highway. There are faster routes to get from Malibu to San Francisco. In fact, by opting not to take PCH, you could save upwards of two hours. However, the iconic views of this oceanside drive are well worth the extra time.

With a straight shot up the PCH, you won’t have to fuss too much over directions, and you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views!

Monterey, CA is a great place to stop and have a late lunch and will give you a good break from driving!

Where to eat: Bistro Moulin in Monterey
What to see: Big Sur, Morro Bay, Half Moon Bay
Where to camp: Moro Strand State Beach

Great beachfront camping if you plan to make this a two-day drive. Bonus point for the potential to see sea otters!

Where to camp: Half Moon Bay State Beach

If you plan to take this trip in one day, this spot just outside of San Francisco will be a welcome beach campsite to stop at. Make reservations directly with the campsite.


Yosemite California trip

DAY 04

San Francisco – Yosemite National Park

It’s not a California road trip without the most iconic National Parks! Due east of San Francisco is the one and only: Yosemite. If the wealth of options for activities in San Francisco overwhelmed you, taking a break and heading into nature may be just what you need!

While the drive east is pretty and has plenty of central California’s charm, an early start will allow you to get a stroll or two in once you hit Yosemite. With the long drive from Malibu to San Francisco in your rearview, one of the many wineries in the area is worth your time!

Right now, you need a reservation to get into Yosemite, so make sure to get one well in advance if possible!

Where to eat: There are lots of good wineries to have lunch at, like this one!
What to see: Half Dome, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite Museum
Where to camp:
Upper Pines Campground

Nestled in the must-see Yosemite Valley, this campground is at a bit of elevation, but that won’t be the only thing taking your breath away! As with Joshua Tree, make reservations beforehand if at all possible.


Sequoia California road trip

DAY 05

Yosemite National Park – Sequoia National Park

If there was a day to sleep in, this is the one. A later start will be welcomed after the hiking and elevation. Get in any hikes you couldn’t yesterday, but don’t stress if you don’t get everything on your list; you have a whole other park to explore!

Except for the PCH, most of these drives feature pleasant desert-scapes and central California vibes. This follows that theme. While you can stop in Fresno and have a top-tier burger at Bulldog Burger Bistro, this easy 2.5-hour drive is one you can do without any real urgency.

If you don’t plan to cook for yourself, you’ll want to stop before heading into the park, as it can be a pretty long drive out, depending on where you stay.

Where to eat: Quesadilla Gorilla
What to see: Moro Rock, Crystal Cave, General Sherman Tree
Where to camp: Potwisha Campground

If you’re looking for somewhere a bit further out where you may see animals pass through your campground, this is the spot for you.


Campervan Rentals Las Vegas California roadtrip
Alabama Hills

DAY 06

Sequoia National Park – Alabama Hills

The last leg of your California road trip before heading home brings you to somewhere a bit more secluded than the two major national parks you just visited. Hope you got plenty of pictures at the Sequoia spots! It’s a bit of a drive, but this last stop will reward you.

It’s a long drive around Sequoia National Park to get towards California’s eastern border, but your views in the Alabama Hills will be worth the time.

Where to eat: Have lunch about halfway through your drive at Oh, boy! Po’boy! in Bakersfield, CA.
What to see: California Area Living Museum, Mount Whitney, Mobius Loop
Where to camp: Alabama Hills Recreation Area

Rock formations and wide-open skies are in store for your last campervan parking spot. Contact the campground directly for reservation information.


Day 07

Alabama Hills – Las Vegas

You’ll have plenty to digest as you head back to drop your campervan rental off in Las Vegas. Hopefully, the combination of city lights and quiet campsites is enjoyable! This trip can very easily be extended, and probably should, to be maximally enjoyed. Alternatively, of course, you can pick a few sites and still have just as much fun.

Make sure to confirm reservations ahead of time so you know what will be open and can focus on enjoying the road ahead! Take a look at our RV rentals Las Vegas page and see what kinds of campervans are available for your trip. Now have fun on your unforgettable California road trip.

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