California Road Trips to Escape the City

Pacific Coast Highway California road trip

City life in California can be stressful, to say the least; you and your family are constantly dealing with pollution, noise, crowds, and crime. Simply put, city life can be unhealthy and unnatural.

Fortunately, the all-American road trip is the antidote to the stress of city life. A road trip doesn’t involve the long lines and security checks involved with flying. It’s as simple as packing a bag, filling up the tank and hitting the road.

The open road is a great way to clear your mind and refresh the spirit. Let’s look at four different road trips you can take from California right now.

The Pacific Coast California Road Trip

Driving north along the coast to the Redwood forests will give you a fabulous, Instagram-worthy road trip. Driving on Highway 1 from Southern California to northern California is on a lot of bucket lists, however, Highway 1 might be too risky a drive for an RV.

US Highway 101 also follows the Pacific Coast, and is recommended if Highway 1 gets too narrow and twisty for an RV. US Highway 101 and Highway I merge near the tiny hamlet of Leggett, California.

The stretch of Highway 1 from Leggett up to the Oregon border is the most stunning stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway; this is, hands down, the classic California Coast road trip. If you’re driving an RV, be sure to reserve your campsites well in advance; you won’t be the only one escaping the city.

On to Oregon

If you make it to the Oregon border, you can keep going to Mount Ranier or Olympic National Park. These mountain retreats have everything you’ll need to detox from the city.

Olympic National Park has nearly one million acres of coastline, mountains, and rain forests. It’s a fabulous place to take your RV, and there are a few RV friendly campgrounds, some overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Magnificent Mount Ranier National Park also has camping suitable for RVs, nestled deep in the forest. You and your family can revel in refreshing waterfalls and the fragrance of wildflowers all summer long next to the mighty, 14,410-foot tall Mount Ranier.

California Road Trip to the Mountains

California road trip to Yosemite


A road trip high into the mountains is a perfect way to escape in the summer, and Yosemite is the next best thing to Yellowstone, and it’s right within the borders of the Golden State. The stunning rivers and waterfalls will soothe your soul, as will a stroll amongst the giant Redwoods of Mariposa Grove. However, Yosemite is a very popular getaway, so be sure to book your reservations well in advance.

Perhaps the most famous natural wonder at Yosemite is Half Dome, and the rock climber’s mecca, El Capitan. Whatever your concept of Heaven, Yosemite will likely fit the bill.

Lassen Volcanic National Park

While Yellowstone gets all of the attention for its dramatic volcanic activity, Lassen Volcanic National Park also has incredible bubbling mud pools, fumaroles, and other volcanic activity.

Moreover, Lassen also has gorgeous mountain vistas, expansive meadows blanketed with wildflowers, and cool, crystal clear mountain lakes.

Be sure to stop at Bumpass Hell; it’s a three-mile hike that takes you to the edge of bubbling mud pots, steaming pools, and volcanic steam vents like the Big Boiler. A short hike takes you to the bubbling Boiling Springs Lake, with a temperature of 125 degrees.

Last but not least, Tahoe

Finally, a trip to Lake Tahoe is an incredible experience; the deep, blue lake, snow-capped mountains, and mighty pines is certainly a refreshing break from the heat of the city. However, Tahoe is a very popular summer getaway, and during the peak season, you won’t escape any crowds. Try Tahoe in May or early June, or during the late summer and early fall to beat the crowds.

The California Desert Road Trip

Traveling across the western deserts is the quintessential All-American road trip. If you need to get out of the city during the winter months, a road trip across the desert could be what you need.

Death Valley

Death Valley is breathtaking, and it’s a road trip you’ll remember forever. During the summer, it’s among the hottest and driest places on earth. It’s also the lowest national park, as well as the lowest point in North America.

Death Valley during the spring, this forbidding desert bursts with beautiful wildflowers; but the painted rocks of Artist’s Palette pop with color any time of year.

Fortunately, much of Death Valley can be explored by car, and there is RV camping in the park, or a few miles away in Beatty, NV. Between November and March when temperatures are mild, hikers will appreciate exploring Ubehebe Crater and stunning Mosaic Canyon. Exploring Death Valley is one of the unique California RV vacations.

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is another destination unique to the American southwest; encompassing an astounding 790,636 acres, with 429,690 acres designated as wilderness, Joshua Tree is certainly a place to get lost from civilization. There are places to boondock with your RV within the borders of this expansive park.

The Mojave Desert is higher and cooler than Death Valley, and even can get light snow during the winter. Of course, the majestic and unusual Joshua Trees dominate the lower elevations of the park. Higher up in the mountains, you’ll find juniper and pinyon pine. The lower, eastern region of the park the eastern part of the park features ocotillo, yucca, and cholla cactus.

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