Rachel + Dana of Traveling Found Love are right here at present sharing this epic California nationwide park street journey itinerary!
One factor is for positive, California’s vibrant cities and the beautiful Pacific Coast Freeway attracts thousands and thousands of tourists yearly. We beloved strolling on the Santa Monica Pier and admiring the wonderful views on Freeway 1 however what actually left us speechless was the internal a part of California.
As out of doors lovers, we’re at all times up for an journey in a nationwide park. On this route, you’ll go via 5 distinctive parks with undeniably attractive landscapes and a few of North America’s best pure wonders.
From the bottom level in Dying Valley Nationwide Park to the very best waterfall in Yosemite Nationwide Park and to not overlook the most important tree on this planet in Sequoia Nationwide Park.
Able to get off the crushed path for an unforgettable 2-week California nationwide park street journey from San Diego to South Lake Tahoe?
We’d suggest doing this street journey from spring to fall since there will be street and path closures in some parks on account of snow within the winter months.
When Ought to You Take This Route?
The Nationwide Parks and Lake Tahoe are lovely all 12 months spherical and every season will give you totally different and distinctive experiences within the parks. From lovely wildflowers within the spring in Dying Valley to the unimaginable fall foliage round Lake Tahoe.
However, we might suggest doing this street journey from spring to fall since there will be street and path closures in some parks on account of snow within the winter months. To remain updated on street info and situations it’s best to test the nationwide park web site earlier than your journey.
We accomplished our journey in the course of the summer season. The climate was at all times lovely and sunny however extraordinarily scorching, particularly in Dying Valley and Joshua Tree Nationwide Park.
In case your journey contains out of doors actions, it’s best to finish them within the early morning or late afternoon. It would be best to restrict these actions in the course of the center of the day since you’ll be able to expertise scorching temperatures. All the time bear in mind to have plenty of water with you!
Our 14-Day Highway Journey Itinerary
- Day 1-3: San Diego
- Day 4-5: Joshua Tree Nationwide Park
- Day 6-7: Dying Valley Nationwide Park
- Day 8: Sequoia Nationwide Park
- Day 9: Kings Canyon Nationwide Park
- Day 10-12: Yosemite Nationwide Park
- Day 13-14: South Lake Tahoe
The Coolest Airbnbs in California
Listed here are the good (and most charming) Airbnbs to remain at in California!
Day 1-3: San Diego
San Diego is a must-see metropolis on the West Coast and certainly one of our final favorites.
It gives a full of life downtown space with superior nightlife prospects, tons of seashores to unplug, wildlife encounters at La Jolla Cove, and unimaginable parks to wander round in.
If you need to mix a calming afternoon on the seashore and a singular mountain climbing expertise, don’t miss out on the Ho Chi Minh path which brings you proper to the shore. It’s a little bit of a climb via a sandstone passage however we had quite a lot of enjoyable on this little journey.
Finest Issues to Do and See in San Diego:
- Go to the well-known San Diego Zoo
- Stroll round Balboa Park
- Expertise Downtown: Gaslamp Quarter, Seaport Village, Little Italy
- Admire the ocean life at La Jolla Cove
- Hike the Ho Chi Minh Path, a singular mountain climbing path that leads you to the Blacks Seaside
- Absorb the solar on certainly one of San Diego seashores: Mission Seaside, Pacific Seaside
- Go on a hike via Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve for beautiful overlooks of the Pacific Ocean.
- Catch a sundown at Sundown Cliffs Pure Park
The place to Keep in and Round San Diego
Ranchos Los Coches RV Park (20 minutes east of San Diego) This family-owned campground is a good place for RV touring and tent tenting. One other plus is the costs are cheaper since you’re a little exterior the town.
Day 4-5: Joshua Tree Nationwide Park
Drive from San Diego to Joshua Tree Nationwide Park (south entrance at Cottonwood Spring)
[Approx. 158 miles | 3 hours 20 minutes]
Expertise how two deserts, Mojave and Colorado, come collectively to create a singular panorama in Southern California.
Snapping an image with the spiky Joshua Tree is a should. However don’t overlook to expertise the variety of the plush and rocky panorama within the park up shut on one of many unimaginable hikes.
Preserve your eyes open for wildlife in your hikes! We had been fortunate to identify a chuckwalla (lizard) and a rattlesnake beneath a rock.
Finest Issues to Do and See in Joshua Tree Nationwide Park
- Take a scenic drive via the park
- Try the weird Cholla Cactus Backyard
- See spectacular rock formations: Cranium Rock and Arch Rock
- Admire the panoramic view of Joshua Tree from the very best level at Keys View
- Take a hike on the Barker Dam Path
The place to Keep in Joshua Tree Nationwide Park
Camp out in one of many nationwide park’s campgrounds!
Day 6-7: Death Valley National Park
Drive from Joshua Tree National Park (north entrance at Twentynine Palms) to Death Valley National Park (east entrance via Highway 190)
[Approx. 228 miles | 3 hours 50 minutes]
Death Valley is the hottest, driest, and lowest of all the U.S. National Parks. You can expect a true desert experience from climbing up the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, standing in salt flats at Badwater Basin, to admiring surprisingly colorful patterns on the Artist’s Drive.
You also have to see Death Valley from above, the views from Zabriskie Point and Dante’s view are breathtaking.
Best Things to Do and See in Death Valley National Park
- Take in the views of Death Valley at Zabriskie Point and Dante’s View
- See a salt pan at Devils Golf Course
- Visit the lowest point in North America at Badwater Basin
- Journey down Artist’s Drive to see the beautiful colors of Artist’s Palette
- Explore the sight of Harmony Borax Works in Furnace Creek
- Stroll on the dunes at Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
The place to Keep in Dying Valley Nationwide Park
Keep in one of many park’s campgrounds from late fall till spring. We’d not suggest tenting on this space in the course of the summer season months on account of excessive warmth. For a extra delicate expertise e-book a room in one of many park’s lodges.
Kings Canyon Nationwide Park – Normal Grant Path
Day 8-9: Sequoia & Kings Canyon Nationwide Park
Drive from Dying Valley Nationwide Park (west entrance at Panamint Springs) to Sequoia Nationwide Park (Ash Mountain entrance at Three Rivers)
[Approx. 268 miles | 4 hours 45 minutes]
Drive from Sequoia Nationwide Park to Kings Canyon Nationwide Park by way of Generals Freeway
[Approx. 10 miles | 20 minutes]
House to the most important bushes on this planet, Sequoia and Kings Canyon Nationwide Park are actually the land of giants.
What shall be your favourite option to expertise the land of giants?
Is it feeling like a tiny ant standing subsequent to those huge bushes, seeing within a tree whereas strolling in Grant Grove or driving via a fallen sequoia tree at Tunnel Log?
Finest Issues to Do and See in Sequoia and Kings Canyon Nationwide Park
- Hike up Moro Rock
- Drive via a fallen sequoia tree at Tunnel Log
- Stand subsequent to the most important tree on this planet on the Congress Path: General Sherman Tree
- Hike across the Normal Grant Tree and stroll via the fallen Monarch in Grant Grove
- Take a Scenic Drive on Kings Canyon Scenic Byway
- Cease and see Grizzly Falls on Kings Canyon Scenic Byway
- Benefit from the surroundings at Zumwalt Meadows
The place to Keep in Sequoia & Kings Canyon Nationwide Park
Day 10-12: Yosemite Nationwide Park
Drive from Kings Canyon Nationwide Park (Grant Grove Village) to Yosemite Nationwide Park (south entrance by way of Freeway 41)
[Approx. 111 miles | 2 hours 15 minutes]
Yosemite Nationwide Park just isn’t solely California’s most visited Nationwide Park however one of many high ten within the U.S. The park is finest recognized for its spectacular waterfalls, particularly Yosemite Falls which is the very best in North America.
Benefit from the beautiful views on the scenic drive, have a picnic at one of many lakes, and if you find yourself up for an actual journey, take a strenuous hike up Half Dome or Vernal falls.
For a romantic ending of the day, drive as much as Glacier Level to see the long-lasting Half Dome shining within the orange and crimson lights of the sundown.
Finest Issues to Do and See in Yosemite Nationwide Park
- Discover Yosemite Valley
- Take a Hike: Decrease Yosemite Falls, Vernal Falls, Bridalveil Falls. Or tackle the difficult 14-16 hour hike up Half Dome (permit required)
- Cease and see El Capitan: finest views are at Bridalveil Falls space, the western a part of Yosemite Valley, and Tunnel View
- Seize a photograph at Tunnel View
- Catch a sundown at Glacier Level
- Take a drive on Tioga Highway to Tuolumne Meadows
- Have a picnic by Tenaya Lake
The place to Keep in Yosemite Nationwide Park
Day 13-14: South Lake Tahoe
Drive from Yosemite Nationwide Park (east facet by way of Tioga Move Highway) to South Lake Tahoe
[Approx. 131 miles | 2 hours 45 minutes]
Lake Tahoe is actually enchanting with its crystal clear turquoise water and the encircling forest and mountain sceneries. You’re going to get one of the best views from Emerald Bay State Park Campground which is situated on the southwest a part of the lake.
From there, take the Rubicon Path right down to the lake to benefit from the cool water in a kayak or whereas swimming round. For an ideal cultural expertise tour the distinctive Scandinavian Vikingsholm fort.
Finest Issues to Do and See in South Lake Tahoe
- Go to a State Park: Emerald Bay State Park or D.L Bliss State Park
- Mountaineering: Rubicon Path, Balancing Rock Nature Path
- Water Actions: kayaking, paddle-boarding, boating
- Take a tour of Lake Tahoe’s hidden fort: Vikingsholm Castle
The place to Keep in South Lake Tahoe
We take each likelihood to admire colourful road artwork and artsy creations wherever we go. If you’re additionally into artwork, take the 50 minutes detour to Salvation Mountain in your option to Joshua Tree Nationwide Park. It’s only a fast cease however the visionary surroundings on the hill is indescribable, it’s best to see it for your self!
When you’ve got some additional time, make a cease at Las Vegas on your way to Death Valley National Park for a little sinful fun on the Las Vegas Strip.
For more original Vegas vibes, don’t miss out on the “old strip” around Fremont Street. Here you find beautiful original casinos that are worth checking out even when you are not into gambling.
A great way to end the day is to go to one of the dozen buffets which serve whatever you can imagine. Our all-time favorite is the Wicked Spoon. Make sure that to reach hungry…
Lastly, in case you have much more time, take into consideration making a loop again to San Diego by way of the California coast.
For individuals who need a day out from expertise, that is your likelihood to unplug and benefit from the view, really feel, and odor of nature as a result of you’ll be fortunate to seek out any service whereas within the parks.
If you’re touring by campervan or RV, we suggest campendium.com to seek out low cost or free spots to remain for the night time. Campgrounds within the nationwide parks in California e-book out months prematurely, so just remember to reserve your favourite campsite in time.
However don’t fear, even when you’ll be able to’t get a web site on a campground, there are Nationwide Forests and BLM (Bureau of Land Administration) land the place you’ll be able to keep utterly without cost.
One other good way to economize on this 2-week California nationwide park street journey is to buy an America the Beautiful pass. This go will provide you with entry to a full 12 months of nationwide park adventures everywhere in the USA.