There is so much more to California besides the glamour city life that Los Angeles offers. Whether you are visiting California for the first time, or are a California resident and looking for new places to travel, we’ve got you covered! The list of destinations ranges from from mountain destinations, to deserts, beaches and even romantic islands. Here is the ultimate California Road Trip Itinerary!
1. Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is one of the most popular spots to visit. The most famous spot to see is the Yosemite Falls, where water crashes down the falls and lands in the lake. The best time to come to the Falls is in April, May and June, right when the snow melts and the weather is not too hot. Along with the Falls, there are a number of hiking spots along the mountains. You can even check out the Giant Sequoias, and Glacier Point for incredible views. Rent a cabin to get the full nature experience!
2. San Diego
San Diego is located along the coast of the Pacific Ocean. This city is not only beautiful, but very vibrant and full of life. There are a number of beaches, trails and shopping centers to see when you visit. Make a stop at the famous SeaWorld for the ultimate aquarium experience. One of the most popular cities to visit is La Jolla, so make a stop there too!
San Francisco is another very famous city located in Los Angeles. Located in the north of California, San Francisco is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and has the most incredible views of the ocean everywhere you go. This city is also home to the famous Golden Gate Bridge, the colorful houses from the Victorian Age, Alcatraz, and the cable car rides! Make sure you stop at the Fisherman’s Wharf and Little Italy for some great food and drinks. The best time to go is during summer, as the weather is a little warmer (just bring jeans and a jacket).
4. Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is named after the Joshua Trees that are native to this specific park. This area is a protected wilderness and has two very unique and different deserts. You can explore the park by camping, hiking and climbing. The ideal time to go is in September, October and November, right as the weather cools off. You are guaranteed to see the most beautiful sunsets and views of city of Indio here. Make sure you make a camp reservation in advance because it tends to fill up quickly. This is definitely one of the best spots for your California road trip.
5. Big Sur
The Big Sur, also know as ‘the big south,’ is located south of Monterey. This area has the most beautiful views of the ocean, mountains, and wildlife. I recommend coming here to watch the sunset. It is truly a once in a lifetime experience and nothing compares!
6. Napa Valley
Napa Valley is the spot for all of you wine lovers out there! This city is located in the north of California and is famous for its gorgeous landscapes and wineries. This area is the perfect escape from reality to enjoy some food, wine, and the spa! Plan a trip for you and your besties here!
7. Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara is known as one of the best, and most beautiful places to visit in Southern California. This city offers something from everyone, from the beaches, coves, arts, and culture. This city is also filled with so much history! There are many famous museums in the area that you should check out too. This is a great spot to learn how to surf, paddle board, kayak, and hike. You can make a day trip out of this, or a weekend getaway! This is one of our favorite California road trip spots!
Malibu is a beautiful city located along Pacific Coast Highway. This city is home to many of Hollywood’s rich and famous, who traded in the city life for a beautiful house on the beach. Malibu is the spot for tourist, surfers, fishermen, and even students. You have to go to Malibu Pier and eat lunch at Malibu Farm. You can even make a day trip out of this, and hit all of the top spots in just a few hours!
9. Palm Springs
Palm Springs is the perfect spot if you are looking for a sunny vacation getaway all year round. Palm Springs has a very relaxed vibe, and is perfect to get an escape from reality. Some of the most popular activities to do here are golfing, swimming, hiking, biking, shopping and eating! You can even visit the famous Desert Zoo or water park. There are so many resorts to choose from, and they all offer so many fun activities! This is one of the best California road trip spots!
10. Santa Catalina Island
Santa Catalina Island is located just south of Los Angeles, along the Pacific Coast. Catch the ferry at the Long Beach terminal and take a quick, one-hour boat ride to the island. From there you can travel around the island and take part in some of the activities, like the beach, zip lining, dolphin tour, and boat rides. This is the spot that all of the California locals love to visit during the summer, and you are bound to get a great tan and unique beach experience here. This island is small, but filled with lots of history and activities for everyone!