Home Holidays & Travelling The Ultimate Two-Week California National Park Road Trip Itinerary • The Blonde Abroad

The Ultimate Two-Week California National Park Road Trip Itinerary • The Blonde Abroad

by kyngsam

Rachel + Dana of Traveling Found Love are right here right now sharing this epic California nationwide park street journey itinerary!

One factor is for positive, California’s vibrant cities and the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway attracts thousands and thousands of tourists yearly. We liked strolling on the Santa Monica Pier and admiring the superb views on Highway 1 however what actually left us speechless was the inside a part of California.

As outside lovers, we’re at all times up for an journey in a nationwide park. On this route, you’ll move by way of 5 distinctive parks with undeniably attractive landscapes and a few of North America’s biggest pure wonders.

From the bottom level in Dying Valley Nationwide Park to the best waterfall in Yosemite National Park and to not overlook the biggest tree on the earth in Sequoia Nationwide Park.

Able to get off the overwhelmed path for an unforgettable 2-week California nationwide park street journey from San Diego to South Lake Tahoe?

We’d advocate doing this street journey from spring to fall since there might be street and path closures in some parks as a result of snow within the winter months.

When Ought to You Take This Route?

The Nationwide Parks and Lake Tahoe are stunning all yr spherical and every season will give you completely different and distinctive experiences within the parks. From stunning wildflowers within the spring in Dying Valley to the unbelievable fall foliage round Lake Tahoe.

However, we’d advocate doing this street journey from spring to fall since there might be street and path closures in some parks as a result of snow within the winter months. To remain updated on street info and situations it’s best to verify 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 stunning and sunny however extraordinarily scorching, particularly in Dying Valley and Joshua Tree Nationwide Park.

In case your journey contains outside actions, it’s best to finish them within the early morning or late afternoon. You’ll want to restrict these actions in the course of the center of the day since you may expertise scorching temperatures. At all times keep 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

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San Diego Gaslamp Quarter Road Trip

Seal San Diego La Jolla Road Trip

San Diego La Jolla Cave

Day 1-3: San Diego

San Diego is a must-see metropolis on the West Coast and one among our final favorites.

It affords a full of life downtown space with superior nightlife potentialities, tons of seashores to unplug, wildlife encounters at La Jolla Cove, and unbelievable parks to wander round in.

If you need to mix a calming afternoon on the seaside 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 by way of a sandstone passage however we had a whole 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
  • Take in the solar on one among San Diego seashores: Mission Seaside, Pacific Seaside
  • Go on a hike by way of 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 town.

Joshua Tree National Park Barker Dam Trail Road Trip

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 range of the luxurious and rocky panorama within the park up shut on one of many unbelievable hikes.

Hold your eyes open for wildlife in your hikes! We have 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 by way of 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 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 advocate tenting on this space in the course of the summer season months as a result 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]

Dwelling to the biggest timber on the earth, Sequoia and Kings Canyon Nationwide Park are really the land of giants.

What will likely be your favourite strategy to expertise the land of giants?

Is it feeling like a tiny ant standing subsequent to those large timber, seeing within a tree whereas strolling in Grant Grove or driving by way of 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 by way of a fallen sequoia tree at Tunnel Log
  • Stand subsequent to the biggest tree on the earth on the Congress Path: General Sherman Tree
  • Hike across the Normal Grant Tree and stroll by way of 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

Get pleasure from an evening in nature at one of many many campgrounds all through the parks. Spend the evening in one of many lodges throughout the park for a cabin retreat!

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 will not be solely California’s most visited Nationwide Park however one of many high ten within the U.S. The park is greatest recognized for its spectacular waterfalls, particularly Yosemite Falls which is the best in North America.

Benefit from the beautiful views on the scenic drive, have a picnic at one of many lakes, and when you’re 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 enduring 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: greatest 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

Lake Tahoe Eagle Point Campground

Day 13-14: South Lake Tahoe

Drive from Yosemite Nationwide Park (east facet by way of Tioga Cross Highway) to South Lake Tahoe

[Approx. 131 miles | 2 hours 45 minutes]

Lake Tahoe is really enchanting with its crystal clear turquoise water and the encircling forest and mountain sceneries. You’ll get the very 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 fortress.

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
  • Mountain climbing: Rubicon Path, Balancing Rock Nature Path
  • Water Actions: kayaking, paddle-boarding, boating
  • Take a tour of Lake Tahoe’s hidden fortress: Vikingsholm Castle

The place to Keep in South Lake Tahoe

Spend an evening at Emerald Bay State Park or D.L. Bliss State Park

Trip Additions

We take every chance to admire colorful street art and artsy creations wherever we go. If you are also into art, take the 50 minutes detour to Salvation Mountain on your way to Joshua Tree National Park. It is just a quick stop but the visionary environment on the hill is indescribable, it is best to see it for yourself!

When you have some extra time, make a stop at Las Vegas in your strategy to Dying Valley Nationwide Park for a little bit sinful enjoyable on the Las Vegas Strip.

For extra unique Vegas vibes, don’t miss out on the “outdated strip” round Fremont Road. Right here you discover stunning unique casinos which can be price testing even when you’re not into playing.

An effective way to finish the day is to go to one of many dozen buffets which serve no matter you may think about. Our all-time favourite is the Wicked Spoon. Make sure that to reach hungry…

Lastly, you probably have much more time, take into consideration making a loop again to San Diego by way of the California coast.

Useful Ideas

For individuals who need a day trip from expertise, that is your probability to unplug and benefit from the view, really feel, and scent of nature as a result of you’ll be fortunate to search out any service whereas within the parks.

If you’re touring by campervan or RV, we advocate campendium.com to search out low cost or free spots to remain for the evening. Campgrounds within the nationwide parks in California e book out months upfront, so just remember to reserve your favourite campsite in time.

However don’t fear, even when you may’t get a web site on a campground, there are Nationwide Forests and BLM (Bureau of Land Administration) land the place you may keep utterly free of charge.

One other good way to save cash on this 2-week California nationwide park street journey is to buy an America the Beautiful pass. This move will provide you with entry to a full yr of nationwide park adventures all around the USA.

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