If you’ve dreamed of taking a road trip through California, you’re not alone. California is around 770 miles long and 250 miles wide, and much of it is stunning. This California road trip itinerary takes you from the jewel of northern California, San Francisco, to the iconic Los Angeles, with stops at some of California’s best sights along the way.

Quick stats

1018km trip distance

6 day roadtrip

Camper Van recommended

road trip map
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Lake Tahoe

Stop 1

Your first stop is in beautiful Lake Tahoe, a three-and-a-half hour drive from San Francisco. This huge alpine lake is situated in the Sierra Nevada mountains, near the Nevada border. Its famed for its clear water and striking surroundings. Lake Tahoe is equally gorgeous in warm and cold weather and offers hiking, bicycling, water sports, and winter sports.

Yosemite National Park

Stop 2

A San Francisco to Los Angeles road trip would not be complete without a stop in Yosemite National Park, one of the greatest natural treasures in the U.S. Yosemite features 1,200 square miles of jaw-dropping sights including towering cliffs, amazing rock formations, giant sequoia trees, and dazzling waterfalls. Like Lake Tahoe, Yosemite is beautiful year-round and offers various ways to admire the scenery such as hiking, backpacking, climbing, horseback riding, and more.

Big Sur

Stop 3

A four-and-a-half hour drive south takes you to Big Sur, a dazzling 90-mile stretch of coastline along California’s central coast. The best way to see Big Sur is by traversing Highway 1, which hugs the edges of the Santa Lucia mountains and gives visitors spectacular views of the cliffs and the Pacific Ocean. There are several campgrounds in Big Sur that can accommodate RVs and campervans.

Pismo Beach

Stop 4

Next up: Pismo Beach, a classic California beach town along California’s central coast, just about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Pismo Beach is known for its beaches and wineries. Check out the Pismo Beach Pier, built in 1928; go horseback riding along the beach and dunes; and visit some nearby wineries.

Santa Barbara

Stop 5

Craving more surf, sand, and wine? A quick hour-and-a-half drive south brings you to Santa Barbara, a city with beautiful beaches, excellent wineries and museums, and California Mission-style architecture. Stroll down State Street, which has various shops and galleries; kick off your shoes on East Beach; play a round of golf; go wine tasting; visit the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden—there are tons of ways to enjoy this pretty city.

Los Angeles

Final stop

End your epic trip in the City of Angels, about two hours from Santa Barbara (depending on LA traffic). California’s most populous city has something to offer almost anyone. There are iconic LA sights such as Hollywood, Venice Beach, and Malibu. Then there are Santa Monica, Griffith Park Observatory, and Beverly Hills. Los Angeles also has fantastic museums such as the Getty Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and The Broad. Hungry visitors will not be disappointed: there are excellent restaurants serving cuisine from around the world. And, best of all, there are numerous RV campgrounds in LA.

Drive safely and enjoy your trip!

Check out more San Francisco road trip itineraries for more ideas on your epic campervan journey!

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