A winter camping trip, when properly planned, can be a magical experience. There’s nothing better in the cold weather than curling up next to a toasty campfire and roasting some marshmallows over the fire. Plus, there are fewer mosquitoes to bite and less crowded tourists to share the countryside in the winter months.
And I know what you’re thinking- what about those frigid nights?! I’ll freeze in a tent! Well luckily for you, you don’t have to tent camp if you rent a fully loaded campervan for your trip! If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you could always pack a tent for the milder nights, but that’s entirely up to you.
So, once you get your campervan booked, where should you plan to go? We’ve got you covered! Get ready for one jam-packed, epic winter getaway that takes you from Washington to southern California and back (with a ton of awesome detours along the way).
Our list was so epic we decided to break it down into five sections of the best winter road trips for camping enthusiasts. This way, you can choose which route or routes best suit you. And as a bonus, we also include our favorite trip highlight and campground picks to help you explore your options. Let’s get started!
Seattle to Las Vegas
This route is so gorgeous – especially with a layer of glistening snow on everything. There are so many changing landscapes on this journey from mountain peaks, deep valleys, to lush green forests- the options are endless! The most direct route is about 1,100 miles, but who are we kidding? The detours are where memories are made! If you are able, we recommend taking 2-3 weeks to complete this trip.
Top Highlight: Redwood National Park
Redwood National Park is considered an old-growth temperate rainforest located along the coast of northern California. They are a protective habitat for Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), one of the most enormous, towering species of tree on Earth! Aside from admiring these beautiful giants under a blanket of snow, there is also snowshoeing activities and cross-country skiing down North Grove Trail.
Top Campground: Prairie Creek
Prairie Creek campground in Redwoods State Park protects the rich dark meadows grazed by majestic Roosevelt elk. It is also home to the coast redwood, the world’s tallest living tree species. It’s safe to say you may see things while camping that you’ve never seen before and may never see again! They have 22 campsites, campfire rings, and facilities to use if needed. They allow trailers up to 24’ and RV’s up to 27’.
Las Vegas to San Francisco
If radiant red canyons and glistening alpine lakes sound like a must-see to you, this is the trip for you! There are a number of routes you can take, but if you’re not sure where to start, consider the journey we’ve mapped out. You will travel through two national parks, multiple monuments, and vistas that will take your breath away. Our route is about 600 miles long, and we recommend you plan for at least ten days to experience it fully.
Top Highlight: Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park, is nestled amidst the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, is famous for its ancient sequoia trees. But these towering beauties aren’t all there is to love about this renowned national park. It is also well known for Tunnel View, an iconic vista of Bridalveil Fall, and the El Capitan and Half Dome landmarks. You’ll also love the Yosemite Museum and the Ansel Adams Gallery, both chock full of history and stunning photographs of the landscapes of the area.
Top Campground: North Pines
Located in the heart of Yosemite Valley, near the Merced River, is North Pines campground. North Pines features include paved roads for bicyclists, flush toilets, drinking water, dump stations, and host 81 tent campsites and welcome RVs and trailers up to 30 feet long.
San Francisco to Denver, Colorado
Next up is your San Francisco to Denver itinerary? This round-trip itinerary takes you through six remarkable states for a total of 2,877 miles. We recommend you plan for at least 15 to 20 days to experience everything this trip has to offer.
Top Highlight: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in central California features giant red sequoia trees, towering mountain ranges, raging waterfalls, and verdant forest landscapes. There at 1,300 glorious miles of exploration between these two parks so you’ll find no shortage of options for a fantastic experience. Some of our favorite landmarks include the Crystal Cave, Moro Rock, and Tokopah Falls.
Top Campground: Dorst Creek
Found between Grant Grove and Giant Forest, is Dorst Creek campground. This campground is a great location to park your campervan or try out some tent camping because it’s conveniently right between both Sequoia and Kings Canyon.
The campground offers 218 campsites, and they welcome most RV sizes and trailers. They also have pull-through sites to make your life a bit easier. In the campground, you’ll find flush toilets and showers, a dump station, laundry facilities, and grocery stores just a few short miles away.
Denver to Los Angeles
This road trip takes you through Denver, north to Salt Lake City, Utah, and then back down to Los Angeles. Is it the most direct route? No, but travel isn’t about a race, it’s about a journey! Trust us- there’s a method to our madness that includes all the best sites for you and your travel crew. This sightseeing journey is about 1850 miles, so we suggest you get your road trip playlist ready and prepare for one epic voyage!
Top Highlight: The Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountains are one of the most spectacular portions of the American landscape. Stretching some 3,000 miles between Canada, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and even down to New Mexico! This seemingly infinite range offers some dramatic views of wilderness and wildlife. Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park is a must-visit with endless hiking trails which include Trail Ridge Road, a 48-mile trek with over 12,000 feet of elevation.
Top Campground: Moraine Park
Located inside Rocky Mountain National Park is Moraine Park Campground and RV park near the Beaver Meadows Entrance on Highway 36. In addition to lodging, you’ll have splendid views of the elegant mountain range as well as the landscape of the park. It has 244 campsites, as well as flushing toilets and a dump station.
Los Angeles to Seattle
This coastal itinerary features some of the most glorious countryside on the west coast of America has to offer! From the volcanoes of the Cascade Range, the endless skyline of the desert, the ancient Redwood forests, and more then we can fit in a blog post- this itinerary is an all-time favorite! Our charted route is 1142 miles, and we recommend taking the better part of a month to explore it.
Top Highlight: Crater Lake
Crater Lake is a caldera, 2,000 feet deep filled with mesmerizing dark blue waters that gives it a crystal clear, mirror image. Located in south-central Oregan, it was formed more than 150 years ago by the collapse of the Mount Mazama volcano. Currently, it is the deepest lake in the United States, and the ninth deepest in the world.
Top Campground: Joseph H. Stewart
Joseph H. Steward is an excellent campground located just 40 miles southwest of Crater Lake. In addition to it’s convenient radius to the iconic landmark, it is also the perfect basecamp to begin your exploration of the surrounding Oregon landscape.
The campground itself has an 11-mile trail system that takes you through some incredible overlooks of reservoirs, mountain ranges, streams, and glorious conifer trees. It features 151 campsites that include electricity and running water as well as toilet and shower facilities, a dump station, and a dog park.
We hope that you’ve found your inspiration to wander from this roundup of epic wintertime road trips for camping enthusiasts. Whether you decide to explore just one of these routes or you to do all five, we are here to support your travel dreams and make it possible with our unlimited free miles at any time of year! Contact us today and let us help you get started on your bucket-list voyage.
About the Author
Bastian is the Sales & Marketing Manager here at Travellers Autobarn. He holds a Master of Commerce in Marketing and International Business Management, and 20+ years experience in campervan hire, road trips and travel.