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California National Parks Road Trip

California National Parks Tour

California is known for its wildly diverse terrain, ranging from jaw-dropping coastlines to sweeping desert landscapes. The entire state serves as a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, containing nine of the country’s national parks- more than any other state in the US. With so many natural wonders, deciding which park to visit is often the most challenging part of planning a California National Parks road trip.

Rather than limiting your trip to just one national park, why not see all of them?  Slide down sand dunes in the desert, go rock climbing in Yosemite, gaze up at the world’s largest trees, and hike up an active volcano! Beginning from the Los Angeles class b RV rental Escape location, this 10-day California National Parks road trip takes you on the ultimate west coast adventure!

Travel Time for a California National Parks Road Trip from Los Angeles

Embarking on a journey through all nine of California’s national parks is no small feat. It begins and ends at the Escape Camper Vans in Los Angeles, near National Parks. This West Coast adventure spans approximately 2,105 miles and would take about 37 hours and 40 minutes of continuous driving. With so many National Parks near Los Angeles, we recommend at least ten days to complete this road trip.

While Joshua Tree is the first national park on this itinerary, you could reverse the route, beginning with the Channel Islands National Park instead. 


Directions Tips:

TOTAL MILES: 2,105 miles

TOTAL TRAVEL TIME: 10 days, driving 37 hours and 40 minutes

Best Time of Year for a California National Parks Road Trip

Because California’s national parks are scattered throughout the state, there are some National Parks near Los Angeles but many are not. This can make finding an ideal month that’s optimal for all of the parks tricky.  To help you decide when to venture out on your California National Parks road trip, we’ve listed the benefits and disadvantages of each season.

Spring

In Joshua Tree and Death Valley, March through May, bring comfortable temperatures perfect for long days of exploring. Spring is when wildflowers are in full bloom, especially in Pinnacles National Park and the Channel Islands. The Redwoods are also extraordinarily lush during the spring, and the crowds aren’t overwhelming.

In Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Yosemite, and Lassen Volcanic National Park, early spring can still be cold and very snowy. This makes this a less ideal time to visit unless you’re seeking out winter activities. However, the snow melts by May, and it becomes one of the most pleasant periods to visit all the parks.

Summer

Despite increased crowds, warm temperatures make summer one of the best seasons to visit Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Yosemite, Lassen Volcanic National Park, and the Redwoods. You’ll just need to reserve your campsites well in advance, as this is the most popular time of year to visit. Summer is also the best season for spotting marine wildlife throughout the Channel Islands.

However, not all of California’s parks thrive during the summer. In Joshua Tree and Death Valley, scorching desert temperatures are uncomfortable and often dangerous. Furthermore, Death Valley is already the hottest place on earth, so you can only imagine what it’s like in the middle of July. Additionally, the summer is too hot to enjoy Pinnacles National Park, plus the caves are often inaccessible due to bat activity.

Fall

For most of the destinations on this route, September and October bring fewer crowds, great weather for exploring, and vibrant fall colors. In Death Valley, September is still quite hot; by October, the temperatures become milder and are perfect for venturing into the desert. 

The early fall is also the warmest time to visit the Channel Islands, although, by October, the Santa Ana winds usually come in and can cause rough seas.

Winter

Cooler temperatures make the winter a perfect time to explore Joshua Tree, Death Valley and Pinnacles National Park. Winter is the quiet season for most other parks, with lots of snow and cold temperatures. 

Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Yosemite are all magical to see under blankets of snow. Just remember that some trails and roads may become inaccessible due to heavy snowfall.

The Redwoods are also tranquil in the winter, and while it likely won’t snow during your visit, you can expect quite a bit of rain. Mid-December is the best time to witness the whale migration in Channel Island, but it can be very rainy. Heavy storms may result in ferry cancellations or delays.

 

All things considered, late spring and early fall are the best seasons to explore all nine of California’s national parks. 

Camper van in front of the welcome to California sign, during a road trip.

Preparation for a California National Parks Road Trip

Exploring all of California’s national parks in one trip is a massive undertaking and requires planning and preparation. You’ll cross through many varied ecosystems over ten days, so packing all the necessary gear and supplies for each park is critical. 

Campgrounds

Most of California’s national parks offer multiple campgrounds to choose from. Even so, it’s a good idea to book your sites as far in advance as possible, especially if you’re traveling during the busy season. If you’re not able to reserve your sites ahead of time, consider trying dispersed or free camping options near each park.

Food and Water

This route involves very long stretches of time on the road, often in quite remote areas with few to no facilities. The same goes for many of the parks you’ll be exploring. With this in mind, stock up on groceries by the Escape Camper Vans in Los Angeles or near National Parks so you can plan meals that can easily be made at your campsite. It’s also a good idea to include a kitchen kit and picnic table to ensure you have everything you need.

Gear and Supplies

Many of the parks on this itinerary are known for their bears and other wildlife. Make sure you are always taking the proper precautions when it comes to food storage.

Protection from the sweltering desert sun is critical. We recommend you add a door canopy to your camper van rental for extra sun protection. Additionally, flashlights will also be necessary for exploring the lava tubes of Lassen Volcanic National Park and the caves in Pinnacles National Park.

If you’re planning to embark on your California National Parks road trip during the winter, you’ll definitely need snow chains and an extra bedding kit. Finally, get an America the Beautiful pass. It will give you unlimited access to every National Park for a full year. Otherwise, you’ll end up spending tons of money on park entrance fees.

Navigation

If you’re using your Smartphone as your GPS, keep in mind that you’ll be driving through many areas with minimal cell reception. As long as you download offline maps, this shouldn’t be a problem. Just make sure you pack portable chargers, so that you’re not stuck when your camper van is off. 

As an added precaution, grab a free paper map at the entrance of each park. These will help a lot with navigating the more secluded roads, trails, and campgrounds that you’ll encounter.

Which Camper Van is Best for a California National Parks Road Trip?

Escape Camper Vans offers a suite of five different camper van models to choose from, all of which are available from our Los Angeles location. This is a great place to start your journey, as Los Angeles is near National Parks. The ideal camper van for your trip will depend on your group size, the time of year you’re traveling, and your personal preferences.

The Del Mar, Mavericks, and Mesa are our three largest models, all of which can sleep up to five people with a rooftop sleeper and come equipped with comfortable queen-sized beds. Our Jeep Camper and Santa Cruz are more compact and sleep up to two people. All models feature fully functional kitchenettes, although the Jeep contains a powered cooler rather than a refrigerator. Take some time to compare each vehicle to determine which is right for you.

California National Parks Road Trip Itinerary 

Day 1- Los Angeles to Joshua Tree National Park

After an early morning spent packing up your camper van and stocking up on groceries, it’s time to hit the road. Your national parks tour begins with Joshua Tree, located 144 miles from the Escape Camper Vans in Los Angeles

As soon as you enter southern California’s mesmerizing oasis, you’ll be met by jaw-dropping rock formations, enchanting desert landscapes, and, of course, the namesake trees that Joshua Tree is so famous for. 

Escape Camper Vans Los Angeles is near Joshua Tree National Park.

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Things to do in Joshua Tree National Park

See Skull Rock- Years of eroding granite have led to one of Joshua Tree’s most notable landmarks. After stopping for a photo op with this famous skull-shaped rock, check out the easy 1.7-mile nature trail nearby.

Barker Dam Trail- This stunning, 1.1-mile loop trail is a great way to get acquainted with the park’s ethereal landscape. Walk past enormous boulders and geological formations, the Baker Dam, and vast fields of Joshua trees!

Hall of Horrors Trail- On this spectacular trail, hike past large boulders and rock scrambles, followed by two impressive slot canyons. In addition to amazing views and high chances of spotting wildlife, you’re also likely to see several rock climbers during your trek. 

Places to Eat near Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree Saloon– 61835 29 Palms Hwy, Joshua Tree, CA 92252: This legendary saloon and grill boasts an Old West theme while offering delicious meals and a lively atmosphere. Admire scenic desert views from their outdoor patio, and on the weekends enjoy live music performances and open mic nights!

Crossroads Cafe– 61715 29 Palms Hwy, Joshua Tree, CA: This laid-back eatery offers an extensive menu, including a wide variety of vegan options. Their breakfasts are especially popular and available every day until 1:30 pm.

Campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park contains eight camper van-friendly campgrounds, three of which are first come, first served. Most of the sites do not provide potable water, so make sure you’re stocked up before settling in for the night!

Jumbo Rocks CampgroundTwentynine Palms, CA 92277: This year-round site within the park is incredibly scenic and conveniently located near many of Joshua Tree’s top attractions. Reservations are required and can be made up to six months in advance.

Hidden Valley Campground– 74485 National Park Dr, Twentynine Palms, CA 92277: This is the only first come, first served campsite in the park that is open year-round, making it a popular option in the summer. Pit toilets, picnic tables, and fire rings are available, though facilities are otherwise minimal.

Day 2- Death Valley National Park

Spend your morning driving through the enchanting Mojave National Preserve as you make your way to Death Valley National Park. The drive takes approximately four hours and facilities along this route are very limited, so make sure you have enough water and food before leaving Joshua Tree. 

Not only is Death Valley the largest national park in California, but it’s also the lowest, driest, and hottest place in all of North America. This spellbinding park offers a multitude of different landscapes and natural wonders to discover, including otherworldly geological formations, captivating salt flats, and towering sand dunes.

Camper van driving through Death Valley National park in California

Things to do in Death Valley National Park

Mesquite Flat Sand DunesFlanked by looming mountains in the distance, visiting this vast field of sand dunes is one of the most fun things to do in Death Valley. Hike to the summit of the dunes, which reach about 100 feet, or rent a sandboard!

Artists PaletteSituated along the Artists Drive Scenic Loop, the wildly vivid colors throughout these jagged rock formations are truly astounding. The vibrant hues of greens, purples, and reds are created by the oxidation of metals and other elements. 

Zabriskie Point- This jaw-dropping viewpoint offers travelers one of the most striking sights in Death Valley. This viewpoint is especially breathtaking during sunrise or sunset. It is one of the best areas to take in the park’s hypnotizing landscape. 

Badwater BasinThe 1-mile hike to this iconic salt flat will bring you 282 feet below sea level, the lowest point in North America!

Places to Eat near Death Valley National Park

Badwater Saloon– 51880 CA-190, Death Valley, CA 92328: Open for lunch and dinner, this Wild Wild West-style bar is the perfect spot to refresh. Afterward, stick around for a game of pool or enjoy one a signature cocktails. 

Toll Road Restaurant– 51880 CA-190, Death Valley, CA 92328: Located in the same complex as the Badwater Saloon, this lively eatery serves breakfast lunch, and dinner. If you plan to spend the day on the trails, you can also pick up a boxed lunch in the morning. 

Camping in Death Valley National Park

Furnace Creek Campground– Death Valley, CA 92328: This year-round site requires advanced reservations from October to April. The rest of the year is first come, first served. During the high season, reservations must be made at least two days before your visit and can be reserved up to six months in advance. Facilities include flush toilets, a dump station, and drinking water.

Sunset Campground– Death Valley, CA 92328: This spacious campground is first come, first served and is usually a good bet for finding sites. The season typically operates from mid-October until April, and facilities include flush toilets, potable water, and a year-round camp store.

Day 3- Sequoia National Park

Enjoy an early breakfast before trading in Death Valley’s desert landscapes for the towering trees of Sequoia National Park. The drive will take about five hours, but the long ride will be well worth the effort.

Nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Sequoia National Park is famous for its astonishingly tall trees- including the biggest living tree on the planet! The park also boasts jaw-dropping mountains, impressive canyons, and ample wildlife spotting opportunities.

Things to Do in Sequoia National Park

General Sherman Tree Located within the Giant Forest, General Sherman is the park’s number one attraction. At 52,508 cubic feet, this is the world’s largest tree and a must-see when visiting! There are two different trails that lead to the legendary tree, which towers at a height of 274.9 feet.

Moro Rock- For a breathtaking view of the park’s vastness, head to the top of this impressive granite dome, standing at 6,725 feet. Your 350 stair climb will reward you with with outstanding panoramic views. 

Congress Trail Beginning at General Sherman, this 2.7-mile trail along a well-paved path guides visitors past a remarkable amount of looming sequoia trees. 

Places to Eat Near Sequoia National Park

Sequoia Coffee Co.-41669 Sierra Dr, Three Rivers, CA 93271: Here is where you find some of the best coffee in the area. They also serve a wide selection of delicious breakfast and lunch dishes. Located just outside of the park, this is a perfect option for fueling up before a day in the mountains.

The Peaks Restaurant– 64740 Wuksachi Way, Sequoia National Park, CA 93262: Situated inside the park at the Wuksachi Lodge, this is one of Sequoia’s most popular dining options. In addition to a variety of meals made from sustainable ingredients, the restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows provide unmatched views of the park while you dine.

Campgrounds Near Sequoia National Park

Lodgepole Campground– 47050 Generals Hwy, Three Rivers, CA 93271: Located at an elevation of 6,700 feet, this spacious campground usually operates from April through November, and reservations are required. While amenities are limited, this site is within walking distance of Lodgepole Village, which offers laundry facilities, showers, a market, and access to the Sequoia Shuttle during the summer months.

Potwisha Campground- Sequoia National Park, CA, 93262: Fall asleep under a field of oak trees at this year-round site in the foothills. Reservations can be made up to four months before your trip, and facilities include flush toilets, food storage lockers, and potable water. Since it rarely snows in the foothills, this is a great option if you’re traveling during the winter.

Day 4- Kings Canyon National Park

Pack up your camper van once more as you prepare to make the quick drive over to Kings Canyon National Park, which shares a border with Sequoia National Park. While Kings Canyon is still brimming with enormous sequoia trees, it also features the country’s deepest canyon, stunning waterfalls, and awe-inspiring vistas. 

To reach Kings Canyon from Sequoia, drive along the breathtaking Kings Canyon Scenic Byway. This stunning route is 50 miles long and leads you straight through the majestic Land of Giants, featuring several trailheads and overlooks along the way.

Things to do in Kings Canyon National Park

Explore Grant GroveThe trails throughout Grant Grove allow you to walk among the world’s biggest population of sequoia trees. Here, the star of the show is General Grant, the second largest tree on the planet after General Sherman. This area is also home to stunning canyons, trails, and viewpoints. 

Mist Falls Hike This 8-mile trail leads to Kings Canyon’s largest waterfall. Not only are the cascading falls stunning to witness, but the hike itself meanders through the forest and is gorgeous.

Zumwalt Meadow TrailFrom this picturesque meadow, enjoy a tranquil 1.5-mile hike along the Kings River while gazing up at imposing granite walls. This is also a prime location for spotting bears and other wildlife. 

Places to Eat near Kings Canyon National Park

Grant Grove Restaurant– 83923 CA-180, Hume, CA 93628: Enjoy your hearty meal while being surrounded by enormous sequoia trees at this popular eatery inside Kings Canyon. When the weather permits, you can also dine on their expansive outdoor patio.

Baker Mountain house– 48711 CA-245, Badger, CA 93603: Built in 1928, this charmingly rustic restaurant offers delicious meals along with spectacular views of the mountains from their inviting deck.

Campgrounds near Kings Canyon National Park

Sunset Campground- Generals Hwy, Hume, CA 93628: Located inside the park, this reservation-only campsite typically operates from late May until early September. Facilities include food storage lockers, drinking water, and flush toilets. Grant Grove Village, which contains additional amenities, is also nearby. 

Azalea Campground– Grant Grove, CA 93633: This year-round site inside Kings Canyon features flush toilets, a dump station, potable water, and food storage lockers. Aside from the winter months, all sites must be booked in advance, and reservations can be made up to four months ahead.

Day 5- Yosemite National Park

A quick, two-hour scenic drive from Kings Canyon will lead you to California’s most visited national park, Yosemite. A haven for nature lovers and adventure seekers, Yosemite National Park is celebrated for its magnificent waterfalls, imposing granite cliffs, and an impressive number of giant sequoia trees. 

After setting up camp, you can choose to hike to one of the park’s cascading waterfalls, scale a massive boulder, or relax beside a gorgeous alpine lake. 

Half dome in Yosemite National Park.

Things to Do in Yosemite National Park

Mist Trail This 7-mile, round-trip hike is one of the most frequented trails in Yosemite. Trek past a number of magnificent viewpoints, including two spectacular waterfalls, before ending with a jaw-dropping view of Nevada Fall, Liberty Cap, and the back of Half Dome.

Tuolumne MeadowsAt 8,600 feet, this high-elevation meadow is enveloped by soaring granite peaks and features the stunning Tuolumne River. There are also several well-paved trails in the area to take in the idyllic scenery.

El Capitan Yosemite Valley’s enormous, vertical rock formation is one of the park’s most iconic sites and easily visible from El Capitan Meadow. If you’re seeking an adrenaline rush, join the hundreds of climbers from around the world who come to Yosemite to scale this famous cliff each year.

Places to Eat near Yosemite National Park

Jackalope’s Bar and Grill– 1122 CA-41, Fish Camp, CA 93623: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served at this cozy eatery inside the park, which features a lovely patio and fire pit for colder days. A variety of filling dishes are made from organic and locally sourced ingredients, and the menu offers several vegan and gluten-free options.

1850 Restaurant and Brewing Company– 5114 Yosemite All-Year Hwy, Mariposa, CA 95338: Lunch, dinner, and locally brewed beers are all available at this popular establishment. Their dog-friendly patio is perfect for enjoying a cold drink and a replenishing meal after a long day of exploring.

North Fork BBQ– 40282 CA-41 suite 11, Oakhurst, CA 93644: Run by two brothers, this laid-back eatery serves the best barbecue in the area. The portions are abundant, and all meals are made fresh from scratch daily.

Camping in Yosemite National Park

There are ten campsites inside Yosemite, three of which are first come, first served. During the high season, it’s strongly recommended to make your reservations in advance, as the park fills up incredibly quickly.

Upper Pines Campground– Yosemite National Park, CA, 95389: Conveniently located near many of Yosemite’s main attractions, this is the park’s biggest and most popular campground. This year-round site requires reservations and features flush toilets, dump stations, potable water, and food storage lockers.

Wawona Campground– Yosemite National Park, CA, 95389: This year-round site requires reservations from April through October but is first come, first served the rest of the year. In addition to a visitor center and market, this campground offers flush toilets, a dump station, and food storage lockers.

Day 6- Lassen Volcanic National Park

Today, it’s time to trade in towering sequoia trees for mud pools, fumaroles, and captivating volcanos. The drive from Yosemite to Lassen Volcanic National Park is a little over five hours, so you’ll want to get a pretty early head start.

Once you arrive, get acquainted with this volcanic wonderland by driving along the Lassen Volcanic National Park Highway. This 30-mile stretch of road takes you through some of the park’s most impressive overlooks, geothermal sites, and popular trailheads. 

Things to Do in Lassen Volcanic National Park

Bumpass HellThis 3-mile hike leads travelers to the biggest hydrothermal area in Lassen Volcanic National Park. Trek past fumaroles, mud pots, and boiling springs as you explore this otherworldly park section.

Hike up Lassen PeakThis 5-mile hike leads you up one of the biggest plug dome volcanoes on the planet and rewards adventurers with impeccable 360 degree views of the park’s incredible landscape. Although Lassen Peak last erupted about 100 years ago, it is still an active volcano, making the trek up feel much more adventurous!

Subway Cave Lava Tubes This short hike takes you through one of the world’s biggest and easy to reach lava tubes. Make sure you bring your flashlight, as it’s completely pitch black inside.

Places to Eat near Lassen Volcanic National Park

Cravings– 278 Main St, Chester, CA 96020: Classic breakfast and lunch options are made from scratch at this delightful mom-and-pop shop. They’re able to accommodate any dietary restrictions and offer to-go meals if you’re planning to eat in the park.

Koninkrijk Koffiehuis– 240 Main St, Chester, CA 96020: This European-style cafe offers delicious coffee and freshly baked European pastries, including bear claws and strudel. European-inspired sandwiches, calzones, and soups are also available if you’re craving something savory.

Campgrounds near Lassen Volcanic National Park

Butte Lake Campground– Old Station, CA 96071: Wake up to stunning views of Butte Lake from this secluded campground, which operates from June through mid-October. Advanced reservations must be made until the beginning of September, at which point a portion of the campsite becomes first come, first served. The minimal facilities at this campground include seasonal vault toilets and food storage lockers.

Manzanita Lake Campground– Lassen Volcanic National Park, Mineral, CA 96063: Located just beside the beautiful Manzanita Lake, this is the largest campground in Lassen Volcanic National Park and amenities include hot showers, potable water, and a laundry facility. This site typically runs from May until October, depending on snowfall, and reservations are required.

Day 7- Redwood National and State Parks

Hop back in your van and head towards the coast as you make the four hour drive to the Redwood National and State Parks. Spread across one national park and three neighboring state parks, the Redwoods are renowned for housing the tallest trees on the planet. With 40-miles of old-growth redwoods along California’s coastline, you’ll find an endless supply of enchanting hikes, dense forests, and stunning landscapes.

Escape Camper Van in Redwood National Park in California.

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Things to do in Redwood National Park

Fern CanyonReached by a 1.1-mile loop trail, this mystifying canyon is entirely draped in verdant ferns. Walk along the gentle creek that runs through the looming canyon, and keep an eye out for the wild elk that tend to roam in the area.

Stout GroveSituated in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, this stunning grove of old-growth redwoods is a must-visit. Less than a mile long, this short trail allows you to walk among some of the world’s tallest trees. There are also several fallen trees in the grove, which give a whole new perspective to how massive the redwoods truly are.

Avenue of the GiantsTechnically located south of the park, this 31-mile road provides a spectacular drive past seemingly endless, gigantic redwoods. There are also numerous trailheads that you can access from this scenic drive, all of which allow you to be immersed in a field of breathtaking giants.

Places to Eat near Redwood National Park

Trinidad Bay Eatery– 607 Parker St, Trinidad, CA 95570: Delicious seafood and classic American dishes are served at this laid back, eco-conscious eatery. The restaurant also features an attached gift shop and gallery filled with works from local artists.

Eel River Brewing– 1777 Alamar Way, Fortuna, CA 95540: Since 1995, delicious pub fare and locally crafted beers have been served as this casual establishment. The popular brewery also hosts live performances, trivia nights, and features a large outdoor area.

Campgrounds near Redwood National Park

There are four developed campgrounds throughout the Redwood National and State Parks. All sites fill up immediately in the summer, so aim to make your reservations as early as possible.

Jedediah Smith Campground– 1461 US-199, Crescent City, CA 95531: Situated in a spectacular redwood grove, this year-round site features coin-operated showers, food storage lockers, and potable drinking water. Reservations are required, and can be hard to come by during the busy season.

Mill Creek Campground– Mill Creek Campgrounds, Mill Creek Campground, Klamath, CA 95548: Open from mid-May until October, this seasonal campsite does not require advanced reservations, although they are highly recommended in the summer. The site’s basic amenities include showers, a dump station, and food storage lockers.

Day 8- Pinnacles National Park

After a very early wake up, wave goodbye to the world’s tallest trees as you embark on an eight hour drive down to Pinnacles National Park. Formed by volcano eruptions from approximately 23 million years ago, this is the smallest and youngest of all Californa’s national parks. This extraordinary landscape provides visitors with the rare opportunity to hike through talus caves, climb up enormous rock spires, and spot the elusive California condor.

Things to do in Pinnacles National Park

High Peaks TrailThis moderately challenging trail is one of the longest in the park, and will lead you to one of the best spots for witnessing California condors. The hike involves a lot of steep inclines, but it’s worth it for the unparalleled views of the park’s striking rock formations.

Bear Gulch CaveThis fascinating cave is one of the most captivating aspects of Pinnacles National Park, and is reached by several different trails. The cave has two sections, with the upper being frequently closed, since it serves as a protected area for endangered bats. The lower half is usually also closed from mid-May to July due to the bats, so keep that in mind when timing your visit.

Balconies CaveThis impressive cave is reached by a breathtaking, 2.6-mile loop trail and traverses over jagged formations caused from past volcanic activity. Like Bear Gulch, this talus cave is sometimes closed due to bat activity or unsafe conditions, so double check the cave status before your hike.

Places to Eat near Pinnacles National Park

Cocuyos Restaurant– 185 Kidder St, Soledad, CA 93960: For authentic Mexican dishes in a cozy setting, you can’t go wrong with this extremely popular spot in Soledad. The restaurant features outdoor seating, as well as an extensive drinks menu.

Taste of the Pinnacles– 148 Main St, Soledad, CA 93960: This charming wine bar offers a delicious selection of small plates and entrees, along with craft beers and California wines sourced from local vineyards. They also host live music performances each month.

Campgrounds near Pinnacles National Park

Pinnacles Campground– 2400 Hwy 146 Pinnacles Area, Paicines, CA 95043: Located towards the east side of the park, this site is open all year and spots can be reserved up to six months in advance. Showers, drinking water, a small camp store, and a seasonal swimming pool are all available at the campground.

Hollister Hills SVRA– 7800 Cienega Rd, Hollister, CA 95023: While this is primarily an ATV recreation area, they also run a large camper van-friendly campground. This year-round site is first come, first served, and features fire pits, showers, and flush toilets.

Day 9- Channel Islands National Park

For the final stop of your California National Parks tour, you’ll need to trade in your camper van for a high-speed ferry. Coined as the “Galapagos of North America,” Channel Islands National Park encompasses five jaw-dropping islands located off the coast of Ventura

The easiest way to embark on a day trip to one of the islands is by taking a ferry from Ventura Harbor Village. There aren’t any facilities on the Channel Islands, so make sure to bring enough food and water with you.

Santa Cruz Island is the largest and by far most popular island for day-trippers. The ride over typically takes a little over an hour and is often accompanied by whale sightings! Once you reach the idyllic island, there are plenty of stunning hikes to choose from, as well as water-based activities like kayaking, snorkeling, and diving.

Anacapa Island is a much smaller island, though another great day trip option. Explore the pristine island via a two-mile trail, spot an abundance of marine wildlife along the coast, or hop into a kayak from East Anacapa.

Where to Eat in Ventura, CA

While you’ll need to put your kitchenette to good use and pack a lunch with you for the Channel Islands, Ventura does offer a wide array of amazing restaurants to check out before or after your day trip!

Brophy Bros– 1559 Spinnaker Dr, Ventura, CA 93001: For incredibly fresh seafood with views of the harbor, make a dinner reservation at this popular waterfront restaurant. Their outdoor patio is an especially perfect spot to enjoy your evening after a long day of exploring the island.

Pete’s Breakfast House– 2055 E Main St, Ventura, CA 93001: Since the early 80’s, this diner-style eatery has been the go-to breakfast spot of Ventura. Breakfast is served all day and all meals are made from scratch using fresh, local ingredients. Before you leave, be sure to try Pete’s famous, homemade strawberry jam!

Campgrounds Near Ventura, CA

Hobson Beach Park Campground-5210 Pacific Coast Hwy, Ventura, CA 93001: Fall asleep to the calming sounds of the waves rolling in at this ocean-front campground. The site is open year-round, and reservations can be made online. Facilities include fire pits, hot showers, a concession stand, and full hookups.

Foster Red Mountain Park– 247 Casitas Vista Rd, Ventura, CA 93001: This forested campground was developed in 1906 and offers plenty of tree shade, as well as numerous trailheads to explore. The year-round site accepts online reservations, and facilities include full hookups, potable water, and fire pits.

Day 10- Drive from Ventura to Los Angeles, CA

After exploring all nine of California’s incredible national parks, it’s sadly time to pack up your camper van and begin driving back to the Escape Camper Vans in Los Angeles. From Ventura, the ride should take about one and a half hours. Just remember to account for LA traffic, as you’ll need to have returned your van by your designated drop-off time.

Why Rent a Camper Van for a California National Parks Road Trip?

Renting a camper van from Los Angeles is the ideal way to set off on a California National Parks tour. This is the perfect way to experience the Los Angeles National Park. Compared to a standard RV, a camper van will allow for more freedom and far less stress. These are just a few of the reasons why an Escape Camper Van is the best option for your west coast excursion:

Mobility: This California National Parks road trip itinerary will take you along winding coastal roads, rugged mountains, vast desert landscapes, and everything in between. Because our camper vans are so much more compact than a traditional RV, they’re much easier to maneuver through various terrains. Their smaller size also makes it much easier to fit into tight parking spaces and narrow camping spots.

Easy to Drive: Unlike being behind the wheel of a massive RV, our camper vans are similar in size to a large family vehicle. Their smaller size makes them much easier and far less intimidating to drive than a typical RV.

No Need for Electric or Sewer Hookups: Many of the campgrounds you’ll encounter on this trip offer minimal facilities and do not have hookups. While this would pose a problem for an RV, our camper vans are self-contained and, therefore, do not need hookups. This way, you can spend less time stressing about finding a suitable campsite and more time enjoying California’s captivating scenery.

Adventure Ready: With fully equipped kitchenettes and beds already set up, our camper vans ensure you have everything you need right at your fingertips. Traveling in a camper van allows you to be spontaneous throughout your trip, rather than dealing with the logistics of a traditional RV.

Reserve With Escape Camper Vans for Your California National Parks Road Trip

Trek through lava tubes, hike along impressive granite cliffs, and jump into the crystal blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. From the arid desert of Death Valley to gazing up at the Redwoods along the northern coastline, you’ll see it all on this epic California National Parks road trip. To embark on your unforgettable West Coast adventure, click the button below and reserve your dream Escape Camper Van today!

Explore California's National Parks

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