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The best California road trips

California is one of the most scenic states in America with landscapes ranging from towering sequoia trees and rugged ocean coastline up north to deserts and wide sandy beaches fringed by skinny palm trees in the south.

The Golden State takes months to explore and you should take time to plan your California road trips if you want to see the most beautiful corners of this state.

I spent a good amount of time exploring California and its wonders, but I still feel like I have a ton left every time I go back. California is one of the largest states in America that is home to some of the most beautiful cities in the world, iconic beach towns, and otherworldly landscapes. 

Should I keep on going?

In this article, I will show you the most beautiful itineraries for your California road trip. 

Best California road trips

1. Highway 395

Length: 430 miles 

Start: Lone Pine

End: South Lake Tahoe

When you think about road trips around California, you probably picture beautiful coastal drives with ink-blue Pacific waters and craggy coasts.

While these images of California are often perpetuated by media and movies, there’s a lot more to the state than that!

One of my favorite California road trips is Highway 395, aka the Eastern Sierras Highway that takes you along the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. This part of the state will give you a feel of a cowboy country with its small rustic towns, wide open spaces and towering mountains in the backdrop.

Hiking near Zabriskie Point is one of the best things to do in Death Valley

Some travelers begin their drive along Highway 395 from southern California, while others start from Death Valley National Park before arriving at South Lake Tahoe. There’s no right or wrong way to explore this scenic route, as long as you don’t miss some of the key highlights along your journey.

One of the most spectacular stops along Highway 395 is Alabama Hills, the collection of quirky formations at the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas that is often used for movie sets. Spend some time wandering and taking photos here, and when you get tired, you can even camp here for free! 

Next day, continue to California Eastern Sierra Hot Springs, and Convict Lake. And make sure not to miss the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest to see the oldest living organisms on our planet.

One of the must-stops along this California road trip is the historic Bishop, the largest town in the Eastern Sierra Nevada. I recommend spending one night in Bishop, so you can hike Little Lakes Valley Trail or Bishop Pass Trail and explore the Laws Railroad Museum before hitting the road the next day.

Further up north, stop in Mammoth Lakes, a scenic mountain town with tons of opportunities for recreation such as hiking, camping, and mountain biking. Make sure to check out to Devil’s Postpile National Monument, an incredible natural feature that is a popular stop among outdoor enthusiasts.

Check out the nearby June Lake Loop before arriving at Mono Lake, one of the oldest lakes in North America that attracts plenty of naturalists and photographers thanks to its unique limestone formations and stunning wildlife.

From here, you can either continue to Yosemite National Park along California Highway 120 (or Tioga Pass Road) or continue toward South Lake Tahoe.

If you have extra time, veer off course slightly to visit Bodie State Historic Park to see the remains of California’s Gold Rush Era, one of the most important periods in the history of the state that brought thousands of people from all over the country in search of gold and helped to shape its identity.

Recommended stops: Lone Pine, Alabama Hills, Mount Whitney, Convict Lake, Bishop, Mammoth Lakes, Mono Lake, June Lake Loop, Lee Vining.

Best time for your road trip: California’s Eastern Sierra Nevada can get snowy in late fall and winter with roads becoming impassable. Plan your road trip for late spring or summer, if you want to camp. Fall is also a beautiful time to visit this region, as Eastern Sierras is one of the best places to see fall colors in California.

How many days to spend on the road: I suggest no less than 5 days for this road trip. This, of course, depends on how much time you want to spend on the road and what activities you want do. While the drive itself is only about 8 hours, there’s a lot to do along the way, so make sure to have enough time.

Mission San Diego de alcala is one of the top things to do in San Diego

2. San Diego to Death Valley National Park

Length: Approximately 340 miles 

Start: San Diego

End: Death Valley National Park

If you love the desert as much as I do, don’t miss out on some of the most beautiful desert drives in Southern California.

While many travelers take a road trip from Los Angeles to Joshua Tree National Park, one of the most popular destinations in California’s desert, there are plenty of other cool desert destinations in Southern California.

Begin your trip in San Diego and make your way to Anza Borrego Desert State Park, one of the most beautiful state parks in Southern California famous for its quirky art installations, blooming wildflowers in spring, and scenic hikes through desert canyons.

On your way from Anza Borrego to Joshua Tree stop at the Salton Sea, a big body of water that is home to many migratory birds and wildlife that is drying up, unfortunately.

PRO TIP: As you might have guessed, taking a road trip through California deserts could involve some off-roading. Having a high-clearance vehicle will help you, however, you can also explore in a standard car, just make sure to check road conditions before starting your trip.

One of the most beautiful spots along this California road trip itinerary is Palm Springs, a desert oasis with a cool art scene and tall palm trees framed by the beautiful mountains. It’s a neat town to spend a couple of days, enjoy a variety of restaurants and soak up some desert sun.

For the ultimate experience, continue toward Death Valley National Park, one of the largest West Coast National Parks that is home to the hottest temperatures in North America and also the lowest point called Badwater Basin. Death Valley is an incredible place and if you like solitude and gorgeous scenery, you will have a great time here.

Recommended stops: Anza Borrego Desert State Park, Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park, Salton Sea, Death Valley National Park

Best time for your road trip: California deserts can be really hot during summer, with temperatures soaring above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, especially in Death Valley. If you want to hike and enjoy the landscapes, plan your trip anywhere from late fall through early or mid-spring when you can also see flowers blooming in parts of this region.

How many days to spend on the road: I recommend between 5 to 7 days on the road, however, if you want to do more hiking and exploration, spare more time. For example, Death Valley National Park has many cool remote spots. If you want to camp under clear dark skies, spend about two to three days in Death Valley.

Santa Barbara County Courthouse

3. Central California

Length: 150 miles 

Start: Santa Barbara

End: San Simeon

Central Coast is one of the most scenic California road trips. It doesn’t have big bustling cities like San Francisco or Los Angeles, but instead, boasts cute beachside towns, rolling green hills, and less crowded beaches. While many people know about Central California because of the iconic Big Sur, there’s a lot more to this region.

Begin your trip in Santa Barbara, one of the most picturesque towns in California where you can explore the downtown, visit the iconic courthouse and even learn how to surf. Because of its location along Central California Coast, Santa Barbara boasts calm breakpoints that are perfect for beginner surfers.

Take a day trip to the Channel Islands National Park aka Galapagos of Northern America where you can spot incredible wildlife not found anywhere else in the world! Boats to Channel Islands depart daily from Ventura, a 30-minute drive from Santa Barbara.

Nine sisters San Luis obispo

As an option, you can also make a 50-minute drive from Santa Barbara to Ojai, a small hamlet with beautiful mountains, orange groves, and hippy vibes. Ojai is a perfect place for a romantic weekend getaway.

When you are ready to continue your coastal drive, head to San Luis Obispo, shortly called SLO, where you can spend a couple of days touring the beautiful downtown, enjoying Pismo Beach, and hiking in Montana de Pro State Park.

PRO TIP: If you are visiting in winter, make sure to visit the Monarch Butterfly Grove in Pismo Beach where you can observe thousands of monarch butterflies on eucalyptus trees.

A quick drive away from San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles is one of the top wine regions in the world. Not as famous as Napa or Santa Barbara wine country, Paso Robles offers a quiet retreat with plenty of small-town charm. Aside from win tasting in Paso Robles, you can also cool off at Franklin Hot Springs or rent a boat at Lake Nacimiento.

An optional deviation from Paso Robles is Cambria, a paradisiacal spot along Highway 1 that remains a hidden gem of Central California.

Located slightly north of San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay is a small bayside town easily recognizable because of the giant rock right along the beach. Morro Bay is also a marine sanctuary and a perfect place to spot adorable sea otters splashing in the water.

End your trip with a visit to the famous Hearst Castle outside of San Simeon before arriving in Big Sur. You can choose from multiple tours that will show you different parts of this impressive property and talk about how it came to be. At the end of your tour, you can also watch a movie in the theater right inside the castle.

Recommended stops: Santa Barbara, Channel Islands National Park, Ojai, San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, Pismo Beach, Montana De Oro State Park, Paso Robles, Cambria, Hearst Castle.

Best time for your road trip: Central California has a mild coastal climate which means you can visit it any time. Still, there are a couple of caveats you should consider. In winter, temperatures are cooler, and while there’s still plenty of sunshine, there is a higher chance of rain. Summer is the busiest time in the region, and in spring, you can see gorgeous wildflowers and carpeting the green coastal slopes.

How many days to spend on the road: I recommend between 8-10 days to explore Central California. Just like the rest of the Golden State, this region has way too many beautiful spots to cram it all into a short road trip.

Big Sur in California is one of the best places to visit in the United States

4. California Pacific Highway 1

Length: Approximately 450 miles

Start: Orange County

End: Monterrey

If you do some research on California Pacific Highway or Highway 1, one of the most popular California road trips, you will quickly find out that there are many opinions on where it begins and where it ends. While many travelers think this iconic stretch is from Los Angeles to San Francisco, it actually starts in Dana Point, Orange County, and ends in Mendocino County not far from the Oregon border.

Whether you decide to do this road trip from north to south, or vice versa, make sure to visit some of the most beautiful highlights of California Pacific Highway 1.

Since I’ve traveled this highway from south to north, I will start from Orange County, a densely populated area with postcard-like towns including Corona Del Mar, Dana Point,  and San Clemente, and Crystal Cove State Park. 

Continue your trip to Los Angeles where you can spend as much as one week, and as little as a couple of days. Since traffic is known to be bad in LA, plan your activities in one area to minimize your time on the road. Spend a day in West LA where you can visit Santa Monica and the Hollywood Walk of Fame before heading to Griffith Observatory for an epic sunset.

After a few days in LA, visit Central California towns Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Morro Bay, before arriving in San Simeon, the southern gateway to Big Sur. Here, make a stop at Hearst Castle, one of the main highlights of the California Pacific Highway. 

Next up: the iconic Big Sur. I want to caution you against doing this drive in a day because if you do, you will miss out on many amazing places. Instead, take 2-3 days for your visit to Big Sur to see all of its highlights and do a couple of hikes.

The top spots in Big Sur are Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park (with the famous McWay Waterfalls overlook), Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, and The Los Padres National Forest. Other worthy places are the Bixby Bridge, the Cypress Grove Trail, and Bird Island Trail.

After exploring Big Sur for a couple of days, arrive in Monterey just south of San Francisco, and don’t forget to visit the beautiful village of Carmel by the Sea and the nearby Pacific Grove where you can hike the scenic coastal trail.

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge

Finish your trip in San Francisco, one of the most iconic American cities famous for its coastal fog, Golden Gate Bridge, and scenic mountain views. Spend no less than 3 days in San Francisco to get a taste of this city.

Recommended stops: Orange County, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, Hearst Castle, Big Sur, Monterey, Carmel by the Sea, San Francisco.

Best time for your road trip: Summer is the busiest time in the region with scores of domestic and international tourists coming here, while winter and late fall can bring rains that can sometimes result in mudslides along the coast. Mid-to-late spring is an ideal time for your road trip along California Highway 1 when you can see beautiful wildflowers in full bloom and enjoy less crowded places.

How many days to spend on the road: Set aside no less than 10 days for this adventure, with an optimal time of 12-14 days, if you can do it. Highway 1 has many beautiful stops, and it would be a shame if you tried to cram all of it in a short time.

5. Redding to Mount Shasta

Length: 230 miles 

Start: Redding

End: Redding

One of the least crowded (and most spectacular) California road trips, a route from Redding to Mount Shasta is a perfect getaway for outdoor junkies. Located in Northern California, this scenic stretch will take you along incredible waterfalls and the snow-capped Mount Shasta, before arriving at Lassen Volcanic National Park, one of the least visited West Coast National Parks that boasts incredible hydrothermal features.

Before you begin your trip, explore Redding, a NorCal town where you can enjoy hiking, biking, and exploring the Sacramento River National Recreation Trail.

Next, head toward Lassen Volcanic National Park where you can see a myriad of amazing thermal features such as springs, mud pots, and fumaroles. Just like Death Valley National Park, Lassen Volcanic is away from big cities which means you can enjoy clear dark skies if you decide to camp here.

Another worthy spot along your itinerary is McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park that boasts gorgeous waterfalls. Spend some time wandering its trails before arriving at the Shasta-Trinity National Forest where you can take a hike to McCloud Falls and see the majestic Mount Shasta.

Check out Shasta Lake where you can take a guided tour of the Lake Shasta Caverns National Natural Landmark, home to many stalactites and stalagmites.

Recommended stops: Redding, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Mount Shasta, McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park.

Best time for your road trip: Summer is the best time to visit this Northern California region unless you want to do backcountry skiing and try other winter activities. While early summer still sees some snow, July and August are the best months to visit the area when roads are open and temperatures are ideal for spending time outside and camping.

How many days to spend on the road: Spare between 5 to 8 days for this Northern California road trip. This is a remote region and while there are many cool places to see, things will take some time to get from one point to another.

6. Rim of the World Scenic Byway

Length: 110 miles 

Start: Cajon Pass

End: San Gorgonio Pass

One of the most overlooked road trips in California, Rim of The World Scenic Byway offers a different side of Southern California. This spectacular road trip will take you through the San Bernardino Mountains from the deep Cajon Pass outside of Los Angeles to Big Bear Lake and Lake Arrowhead in the mountains.

Keep in mind, this area is very popular with SoCal residents during winter when scores of visitors make their way here for skiing and snowboarding from places like Los Angeles and San Diego. If you too want to come here for some winter fun, make sure to put chains on your tires because it can snow here.

Summer, meanwhile, is a perfect time to take a breather from Southern California heat and enjoy beautiful lakes, lush meadows, and scenic trails. Weekends can be busy but weekdays are great for a relaxed getaway since crowds tend to dissipate.

Big Bear Lake in particular is a popular destination because it offers many accommodations, restaurants, and amenities. It’s a great trip to cool off and relax before continuing your California adventures.

Best time for your road trip: There’s no wrong season to visit this place! Summer is a popular time among outdoor enthusiasts, while winter transforms this place into one the most popular places to visit in Southern California.

How many days to spend on the road: 2-3 days is the perfect time for this small road trip which will allow you to see most highlights and spend one night in the beautiful Big Bear Lake.

Yosemite Valley things to do

7. National Parks Loop

Length: 650 miles

Start: San Francisco

End: San Francisco

California is home to some of the most incredible West Coast national parks, and you will miss out if you don’t include them in your California itinerary! The famous trio includes Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, and the Yosemite National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that attracts millions of people from all over the world.

Starting your California national parks trip in San Francisco will help you maximize your time, however, you can begin in Los Angeles and even Sacramento before ending in another city, depending on your travel plans.

There are several roads that you can take to get from San Francisco to Yosemite, however, for the best experience, I recommend CA Highway 140 that will take you through the towns of Fish Camp and Mariposa.

As someone who has been to Yosemite a couple of times, I want to tell you NOT to book your hotel last moment, especially if you travel from June through early September. Yosemite is one of the busiest destinations California and prices here can reach a few hundred dollars for a very basic room during the peak season.

PRO TIP: Yosemite demands time, especially if you plan on doing some of the most popular hikes such as Yosemite Falls, Nevada Falls, or Half Dome (which also requires a permit). However, this national park has plenty of easy-to-moderate trails perfect for beginner explorers. For example, Bridalveil Falls is an easy hike, and the Glacier Overlook is a short but spectacular trail accessible from the parking lot.

Don’t forget to visit Mariposa Grove to see the giant sequoia trees, and make stops at Tenaya Lake and Olmstead Point to take in the stunning views of the granite mountains.

From Yosemite, take a drive to Kings Canyon National Park where you can hike to waterfalls and take in scenic views of Kings River. If you have time, take a hike to Redwood Canyon, home to one of the largest sequoia groves in the world. It’s a smaller and less visited national park, a perfect spot for a less crowded getaway.

Continue along Generals Highway before arriving at Sequoia National Park. Take a trail to Morro Rock for magnificent sunset views (another option is to come here during sunrise when only a few people are in the area).

Recommended stops: Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon

Best time to visit: As with other areas in California’s Sierra Nevada, summer is the best time to visit because snow here can linger as late as the end of June. Early-to-mid June is the best to see waterfalls in Yosemite in their full glory, and July and August are the busiest months.

Winter has only a fraction of visitors and is a perfect time for winter adventures such as snowshoeing and cross country skiing.

How many days to spend on the road: I suggest between 5-8 days for your road trip to California national parks because of the sheer distance and the many things to do, especially in a place like Yosemite.

Santa-Monica-California

8. Southern California

Length: 120 miles

Start: San Diego

End: Los Angeles

Southern California is home to some of the best beaches in the United States, with millions of people from all over the world visiting this region. This region is also home to large metropolitan areas such as San Diego, Santa Monica, and Los Angeles.

Begin your trip in San Diego where you can see a great scenery in places like Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and watch the sunset from Sunset Cliffs Natural Park before heading to Gas Lamp Quarter for dinner. Round up your trip with a visit to Balboa Park, the National Historic Landmark with gardens, museums and performance venues.

Don’t forget to stop in La Jolla, a small town north of San Diego where you can watch amazing wildlife and enjoy great restaurants and scenery. 

Next, head north to Orange County where you can go on a whale watching tour in Dana Point, enjoy the incredible Crystal Cove State Park, and check out Art Scene at Laguna Beach before heading to Newport Beach, a perfect spot for surfing.

If you are a wine lover, consider taking a slight detour inland to Temecula, one of the most popular wine tasting destinations in Southern California.

Arrive in the Los Angeles area where you can spend as much as a couple of weeks. Plan your trip by areas to minimize your driving time, since traffic in Los Angeles is notoriously bad. For example, one day you could do a couple of museums such as Los Angeles County Museum or Getty Museum before heading to West LA next day to check out Venice Beach, Santa Monica and Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Finally downtown Los Angeles (or DTLA) is home to many cool art museums, restaurants and stores.

To see Southern California off the beaten track, take a day trip Catalina Island for some Mediterranean vibes and relaxation. Round up your trip in Malibu an Topanga, gorgeous places with scenic beaches like El Matador State Beach.

Recommended stops: San Diego, Carlsbad, Laguna Beach, Dana Point, Corona Del Mar, Newport Beach, Temecula, Los Angeles, Catalina Island, Malibu, Santa Monica, West Hollywood.

Best time to visit: Southern California is a perfect destination to visit year round thanks to its mild climate and plenty of sunshine. Summer is a busier time while winter is a great season to visit if you are coming from the colder climate and want to enjoy warm temperatures. During winter months, visitation is also slower which means prices on hotels and tours will be lower than in summer.

How many days to spend on the road: I recommend no less than 7 days for your Southern California road trip, with an optimal length of 10 days. If time is short, focus on just one area, such as San Diego or Los Angeles, instead of trying to hit all of the locations.

How to visit San Francisco

9. Northern California Coast

Length: 175 miles

Start: San Francisco

End: Fort Bragg

The stretch of Pacific Highway 1 from San Francisco to Fort Bragg might be less famous than Big Sur and Central California Coast, but it’s by any means not less beautiful.

This California road trip is far less crowded than the southern stretch of Highway 1 and offers untouched beauty with the coast shrouded in fog and framed by coastal redwoods.

The northern portion of Highway 1 begins when you cross Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. After you drive through Sausalito, make a stop at Muir Woods National Monument, home to nearly two-thousand-year-old redwoods that is named after the famed environmentalist John Muir.

Coastal redwoods have been around for 150 million years, and their habitat stretches along the Pacific Coast from Southern Oregon to Northern California. California’s Sequoia National Park is home to the closest sibling of the coast redwood, the giant sequoia that is found in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in northern California.

Reservations are required for Muir Woods National Monument. Local authorities implemented it in an attempt to curb the crowds and preserve this delicate ecosystem.

Continue toward Point Reyes National Seashore, a 70,000-acre park along the Point Reyes Peninsula where ocean breakers crash into the jagged coastline. Here you can take part in ranger-guided programs, watch wildlife, and do a couple of scenic hikes. Make sure to grab a jacket, because the weather here can be chilly.

The next stop is Sonoma County where you can enjoy warmer temperatures and plenty of wine. Spend the night in Santa Rosa, the largest city in the area from where you can launch all your trips in the wine country. Another option is to stop at Napa, however, keep in mind that it’s one of the most popular destinations in Northern California, and can get crowded.

Proceed north where you can explore the untouched beauty of the region in Mendocino Headlands State Park before arriving in Mendocino, and Fort Bragg, hows to the famous glass beach in MacKerricher State Park that got its name because of the thousands of tiny pieces of smooth glass that blend with the pebbles.

Optionally, make a stop in Mendocino, California’s hidden gem and one of the most beautiful wine regions in the state enveloped by fog and surrounded by sprawling hills. Sample organic wine made with sustainable practices and enjoy a slow pace of life.

And when you get closer to Oregon, stop either in Eureka or Crescent City, two small towns that are the perfect blend of culture and nature. From there, you can easily visit Redwood National and State Parks and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Del Norte County is the northernmost county in California that has tons of wild remote beaches perfect for an outdoor enthusiast.

Highlights: Muir Woods National Monument, Point Reyes, Sonoma County, Napa Valley, Mendocino, Fort Bragg, Crescent City, Redwood National, and State Parks.

Best time for your road trip: Since Northern California Coast has cooler temperatures plan your trip from mid-spring through early September if you want to enjoy warmer weather. Winter brings plenty of rain and mist in the region, and it can be foggy, however, there are also far fewer visitors.

How many days to spend on the road: Spend between 5-7 days on the road spending on how many outdoorsy things you want to do. Since this region is all about spending time outdoors and enjoying nature, plan your activities accordingly.

Las Vegas is one of the most fun places to visit along West Coast Road Trip

10. Los Angeles to Las Vegas

Length: Approximately 270 miles

Start: Los Angeles

End: Las Vegas

A drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas might not seem like a road trip, after all, it goes through the seemingly lifeless desert with not much to look at. Wrong!

If you are planning on driving from Los Angeles to Las Vegas (or the other way around), get ready for an exciting drive through the beautiful California desert where ghost towns give way to unique places and quirky roadside attractions such as the world’s largest thermometer.

This drive is not one of the most talked-about California road trips, and that’s exactly why I decided to cover it. It takes anywhere from 4 to 5 hours, but don’t worry, you will have a ton of entertaining stops along the way to spice up your trip. 

One of my favorite stops between Los Angeles and Las Vegas is Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch. Here, you will find hundreds of trees with branches made out of colorful glass bottles. It’s a good roadside stop to snap a picture before continuing your route up north.

Your next point of interest is Barstow, the largest town along Interstate-15. 

Here you can grab some food and visit a couple of museums. I particularly recommend the Route 66 “Mother Road” Museum, home to artifacts chronicling the history of this iconic American route. You can also visit Western America Railroad Museum and Desert Discovery Center to see the second-largest meteorite found in the United States.

A quick drive from Barstow, the small desert community Yermo is home to Calico Ghost Town. Calico prospered during the silver boom but went bust by the late 1800s when silver lost its value. It’s been carefully restored to its original appearance and today it serves as a major roadside attraction between Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

Next up on your journey is one of the most unusual stops, Zzyzx Road right off Interstate-15. While it looks like a desolate and abandoned road, you can find a pretty big lake surrounded by palm trees and if you continue your drive down this road, you will come toward an abandoned building.

When you pass Baker, about 25 minutes south of the Nevada border, you will see the world’s largest thermometer towering above the desert landscape. On hot summer days, you can see it showing 110 degrees Fahrenheit and above!

One of my favorite stops on this California road trip is Mojave National Preserve, home to stunning sand dunes, mountains and palm trees. There are no amenities here, so make sure to grab some food and water. Some of the coolest stops within Mojave National Preserve are Soda Lake, Kelso Dunes, and the Mitchell Caverns.

As an option, you can also stop at Death Valley National Park, but this is a much longer trip, that will require an additional day.

Your last stop before Las Vegas is Primm, a town that is partially located in California and is a perfect place to score a bargain since it’s home to a big outlet mall.

And finally, don’t forget to stop at Seven Magic Mountains, a colorful art installation just south of Las Vegas where you can snap a cool photo.

PRO TIP: I’m sure you are excited about all the Vegas fun, but I suggest taking at least one trip outside of Las Vegas where you can discover the beauty of this region. To learn about some of the best road trips from Las Vegas, check this article.

Highlights: Cajon Pass, Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch, Barstow, Calico Ghost Town, Zzyx Road, Baker, Mojave National Preserve, Death Valley National Park, Seven Magic Mountains. 

Best time for your road trip: Year round, but remember that Mojave Desert gets really hot in summer, which can make it tough to be outside. Fall and early-to-mid spring is a perfect time for this road trip.

How many days to spend on the road: The shortest California road trip, a drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas can be done in as little as 4 hours and as long as one day, depending on what stops you want to make.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. At no cost to you, I might earn a small commission if you make a purchase through the links in this article. 

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Best day trips from Denver

The largest city in the Rocky Mountains, Denver will keep you busy for weeks: Not only Colorado’s capital boasts plenty of museums and cultural landmarks, but it is also located within hours of some of the most beautiful destinations in the United States. So if you are ready to hop in a car and explore breathtaking vistas and scenic national parks, my guide is for you.

1. Colorado Springs

Distance: 70 miles Driving time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Where to stay: Cheyenne Mountain Resort Colorado Springs 

Colorado Springs is one of the most popular road trips from Denver that can be done in less than a day. Most visitors who come here head straight to the natural landmarks such as the iconic Garden of the Gods with tons of easy hikes; and Pikes Peak, one of the few fourteeners (or mountains with an elevation of at least 14,000 feet) that can be accessed by car via a 19-mile road that leads to the top.

Colorado Springs is the second-largest city in the state after Denver which means there are plenty of restaurants and accommodations if you decide to spend a night here.

2. Great Sand Dunes National Park

Distance: 241 miles Driving Time: 3 hours 50 minutes

Where to stay: Best Western Alamosa Inn

Colorado might be famous for its snow-powdered mountains, ski slopes, and gorgeous alpine meadows, however, it is also home to the tallest dunes in North America!

To see them head over to the Great Sand Dunes National Park just four hours shy of Denver. These incredible dunes cover over 30 miles against the background of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains, a chain that spans over Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico.

One of the most fun activities at the Great Sand Dunes National Park is hiking along and sledding down these huge piles of sand, and you can rent the gear at one of the shops in the nearby Alamosa.  

PRO TIP: Great Sand Dunes National Park sits a few hours of Colorado Springs, and is a must-visit if you are driving south on Interstate-25.

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the best day trips from Denver

3. Rocky Mountain National Park

Distance: 65 miles Driving Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Where to stay: The Stanley Hotel 

One of the most visited national parks in the United States, and a jewel of Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the top road trips from Denver. This outdoor playground is home to stunning alpine lakes, gurgling waterfalls, sprawling alpine meadows, and incredible wildlife.

While you don’t want to miss Rocky Mountain National Park when you come to Denver, you should try to do it during a weekday: RMNP is a busy park, and it tends to get especially crowded during weekends. 

If you want to check out some of the highlights of the park such as Bierstadt Lake, Trail Ridge Road, and Emerald Lake, I recommend setting aside more than just a day for your trip. There are several campsites inside RMNP and hotels in Estes Park, the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park.

Best things to do in Boulder, Colorado

4. Boulder

Distance: 30 miles Driving Time: 30-35 minutes

Where to stay: Boulder Adventure Lodge 

Denver’s neighbor to the northwest, Boulder is a town with an incredible outdoor scene and vibrant culture. Located at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Boulder is also home to University Colorado Boulder, the state’s flagship school.

Some of the top activities in Boulder including hiking the iconic Flatiron Loop, shopping and dining along Pearl Street, and rock climbing – the town is one of the top rock climbing destinations along Colorado’s front range.

Boulder makes for one of the best road trips from Denver, as it is easy to reach and it offers plenty of things to do whether you are into culture or outdoors.

Best road trips from Denver

5. The Snowy Mountain Range in Wyoming

Distance: 160 miles Driving Time: 2 hours 50 minutes 

Where to stay: Mountain View Historic Hotel 

The Snowy Range Scenic Byway is one of the best-kept secrets within a few hours from Denver.

This small pocket of alpine paradise requires no reservations which means that you don’t have to jostle for parking spots or elbow your way through crowded trailheads. Medicine Bow remains surprisingly undiscovered compared to many less spectacular trails in Colorado that get crowded with thousands of visitors every week.

One of the best hikes in the area is Medicine Bow Peak, the highest mountain in the Snowy Range that stands 12,013 feet tall. It is considered a day hike, but you can also split it into two days, and there is plenty of space for backcountry camping under the clear dark skies.

Unlike other high-altitude peaks that require mountaineering skills, Medicine Bow Peak gives you a chance to enjoy untouched alpine scenery without all the hard work.

To visit Medicine Bow from Colorado’s front range, take Interstate-25 north and make a turn to US-287 that will take you through Laramie toward Medicine Bow.

Steamboat Springs is one of the best road trips from Denver

6. Steamboat Springs

Distance: 160 miles Driving Time: 3 hours 20 minutes

Where to stay: Legacy Vacation Resorts Steamboat Hilltop 

Located in Northern Colorado, Steamboat Springs is a cozy mountain town with a great outdoor scene.

While Steamboat Springs boasts a cool nickname “Ski Town USA,” there is a lot more to it than just hitting the powdery slopes: It offers hiking and mountain biking in summer and skiing in winter. And the Strawberry Park Hot Springs is perfect for soaking after adventuring throughout the day.

Breckenridge is one of the best road trips from Denver

7. Breckenridge

Distance: 80 miles Driving Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Where to stay: Villa At Breckenridge Resort 

Breckenridge is a true outdoor mecca with dozens of hiking trails, camping areas, and mountain biking trails against the gorgeous backdrop. Located less than two hours from Denver, Breckenridge makes for one of the best road trips from the state capital.

When you need to grab a bite, head to downtown Breckenridge to discover the charm of this former mining town with its Victorian-style buildings that house outdoor gear shops, cafes, and restaurants geared toward travelers. And if you love beer, you might want to check out Breckenridge Distillery, the world’s highest distillery that also offers private tours to visitors.

When you are ready to test your stamina, try to summit Quandary Peak, one of the most popular “fourteeners” in Colorado located just outside of Breckenridge.

Aspen is one of the best road trips from Denver

8. Aspen

Distance: 160 miles Driving Time: 3 hours 30 minutes

Where to stay: Mountain Chalet Aspen

Situated in the heart of Colorado’s Rockies, Aspen is a ski resort that doesn’t need an introduction. Known for its high-end hotels, stores, and restaurants catering to wealthy travelers, Aspen is not a budget destination. That, however, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take a trip there: Aspen is one of the best road trips from Denver, and there are tons of outdoor activities that you shouldn’t miss!

In addition, you can always find cheaper hotels in Glenwood Springs and Carbondale within 1,5 hours of driving from Aspen.

Winter is by far the busiest time in Aspen when slopes are crowded with skiers and snowboarders, and summer sees a lot of travelers coming to enjoy beautiful hikes. Fall is the most gorgeous time in this place, as thousands of Aspen trees dotting the slopes turn golden. If you want to see the famous Maroon Bells in their full glory, come by late September.

Moab is your gateway to adventure

9. Moab

Distance: 354 miles Driving time: 5 hours 30 minutes

Where to stay: Under Canvas Moab

A capital of adventure, Moab is a busy destination year-round, however, it’s especially popular with travelers from late spring through early fall. Gateway to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, Moab is one of the most exiting road trips from Denver, even though it is not a short drive.

Aside from exploring national parks, Moab offers a plethora of activities such as rafting along the Colorado River, offroading in the desert, and backcountry camping. The entire area boasts amazing dark skies that are perfect for stargazing, so don’t forget to bring your telescope.

I recommend setting aside at least a few days to enjoy Moab. This town is simply too breathtaking to cram all your activities in 24 hours. 

PRO TIP: Both Canyonlands and Arches require an entrance fee which is $30, and if you also want to visit Rocky Mountain or other national parks, I recommend purchasing an annual America The Beautiful Pass for $80 that will save a lot of money in the long run.

Monument Valley Utah

10. Monument Valley

Distance: 512 miles Driving Time: 8 hours 15 minutes

Where to stay: Expedition Lodge

An iconic American landmark, Monument Valley has been a classic staple of Western movies for years thanks to the trio of towering red buttes. Straddling the border between Utah and Arizona, Monument Valley is one of the most famous natural sites in the United States along with Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Arches.

Located within Navajo Nation Reservation, Monument Valley requires a $20 fee per car and $10 fee to enter. If you have America the Beautiful Pass that allows a free entrance to most national parks, unfortunately, it can’t be used for Monument Valley, since it’s not considered a national park. 

PRO TIP: Stay the night and take a stargazing tour of the Monument Valley. It will blow you away, I promise!

Monument Valley sits a few hours south of Moab, so if you are taking a road trip from Denver to this part of Utah, you should try to visit both places. Other places in the four-corner region that is worth checking are Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, the Four Corners Monument, and Goosenecks State Park in Utah.

West Thumb in Yellowstone National Park

11. Yellowstone National Park

Distance: 510 miles Driving Time: 8 hours 30 minutes

Where to stay: Yellowstone Park Hotel

The oldest national park in the United States, and one of the most popular national parks in the country, Yellowstone should be on your bucket list, if it’s not there already.

While many travelers prefer to fly into Salt Salt Lake City in Utah or Bozeman in Montana to make their driving distance shorter, taking a road trip from Denver to Yellowstone offers a fun experience where you get to see the changing landscape.

Home to half of the world’s geysers, Yellowstone also boasts amazing wildlife such as bison, deer, wolves, and even bears. For a better experience, plan to spend at least a couple of days in Wyoming since it’s a huge national park that requires time to explore.

PRO TIP: Taking a guided tour of Yosemite is a great option if you are short on time.

I also recommend combining a trip to Yellowstone with a stop at the nearby Grand Teton National Park where you can see the iconic mountain range and enjoy many hikes. And if you decide to also visit Grand Teton National Park, you will enter Yellowstone through the south entrance which will allow you to see the entire park as you make your way north.

If you need some advice on how to plan your trip to Yellowstone, check my guide.

Bryce Canyon National Park

12. Bryce Canyon National Park

Distance: 580 miles Driving Time: 8 hours 40 minutes

Where to stay: Bryce Canyon Resort 

Southern Utah is full of jaw-dropping landscapes, and Bryce Canyon National Park is just one of them. 

Famous for its stunning collection of hoodoos, or bright orange spires that rise from the bottom of the canyon, Bryce is an incredible place to visit at any time of the year. During winter, many photographers come here to photograph these gorgeous orange rocks covered by snow. Since the park sits at a relatively high elevation, there’s always plenty of snow in winter here.

In summer, this national park sees the most tourists, but it can also get pretty hot during the day, so plan your hiking for the early morning. If you need to see a complete list of hikes in Bryce Canyon and advice on how to plan your trip, take a look at my guide.

Zion National Park - one of the best West Coast National Parks

13. Zion National Park

Distance: 618 miles Driving Time: 9 hours 15 minutes

Where to stay: Bumbleberry Inn

In recent years, Zion has become one of the most popular national parks in the United States, as its annual visitation reached 3 million people. And when you come here, it’s not hard to see why: Zion National Park packs on ton of adventure with dozens of stunning hikes such as Angel’s Landing amid the towering red walls.

Since Zion National Park is very popular, it’s important to plan your trip right. Summer is the busiest time at the park, while fall and mid-to-late spring offer a respite from the crowds. Winter is the quietest time at Zion, however, many trails are closed, and opportunities for exploring are limited, because of the accumulation of ice and snow.

PRO TIP: At over 600 miles trip to Zion is one of the longest road trips from Denver. If you go for it, make a stop in Las Vegas, a capital of entertainment that is located near some of the most beautiful places in the Southwest

14. Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

Distance: 616 miles Driving Time: 13 hours, 20 minutes

Where to stay: Wild West Retreat

A close neighbor of the Bryce and Zion National Parks, Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument is a vast expanse of wilderness in the heart of Utah’s red rock country. This national monument designated in 1996 is a perfect place if you are looking for a place off the beaten track where you can adventure and get away from it all.

When you come here, be prepared for a real adventure: This is one of the least developed parts of the United States with little development and scarce cell phone service. Still, you can find a couple of small towns along the way such as Escalante and Boulder where you can get some food and find a place to stay for the night, however, expect services to be very basic.

If you decide to camp, you will be in for a real treat: Grand Staircase Escalante offers some of the most pristine dark skies since light pollution is virtually non-existent here. It’s a truly remarkable place with incredible scenery, and backcountry hiking, and many hidden corners that are yet to be explored.

Antelope Canyon

15. Antelope Canyon

Distance: 635 miles Driving Time: 9 hours 40 minutes

Where to stay: Holiday Inn Express Page

Located in Northern Arizona, Antelope Canyon has become one of the most popular places to visit in the Southwest. Besides offering otherworldly scenery, it is also located close to Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell, and just a few hours north of Grand Canyon National Park.

While it is not a quick trip from Denver, it is a must-visit, if you decide to visit the Four Corner’s region that encompasses the southeastern corner of Utah, the southwestern corner of Colorado, the northwestern corner of New Mexico, and the northeastern corner of Arizona.

Final thoughts

Colorado’s capital is one of the most vibrant cities in the Rocky Mountain region. I hope you get to enjoy the city and everything it has to offer and take at least one of the scenic road trips from Denver and create incredible memories that will last a lifetime.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. At no cost to you, I might earn a small commission if you make a purchase through the links in this article. 

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West Coast Road Trip tips
Taking West Coast USA Road Trip is the ultimate adventure. 
 
One of the most scenic areas of the United States, it boasts gorgeous national parks, eclectic cities, and charming towns. West Coast includes California, Oregon, and Washington, however, other western states such as Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana also have a lot to offer! 
 
Since I have traveled West Coast USA for a few years, I have many tips that I want to share with you to help you make your trip more fun and help you save money. I recommend you save this post in your bookmarks

1. Create a rough itinerary

Do you want to spend more time along the coast or in the mountains? Do you dream of exploring Utah’s Martian-like landscapes or are you more interested in checking out LA beaches and surfing?
 
How about roaming the enigmatic Death Valley and enjoying some of the clearest dark skies? 
 
When you plan your West Coast USA road trip, it is important to have an itinerary, since the region is so big. Figure out what areas you want to see, and plan your trip accordingly. 

2. ... but don't stick to it too much

You probably already have a few West Coast destinations on your bucket list, but let me remind you to create a back-up plan. 
 
The reason you need to do this is that your trip could be affected by things outside of your control. 
 
Here is my story: 
 
One time I embarked on a road trip from Las Vegas to Big Sur only to find out that most of Big Sur was closed because of the road work caused by the mudslide. I had to quickly change my original plan while I was on the road and spent most of my trip in the Bay Area.
 
You should find at least a couple of alternatives to your preferred destinations. Things can happen, and you do not want your dream road trip to be spoiled. 
 
If you want to get some ideas for your road trip, check my suggested itinerary for the West Coast USA road trip. 

3. Travel during off-season

Summer is the high season for West Coast road trips. During this time, the region gets tourists from all over the country and overseas. As a result, prices at hotels and restaurants tend to be higher. 
 
But not all places along the West Coast are great for summer travel. For example, Death Valley National Park in California has triple-digit heat from May through September which makes being outside tough. However, it is one of the most popular national parks during late fall and winter as it has plenty of sun and mild temperatures at low altitudes. 
 
Additionally, crowds tend to recede during winter in popular destinations such as Antelope Canyon in Arizona. And you can also get an incredible deal on many hotels and shows in Las Vegas during this time.
 

4. Avoid holidays

If your trip falls in the summer season, skip big holidays. 
 
West Coast National Parks and scenic vistas get crowded during Fourth of July, Memorial Day or Veterans Day, and prices at hotels, restaurants, and other places that cater to tourists tend to be higher. 
 
If you want to visit some of the best West Coast national parks, take a look at my guide

5. Cook your food

To save money, get groceries in bulk and prepare to cook at least once a day. Simple meals like rice, potatoes, or pasta can save you a good chunk of money over time. 
 
While this is easier to do in a camper, you can also cook your meals when you travel by car. Bring cooking essentials such as a stove and cutting board to cook when you get to a campsite. And if you would rather stay in a room, I recommend picking an Airbnb with a kitchen.

6. Eat where locals eat

When you don’t feel like cooking after a long day on the road, going to a restaurant might be a good option. But before you go on a splurge, check online reviews or if you don’t have the Internet, try to find out if a place is more touristy than it is local. 
 
Often places that are popular with tourists are more expensive, while restaurants that cater to locals could have lower prices and different menu choices. 

7. Fill up your water bottle

You can fill up your water bottle at landmarks, national parks, and campgrounds for free. This eliminates an unnecessary expense and also reduces your plastic consumption.

8. Pace yourself

It’s tough to see the entire West Coast in just a few days. 
 
You need weeks and even months to explore some of the most beautiful areas of this vast region. After seeing coastal California, Oregon, and Washington, you might also want to check out Nevada, Arizona Utah, and Colorado. 
 
A trip like this calls for a few months, so you should not jam-pack your adventure in just a few days. However, if you want to see some of the highlights, my guide will help you.

9. Buy a national parks pass

If you plan on visiting more than 2 national parks, you should buy the National Parks Pass (Also called America the Beautiful Pass). The entry into a national park costs about $35 on average, and the entry into many state parks and recreational areas costs between $10 and $20. 
 
America the Beautiful Pass costs $80 and it quickly pays when you visit multiple national parks. 

10. Get right transportation

Most people rent a car or camper van to do West Coast USA road trip, however, there are still other ways to travel around the region. You can rent a vehicle for your West Coast USA road trip on websites such as Discover Cars
 
Your best options for budget travel are Amtrak or Megabus. While they don’t stop in national parks, you can easily take a bus or train along California’s coast and visit cities such as Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and San Francisco

11. Sign up for loyalty programs

Loyalty programs can pay off if you use them often enough. For example, I often use hotels.com for my trips. After booking 9 nights, you get the 10th night for free, and as you use the app more, your status gets upgraded, and you start seeing reduced prices on many accommodations. 
 
Similarly, many grocery chains such as Kroger and Safeway have loyalty programs that could help you save money if you plan on cooking meals yourself. 

12. Book accommodations in advance

Don’t assume you can just drive into a popular resort town in the middle of summer and quickly get a room. 
 
Unless you are going to travel with a camper, you need to book hotels and campgrounds. Many hotels and campsites are booked up months in advance during high season, and it’s not uncommon to see prices in hundreds of dollars for basic accommodation.
 
Plan your trip and book your accommodations 4-2 months ahead of time. This move will save you the hassle down the road.

13. Check gas prices

Gas prices in some West Coast areas can suck you dry.
 
While not all of the West Coast is pricey, popular areas, and particularly national parks have higher than usual gas prices. The worst part is that you probably will not find a lot of options once you are there, so filling up your gas tank ahead of your trip is a good idea.
 
One example is Death Valley National Park where gas prices can be nearly $5 per gallon!
 
This price stands in stark contrast with the neighboring Nevada, where you can get gas much cheaper less than one hour away from California state line. This is why before hitting the road, I recommend downloading the Gas Buddy app that will show you gas prices at nearby gas stations. 

14.Get a paper map

When anything can be booked, ordered, or checked on your phone, maps may seem like a thing of the past.
 
Not so much when it comes to the West Coast road trip.
 
When you get on the road, you might notice that your cellphone service disappears in certain areas. 
 
Death Valley is the largest national park in the United States and it has a very spotty cell phone service. That’s why it’s generally not recommended to venture into remote areas of the park when temperatures reach above 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the middle of the summer.
 
However, you might also encounter areas along state highways without cell phone coverage. Get a paper for your trip, so you don’t have to scramble trying to figure out which way to go when your cell phone service disappears. 
 

15. Visit less popular areas

West Coast is home to some of the most scenic and popular places to visit in the United States: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Yosemite, and Sequoia national parks are just some of the examples. 
 
These places are as gorgeous as they are touristy. And if time allows, it’s a good idea to check out less popular destinations. After crossing bucket list places off your list, you might want to visit less busy destinations such as San Luis Obispo in Central California or South Lake Tahoe in Northern California.

16. Stop at weird (or quirky) destinations

Have you heard about Ghost Towns in Nevada? And what about China Date Ranch in California
 
You probably will not find these places advertised in major tourism brochures. While they still get tourist traffic, the number of people that come here is significantly lower than major highlights such as Red Rock Canyon near Las Vegas or Joshua Tree National Park about 2 hours from Los Angeles.

17. Don't forget about insurance

If you plan to travel for a few weeks, get yourself covered. While you should have car insurance, having excellent health insurance for your trip is paramount. I recommend Nomad Insurance for your long-term trip along West Coast USA. 
 
I also recommend getting a first aid kit for your road trip. This could make a big difference while you are waiting for a medical help to arrive in an emergency situation. 

18. Look for free campsites

Campsites in popular destinations such as South Lake Tahoe can cost between $30 and $50 a night. Although they are located in some of the most scenic areas of the country, paying for camping every day is going to add up over time. 
 
Instead, look for BLM land where you can camp for free or areas with dispersed camping. Some western states such as Washington, Idaho, and Wyoming have plenty of dispersed camping options.
 
A good website that can help you in your search is freecampsites.net

19. Always carry snacks

High-protein snacks are musts when you plan on an adventure-loaded day with hiking, conquering peaks, and exploring remote areas. I recommend stocking up on high-protein foods such as granola, chewy bars, and fruits that you can put in your backpack and eat while you are on the go. 
 
Carrying snacks will also save you from gorging on food later and running to the first restaurant on your way back. 

20. Bring a cooler

A cooler will help your drinks stay nice and fresh while you are on the road. You could be hiking all day, but when you come back, you will probably want to take a sip of cold water.
 
A cooler will be your friend as it will save your water from getting hot when your car is sitting in the sun. 

21. Be a conscious traveler

Stay on trails, pick up your trash, and understand that you do have a carbon footprint. And try to minimize the amount of plastic that you produce by using Tupperware and reusable water bottles. When you leave your camping spot, make sure that it’s clean. It is the minimum that you can do. 

22. Respect wildlife

You probably have seen photos of those huge bison roaming around  Yellowstone National Park. Or bears walking in the forest around Colorado’s mountains. 
 
Wildlife encounters are not uncommon when you spend time outdoors. While it’s incredible to see a couple of caribou or a heard of bison, you should keep the distance. Wild animals can be unpredictable and you don’t want to get too close where they can injure you. 

23. Get good hiking gear

Are you planning to explore Yosemite? Or do you want to hike the iconic Red Rock Canyon outside of Las Vegas? 
 
Make sure you get hiking gear such as shoes with a good grip, comfortable clothing, a hat, sunglasses, and a water bottle. And if you are going to hike for a couple of hours, you might consider getting a pair of hiking poles to help you climb to higher altitudes. 

24. ... And sunscreen

A bad sunburn will reveal a rookie traveler.
 
The southwest portion of the United States has some of the highest temperatures during summer, and the last thing you want is to get a bad sunburn while you explore Grand Canyon or relaxing on a beach in Southern California. 
 
However, even if you are away from those places, you can quickly get a sunburn if you are going for a hike at a higher altitude. Don’t make that mistake.

25. Skip tollways

Tollways can add unnecessary expenses to your trip, so unless you are short on time, you should try to avoid them.
 
While tollways are typically the fastest way to get around, you can always find the alternative to them, such as state routes or highways. 

26. Check your car before getting on a road

Getting a car breakdown during your trip is no fun.
 
While it can happen to anybody, there are things you can do to minimize the risk. 
 
Your car’s oil, brakes, and tires are some of the basic things that you should check before starting your road trip. And if you want complete peace of mind, you should ask a mechanic to run a diagnostic on your car.

27. Learn how to change a tire

If you drive on a rough surface and get a flat tire, you should know how to swap it!
 
While you can count on the help of fellow travelers, this might not always be an option, depending on where you are. Changing your tire sounds like a daunting process, but there are plenty of online resources where you learn how to do so for your specific vehicle. 

28. Check the weather

Weather can make or break your plans, so you should consider it before embarking on your adventure. I recommend checking the weather at least three days before your trip and right before you leave, so you will enough time to figure out an alternative. 

29. Always keep someone posted back home

When you travel, you should always have someone back home who is aware of your itinerary and your locations. This might seem unnecessary, but for safety reasons, you should always make sure that someone back home knows your whereabouts. 

30. And lastly ... Don't forget to have fun!

Things might not go as you planned, so you have to adjust your original itinerary and improvise. And that’s Okay. But more than anything, relax and have fun. Because West Coast USA is one of the most iconic places in the world where you can take a road trip. 

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