From Rocky Mountain peaks to the gorgeous shores of the Pacific Ocean and the desert and lakes in between, a road trip from Denver to San Diego takes you through some of America's most scenic marvels. You'll have no shortage of attractions to see during this drive, so it's just a matter of selecting your side excursions and which sights you don't want to miss. During the stretch between Denver and Las Vegas, you'll notice the change in landscapes. The scenery goes from being covered in green to looking dry, especially during spring. You can expect to see other breathtaking places along this trek, such as Vail's Blue Sky Basin, the iconic Beaver Court House Museum in Utah, and San Diego's very own Balboa Park. The best way to end your Denver to San Diego RV road trip is to splash around the beach waters in La Jolla.
There are many amazing national parks that you'll want to check out on your Denver to San Diego road trip. Get to learn more about them on RVshare's national park guide.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Before you hit highway I-70W on your Denver to San Diego RV road trip, consider taking a detour to Rocky Mountain National Park. Established in 1914, Rocky Mountain National Park is a traveler's paradise with its high-elevation wilderness, including 2-mile high icy peaks, elk-trodden forests, and thundering rivers. If you are looking to enjoy the sights from the comfort of your RV, you can cover plenty of ground driving along the scenic Trail Ridge Road. Visitors can also go for a hike on the 350 miles of trails, watch for wildlife, or stay a night in the haunted Stanley Hotel in Estes Park.
Arches National Park
Just 5 miles north of Moab is Arches National Park, which hosts the world's largest collection of natural sandstone arches. If it is your first visit here, you'll be awestruck by the beauty of the 19-mile Arches Scenic Drive. You will find more than 2,000 arches in this park and also spot balanced rocks, large mesas, fins of sandstone rocks, and hoodoos. Spend time climbing the strange-looking rock formations or capturing the famous Delicate Arch with a camera after a hike up to this iconic landmark.
Zion National Park
Consider stopping at Zion National Park in southwest Utah if you love the outdoors. Here, you'll find the prettiest opportunities for hiking, canyoneering, and rock climbing. Consider driving along the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway or the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive to get a better view of the grandeur in this park. If you want to learn more about Zion's history, stop at the Human History Museum.
Canyonlands National Park
If you are a hiking enthusiast, make sure that Canyonlands National Park is on your road trip itinerary from Denver to San Diego. Covering over 337,546 acres, Canyonlands is divided into three regions: The Maze, Island in the Sky, and the Needles. Campers can choose to stay in Willow Flat Campground, Dead Horse Point State Park Campground, or the nearby Squaw Flat Campground, but the backcountry campsites are worth a visit. You might also want to try backpacking or mountain biking along the gorgeous 100-mile White Rim Road.
Death Valley National Park
Your road trip from Denver to San Diego wouldn't be complete without a side excursion to Death Valley National Park, just 111 miles from Las Vegas via NV-160W. Death Valley consists of salt flats, dunes, craters, and mountains that you can explore if you're up for an adventure. You can also look over the surreal landscape of this park at Zabriskie Point. If you have more time to spare, you can stroll through the Rhyolite ghost town just over the border in Nevada. Rhyolite features an abandoned mining establishment comprising a unique art installation of ghostly statues.
As you'll see on RVshare's state park guide, there are plenty of spectacular options that you can add to your road trip itinerary from Denver to San Diego.
Cherry Creek State Park
Cherry Creek State Park is one of the first pit stops you want to make right after starting your road trip. It is an excellent place for an overnight stay as there are more than 125 tent and RV campgrounds available for reservation. This state park is just 3.7 miles south of Denver. Visitors can enjoy plenty of outdoor activities from biking and hiking on the 35 miles of trails to horseback riding.
Snow Canyon State Park
Snow Canyon State Park is another park on your Denver to San Diego road trip. Perched at the edge of the Mojave Desert in southwestern Utah, Snow Canyon explodes with fascinating geology, perfect for your photo opportunities and outdoor adventures. Visitors are spoiled for choices as there are plenty of things to do here: rock and dune hopping, biking, hiking, rock climbing, and wildlife viewing.
Old Town San Diego State Historic Park
Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is a great place to visit if you're a history or culture buff. Established in 1968, Old Town is a living history gallery preserving and commemorating many historic structures dating from the 19th century. You'll find numerous aspects of San Diego's early culture from 1820 to 1870 when visiting Old Town San Diego. In addition to late-century architecture, visitors can also enjoy plenty of street performers and vibrant cultural festivals like the Fiesta Navidad.
Blue Sky Basin
You'll reach Vail just two hours after leaving Denver. This small town is home to Blue Sky Basin, one of the most popular skiing destinations in North America. Powder-chocked glades, wide-open bowls, and a serene backcountry await you when you stop here. Blue Sky Basin is ideal for families and also has a reputation for ultimate luxury. Be sure to try out biking, camping, river expeditions, hiking, and off-road adventures when the snow melts.
Fremont Indian State Park and Museum
As you wind into Utah on your road trip from Denver to San Diego, expect to see some of the trek's gorgeous stretches at Fremont Indian State Park and Museum in Sevier. If you're taking I-70, it's only fair to stop and educate yourself about the iconic land through which you're driving. You'll see ancient poetry, baskets, weapons, and more when you take a stroll here. You'll also come face to face with beautiful petroglyphs at the museum.
The Colosseum and Caesars Palace
When you reach Las Vegas, make a detour to see the Colosseum and Caesars Palace. Caesars Palace, one of the best-known resorts in all of Las Vegas, is a gigantic complex located at the heart of the Strip and offers visitors all kinds of entertainment options. Travelers planning a road trip itinerary from Denver to San Diego should also check out the Colosseum where renowned artists perform.
The city of San Diego is home to Balboa Park, a 1,400-acre tourist wonderland. You can drink in the splendor of the numerous historical sites, gardens, museums, and green spaces when you visit here. Developed for the Panama-California Exposition of 1916, Balboa Park's architecture is predominantly Spanish-style with buildings that complement the natural surroundings. Consider taking a stroll for a unique experience that includes the lily pond and botanical gardens, the famous San Diego Zoo, the Museum of National History, and the San Diego Museum of Art.
While making detours from your Denver to San Diego RV road trip might add a few days to your trek, it's worth it. Plus, the I-70W and I-15S routes contain some beautiful campgrounds with dump sites that can keep your RV travel-ready.
Grand Junction, CO
Known as a mecca for outdoor recreation, festivals, arts and culture, and locally bred agritourism, Grand Junction is a great place to stop. Consider spending the night at one of the nearby campgrounds. There are also several dump stations nearby.
St. George, UT
With many impressive sandstone formations and a favorable climate, St. George is an exciting place to stop. There are many beautiful campgrounds located in the area near Zion National Park, and because the parks of this area are so popular with travelers, there are plenty of dump stations to use.
Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas is popularly known as Sin City. After making a trip to one of the local casinos, you'll know how this city got that name. Stay at one of the nearby campgrounds to fully enjoy the glitz, glamour, and vibrant nightlife of Las Vegas. Since you'll be nearing the end of your trip, you'll also likely want to take advantage of a dump station.