Your road trip from Fresno to Pismo has many incredible sights to see from the towering sequoias in Kings Canyon National Park and rugged trails in Sequoia National Park to the abundant wildlife on the coast in California's state parks. You'll find nonstop adventure from beginning to end with unique places like Hearst Castle to explore and fun attractions such as Bubblegum Alley to contribute to. Restful stops in Santa Margarita and San Luis Obispo balance out the excitement with lovely wine tastings at Ancient Oak Cellars and Chamisal Vineyards.
There's no better way to enjoy the wonder of nature than at a couple of America's national parks. Consider adding some parks to your road trip itinerary from Fresno to Pismo.
Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park is a great place to visit before you head to the coast and is just a quick 80-minute ride east from your Fresno to Pismo road trip route. At this park, you can climb the state's highest peak, Mount Whitney, and explore the Crystal Cave located near the Giant Forest, where the park's main attraction is the General Sherman Tree. Make sure you drive under Tunnel Log and cruise down General's Highway, a scenic route that transports you through the forest. More beautiful places to see are Tokopah Falls, Moro Rock, Tharp Log, Congress Trail and Precipice Lake. The hiking at Sequoia is phenomenal, and camping is welcome here, so enjoy a few days of exploration before you hit the road.
Kings Canyon National Park
Kings Canyon National Park is a must-see that's just a stone's throw away from Sequoia National Park where you can continue your outdoor adventure at Hume Lake and spend a couple of days camping, fishing, canoeing, hiking and biking. A majestic treat awaits as you follow the Mist Falls Trail, a 4-mile one-way hike that rewards you with spectacular views of the 100-foot falls. Other areas of the park you'll want to include on your bucket list are John Muir Wilderness, General Grant Grove, Lake Sabrina, Forester Pass, Big Pine Lakes and, of course, Kings Canyon. While you're in the park, you may also see cougars, bears and rattlesnakes, so be alert.
Enjoying the beauty of a few state parks on your RV road trip from Fresno to Pismo is an excellent way to rest, relax and rejuvenate while you're on the road.
Hearst San Simeon State Park
Once you hit Paso Robles, Hearst San Simeon State Park is only 45 minutes away as you head toward the coast. This park features over 20 miles of California coastline teeming with aquatic and land-based wildlife. During low tide, you can explore plentiful tide pools and spy a variety of unique sea creatures, such as turban snails, fish, sea stars and chitons. On the sand, elephant seals can be seen from December to March at overlook points on scenic Highway 1. Two campgrounds are located within the park and are great for an overnight stay or two.
Morro Bay State Park
As you move south along the coast, you'll want to visit Morro Bay State Park. This seaside park features a full-service marina for fun oceanic excursions and an 18-hole golf course that you can play at your leisure. Stop by the Morro Bay Museum of Natural History and enjoy exhibits related to oceanography, geology and Native American life. You should also check out Morro Rock, Anchor Memorial Park, Black Hill, Elfin Forest and the Giant Chess Board while you're in the area.
Pismo State Beach
Pismo State Beach is a great place to grab your surfboard and hit the waves or spend some quiet time relaxing in the sun once you've reached Pismo. Experience the beautiful Monarch Butterfly Grove from November through February, and take a walk on the Pismo Beach Pier for an unobstructed view of a colorful California sunset. Popular activities to enjoy at this park are fishing, flying kites, bird-watching, walking the trails along the dunes and camping.
Forestiere Underground Gardens
Before you leave Fresno, pop by the Forestiere Underground Gardens for an unusual hourlong tour that takes you through a series of hand-built rooms and underground gardens that have been producing fruit for over 90 years. As you walk through the tunnels, notice the variations in temperature that drop a cool 10 to 30 degrees as you learn about the history of the site and its builder, Baldassare Forestiere.
With a long history that began in 1865, Hearst Castle in San Simeon is a coastal must-see with a variety of historic areas to explore, such as the Wine Cellar, Hearst Airport and the Roman and Neptune Pools. The castle holds over 25,000 artifacts as well as awe-inspiring works of art and luscious gardens. A fine list of tours is available that takes you through particular rooms within the impressive castle with some being offered only seasonally.
Located in San Luis Obispo, Bubblegum Alley is a sticky attraction that has been around since the '70s and is famous for the massive accumulation of chewed gum that lines its 15-foot-high and 70-foot-long walls. Aside from the alley's artsy reputation, it's one of the most popular places to visit in the city, and it is certainly the most talked about, so before you go anywhere else, take a stroll down the narrow alleyway and leave your contribution.
A virtual wine mecca, Paso Robles is home to over 25 wineries with exquisite tasting rooms to enjoy and beautiful countrysides to behold. Take a walk around the quaint downtown area for some shopping and a bite to eat. For a day of fun in the sun, head to the Ravine Water Park and relax on the Lazy River or jump onto one of the park's more thrilling slides. While you're in town, you should also check out the Estrella Warbird Museum that features rare military aircraft exhibits and a classic car museum.
Located in the wine region of Paso Robles, Wine Country RV Resort accommodates rigs up to 70 feet and has an on-site dump station, laundry, restroom and shower facilities, a swimming pool, picnic areas, a wellness center and a store.
As you enter San Luis Obispo, take a 15-minute detour to the small town of Santa Margarita and stay awhile. A visit to this city treats you to a few excellent wineries and exciting outdoor activities you won't soon forget. A zip line, kayak or nature and wildlife tour at Margarita Adventures will get your heart pumping and prepare you for an evening of relaxation and wine tasting at Ancient Peaks. You can find home-brewed beer at Dunbar Brewing Public House where the music is live and the food is savory.
Santa Margarita KOA is a great place to camp with pull-thru and back-in sites that include full hookups and a 24/7 booking service. There is also a dump station on-site. Here, you can have a ball by the pool on Snow Cone Saturdays, play horseshoes, enjoy the Jumping Pillow and view the constellations at the park's Dark Sky Party.
San Luis Obispo
In San Luis Obispo, you've got it all. From mountainous adventures to catching a movie at the classic Sunset Drive-In, you'll have the best time in this sweet little city. Fun things you'll want to do in town include the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, Dallidet Adobe and Gardens, Mission Plaza, Cheng Park and the Jack House and Gardens. For a good time outdoors, take a hike at Islay Hill, a dormant volcano and the last in a line of peaks called the Nine Sisters. More things to explore in this location include Cerro San Luis Obispo, Bishop Peak, the Reservoir Canyon Trail, Laguna Lake and the Leaning Pine Arboretum. There are also several vineyards in the area if you fancy a tasting or two.