The California coastline makes for a beautiful sight to take in during any season, which is why more than 6 million tourists visit Long Beach, CA, every year. RVs make for especially fun trips, so why not take one on a Joshua Tree to Long Beach road trip? While you’re traveling westward, you’ll be able to visit a national park, as well as several state parks. During your road trip, you’ll also always have a place to lay your head, and there’s nothing that compares to the freedom of traveling via RV. While this is a relatively short trip totaling a distance of just 135 miles, there's no shortage of stops to make that will ensure it's quite a memorable one.
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is located about five miles from the town of Joshua Tree. This massive national park spans over 1,200 miles, so when you're in the area, make sure to bring plenty of hydration and some good walking shoes. In the park, you’ll encounter an abundant array of wildlife that has made the desert home. This includes various lizard species, black-tailed jackrabbits, bats, coyotes, and even the desert tortoise. For those who love ornithology, there are more than 250 species of birds to watch while you’re exploring the great desert national park.
Mount San Jacinto State Park
One of the defining features of Mount San Jacinto is its utter massiveness. In total, the park spans over 14,000 acres and has one of the tallest peaks in the country. At its highest point, San Jacinto Peach is almost 11,000 feet above sea level. For those who aren’t climbers, there are a ton of activities to take part in at Mount San Jacinto. This includes horseback riding, hiking, and skiing when the snow is on the ground.
Wildwood Canyon State Park
Wildwood Canyon is a unique entry in the list of California's state parks because of the sheer magnitude of the area and its gorgeous views. Since the park is situated in a canyon, you’ll have massive panoramic views of the surrounding valleys as well as the San Bernardino Mountains. This canyon is also coated in grasslands that are home to various species and plants. While here, you may even feel a bit of the pioneering spirit because this area was home to many of the homesteads established during the drive west. Wildwood Canyon is also wetter in the spring and fall than surrounding Californian areas; it receives far more rainfall thanks to its elevation at 3,000 feet.
Chino Hills State Park
Chino Hills State Park is about 37 miles from Los Angeles, which makes it a great place to make a stopover during your Joshua Tree to Long Beach RV road trip. There are miles of hiking trails in the park, and there are fields of beautiful plants that include poppies and phacelias. There are also several local campgrounds to stay in while you’re enjoying your RV adventure.
Crystal Cove State Park
Crystal Cove State Park lies to the south of your final destination in Long Beach. This park is very much worth the trip since it’s primarily situated on the beach. Birds and reptiles call this place home, so don’t be surprised if you see a lizard walking his or her way across the dunes while you relax. The cove is definitively crystalline; the waters are reflective and clear, so it’ll be easy to see ocean life as you wade.
Carbon Canyon Regional Park
While not part of the California state park system, if you’re planning on enjoying nature during your road trip from Joshua Tree to Long Beach, then you should give Carbon Canyon a visit. This park is upstream of the famous Carbon Canyon Dam and features a beautiful lake where you can fish and paddle. The canyon also features distinct redwoods that are majestic and massive. While here, consider one of the guided tours to better understand the topography and history of the area.
University of California, Irvine
Known throughout the state as UCI, the University of California, Irvine, is the crown of Anteater Country. Not just for students, the campus has extensive sporting events and is home to a vibrant art scene. If you want to see a show, consider the Irvine Barclay Theater. There, you can watch ballet, a full Broadway-style production, or see scholars and celebrities speak. Its home city, Irvine, is also considered one of the safest cities in the country.
Bonita Canyon Sports Park
Located in Newport Beach, the Bonita Canyon Sports Park has basketball courts, baseball diamonds, and soccer fields. This is a great option for the kids, and there are also playgrounds throughout for children who don’t want to take part in any of the sports fields' activities. There are also picnic tables for families, and you can even barbecue at the grills present throughout the sports park.
Buck Gully Reserve
Also found in Newport Beach, Buck Gully Reserve is a coastal canyon that's home to thousands of wildlife species. Throughout the reserve, you’ll see species like jackrabbits, tortoises, and a plethora of birds. This land was set aside for conservation, but many spaces also provide recreational opportunities for visitors. As a result, you can visit this area and comfortably observe wildlife.
San Joaquin Hills
As you close in on the end of your road trip itinerary from Joshua Tree to Long Beach, consider a stop in the San Joaquin Hills. Located in Laguna Niguel, CA, these hills are a low mountain range near the state's coast. You’ll encounter a variety of topographies throughout these beautiful hills that include wetlands, woodlands, and grasslands. In the area, you can also find the San Joaquin Hills Toll Road, where several key fossil finds have occurred.
San Bernardino, CA
San Bernardino is a truly welcoming city of 215,941 people. While here, make sure to visit places like the San Bernardino National Forest, where you’ll have fun exploring more than 800,000 acres of land. The city itself is also home to several museums, nature parks, and outdoor activities. The town is even home to the original McDonald’s. San Bernardino-area campgrounds can mostly be found in the surrounding cities and towns. An example of this would be Calico Ghost Town and Campground, which is in Yermo. Not only will you have access to more than 250 campsites that are both back-in and pull-through, but you’ll also be able to check out the namesake ghost town. Consider one of the local dump stations when it’s time to offload your wastewater.
Located in Orange County, CA, Irvine is home to some truly beautiful vistas. While here, consider a visit to places like the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks area. This area is packed with public parks that you can visit with the family. If you want an aerial view, you can book a trip with one of the local hot-air balloon companies that do business in the city. When you’ve landed again, pay a trip to the Irvine Spectrum Center, which is a massive mall with its own Ferris wheel. Irvine campgrounds include places like the OC Fair and Event Center Campground and O’Neill Regional Park, both of which have numerous spaces and RV hookups to use. Most places in the area will also accommodate any RV — from travel trailers to motorhomes.
Situated north of Santa Ana, Orange is a city with a population of 139,484. Often called a “major city with a small-town ambiance,” Orange is a great place to relax for a day or two. Check out places like the Orange County Zoo or the Black Star Canyon Trail if you’re looking for some fun family activities. Several California campgrounds are a mere stone’s throw from Orange. A good example of this would be Orangeland RV Park, which is in the city. This park has 212 campsites, 30- and 50-amp connections, and options for both back-in and pull-through rigs.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Joshua Tree to Long Beach, you will enjoy historic locations and beautiful scenery along the way. If you want to travel in comfort and style, consider an RV rental from RVshare. From large motorhomes to compact campervans, there is a rig that will meet your travel and budget needs. Once you hit the road, you are protected by our renter guarantee and 24/7 roadside assistance. Find the perfect vehicle for your travel needs in Joshua Tree or Long Beach.