You'll almost go from one international border to another as you travel through California, Oregon, and Washington State on a road trip from Joshua Tree to Seattle. The features that make the West Coast of the U.S. so spectacular will be on full display as you drive through desert landscapes, lush green forests, and breathtaking mountain ranges. In addition to the impressive, diverse scenery, there will also be opportunities for museum visits, nightlife, and fine dining, as urban areas are on the itinerary, too.
Joshua Tree National Park
Conveniently, you can find a national park right at the start of your journey, so before you set off on your road trip from Joshua Tree to Seattle, tour Joshua Tree National Park. Named for the iconic yucca trees whose branches resemble upstretched arms, this park features plenty of hiking trails. Enormous rock formations provide great spots both for climbing and selfies, with Skull Rock being one of the most popular places for photos in the whole park. The Cholla Cactus Garden is another of the park's awe-inspiring sights. If you're there at either the start or the end of the day, you can catch fabulous sunrises and sunsets at Keys View and Mastodon Peak.
Yosemite National Park
Arguably one of the most famous national parks in the country, Yosemite National Park is home to El Capitan and Half Dome, two sites that attract world-class climbers. When you're done photographing these majestic rock formations, admire giant sequoia trees while hiking in Mariposa Grove or stare in wonder at the waterfalls on the Mist Trail. You can also go fishing, biking, or bird-watching; take guided tours of Yosemite Valley, or even go white-water rafting on the Tuolumne River.
Crater Lake National Park
No road trip itinerary from Joshua Tree to Seattle would be complete without a stop to visit Crater Lake National Park. Although you can enjoy biking, hiking, and scenic drives at this park, the biggest draw is Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the world. Formed by the collapse of a volcano, the lake is now fed entirely by rainwater and snowmelt, leading to lake water that is stunningly crystalline. Swimming in the lake is allowed for those hardy souls who enjoy extremely cold water, and boat tours take visitors to explore the cinder-cone Wizard Island in the lake's west end.
Olympic National Park
You can start a Joshua Tree to Seattle RV road trip with a national park and end it with one as well, as Olympic National Park is only two hours from Seattle. Home to lush rainforest and a lake, this park gives you plenty to do and explore. You can hike and swim, view waterfalls and wildlife, and walk along the beach.
Columbia Historic State Park
Step back in time to the days of the Gold Rush with a visit to Columbia Historic State Park. There's a main street filled with historic buildings housing real businesses whose owners dress in period costumes. Family-friendly activities include panning for gold and riding in an actual horse-drawn stagecoach.
Silver Falls State Park
The lush beauty of the Willamette Valley is on full display at Silver Falls State Park near Salem, Oregon. On the park's famed Trail of Ten Falls, you can see spectacular waterfalls not only from the front but also from the back, as the trail winds behind four of the cascades. Active pursuits include hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. For those who prefer more laid-back activities, there are picnic areas featuring playgrounds, horseshoe pits, and off-leash dog walks.
Seaquest State Park
Located near Castle Rock, Washington, not far from Mount St. Helens, Seaquest State Park offers trails that meander through both wooded and wetland areas. The park's mile-long shoreline along Silver Lake features a boat launch and a boardwalk. There's also the opportunity to learn all about the 1980 volcanic eruption and its ecological impact at the Mount St. Helens Visitor Center, which is in the state park.
National Yo-Yo Museum
Perfect for kids and yo-yo enthusiasts of all ages, the National Yo-Yo Museum in Chico, California, is dedicated to memorabilia and all things yo-yo. The museum's 256-pound working wooden yo-yo makes for a great selfie.
Harry & David Factory Tour
If you're a fan of mail-order company Harry & David, then you'll love the chance to see how iconic confections such as Moose Munch popcorn are made. While in Medford, Oregon, you can go on a tour of the Harry & David bakery and candy-making facility for a small fee. A visit to their Country Village store for gourmet treats either before or after the tour starts is a must.
Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway
Rent a bike or bring your own to cycle this 36-mile paved bikeway that includes the Cottage Grove Covered Bridges Route in Cottage Grove, Oregon. Not only will you get to ride through six historic covered bridges, but you'll also get to enjoy the bikeway's picture-postcard scenery. Although beautiful picnic spots abound on the route, many people choose to enjoy their alfresco meal at Baker Bay Park on the shores of Dorena Lake.
Lewis County Historical Museum
Located in Chehalis, Washington, this museum is housed in a railway depot that dates back to 1912. Kids especially will love the exhibits, which include a model train display, a blacksmith's shop, and a turn-of-the-20th-century dining room and kitchen. In the museum's tribal room, visitors can learn about the Native American Cowlitz Tribe, Upper Chehalis Tribe, and Lower Chehalis Tribe.
The capital of California has a growing "Farm-to-Fork" foodie scene; museums dedicated to automobiles, art, and railroads; the California State Capitol; and a park focused on the preservation of Old Sacramento's historic buildings. You'll want to take the kids to the Sacramento Zoo and to Fairytale Town, a theme park devoted to nursery rhymes and fairy tales that also has gardens and small animals for petting. Of course, with the American River winding through the city, it would be a shame to visit and not bike along its shores or go boating or river rafting.
There are plenty of choices for overnighting in Sacramento on your Joshua Tree to Seattle RV road trip. Area campground options range from gated communities and RV resorts to lakeside campgrounds with plenty of RV dump stations available.
With its location on the Willamette River, this city of 175,000 people can't help but mix urban and nature-related attractions. So, you can visit a place like the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art or the Hult Center for the Performing Arts on the same day you hike to see the views from Spencer Butte or bike the Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path System.
Taking advantage of this area's natural beauty, many places to camp in or near Eugene are set in wooded areas, near rivers, or near lakes. When it's time to clean your RV's waste tanks, stop by one of the area dump stations before hitting the road.
Passing through Portland on your Joshua Tree to Seattle road trip, you'll get a chance to try one, or many, of the city's famous craft beers and eat in one of its numerous restaurants emphasizing locally sourced ingredients. Food carts are pretty much ubiquitous, so you may be able to find BBQ, fried chicken, and soul food in ordinary parking lots. After dark, there are plenty of indie bands to see and dance clubs to visit. Other things to do include visiting Powell's City of Books, a bookstore so large that they hand out maps. You can also wander the trails of the Portland Japanese Garden and take a tour of the 5-acre International Rose Test Garden.
A choice of riverside campgrounds awaits in Portland, with RV parks near the Columbia River, the Tualatin River, and the Clackamas River. If you would rather opt for a bit of pampering over roughing it, choose the Pheasant Ridge RV Resort, which boasts an indoor pool complete with a hot tub. You can also find several dump stations in the area to clean out your RV.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Joshua Tree to Seattle, 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 Seattle.