If traveling from Sin City to the California coast sounds fun to you, then a road trip from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara might be a good recommendation for you. Your net driving time will only be about five and a half hours, so you’ll have plenty of time to explore the awesome national and state parks you’ll encounter on your journey. There are numerous great attractions and cities on your route as well; you’ll even get to check out some of the Los Angeles areas on your trip from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara.
Zion National Park
Since your net driving time is relatively short, why not head northeast of Las Vegas for two and a half hours to visit Zion National Park before heading off to Santa Barbara? This gorgeous national park is well worth traveling an extra couple of hours to reach thanks to its stunning canyon vistas, iconic wading hike, and variety of environments. No trip to Zion is complete without wading through the Narrows, which is a deep canyon carved by the Colorado River.
Death Valley National Park
If you want to add an extreme national park to your road trip itinerary from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara, then Death Valley National Park is a must-see. The world’s hottest temperature was recorded at this national park two hours west of Vegas, and the desert environment is inhospitable. The barren beauty you’ll find here, however, makes bearing the scorching heat worthwhile. After all, if the hearty desert flora and fauna can survive here, how can you do any less? If you spend the night, you’ll be treated to a spectacularly dark sky perfect for stargazing.
Joshua Tree National Park
An hour and a half from Barstow, California, you’ll find Joshua Tree National Park. This national park is also a desert environment, but it’s not as extreme and inhospitable as Death Valley. At this fascinating desert park, you’ll be able to see plenty of Joshua Trees, cacti, and rock formations. The rugged terrain here provides a perfect place to go mountain biking, backcountry camping, rock climbing, hiking, and more.
Sequoia National Park
If you’re ready to get out of the desert and into the forest, then you should travel three hours and 40 minutes from Barstow to Sequoia National Park. The 1,000-year-old sequoias are the main attraction, but there are many other sources of beauty in this portion of the lovely Sierra Nevada Mountains. Hiking, biking, and horseback riding are popular here; in the winter, you can ski and snowshoe. With more than 800 miles of trails, you won’t lack for adventure at Sequoia National Park.
Channel Islands National Park
In order to reach Channel Islands National Park you’ll have to take a boat or a plane to the islands from Ventura. Depending on which island you’re visiting and how you’re getting there, travel time can take anywhere from 40 minutes to four hours. Once you’re there, however, you’ll be able to explore these fascinating islands and the waters around them. Diving, snorkeling, kayaking, and canoeing are popular here; if you’d prefer to stay on dry land, you can go hiking and backcountry camping.
Saddleback Butte State Park
If you drive 45 minutes west of Victorville, you’ll reach Saddleback Butte State Park. This is another great place to see Joshua Trees; you may also get to view flora and fauna that aren’t found in other desert parks. Hiking trails are often long and flat, so it’s a wonderful place to stretch your legs. Horseback riding and stargazing are also popular.
Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area
Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area is only 15 minutes east of Alray, California, so you should be sure to stop by on your Las Vegas to Santa Barbara RV road trip. This gorgeous state park is centered around Silverwood Lake, so there are obviously plenty of opportunities for you to go fishing, swimming, and boating. Hiking and biking are also popular thanks to the 13 miles of trails in the park.
Chino Hills State Park
Chino Hills State Park is only 20 miles south of San Dimas, California, but you’ll have to travel about 45 minutes to reach it thanks to SoCal traffic. You won’t be disappointed, however, by the lovely green rolling hills, canyons, and high ridges that await you. There are 90 miles of trails in the park that you can explore on foot, bike, or horseback; some trails are even pet-friendly.
Malibu Creek State Park
You can reach the entrance to Malibu Creek State Park after only 11 minutes of travel from Agoura Hills, California. If some of the terrain looks familiar, it's because you may have seen it on the hit TV show "M*A*S*H," which was filmed here. You can also go rock climbing on the Planet of the Apes wall, which you may also recognize from the iconic movie. Reagan Ranch is also here as are many great trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.
Point Mugu State Park
If you want to add a coastal state park to your road trip itinerary from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara, then Point Mugu State Park should definitely make your list. Rocky cliffs rise up behind a sandy beach that’s perfect for bodysurfing and fishing. More than 70 miles of trails take you along the coast, through canyons, and into the wilderness.
Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area
Just 20 minutes outside of Las Vegas is Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area. Over 48,000 rugged acres of the Mojave Desert is full of lava flows, petroglyphs, and desert plants and animals. If you want to see art from days gone by, be sure to check out Petroglyph Trail and Petroglyph Canyon.
Claremont Hills Wilderness Park
Claremont Hills Wilderness Park is only 10 minutes north of Claremont, California. The most popular trail in this excellent park north of Los Angeles is the five-mile Claremont Hills Loop, which is a moderate trail that takes you through the rolling hills of this park. Other great trails here include Johnson’s Pasture Trail and Thompson Creek Trail.
The Rose Bowl
The Rose Bowl Stadium is only seven minutes from Pasadena, California, so it’s a logical addition to your road trip from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara. Watching a football game in this stadium is a bucket-list item for many, so catch a game here if you can. Even if no game is scheduled during your road trip, you can still tour the stadium and participate in special events.
Universal Studios Hollywood
Another great attraction that’s close to your route is Universal Studios Hollywood. You only have to travel 10 minutes from North Hollywood to reach this excellent park in the Universal Studios franchise. Fun rides like Jurassic World – The Ride and Transformers: The Ride 3-D await you.
San Buenaventura State Beach
Seven minutes from Ventura and right off your route is beautiful San Buenaventura State Beach. There’s no such thing as spending too much time on the California coast, so adding this lovely two-mile stretch of beach to your road trip itinerary from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara is a no-brainer. Go for a swim, show off your surfing skills, and play some beach volleyball or frisbee at San Buenaventura State Beach.
In Victorville, you can learn more about the past at the California Route 66 Museum and take a horseback ride through Mojave Narrows Regional Park. You’ll be able to park your trailer at some lovely campgrounds in the area.
San Bernardino, California
Whether you want to head into the San Bernardino National Forest or take a tour of the Original McDonald’s Site and Museum, you’ll find plenty to do in San Bernardino. Numerous dump stations and campgrounds are nearby.
Glendale is home to the Rose Bowl and its famous parade, but it also contains great attractions like The Americana at Brand and Glendale Galleria. You’ll easily be able to locate quality dump stations and campgrounds close by.
Thousand Oaks, California
Be sure to check out the Gardens of the World and Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area when you visit Thousand Oaks. There are many nice campgrounds in the area.
When you’re exploring this gorgeous coastal town, be sure to visit the Ventura Pier and Promenade and Surfers Point Park. If you decide to spend a few days relaxing here, you won’t lack for great RV campgrounds at which to park your camper.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara, 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 Las Vegas or Santa Barbara.