Roadtrip with RVshare Los Angeles to San Francisco

A road trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco takes you through some gorgeous scenery and changing California landscape. Although you can drive from Southern California to the Bay Area in about six hours, there are so many national parks, beaches, historic buildings, and great restaurants along the way that you could easily make this a multi-day trip.

Los Angeles to San Francisco Road Trip Itinerary

  • Trip Length: Take at least five days to enjoy a leisurely trip up the coast.
  • Mileage: It's 382 miles from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
  • Fun Fact: There are a total of 33 bridges along Highway 1.

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Nearby National Parks

Channel Islands National Park

Just outside of Los Angeles, along the coast, sits Channel Islands National Park. The park is only accessible by boat, but you can park an RV at one of the visitor centers on the mainland. Although Channel Islands is only miles from one of the biggest cities in the U.S., it's home to a wide number of unique plant and animal species. You'll also get beautiful views of the coast and the Pacific Ocean.

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park is inland, and you'll need to make a detour from your coast trip. However, the park is well worth the extra time you take to explore. The park features the world's largest trees by volume, and you can spend several days admiring the giant sequoias. Kings Canyon National Park is next to Sequoia, so it's not hard to visit both parks on the same trip.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is California's most iconic national park. Although it means a trip inland, you won't want to miss Half Dome, El Capitan, and Yosemite Falls. You could easily spend a week at just this one park and still not have explored all its wonders.

Pinnacles National Park

Pinnacles National Park is full of the towering rock formations that give the park its name. The park also has caves to explore, along with canyons, woodlands, and other ecological areas. While you're there, keep an eye out for California condors, an endangered species of raptors that build their nests in the cliffs at the park.

Nearby State Parks

Malibu Creek State Park

Malibu Creek State Park is 25 miles from downtown Los Angeles and has creekside trails, fishing, birding, mountain biking, and horseback riding. As with many LA spots, it was also the site of numerous movies and TV shows including M*A*S*H and Planet of the Apes.

Morro Bay State Park

Morro Bay State Park encompasses a lagoon and natural bay, along with iconic Morro Rock in the middle of the water. The park has hiking, kayaking, tidepool exploring, and much more.

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

Point Lobos is a unique place to walk, with beautiful coves where you may spot sea lions, otters, and other marine wildlife. It's a popular spot for jogging, hiking, photography, and picnicking. It's also near Carmel and Monterey, so it's a great place to stop while enjoying those towns.

Half Moon Bay State Park

Half Moon Bay State Park features a protected area of beach and some beautiful dunes. It was a popular spot for smuggling liquor ashore during Prohibition, although the peaceful waves and gentle winds today don't hint at the area's checkered past.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Big Basin Redwoods State Park is home to amazing, soaring redwood trees that are over 1,000 years old. There are more than 80 miles of trails in the park that wind through the woods, past waterfalls, and up to breathtaking overlooks. Visitors can hike, bike, or go horseback riding in the park.

Along the Way

When planning your road trip itinerary from Los Angeles to San Francisco, you may want to include some of these points of interest. 

Santa Barbara Zoo

The city of Santa Barbara makes a great stop on a Los Angeles to San Francisco road trip, and you may want to take several days to explore the area. The Santa Barbara is a wonderful, smaller zoo where visitors can feed the giraffes and enjoy wildlife in a beautifully landscaped setting.

Morro Bay

Morro Bay is a lovely area for a pit stop. Grab some lunch and sit with a view of Morro Rock and the ocean, or rent a kayak and get out on the bay for a while.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is considered one of the best aquariums in the world. The sea otter exhibit is one of the most popular, but you'll see an amazing array of plant and animal life that thrives in the nearby Monterey Bay and around the world.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Ride the Giant Dipper, a wooden coaster built in 1924, or enjoy midway games, bumper cars, and other amusement park rides at this boardwalk. Next to the rides, you can relax on the beach with a picnic, or while eating delicious fair food available at the boardwalk.

The Tech Interactive

This unique museum showcases the technology that made Silicon Valley famous. You'll find vintage computers, phones, and other tech items. Hands-on exhibits and areas for kids bring engineering and technology fun to even the youngest visitors at this downtown San Jose museum.

Main Cities You Will Pass Through

Although the fastest way from Los Angeles to San Francisco is on the 5 Freeway, there are some much more beautiful options for a coastal road trip. Highway 1 is one of the most beautiful highways in America, and the 101 Freeway is a nice compromise that's faster than Highway 1 but prettier than the 5. You'll pass through several beautiful towns on your way up the coast, with interesting history and gorgeous ocean views as well.

Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara's nickname is the "American Riviera," thanks to the beautiful Mediterranean-style buildings and views of the ocean. You can stop to play golf, relax at a spa, or enjoy the restaurants, shops, and bars along State Street. The local campgrounds are popular with travelers, and many have upscale amenities like pools or breathtaking views.


Solvang is a unique California town that will make you feel as though you've taken a slight detour to Denmark. You'll find European-style bakeries, wineries, and Danish architecture including several windmills. There are lots of campgrounds in both Solvang, and in other nearby cities like Santa Maria.


Atascadero is a little town near San Luis Obispo that's known for being near hundreds of wineries along California's Central Coast. It's almost exactly between Los Angeles and San Francisco, so it makes a good halfway stop to relax and enjoy a day or two. You'll find lots of campgrounds in both Atascadero and San Luis Obispo.

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is known for its amazing beaches, and for the boardwalk which features a roller coaster and rides for all ages. Be sure to see Natural Bridges State Beach for the bridge-shaped rock, or stroll Pacific Avenue for vintage shopping and great restaurants. You'll find campgrounds all along Monterey Bay with plenty of amenities to make your stay pleasant.

Find Adventure from Los Angeles to San Francisco

Find your One-Way Rental

While there are only 382 miles between Los Angeles and San Francisco, you could easily take a week or more to make the journey while stopping at the many sights along the way. If you do not have one, use RVshare to find a rental in Los Angeles or San Francisco.