If you want to travel on one of America’s greatest national park arteries while driving between two great American cities, then an Oakland to LA road trip is definitely for you. Plenty of excellent state parks, gardens, reserves, and more await you on this trip as well. Whether you want to have fun at a theme park, climb mountains, explore some islands in the Pacific Ocean, or scramble over some lovely red rocks, you’ll be able to do all of this and more on a road trip from Oakland to LA.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is one of the first parks you can easily reach by traveling from Interstate 5. The entrance to Yosemite is only two hours and 10 minutes east of Tracy, so it’s easy to reach. Famous features like Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, and the California Tunnel Tree draw millions of travelers a year, so why not be one of them while on your Oakland to LA RV road trip? This is one of many great places in California to see some gorgeous sequoia trees; some of the ones here are over 1,000 years old. If you choose to make your journey in winter, you’ll be able to go skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and more here.
Pinnacles National Park
The entrance to Pinnacles National Park is only an hour and 15 minutes west of Los Banos off of Interstate 5. The park takes its name from the rock formations created by volcanic eruptions long ago. You’ll find more than formations here, however; the bat caves are particularly popular with visitors. You can also go rock climbing, hiking, and wildlife watching.
Kings Canyon National Park
Kings Canyon National Park is two hours east of Wood Ranch off of Interstate 5. This park is home to great features like the General Grant Tree, the Gamlin Cabin, Redwood Canyon, and the Great Western Divide. You’ll be able to take in breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevadas, hike through sequoia and redwood groves, and go horseback riding and backcountry camping.
Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park is right next door to Kings Canyon, so visiting them together is convenient. If you would prefer to visit the park directly from your route, you can do so by traveling an hour and 45 minutes east of Coalinga. As its name implies, it’s a top-notch location to go to see some of California’s largest, most iconic trees. There are also plenty of great mountain vistas here courtesy of the Sierra Nevadas. Skiing and snowshoeing are popular in the park during the winter, and you can also go hiking and horseback riding.
Channel Islands National Park
How could you pass up the opportunity to explore some of the California coast and beyond on your road trip from Oakland to LA? Getting to Channel Islands National Park is an adventure in and of itself. You’ll travel 45 minutes west from Castaic Junction to Ventura. Then, you’ll hop on a boat or plane and travel anywhere from 25 minutes to three hours to the island of your choice. Once you’re there, you’ll be able to explore the island on foot. Snorkeling and diving are favorite activities here as are backcountry camping and whale watching.
Caswell Memorial State Park
The entrance to Caswell Memorial State Park is only 25 minutes east of Tracy. If you want a peaceful, serene place to visit before you experience the wonders of Yosemite National Park, why not stop here on the way and add Caswell Memorial to your road trip itinerary from Oakland to LA? The Stanislaus River is perfect for fishing and swimming, and the grand oak forest provides numerous great trails for amateurs and seasoned hikers alike.
George J. Hatfield State Park
About 10 minutes east of Newman, you’ll find George J. Hatfield State Park. One big draw here is the lovely bridge that’s 110 years old. You can go camping and fishing on the Merced River; when you’re ready to relax, you can picnic, sunbathe, and soak in the serenity of the stunning California wilderness.
Henry W. Coe State Park
Henry W. Coe State Park is a large park that’s located just south of San Jose. There are more than 87,000 acres to explore here, so you certainly won’t lack for things to do. Visitors love taking in this rugged park on mountain bikes, horseback, and, of course, their own two feet. Anderson Lake, Orestimba Creek, and Pacheco Creek are great places to fish and boat.
Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park
If you travel 45 minutes east of Kettleman City, you’ll be able to visit Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park. This interesting historic park provides you with insight into the struggles and lifestyles of the African Americans who started a settlement here in the early 1900s. Multiple buildings from the early 20th century remain. You can hike or bike along various paths that take you past educational exhibits and interpretive displays.
Red Rock Canyon State Park
A little over an hour and a half east of Bakersfield is gorgeous Red Rock Canyon State Park. At this park, you’ll trade the mountain vistas and towering forests of the Sierra Nevadas for the red rock formations and petroglyphs that characterize this region. If you’re up for a bit more driving on your Oakland to LA road trip, you could even reach Death Valley National Park with less than two additional hours of travel from here. Hiking is particularly popular at Red Rock Canyon, but you can also explore using a mountain bike or, in some cases, a horse.
Hayward Japanese Gardens
Before you get too far away from the Oakland area on your Oakland to LA road trip, you should stop by Hayward Japanese Gardens. This lovely facility is only eight minutes from Downtown Hayward, so it’s close to your route. You’ll be able to explore three and a half acres of a traditional Japanese-style garden crafted from native stone, rock, plantings, and trees.
Tule Elk Reserve State Natural Reserve
Tule Elk Reserve State Natural Reserve is only 10 minutes from the western fringe of Bakersfield. At this lovely reserve, you can see some of the 4,000 tule elk that call this park home. Bird-watching, picnicking, and viewing the educational exhibits are other popular activities here.
Hungry Valley SVRA
Right off of Interstate 5 and only five minutes from Gorman is the Hungry Valley State Vehicular Recreation Area. At this gorgeous 19,000-acre park, you can explore over 130 miles of trails with your ATV, dune buggy, 4x4, or motorcycle. There are many different trails here that can accommodate everything from a beginner to an expert.
Six Flags Magic Mountain
Roughly 10 minutes west of the western part of Valencia is Six Flags Magic Mountain. This popular part of the Six Flags franchise features great rides like Batman: The Ride, Full Throttle, and Goliath. If you visit during the holidays, you’ll get to see the park decked out in lovely Christmas decorations.
Hollywood Walk of Fame
Before you reach the heart of Los Angeles, you should pull off on Hollywood Boulevard and visit the Hollywood Walk of Fame. You’re only 10 minutes away from Downtown LA, but why not add one last great destination to your road trip itinerary from Oakland to LA? On this iconic sidewalk, you can view Hollywood stars for celebrities like The Beatles, Tom Cruise, James Doohan, and Maureen O’Hara.
California is so vast that there are numerous dump stations in the state. In your explorations of the national and state parks, you’ll come across multiple places at which you can clean out your camper.
Hayward is just south of the Oakland area, and there are many locations to visit, including the Hayward Japanese Gardens and Garin Regional Park. There are several nice RV campgrounds at which you can stay while exploring Hayward.
In Dublin, you can take a walk on the beautiful Iron Horse Trail and pay a visit to the Dublin Heritage Park & Museums. You’ll be able to stay at multiple campgrounds in the area if you wish.
The biggest attraction in Santa Clarita is Six Flags Magic Mountain and its waterpark counterpart, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor. While you’re exploring the area, you can park your trailer at a variety of campgrounds.
Burbank is home to great places like the Conan O’Brien Show and the Martial Arts History Museum. If you want to stay awhile, you can take advantage of the multiple quality campgrounds nearby.
In Glendale, you can visit excellent attractions like the Americana at Brand and the Museum of Neon Art. Plenty of campgrounds are located in the area.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Oakland to LA, 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 Oakland or LA.
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