Roadtrip with RVshare San Diego to Grand Canyon National Park

When you travel in an RV from San Diego to the Grand Canyon, you will find lots of things to explore in nature that don’t require a long drive to explore. However, if you are going on a trip for a few days, then checking out this road trip itinerary from San Diego to Grand Canyon National Park is a must. To head to this national park, you simply need to travel northeast but take a route that passes Joshua Tree National Park so that you can explore it as well. If you would like to extend your trip, you can consider heading a bit farther north to hit up Las Vegas. This will allow you some time to enjoy a more urban adventure, and you can stop at Lake Mead as well before heading back to I-40 to finish your road trip.

San Diego to Grand Canyon National Park Road Trip Itinerary

  • Trip Length: Two days
  • Mileage: 598 miles
  • Fun Fact: The Birch Aquarium, which is located in San Diego and has more than 60 habitats, is the largest oceanographic museum in the U.S.

Nearby National Parks

Joshua Tree National Park

The first national park that you will encounter during your road trip from San Diego to Grand Canyon National Park is Joshua Tree National Park. The park covers more than 12,000 miles of the southern part of California, and it’s known for the yucca plants that grow there. 

The park is located right where the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert meet, and it has unique rock formations, stunning vistas, and more. If you want to hike the park, there are several trails that are easy to tackle. You can also explore on bike or horseback if you’d prefer. Stargazing is another common activity in this park, and there is even an annual festival in November for visitors to gaze at the sky with telescopes.

Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most iconic national parks in the United States. The spectacular canyon is a mile deep, 18 miles across, and 277 miles long, and the entire area is larger than the state of Rhode Island. The canyon elevation ranges between 2,000 and 8,000 feet, so the temperature may vary based on your location. There are nearly 1,000 caves within the canyon, but only the Cave of the Domes on Horseshoe Mesa is open to the public. In this park, you can hike one of the many trails, take a mule down to the river, go rafting down the rapids, or simply gaze at the stars at night. 

Nearby State Parks

Palomar Mountain State Park

The first state park that you will encounter during this San Diego to Grand Canyon National Park road trip is Palomar State Park. This is a beautiful park that is located in San Diego County. Palomar Mountain is inside the park, and the surrounding area is full of cedar and fir trees. The highest elevation in the park is about 5,000 feet, which provides some stunning vistas of the area. Hiking is a fun activity to enjoy on the many trails in the park, but bikes and dogs are not permitted on the trails. 

Mount San Jacinto State Park

Mount San Jacinto State Park is 14,000 acres in Riverside County, which is approximately two hours after you start your trip from San Diego. San Jacinto Peak, which is the tallest point in the park, is 10,834 feet. In addition to the mountains, there are meadows, forests, and open wilderness to enjoy in the park. You can also explore the area on horseback or bike if you prefer. In the winter, skiing is a fun activity that is also available.

Cattail Cove State Park

Cattail Cove State Park is located right after you cross into Arizona. It is a park positioned next to Lake Havasu, which makes it an ideal place to stop if you like to fish during your RV trips. You can also swim here or take a boat out onto the lake. You can use your own vessel, but there are also rentable kayaks and paddleboards available to use. Walking around the lake is also a relaxing way to spend your day in the park.

Lake Havasu State Park

Lake Havasu State Park is another park that is along the coast of Lake Havasu, as the name implies. It is a great place to go swimming, fishing, or boating, and the park has a place where you can launch your boats into the water. If you don’t have a boat, one can be rented at the park. There is also plenty to do if you are not interested in the water. There are several trails in the park that encircle the lake. For some stunning views of the shoreline, you will want to check out the Mohave Sunset Trail, which is a little less than a two-mile hike. You can also explore the Arroyo-Camino Interpretive Garden inside the park.

Along the Way

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Nothing is more entertaining than visiting a zoo during your San Diego to Grand Canyon National Park RV road trip, especially if you have children with you. There are several wildlife safari options that you can choose to enjoy. They range from an hour in length to an overnight experience that you won’t soon forget. You also have the option of taking a Flightline Safari that allows you to see the wildlife from above.

Cabazon Dinosaurs

This is an outdoor dinosaur museum that has a trail that you can explore. You will be able to see Mr. Rex, velociraptors, triceratops, stegosauruses, and more, which provide amazing photo opportunities that you will cherish. During the holiday season, the dinos even dress up for visitors to enjoy.

Bearizona Wildlife Park

Bearizona Wildlife Park is a place where you can see animals up close. There is a drive-through section of the park that allows you to drive your vehicle at your own pace as you check out the animals. There are also walking tours that offer a more hands-on experience for visitors to learn about the animals. 

Main Cities You Will Pass Through

Escondido, CA

Located about 15 miles from the ocean, the city of Escondido is a great place to visit while you’re traveling the coast. Escondido is also very RV-friendly, and if you’re bringing a toy hauler with you, it’s a great idea to load it up with things that you can use on the water, like Jet Skis or other watercraft. Escondido also has a Lakes Division that manages places like Dixon Lake and Lake Wohlford. Both are perfect for paddling or boating and grant access to ample fish for the anglers.

There are also plenty of RV parks and campgrounds in the Escondido area. Places like Escondido RV Resort and Champagne Lakes RV Resort are right in town and provide hundreds of sites for your vehicle. In addition to these, there are also several parks outside of town that you can use as well as several local California dump stations to consider for waste tanks.

Temecula, CA

Temecula is a city of 115,000 that’s known for its outdoor adventures. One activity that you might want to try while in town is hot-air ballooning; the city has the perfect wide-open spaces for a sightseeing aerial trip. Temecula also has wineries and golf courses aplenty, so prepare to be busy while in town.

Temecula campgrounds include places like Pechanga RV Resort and Vail Lake Resort. Each has plenty of spaces and the right hookups for your RV. Some of the campgrounds in the area also have pools.

Flagstaff, AZ

Flagstaff is considered to be “Arizona’s destination for all seasons,” and there’s plenty to do in this town of 74,000. In the winter, when the snow is on the ground, events like the 12 Bars of Christmas bar crawl and the Great Pinecone Drop certainly will round out your trip. There’s also a Theatrikos Holiday Show for the family.

Flagstaff-area campgrounds include options like Woody Mountain RV Park and Mormon Lake RV Park. Each has extensive sites that have back-in and pull-through configurations. They also have just about any type of hookup that you’ll need while you are camping.

Find Adventure from San Diego to Grand Canyon National Park

Rent an RV

When you follow this road trip itinerary from San Diego to Grand Canyon National Park, 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 San Diego or Grand Canyon National Park.

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