Traveling in an RV from the Golden City to Sin City can be a lot of fun, especially if you make a few stops along the way. There are several routes that you can take to reach your destination, but if you take the U-shaped path that gets you there the quickest, you will miss out on exploring some great national parks and forests. Yosemite and Death Valley should also be on your must-see list, so your nine-hour drive can easily become much longer depending on how long you spend at each location.
Yosemite National Park
As you head south on your road trip from San Francisco to Las Vegas, the first national park is Yosemite. You'll have to head about 100 miles from Interstate 5 to get there, but this legendary park is worth the journey. Yosemite is home to Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, and sequoias that are over 1,000 years old. It’s a great place to take a hike, and in the winter, you can enjoy skiing in the park as well. If you want to camp in or near the national park, be sure to reserve your spot several weeks ahead of time.
Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park has some of the tallest trees in the world. As you walk through the park, you will see breathtaking views throughout the 800 miles of trails. There are even horseback riding options and areas that are perfect for skiing or rock climbing at certain times of the year. Early in the morning, the rays from the sun that shine through the treetops are quite ethereal.
Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park is a unique area that is 282 feet below sea level at its lowest point. The area is a harsh landscape that often reaches temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer months. It cools down considerably at night when the clear skies are perfect for stargazing. If you are planning on hiking or exploring this park, make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen.
San Bruno Mountain State Park
Taking a road trip from San Francisco to Las Vegas gives you plenty of opportunities to visit state parks as well. One of the most scenic views to explore along this route is San Bruno Mountain State Park. The summit has an elevation of 1,314 feet, and it provides a breathtaking view of San Francisco looking out over the bay.
Mount Diablo State Park
Another state park that has amazing views of the San Francisco Bay is Mount Diablo State Park. On a clear day, you can see the entire Bay region and the Central Valley. There are several waterfalls in the park to explore, and if you are up for a hike, the summit path is a great option that is not too difficult to climb.
Lake Tahoe State Park
Lake Tahoe State Park is a breathtaking area south of Route 28 in Nevada. It has an area called Sand Harbor, which is known for its sandy beach on the shores of the lake. There are also trails that accommodate hiking or horseback riding as well as plenty of locations to take out a boat and go fishing. During the snowy months, there are winter activities like skiing and sleigh rides that you can take advantage of as well.
Golden Gate Bridge
Before you even leave San Francisco, your road trip itinerary from San Francisco to Las Vegas should allocate some time to check out the Golden Gate Bridge. As an iconic part of the city, the bridge can make for some awesome pictures to send home before your trip even begins. There are plenty of angles to get great pictures of this red-orange suspension bridge, so make sure you get a vantage point that you won’t regret.
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
If you would like to add a bit of adventure to your road trip, then take the time to stop at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo. Get your adrenaline racing by riding some roller coasters. There are also plenty of family rides that you can enjoy if you prefer something a little tamer.
California Automobile Museum
Do you like cars? Well, since you are taking a road trip, this is the perfect time to take a look at some classics. You can learn a little bit about the history of the automobile at this museum in Sacramento. Some of the exhibits have covered road tripping through the years and cars in films.
Goldwell Open Air Museum
Even though it's slightly off the path that you'll be taking for this road trip, the Goldwell Open Air Museum in Nye County, NV, is worth the extra travel time. The museum started as a smaller group of exhibits in 1984. As the years progressed, however, it has been filled with more art and sculptures.
Oakland is the third-largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s a busy port city with plenty to see and do. You can take a picture with the oldest bonsai tree in the U.S., explore the labyrinth at the Sibley Volcanic Preserve, and visit the Oakland Aviation Museum.
Since this is a larger city, you may want to stay at one of the many campgrounds in nearby Berkeley. Some of the most popular local options include the Novato RV Park and Treasure Island RV Park. There are also plenty of dump stations in Oakland and nearby Berkeley, so make sure to use them if you don’t have an empty tank.
Fresno is a major city along your San Francisco to Las Vegas road trip that you will want to stop in. While you are there, check out the Forestiere Underground Gardens and Fresno Chaffee Zoo. If you're willing to head just outside the city, you can explore some California hot springs and the Mammoth Lakes area before you start back on the road. If you want to stay overnight, there are plenty of Fresno campgrounds that you can consider.
The Blackstone North RV Park in Fresno has a rose garden that smells delightful. Located in Kingsburg, the Club Royal Oak RV Resort has water access with boat races to enjoy and more. This campground also has a dump station.
Bakersfield is a city that is only about an hour's drive from Los Angeles. If you want to extend your road trip, you can stay in Bakersfield and also add Los Angeles to your itinerary. The city is actually about halfway between the Los Padres National Forest and the Sequoia National Forest, so if you are planning on exploring nature during your trip, finding a Bakersfield campground will be beneficial.
Rosedale Village RV Park is a relatively quiet place to get a good night’s sleep, but if you are looking for a little more luxury during your travels, Bear Mountain RV Resort is also an option. There is even a dump station at this location so that you can empty your tank before heading out again. There are also plenty of other Bakersfield dump stations available to use if there are no spots available at the resort for you to spend the night.
Exploring San Francisco to Las Vegas by RV is going to be your best option if you would like to make a budget-friendly trip. RVing gives you plenty of space, even if you are traveling with your entire family. Furthermore, it allows you to camp in campgrounds, which will minimize the amount of money that you need to spend for accommodations during your San Francisco to Las Vegas road trip. If you don’t have your own RV or prefer not to take it on long distances to get to the West Coast, then consider renting one. You can always check RVshare’s page to get a rental in San Francisco. For those who want to do this trip in reverse, renting an RV in Las Vegas is always an option.