If you want to spend a day’s worth of driving seeing some of the best that the Midwest and the Southwest have to offer, then you should consider taking a Springfield to San Diego road trip. Some of the country’s greatest desert national parks will be on proud display; you’ll also be able to explore some excellent state parks. You’ll also get to put some interesting tourist attractions and big cities on your road trip itinerary from Springfield to San Diego.
White Sands National Park
White Sands National Park is roughly three hours south of Moriarty, New Mexico. The park is named for the dazzling gypsum dune field that makes this park worth the drive. Visitors enjoy exploring the dunes on bike and horseback, but one of the park’s most interesting pastimes is dune-sledding. How could you pass up the opportunity to slide down these pristine white dunes on your road trip from Springfield to San Diego?
Petrified Forest National Park
Half an hour from Chambers, Arizona, and right off your route is Petrified Forest National Park. This portion of Interstate 40 is also Route 66, so driving on this road can take you back in time to a bygone era in more ways than one. You might see a rusted-out car or two; you’ll definitely see plenty of the petrified trees that give the park its name. If you keep your eyes peeled, you may also spot some petroglyphs left behind by the Native Americans who once inhabited the area.
Grand Canyon National Park
Instead of heading southwest toward Phoenix on your route, drive northwest to Grand Canyon National Park. Few of the millions who visit here every year would deny that this is one of America’s greatest, most iconic national parks because of the grandeur of this gorge and its river. Whether you want to take a short, easy walk to the canyon’s edge or an adventurous, strenuous hike into the canyon itself, you’ll be able to see amazing sights at Grand Canyon National Park.
Saguaro National Park
Head an hour and a half southeast of Phoenix to Tucson to visit Saguaro National Park before you make that final western turn toward the end of your Springfield to San Diego RV road trip. If you want to see the quintessential flora, fauna, and landscapes of the American West, then Saguaro National Park is the place to go. You can explore the park on foot or in your vehicle; if you stick around for sunset, you’ll be treated to an unforgettable show by Mother Nature.
Joshua Tree National Park
An hour and 47 minutes north of El Centro, California, you’ll find Joshua Tree National Park. This park is known for its odd-looking Joshua trees, but it’s also a great place to see some California-style desert scenery thanks to its position at the joining of the Mojave and Colorado deserts. Hiking, biking, backcountry camping, rock climbing, stargazing, and more are popular here.
Roman Nose State Park
Roman Nose State Park is about 40 minutes north of Calumet, Oklahoma. This popular state park takes its name from a Native American chief and is known for its beauty and the variety of activities available within. Watonga Lake provides a great place to swim, fish, and boat. A gorgeous canyon, gypsum rock cliffs, and more are perfect places to hike, bike, and camp. This park even has its own golf course, so you can hit the links for a round or two.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park
While "25 miles south of Amarillo, Texas," might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of gorgeous red rock canyons, Palo Duro Canyon State Park is, nevertheless, at such a location. Palo Duro Canyon is America’s second-largest canyon, so it’s a great place to go to whet your appetite for the Grand Canyon. Hiking, horseback riding, biking, and stargazing are favored activities here.
Santa Rosa Lake State Park
In order to reach Santa Rosa Lake State Park, all you have to do is drive 10 minutes north of Santa Rosa, New Mexico. The large and lovely lake here is fed by the Pecos River; it’s ideal for fishing, swimming, water skiing, and more. While the lake is the biggest attraction, there are also some paved paths that give you great views of the lake and surrounding countryside.
Lost Dutchman State Park
Lost Dutchman State Park is about half an hour from Mesa, Arizona, which is a suburb of Phoenix. While the park doesn’t contain the legendary lost gold mine for which it’s named, it does hold a bevy of beautiful desert flora and fauna. Mountain biking is popular here, so if you’re looking for a place with great biking trails, then Lost Dutchman is a must-add to your road trip itinerary from Springfield to San Diego. Hiking trails are also available here; maybe you’ll see some bobcats, coyotes, jackrabbits, or other wildlife while you’re walking around this fascinating park.
Cuyamaca Rancho State Park
Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is only 10 minutes from Los Terrenitos, California, so adding it to your road trip from Springfield to San Diego makes sense. You’ll never suspect that you’re less than an hour from San Diego as you explore this 24,700-acre park in the Cuyamaca and Laguna mountains. There are 100 miles of multipurpose trails in the park that are ideal for hiking, horseback riding, and biking. Bird-watching and wildlife viewing are popular here thanks to the large number of species that call this park home.
Philbrook Museum of Art
Eight minutes from downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma, is the Philbrook Museum of Art. The gorgeous museum and gardens are works of art themselves, but you can also view art from all around the world featured in collections like American, Asian, Antiquities, European, and Native American. If you’re lucky, you may spot one or even both garden cats that roam the stunning Philbrook Gardens.
Oklahoma City Zoo
About a quarter of an hour from downtown Oklahoma City, you’ll find the Oklahoma City Zoo. Exhibits like Great EscApe, Lion Overlook, Cat Forest, and Oklahoma Trails Adventure await. You can also ride a camel, feed flamingos, giraffes, and rhinos, and take a turn on the Endangered Species Carousel.
Petroglyph National Monument
Petroglyph National Monument is 15 minutes outside of Albuquerque, NM, so you should definitely add it to your road trip itinerary from Springfield to San Diego. This is one of North America’s largest petroglyph sites; it features carvings and artwork done by both Native Americans and early Spanish settlers. Four trails take you through the park past volcanoes, petroglyphs, and more.
The Arizona Boardwalk is located about 10 minutes north of Scottsdale, Arizona, just outside of Phoenix. This fun attraction features OdySea Aquarium, Butterfly Wonderland, Pangaea: Land of the Dinosaurs, and Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition. If you want to have a bit more fun, you can also check out the Laser + Mirror Maze, VR Xtreme, and Polar Play Ice Bar.
Yuma Territorial Prison
You’ll find the Yuma Territorial Prison eight minutes from downtown Yuma. This prison is a popular place to visit in Yuma because of its rich history, extensive grounds, and, of course, the ability to tour the prison itself. You can also stop by the gift shop for some souvenirs of your visit to this unique attraction.
Oklahoma City, OK
When you’re exploring Oklahoma City, be sure to stop by locations like the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Plenty of nearby dump stations and campgrounds are available for your use.
Once you’ve checked out places like the Jack Sisemore Traveland RV Museum and the Amarillo Botanical Gardens, you can take advantage of multiple campgrounds that are close by. Other places to visit include Cowgirls and Cowboys in the West and Cadillac Ranch.
Whether you’re viewing Albuquerque from the heights of the Sandia Peak Tramway or visiting places like the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center on foot, plenty of adventure awaits you in this great New Mexico city. You won’t have problems finding quality dump stations and campgrounds close by.
Fun attractions such as the Musical Instrument Museum and Desert Botanical Garden await you in sunny Phoenix. There are many great dump stations and campgrounds for you to use while you’re exploring the capital of Arizona.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Springfield to San Diego, 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 Springfield or San Diego.