When you take a road trip from Tucson to Long Beach, you'll start in Arizona's Sonoran Desert and drive through Southern California's Colorado Desert and Mojave Desert. You'll travel through stunning mountain ranges in both Arizona and California before reaching the beautiful West Coast in Long Beach. Along the way, you'll have the chance to experience the unusual desert geology and wildlife that will make the trip unforgettable.
Saguaro National Park
At the very beginning of your Tucson to Long Beach road trip, be sure to stop by Saguaro National Park for a hike or a scenic drive. Although this national park is smaller than Arizona's other two national parks, it's made up of more than 90,000 acres. The park is named for the giant saguaro cactus, an iconic symbol of the American Southwest and a species of cactus that is only found in the Sonoran Desert areas of North America.
Joshua Tree National Park
In Southern California, Joshua Tree National Park comprises approximately 800,000 acres at the junction of the Colorado Desert and the Mojave Desert. The park is home to dozens of species of mammals and reptiles, along with several hundred species of plants. Every year, Joshua Tree National Park hosts over 2 million visitors, and the park is popular for hiking, camping, climbing, and more.
Channel Islands National Park
While it's not exactly on the driving route for your Tucson to Long Beach RV road trip, you may want to plan time to visit Channel Islands National Park. As its name indicates, this unique national park is made up of islands off the coast of California. Accessible primarily by boat, these islands are known for their undeveloped wilderness areas. The Channel Islands Beach is a two-hour drive north of Long Beach. From there, you'll have to take a boat to the Channel Islands.
Catalina State Park
Just a half-hour north of Tucson, Catalina State Park is a beautiful high desert destination for camping, hiking, bicycling, camping, and bird-watching. This would be a great early stop on your Tucson to Long Beach road trip.
Buckskin Mountain State Park
When you visit the Colorado River on the California-Arizona border, you'll find that the area is home to a number of state parks, including Buckskin Mountain State Park. This park is popular for its mountainous scenery, its watersports, and its camping options.
Salton Sea State Recreation Area
The Salton Sea is an inland lake in Southern California that is loved for its beaches and boating options. Salton Sea State Recreation Area runs along 14 miles of Salton Sea's shore and offers opportunities for hiking, camping, biking, kayaking, and more.
Mount San Jacinto State Park
In Southern California, Mount San Jacinto State Park is a great place for hiking, camping, horseback riding, and even skiing. The park is located in the San Jacinto mountain range, with its highest peak more than 10,000 feet above sea level.
Chino Hills State Park
Located about 50 miles before you get to Long Beach, Chino Hills State Park offers a variety of campsites. The park is full of hiking trails that are also popular for biking and horseback riding.
Kofa National Wildlife Refuge
In southern Arizona, Kofa National Wildlife Refuge is home to a wide variety of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. Of course, popular activities center around wildlife watching. However, you might be surprised to know that Kofa has opportunities for regulated hunting of specific species as long as you have the proper permits.
On your road trip from Tucson to Long Beach, you'll cross the Colorado River, which forms most of the California-Arizona border. If you enjoy watersports such as tubing and kayaking, you'll find a variety of great options as you visit the Colorado River area. In addition to state parks and regional parks for camping and recreation along the river, there are many interesting wildlife preserve areas.
Living Desert Zoo & Gardens
In the Palm Desert area, the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens is a popular destination for visitors. The non-profit zoo hosts half a million visitors every year and is home to 500 animals from 150 different species. The zoo is open to visitors year-round, but if it's summertime, you'll want to be sure to visit in the cooler morning hours.
Coachella Valley Preserve
Located near your travel route in Southern California, this 20,000-acre preserve is home to sand dunes, oases, and rare wildlife. Creatures such as the endangered Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard and other unusual desert animals are protected in this sanctuary. Thousand Palms Oasis is a part of the preserve system and protects rare fish species such as the desert pupfish. Although the area is designated primarily for the protection of endangered species, there is a corridor for hiking and horseback riding through portions of the preserve.
San Bernardino National Forest
This national forest is located in one of California's beautiful mountainous areas. With elevations up to 11,499 feet, San Bernardino National Forest contains seven wilderness areas that are part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Not surprisingly, this forest is a popular place for backpacking and hiking. There are many locations designated for camping; some include basic amenities, and some are designed for wilderness-style camping.
As you get started on your Tucson to Long Beach road trip itinerary, Phoenix will be the first big city you encounter. A wealth of tourist attractions and natural beauty can be found in Phoenix. The Phoenix area is home to the Desert Botanical Garden, the Phoenix Zoo, many well-known museums, and hundreds of golf courses.
Palm Desert, California
When you travel near Palm Desert, you'll find some great things to enjoy, both indoors and out. Be sure to visit the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens, the Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, and the El Paseo Shopping District.
Palm Springs, California
The Palm Springs area is home to many well-loved hiking trails and over 100 golf courses. The area is also home to art galleries, museums, and performing arts venues.
Palm Springs is just outside the Joshua Tree National Park area, which means that you'll have no trouble finding a campground to visit. Be sure to check the specifics on each campsite's information page to see what RV hookups and facilities each one offers. If you need a dump station, this is also a good spot to clean up your tanks.
When you visit Riverside, you can find out about the area's rich history and agriculture at the California Citrus State Historic Park. The UC Riverside Botanic Gardens is another spot to see acres of beauty outdoors. Other popular visitor spots are March Field Air Museum and Riverside Art Museum. For fun and adventure, visit tourist attractions like Castle Park or Fiesta Village Family Fun Park.
For your RV needs, be sure to check out our list of RV dump stations in the Riverside-Anaheim area. Some of these locations are in campgrounds and RV parks, and some are located at rest areas and gas stations.
The Anaheim area is home to some of California's most well-known theme parks and attractions, including Disneyland Resort and Knott's Berry Farm. Other popular places to visit in and near Anaheim are Oak Canyon Nature Park, Medieval Times, and Adventure City.
RV facilities and campgrounds are conveniently located near Anaheim. We have a list of recommended campgrounds in the Anaheim area. It's also easy to find additional dump stations nearby since many travel plazas and other locations have RV dump facilities.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Tucson to Long Beach, 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 Tucson or Long Beach.