Traveling between the cities of Los Angeles and Las Vegas in an RV will bring you plenty of opportunities to really get to know the West Coast. The trip is only about 271 miles, but there’s a lot to do along the way. For example, you and your family can hit up the Mojave Desert, which is filled with beautiful vistas that you can see much closer on nature hikes. An RV will grant you a high level of freedom as you make your way from destination to destination. As you travel toward Vegas, consider making some stops. Grab some beef jerky at Alien Fresh Jerky in Baker, California, or go off the beaten path and take a trek through the Mojave National Preserve.
If you are looking to experience some American splendor, then you’ll be pleased to know that there are several national parks you can include in your road trip itinerary for Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Here are a few to consider.
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is probably the most convenient national park to travel to when you’re making a Los Angeles to Las Vegas road trip. This is because the park is only about 131 miles from LA and only about 187 miles from Las Vegas. It’s also virtually along the way, so you won’t have to make a complete detour when traveling. With beautiful rock formations, wildlife, and vegetation throughout, this park’s 1,200 square miles are fun to explore. This is also a climber’s dream; Joshua Tree has elevations well over 5,000 feet.
Death Valley National Park
Despite the ominous name, Death Valley National Park is a great family-friendly park to consider. It has a varied landscape featuring deserts, fields of wildflowers during the spring, and rocky vistas. It’s even the home to the lowest point in the United States, which is 282 feet below sea level. Still, remember to stay hydrated; Death Valley has a famously dry climate and gets less than 2 inches of rainfall per year.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is certainly out of the way for those looking for a direct trip, so if you want to go, understand that there’s going to be some extra driving. Still, its sprawling natural vistas will reward anyone who wants to take a detour. Yosemite is packed with beautiful forestland, and this is also the home of some truly statuesque ancient sequoias. Some of these trees have been in the area for millennia. For those looking for a park to visit year-round, this is an option in the winter as well as the summer.
Gaviota State Park
At 2,800 acres, Gaviota State Park in California is simply massive. There’s plenty of room to explore nature's wonders here, and there are several environments to experience. In the winters, temperatures are relatively mild, and the summers are relatively cool. There are even a few RV campgrounds in the area, including Rancho Oso and Ocean Mesa RV.
El Capitan Beach
El Capitan Beach may sound similar to the El Capitan rock formation in Yosemite, but this state beach near Santa Barbara is actually 200 miles away from the famous natural formation in the national park. This beach is known for its plentiful tide pools and numerous campgrounds. In the fall, this is a major site to see the monarch butterflies as they migrate.
Valley of Fire State Park
Valley of Fire State Park is the oldest state park in Nevada, having been established in 1935. This park is very RV-friendly, meaning that it's a good location to consider when creating plans for a road trip itinerary from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. It’s only about 49 miles from Las Vegas, and the park covers 46,000 acres in total. If you love crawling over rough terrain to access some truly majestic views, consider checking out this picturesque state park with its multicolored rock formations
Historic Route 66
A historic roadway, Route 66 used to be one of the busiest highways on the western side of the country. Also known as the Will Rogers Highway, this route is still able to be driven and explored in certain places. While much of the highway extends to far-off Chicago, there’s more than enough of the route in Southern California to really get a feel for how highway travel used to be. There are diners, souvenir shops, and museums all along this stretch of road.
Seven Magic Mountains
While describing these as actual mountains is a bit of a stretch, the Seven Magic Mountains are nevertheless worth experiencing. These artificial rock formations are painted and stacked rocks that appear to be delicately balanced. The art installation was crafted by artist Ugo Rondinone, and it is located about 10 miles south of Las Vegas off Interstate 15.
The Desperado Roller Coaster
This wicked roller coaster is located in Primm, Nevada. This part of Nevada was originally called State Line and is only 44 miles away from Las Vegas. Desperado, which is classified as a steel hypercoaster, was built in 1994 and is more than 200 feet at its apex and drops riders 225 feet. At its top speed, the coaster winds along the track at 80 mph, and while riding it, you’ll experience 4 Gs of pressure. At one point, this was even recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the tallest coaster in the world.
Is it a bit warm out? Well, you can find out the exact temperature when you visit Baker, California, because it’s home to the World’s Tallest Thermometer. In reality, the thermometer is a full 134 feet high. Baker is also home to an annual race called the “The Challenge Cup Relay: Baker to Vegas,” which is a relay race that’s fun to watch when you’re in town. Do you have a toy hauler? Well, be ready to bring your ATV to the Dumont Dunes, which are very friendly to this type of vehicle.
If you don’t mind the detour to Boulder City, Nevada, which is about 109 miles away from Baker, you’ll find the Boulder Beach Campground. Boulder Beach has a dump station for RVs and grants easy access to the namesake beach, which is truly beautiful year-round. Campsites here have fire rings and full hookups. It’s also only about a half-hour drive to Las Vegas.
Located on the Kern River, Bakersfield is a city that you’ll be passing as you travel along on your Los Angeles to Las Vegas RV road trip. It’s home to the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History, and it also has expansive areas where you can witness the diverse local wildlife. Bakersfield is known as the Country Music Capital of the West Coast, so if you’re a big fan of famous Bakersfield natives Merle Haggard or Buck Owens, this is the place to go.
Bakersfield is also home to the Bakersfield River Run RV Park, which is an RV park that also features a dump station that is free for guests. For those not staying, it’s only $10 per use. The dump station is easy to access and is located near the front of the park.
Situated about 26 miles from Los Angeles, Anaheim is a beautiful side trip for those looking to really explore the area in their favorite RV. While in Anaheim, check out a game as the Los Angeles Angels baseball team plays here. Anaheim is also the home of Disneyland, so this is a great place to visit with family, especially if you have little ones.
Anaheim is also a city that is very RV-friendly. Check out Anaheim RV Park. It has a dump station and is centrally located for those passing through the city on their way to Las Vegas. They have both back-in and pull-through sites and can accommodate a wide variety of RV models.
When you’re ready to make your road trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, it helps to have a plan. There are multiple routes to take and more than a few excellent locations to visit along the way. If you’re not a dedicated RVer, it’s still easy to rent an RV on RVshare. You’ll find everything from small trailers to massive motorhomes so that you can make your Los Angeles to Las Vegas road trip very comfortable and fun.