If you think that traveling from near the coast of California to deep in the heart of Texas sounds like fun, then you might fancy yourself a road trip from Riverside to Waco. On your journey, you’ll have the chance to explore great state and national parks featuring deserts, lakes, caves, dunes, and more. You’ll also pass through some of the Southwest’s top cities and travel near some excellent points of interest. Building a fabulous road trip itinerary from Riverside to Waco is a piece of cake, thanks to the many pleasures that can be found on and near Interstate 10.
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park takes its name from the distinctive trees that grow within its 1,200 miles of desert terrain. Mountains, tectonic plates, desert vistas, and more give this park a unique appearance. In addition to Joshua Trees, you’ll be able to see traditional yuccas, cacti, and more desert flora in this park that’s only 10 minutes from Chiriaco Summit, California. Mountain biking and climbing are popular here, as are backcountry camping, hiking, bird watching, and stargazing.
Saguaro National Park
Another park that takes its name from the distinctive flora within its boundaries is Saguaro National Park. It’s less than 20 minutes from downtown Tucson, but there are still plenty of places to get lost in the wilderness in this quintessential Old West national park. Multiple park trails take you past cacti, rock formations, mountains, and more. Some overlooks even give you a chance to see Tucson spread out before you, showing you a glimpse of urban life from the desert.
White Sands National Park
Roughly 50 minutes northeast of Las Cruces, New Mexico, is gorgeous White Sands National Park. The stunning gypsum sand dunes are the main attraction here, but there are also plenty of hardy plants and animals that live in this white wonderland. This park is known for the animals that used to live there in bygone ages; maybe you’ll spot a mammoth or dire wolf footprint or two. Before you go, don’t forget to go sledding down these fabulous white dunes.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Guadalupe Mountains National Park is about an hour north of Van Horn, Texas. At its heart is Guadalupe Peak, which is Texas’s highest point at 8,749 feet. A restored ranch, a ranching history museum, and an old stagecoach station also await you here. This rugged park has plenty of different trails of various levels of difficulty, so you won’t have to search too hard for an adventure at this newer national park.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Carlsbad Caverns National Park is only about half an hour up the road from Guadalupe Mountains National Park and an hour and a half from Van Horn, so you should definitely stop by on your road trip from Riverside to Waco. Nearly 120 limestone caves are in the park, so there’s no shortage of underground passages to explore. While the main cavern itself is the main attraction, there are still multiple trails on the surface that take you through part of the Chihuahuan Desert.
Salton Sea State Recreation Area
Before you visit Joshua Tree National Park, you should drive 30 minutes south of Indio, California, to explore Salton Sea State Recreation Area. The Salton Sea covers over 343 square miles, so you’ll have plenty of room to kayak, swim, fish, boat, and more. Bird-watchers love it here, thanks to the more than 400 bird species they can spot here. This park is one of the earth’s lowest points, so it’s a worthy addition to your Riverside to Waco RV road trip.
Tubac Presidio State Historic Park
If you travel 40 minutes south of Tucson, you’ll be able to explore fascinating Tubac Presidio State Historic Park. This park is home to Arizona’s oldest presidio, so you’ll be able to tour the remains of this Spanish fort on your road trip from Riverside to Waco. In addition to historic buildings, you’ll be able to walk around a museum, stroll through some impressive gardens, and go bird-watching. Once you’re through exploring, you can walk on the trail inside the park all the way to nearby Tumacácori National Historical Park.
City of Rocks State Park
Half an hour north of Deming, New Mexico, is City of Rocks State Park. As its name implies, there are plenty of impressive rock formations to see here. Volcanic ash formed these rocks eons ago, and there’s much to see in this square mile of the Chihuahuan Desert. Besides the rocks, the biggest draw is the Star Observatory, which gives visitors a great opportunity to explore the cosmos courtesy of the park’s lovely dark sky.
Franklin Mountains State Park
Franklin Mountains State Park is only 10 minutes east of Canutillo, Texas, so you should definitely add it to your road trip itinerary from Riverside to Waco. It’s technically within the city limits of El Paso, so there’s no shortage of great places to explore once you’re done seeing all the sights in the 40 square miles of this park. A hundred miles of hiking and biking trails open up this desert park full of cacti, yuccas, mule deer, collared lizards, and more.
Colorado Bend State Park
Before you reach the end of your Riverside to Waco RV road trip, you should travel 35 minutes southeast of San Saba, Texas, to Colorado Bend State Park. The Colorado River flows through some of America’s greatest parks, and this one has plenty of beauty within its 5,000 acres. There are, of course, plenty of great places to boat, fish, and swim at Colorado Bend. More than 400 caves are in the park; 35 miles of trails are also available.
Thousand Palms Oasis
Thousand Palms Oasis is only 10 minutes from Thousand Palms, California, so you won’t have to drive far to reach it on your Riverview to Waco RV road trip. This gorgeous oasis is located in the Coachella Valley Preserve. You’ll be able to spend a couple of hours walking on the multiple trails that take you past some lovely desert flora and fauna.
South Mountain Park and Preserve
South Mountain Park and Preserve is only 15 minutes from Downtown Phoenix, so it’s a convenient stop on your road trip from Riverview to Waco. The 16,000 acres of the park contains mountains from the Ma Ha Tauk, Gila, and Guadalupe ranges. Visitors love riding, biking, and hiking on 50 miles of trails in the park.
Old Tombstone Western Theme Park
All you have to do to reach legendary Tombstone, Arizona, is to drive 30 minutes south of Benson. There are multiple great places to go in this historic Old West town, but one of the best is Old Tombstone Western Theme Park. Their gunfight show is one of the top-rated in town; they also have a cantina, a shooting gallery, a mini-golf course, a trolley tour, and even a place to pan for gold.
Chiricahua National Monument
Chiricahua National Monument is roughly 35 minutes southeast of Willcox, Arizona. This park is dubbed the “Wonderland of Rocks” because of its vast collection of hoodoos and other interesting rock formations. You can hike here on 17 miles of trails, but you can also enjoy this beautiful park from the comfort of your camper, courtesy of their 8-mile scenic drive.
Chamizal National Memorial
El Paso is a border town, so visiting the Chamizal National Memorial in order to learn more about this previously contested piece of ground is a logical part of your Riverview to Waco road trip. At this national memorial that's just a stone’s throw from the American--Mexican border, you can tour a museum, take a stroll through the art gallery, and walk along the lovely trails.
Palm Springs, California
While exploring the beautiful oasis of Palm Springs, be sure to check out the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and the Palm Springs Air Museum. Plenty of great RV campgrounds are in the area.
Your route goes right through Tucson, so why not explore this town that’s home to places like the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and the Pima Air and Space Museum? You won’t have to look hard to find excellent dump stations and campgrounds close by.
Las Cruces, New Mexico
El Paso, Texas
In this border town, you should stop by Scenic Drive – Overlook and the El Paso Zoo. Multiple campgrounds are available for your RV.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Riverside to Waco, 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 Riverside or Waco.