Your San Diego to Hemet road trip is a fairly short journey, but it takes you through beautiful and scenic areas of Southern California that are found between San Diego and Los Angeles. The Pacific Ocean, deserts, mountain ranges, resorts and wine country all beckon your attention on the drive. You'll also come across some notable stopping points that warrant a visit as you make your way northeast.
Even though your San Diego to Hemet RV road trip is a short one, you're in close proximity to two large national parks in this area of Southern California. These two parks are starkly different in that one contains two deserts and the other is a marine preserve.
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is a large national park in Southern California that's named for the Joshua tree, a plant in the yucca subspecies of agave trees. The park is home to bighorn sheep, coyotes, jack rabbits and kangaroo rats, and the Pacific migratory bird flyway runs through the park. Inside the preserve, you can access multiple trails for biking, hiking, horseback riding and rappelling. This park contains portions of both the Sonoran and Mojave deserts, which have distinct features from each other. The Sonoran is a "low desert" that's hot and arid with patches of creosote bushes, flowering ocotillo and cholla cactus. The Mojave is a "high desert" that's more humid and has more vegetation.
Channel Islands National Park
The Channel Islands are a remarkable habitat of wildlife and plants. Channel Islands National Park is comprised of two unique areas and is home to more than 2,000 animal and plant species, of which 145 species are solely found on these islands. From the most minute plankton to the blue whale, the Channel Islands have an amazing amount of wildlife. Channel Islands National Park is located close to the California coast of Santa Barbara and contains five of the eight Channel Islands: Santa Rosa, Anacapa, San Miguel, Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara. Each island has its own types of available activities, such as hiking trails, kayaking and scuba-diving opportunities and historical structures. The islands are isolated and can only be reached by boat or airplane, and there are no goods or services on the islands; there are only primitive campsites with pit toilets. Visitors have to pack in their own supplies, including water. The Channel Islands are well-worth the effort to get there, and you'll be able to see and experience the beauty of this park without the crowds or the noise of other national parks.
You can take your pick of state parks in Southern California to meet your wishes to be next to either the ocean, the mountains, the deserts or a lake.
Silver Strand State Beach
Silver Strand State Beach is a large park with extensive beaches along the coasts of the Pacific Ocean and San Diego Bay. You can camp, surf, swim, boat and waterski at the park, and avid fishermen will be able to fish for perch, grunion, croaker, corbin and other coastal fish. There are four parking lots with plenty of room, and you can access the bay side via one of three pedestrian tunnels that run under the highway from the parking lots. The bays feature warm and calm waters that are ideal for swimming and sailing. There are also plenty of restrooms. If you visit the oceanside beaches, you'll often find cockle shells, moon snail shells and even sand dollars in the sand.
Palomar Mountain State Park
Palomar Mountain State Park is located midway along your path to the east in the Peninsular Ranges of San Diego County and is just above the Cleveland National Forest. It's high on top of the western side of Palomar Mountain and contains both forests of pine, fir and cedar trees and also mountain meadows. The elevation inside the park averages 5,000 feet above sea level, which provides for cool evenings in all seasons. There are a number of scenic vista spots that offer panoramic sights of the ocean and the inland areas. You can enjoy a particularly fine view of Boucher Hill Summit, which is listed in the Sierra Club's "Hundred Peaks Section."
Mount San Jacinto State Park
Mount San Jacinto State Park is close to Palm Springs and contains Mount San Jacinto, which is a granite summit that reaches 10,834 feet above sea level. A large portion of the park is within the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. The park is accessible via the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and contains part of the Pacific Crest Trail, which spans 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada and runs through three western states. The park is known for its towering granite peaks, fern-covered mountain meadows and subalpine forests and is only a few hours from both San Diego and Los Angeles. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway takes passengers from Valley Station in Chino Canyon to Mountain Station, climbing 2.643 feet to the destination elevation of 8,516 feet. At the Mountain Station, visitors can buy refreshments and souvenirs. The Long Valley Ranger Station is just a short walk from Mountain Station and has a picnic area with grills, restrooms, a nature trail and a ski center. You can access the area's hiking trails from Long Valley.
San Diego Zoo
The San Diego Zoo is consistently rated as one of the best zoos in the U.S. and is also one of the most-visited ones. It has more than 3,500 animals that represent over 800 species. The zoo was one of the first to incorporate open-air and cage-free exhibits that strove to emulate natural conditions as much as possible in a confined setting. They have famously bred the giant panda successfully in a partnership with China, and now, the pandas have been repatriated to China. Recently, the zoo added a new Australian Outback and Africa Rocks exhibit.
The city of Palm Springs is a popular place to visit and has a variety of things to do and see during your road trip from San Diego to Hemet. It's known for the local hot springs and its premier hotels, golf courses and spas. The city also possesses many buildings of architectural note. Palm Canyon Drive is the place to go if you love to shop, and you can find all types of vintage boutiques and interior design shops.
The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles is a famous icon of the city and a vastly popular attraction. It's located on the southern slope of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park and is 1,134 feet above sea level. The observatory welcomes 1.5 million visitors per year and is one of the most-visited public observatories in the world. The land for the observatory was donated by Griffith J. Griffith after his death in 1919. He dictated that the land and resulting buildings be used for a free observatory for public use. The Griffith Observatory was opened in 1935 and was one of three planetariums in the U.S. at that time. Currently, the observatory hosts a free public telescope viewing each night if the skies are clear and the site is open. The observatory was renovated in 2006 and now has an enhanced planetarium and new exhibits that complement the original Zeiss telescope, coelostat (solar) telescope and the outside portable telescopes.
If you have time on your San Diego to Hemet road trip itinerary, you may want to stop and visit some of the interesting cities and towns you'll pass through.
The city of Escondido is located in San Diego county and is 30 miles northeast of San Diego and only 15 miles from the Pacific Ocean. The city was founded in 1888 and is one of the oldest in the area. The city is known for its beautiful scenery, lakes, parks, fine arts and shopping and dining experiences. The Admiral Baker RV Campground is a military campground that's open to non-military visitors, and it has many comfortable amenities and features. If you need a dump station, you can find many in this area.
Temecula is a fairly large city that's located midway between San Diego and Hemet. It's considered "wine country" and is a tourist destination thanks to sites like the Valley Wine Country, Old Town Temecula and several golf courses and resorts. Popular events include Temecula Valley International Film Festival and the Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival. Visitors to Temecula can wine, dine and shop local and hand-crafted products. This area is home to almost 50 wineries, and there are several farmer's markets to sample. The city itself is attractive and offers nice views of the surrounding hills. Champagne Lakes RV Resort is a small and shady RV park and is near Palomar Mountain. There are many convenient dump stations and other campgrounds nearby.
Menifee is a small city that's located just before you get to Hemet. It's a recently incorporated town, but it has been a community for many years. You'll find many conveniences here, such as restaurants, parks, services and medical centers. Campground Resorts of America is located on Lake Perris and features lots of water fun, and it also offers RV storage. If you need a dump station, then you have your choice of several available sites.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from San Diego to Hemet, 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 San Diego or Hemet.