San Jose, "The Capital of Silicon Valley," is a great place from which to embark on a San Jose to San Diego RV road trip. The city is located near the coast, but there are several interconnecting roads like 280, 580, 680, and 880 that you can use to really explore the state of California and any surrounding areas. From the lush, primeval forests and monstrous trees in Sequoia National Park to the barren, arid wasteland of Death Valley National Park, there is something for everyone on a San Jose of San Diego road trip. Explore national and state parks, vineyards, quaint markets, and luxurious shopping and spas all on the same trip.
Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park is a national park that you’ll be seeing plenty of as you travel along this route. This is because this park, which is home to the namesake sequoias, covers 631 square miles. The route you will be taking on your road trip from San Jose to San Diego will see you driving along its westernmost border. This national park’s eastern border is also the home of Mount Whitney. While the road trip route follows along the side of the park, you would be remiss if you didn't delve into the park's interior and take in the wonders of Sequoia, like General Sherman, which is the biggest tree in the world.
Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park, which isn’t very far from the sequoias, ironically, is a beautiful area with more than 800 miles of hiking and biking trails. One of the most fascinating features of this park is how it’s also home to the lowest point in the contiguous United States. The Badwater Basin is less than 80 miles from the highest point in the U.S. at Mount Whitney. There are lots of things to do when you come here, including skiing, trail hiking, and rock climbing. There are also amazing stargazing opportunities at night as Death Valley is recognized as a dark sky park by the International Dark-Sky Association.
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is another large national park to visit along your way. This park covers over 1,200 miles and his home to some truly unique wildlife and vegetation. If you like to climb, Joshua has plenty of places to engage in the sport, and you can have a nice family picnic at the Hidden Valley Picnic Area.
Mount Diablo State Park
Mount Diablo State Park is the first location you will be hitting along the road trip itinerary from San Jose to San Diego. This spot is actually somewhat north of your starting location, but it’s well worth a visit. Despite the foreboding name, Mount Diablo is a great park to visit for families, and from this area of the state, you can usually see the entire Bay Area. The park is also home to the Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve.
Henry W. Coe State Park
Henry W. Coe State Park has 87,000 acres of land to explore, so be prepared to spend some extra time here. This is an excellent place to observe nature since it is home to thousands of animals and plants. There’s also a state campground here with full hookups for those families who may want to stay a few days.
Mount San Jacinto State Park
Towards the latter half of your trip, you will encounter scenic Mount Jacinto State Park. This park has a history going back to the 1890s and is famous for its granite peaks and beautiful woodlands. You can expect temperatures to remain relatively comfortable all year, and the park is home to some beautiful, starry skies.
Anza-Borrego State Park
The final state park stop along the way on your road trip from San Jose to San Diego is Anza-Borrego. Like Death Valley National Park, Anza-Borrego features an expansive desert that spans an area that is 585,930 acres. There’s soft sand everywhere, and make sure to bring lots of sunscreen and clothing to protect you from the desert sun. There are also some beautiful desert sculptures to check out if you’re inclined.
The Bear Valley Country Market
Located in Bear Valley Springs in Tehachapi, California, the Bear Valley Country Market is a great go-to place for those who love the experience of a farmers' market. You will find fresh fruit, baked goods, and plenty of souvenirs here. Are you looking for a pleasant sit-down experience? The Bear Valley Market Grill also serves delicious, made-to-order meals for you and your family.
Named for one of the integral dinosaur ages, the Triassic Vineyards has hundreds of wines that will please even the most discerning palate. This vineyard has some of the most scenic views available in this area of California, and there’s even parking for RVs. For those who want to experience some of the majesties of modern locomotion, Triassic Vineyards is also a location that provides extensive views of some of the local train routes.
La Jolla Cove
How could you make a San Jose to San Diego road trip without hitting up at least one of the famous beaches along the way? La Jolla is located in La Jolla, San Diego, and is known for being surrounded by scenic cliffs. Enjoy things like snorkeling, scuba diving, and kayaking on the picturesque cove. Do you love to fish? Then, get your gear ready and try to catch some of the orange garibaldi, giant sea bass, opaleyes, or barracuda that call the area home.
While you’re on your way to San Diego, you should give the beautiful city of Fresno a visit since it’s the nearest to Sequoia National Park. You will find things like the Forestiere Underground Gardens, a very non-typical tourist attraction in town. There, you will experience a veritable maze of underground passageways that feature vegetation and art. The grottos there are truly breathtaking. Additionally, places like the Fresno Chaffee Zoo will provide your entire family with hours of fun and learning.
While in the city, you also won’t have a hard time finding accommodations for your family and your RV. There are several hospitable Fresno campgrounds that have plenty of amenities specifically designed for RVers.
As the name suggests, Palm Springs is a city in California that’s famous for its hot springs and spas. In addition to this, the city is home to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which features the world’s largest rotating tramcars. This attraction is popular because the tramway provides visitors with some of this area’s best views, especially of the stunning desert sunsets.
As an RVer, you’ll want to find a place to bed down for the night, and there are multiple options for Palm Springs campgrounds. For example, Palm Springs Oasis RV Resort has pools and hot tubs and is pet-friendly. Additionally, most of the RV parks and campgrounds have dump stations that you can use when needed.
Located close to both Los Angeles and San Diego, Bakersfield, CA, is a bustling city that you can visit that’s not too far off track. In fact, Bakersfield isn’t very far from Sequoia National Forest or Death Valley, so this is a great city to consider while you’re visiting. Bakersfield has museums like the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History and the iconic Fox Theater that are worth visiting. If you’re into viewing wildlife, check out the Peacocks at Hart Park for a truly memorable experience.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from San Jose 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 San Jose or San Diego.