3 Epic Road Trips You Must Take in California

by Crissandra Ayroso
couple in car on a road trip

Journey through California’s sun-drenched highways, a gold-tinted kaleidoscope of natural wonders, infinite roadside coastal vistas, and iconic landmarks. From southern California’s iconic piers and boardwalks, legendary Disney theme parks, idyllic beaches, and Hollywood glamour, to northern California’s wine regions, national parks, deserts, and volcanoes, let the free spirit of the open road lead you through this cinematic California vacation.

So cue up your mix tape, buckle up your seatbelts, take some last-minute turns and get excited for the unpredictability of a good road trip. Here are our top three epic California lovin’ road trips:

1. Redwoods, the Great Outdoors, and Wine Country

Napa Valley California

Humboldt Country, known for its impressive 800 km stretch of California redwoods, are home to some of the largest and tallest standing in the world. Camp out under a blanket of stars and wander alongside trees that are over 1,000 years old.

Witness some of the world’s tallest waterfalls that cascade from the cliffs of Yosemite National Park, trail through the geothermal site surrounding Lassen Volcanic National Park’s signature volcano, and see how majestic the rugged mountain peaks that surround the jewel-toned blue Lake Tahoe are in person.

Take the time to explore Mendocino and Sonoma counties and indulge in fresh farm-to-table gourmet dining and local wines.

2. Beach Towns, Theme Parks, and L.A.

Santa Monica Beach California

Take in southern California’s scenic vistas along the Pacific Coast Highway.

See Santa Barbara, a charming coastal town affectionately known as the American Riviera for its mild Mediterranean climate and Spanish colonial architecture, watch San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter illuminate at dusk, and marvel in the grandeur of Hearst Castle whose history dates back to 1865.

Finding heaven on earth, or at least in California, would mean not having to look very far. Hang ten on Huntington Beach, aka Surf City USA, sunbathe and people watch on Laguna Beach, stroll down some of southern California’s most iconic boardwalks in Santa Monica and Venice Beach, and step into someone else’s shoes at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in the effervescent grungy glamour of Tinseltown – or into a new pair of your own on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

The thrills are endless in California, especially in the Happiest Place on Earth. Have a California Adventure, make an entrance at the Magic Kingdom, pose for a photo with the one and only Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and experience the imagination and ingenuity of Legoland, where everything is awesome.

3. Deserts and (Palm) Springs

Joshua Tree California

The legendary Route 66, also known as the Main Street of America, will lead you to the dramatic desert wilderness of Mojave National Park, the wild and romantic desert plains of Joshua Tree National Park, and the life-size sandstone canyons and dunes of Death Valley National Park, the hottest and driest place in the U.S.

The mountain town of Mammoth Lakes is surrounded by some of the highest peaks in the west, an adventureland for outdoor lovers, on the slopes, or in the hot springs. Discover Palm Springs’ sun-drenched desert oasis and the essence of its old Hollywood glamour.