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California is a great state for RVing and has some of the best RV vacation spots. While most people think of California as a beach state, it is actually one of those rare states that has everything. Major cities, deserts, redwood forests, beaches, mountains, and several major national parks are all here. There is also the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood theme park near Los Angeles.

The diversity available within a day or two's drive for any RVer is hard to match anywhere else in the US. If you are coming from outside the state there are a few general things to note. First, all major routes into the state have agricultural checkpoints you have to pass through. There are specific things they are looking for which you are not allowed to bring into the state with you. See this site for more details.

Also, California has a 55-mph maximum speed limit for any vehicle towing a trailer so traveling within the state may be slower then you, or your GPS, would expect. Finally, California is noted for its terrible traffic. This is true in the major coastal urban areas. If you do need to venture through the congested areas, weekends are best and early mornings on the weekends are better.

California has some incredible hiking routes in USA. Between Lambert Dome in Yosemite or Eagle Lake or Ewoldsen Trail in Big Sur or Kelso Dunes in Mojave National Preserve, you could spend months hiking your way up the coast along Sacramento and Lake Tahoe. You can spend one day up in the mountains, skiing down the snowy slopes and the next enjoying a wine tasting in Napa Valley.

Having an RV not only allows you to get from place to place but after a long day of climbing and hiking, there is nothing better than coming home, kicking your shoes off, taking a hot shower, and relaxing on the couch.

Also note that traveling across the coastal or Sierra Nevada Mountains can be winding in an RV. Choose your routes through those areas carefully. If you don't already own an RV, your biggest cost that you are going to come across is the motorhome or trailer that you decide to rent or buy.

California has so many different spots to see. You can spend your days down south and explore the deserts of Joshua Tree. You can head up north and get lost in the mountains of Yosemite or stop by San Francisco. You can find lava tunnels, 5,000-year old trees, and cacti double the size of you. With a wide variety of landscapes, California is truly paradise for RVers.

In fact, it is almost too hard to narrow down the best spots to RV in the golden state. So why should you consider it for your next big adventure? Are you a free spirit who wants to spend their days on the road but also wants to explore the mountains in California?

The only probable difficulty with choosing California as your next big hiking trip in US is deciding where to go and what to see in Big Sur in California, Palm Springs, Joshua Tree, San Francisco, Sacramento, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe. There are so many options that your head might start to spin just thinking about it.

Well, RVing gives you the chance to visit them all. All you have to do is pack up your gear and hit the road. Maybe it’s always been your life goal to take the PCH all the way up the California coast. This gives you the chance to do so all while still feeling at home. It's like coming home while still being on vacation.

Renting an RV can be surprisingly affordable when you factor in the convenience of having a home on wheels. Traveling by RV is much cheaper than a hotel or other accommodations in California. Plus, you have the freedom to get up and go as you please. Here we will look at some popular destinations within California and some RV parks to stay at along the way.

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National Parks in Northern California


Starting in the north is the Redwoods National Park area. Unlike most national parks, this area consists of state and national park land which is spread out over two zones separated by about 50 miles. The Northern District is just outside Crescent City at the junction of US 101 and US 199. US 199 runs from Grants Pass, OR to Crescent City, CA and passes through the heart of this part of the park.

With steep grades and sharp blind turns, RVing this road can be slow and steady but extremely scenic. If you take your time and use the turnouts to allow slower traffic to pass it can be quite a rewarding trip. Access to the area by US 101 is easy. The south district is just south of Klamath, making it a great central spot to camp while visiting both districts.

There are several RV parks there right along US 101. Chinook RV Resort and Klamath Camper Corral are 2 good choices in the area. Before heading there, stock up on essential supplies. There is a convenience store in town for basic necessities but the closest real grocery store is 30 miles away on Crescent city.

In the north central region is Lake Shasta, Mount Shasta and Lassen Volcanic National Park. This is an incredible area to visit with many great activities to do. US 5 is the major route that runs through the area and it makes access an easy drive from the north or south. In the Shasta Lake area consider staying at Mountain Gate RV Park and Cottages.

This highly rated park provides the wilderness feel with great proximity to the Lake Shasta, Redding, CA, Mount Shasta and Lassen Volcanic National Park. Further south, in Red Bluff, the Durango RV resort offers an outstanding place to stay at very reasonable rates. This park has a less rural feel with a huge pool area and fountains you can back up to. It offers a good home base to visit Lassen Volcanic National park or other attractions in the area.

The Bay Area and Wine Country


Next is the East Bay area. North of here is wine country, west is San Francisco, south is the San Joaquin Valley and West is Yosemite National Park. Yosemite National Park ranks among the top of the list of national parks in USA. A visit to California's Yosemite National Park is an experience with nature at its most powerful and stunning best.

Immense falling cascades meet mammoth sequoia trees and wildlife. With its hanging valleys, innumerable waterfalls, circus lakes, polished domes, moraines and U-valleys, Yosemite National Park, located in central California, shows all forms of granite relief molded by glaciations.

In this area stop at Flag City RV Resort just off I-5 at Rt 12. This is an excellent RV resort from which day trips to Yosemite, San Francisco to see the Golden Gate Bridge and Napa Valley or Sonoma Valley can be done.

San Francisco is known for the Golden Gate, Alcatraz Island, Twin Peaks or the trams that run the steep streets of the city. Among things to do on a weekend in San Francisco you can visit some of its most unique neighborhoods such as Chinatown, Japantown, Haight area or Ashbury (cradle of the hippie movement). While visiting the most instagrammable places in San Francisco, everyone finds their place.

If you want to stay local, there are some great wineries in the area (Michael David Winery is wonderful and just a mile east on RT 12), and downtown Lodi is a great small town to visit. South of San Francisco, Half Moon Bay is located.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park is in the south eastern part of the state. To visit the parks in your RV, avoid the south west entrance via RT 198. You will be able to get into the park, but getting to the higher elevations where the redwood groves are requires traveling up a steep curvy grade with significant vehicle size restrictions. The north west entrance via RT 180 is much more RV friendly.

If you want to park your RV outside the park and travel in by car then there are several parks in Three Rivers, CA which are all great choices.

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West Coast & Palm Springs


The Big Sur area is a considered one of the most beautiful coastal areas of California. It is one of the few completely undeveloped areas left between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Fernwood Resort and Riverside Campground and Cabins are both located right off CA 1 in the heart of the area. Both are fantastic campgrounds and make great basecamps for visiting this area.

Joshua Tree National Park is located in the far south portion of the state, bordering I-10 just north of the Palm Springs area. Twenty Nine Palms Resort and Joshua Tree Lake RV & Campground are both great choices to stay near the park's northern entrances. To get the benefits of the Palm Springs area consider setting up camp at Catalina Spa RV Resort and Campground in Desert Hot Springs.

This is one of the few family friendly RV resorts in the area and it provides excellent access to Joshua Tree National Park and everything the Palm Springs area has to offer.

Santa Monica


It is a city located in the state of California, just over 30 minutes from downtown Los Angeles. The coastal town is famous for its dock with its small stores, restaurants and an amusement park, the Pacific Park, famous because it has appeared in many Hollywood films. The city is bathed by the Pacific Ocean.

Do not forget to climb your Ferris wheel, as it is one of the most famous in the world and from the top you will enjoy views of the Pacific Ocean and Los Angeles. If you are a beach lover you have the option of getting close to Muscle Beach, one of the best beaches in Santa Monica.

Going to the Santa Monica pier is an obligation, since it is one of the best known places in the district. Being a pier made of wood, it manages to create a bucolic and romantic atmosphere, ideal to enjoy a pleasant walk during sunset. Best of all, when the night comes, the amusement park begins to turn on its lights, since the view from the dock is priceless.

Another of the star beaches of the city is Venice Beach. This beach is perfect for sunbathing and a good dip, as well as being a beach visited by surf lovers. But the charm of this beach goes much further, its main charm lies in its bohemian artists and street shows.

San Diego


Or maybe you have a family that wants to visit Disneyland during Halloween with toddlers but it is quite the trek over to the Golden State or swim in the Pacific in day trips from San Diego. For vacations from San Diego, Encinitas is not only a city, but a vibes north of downtown San Diego and is known as one of the best places to surf in the world. Highway 101, the main coastal road, is permanently dotted with neoprene suits and boards.

Some of the best places to try out their skills include Cardiff Reef, designated by its famous Kook statue, and Moonlight Beach, which has places for beach bonfires, volleyball nets and playgrounds for children. Burritos (and their variety for breakfast, lunch or dinner) are part of the most popular meal, and all residents have their own opinion on who prepares them best.

Among things to do in San Diego, relax in legendary refuges like the Hotel del Coronado, find art and culture in the city of San Diego and in the surrounding areas, like the luxurious La Jolla. Have fun playing international golf in Torrey Pines, and enjoy the culture and diversity, all on the shores of a resplendent blue ocean. The SeaWorld San Diego Park, Aquatica, San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park and Legoland California has kids activities in San Diego.

There are many more great places in California to visit. This list provides some basic ideas that you can use to plan anything from a weekend getaway to a cross state journey. Regardless, California is a beautiful state to visit with something for everyone that every RVer should get out and experience.

The other major benefit is that you can fully stock your kitchen and pack all your favorite food. From snacks and treats to a full-blown gourmet meal, taking an RV allows you to eat what you want. You can also save money by grabbing groceries before you go instead of having to eat at expensive tourist restaurants and cafes.

California has a little bit of everything. There is something for absolutely everyone. Whether you want to travel with your best friends or you want to hike in Yosemite up mountains with your loved one, taking an RV makes it easy, affordable, and great for every single person, no matter what age.
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Kalyan Panja Kalyan Panja Author

17 comments:

  1. i dream of buying and rv, quitting my job and traveling across the country. what a wonderful experience! and i'm already in CA, so it would be easy to hit these spots :-)

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  2. Great article! Beautiful photos!

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  3. I love driving long hours and get to long distance to get to that beautiful place we're dreaming of. California is definitely a great state to visit and do that driving a leisure to get to more beautiful places.

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  4. I want an rv so bad! I would live in one full time if I could.

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  5. California is a great state for road trips! So many things to do and so beautiful. I've always wanted to drive the full length of the Pacific Coast Highway. Rving looks like a fun journey!

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  6. I have never been to California before, but it is my dream to visit there someday! I don't have a an RV, but I'd love to own one someday to travel more.

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  7. I have never been RVing! It's on my list to do but I want to wait until my kids are older so we can enjoy it more!

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  8. I would love to visit California one day. I've always heard such good things. When I do I will definitely take a road trip in an RV.

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  9. California is such a beautiful, diverse state. I live in Nevada so Indona lot of road trip to CA. Intact, I’m heading there in a few weeks!

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  10. Oh I really wanna go on an RV trip! And to California! So you nailed it with this post ;)

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  11. I enjoyed your beautiful pictures. I have never been to California, it certainly is on my list

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  12. Wow this place looks incredible. There’s so much to do and see there! Looks like a brilliant place to take the whole family

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  13. So many things to love about California! It's really beautiful out there. Truly a bucket list material.

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  14. Sounds cool! I would love to use it too. California is my bucket list for ages but never ended up visiting it

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  15. i've never been to an RV show, a bucket list item for sure. Can't wait.

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  16. I currently attend University in California. It really is a beautiful place to visit!

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  17. Taking an RV along the coast of California is one of my dream vacations. I think CA is absolutely beautiful.

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