See the natural wonders of California on this epic road trip!
Do you ever just want to drive along an open road? Feel the wind in your hair as you pass by natural scenery that stretches on and on? Maybe while listening to a curated playlist of your favorite jams with the people you love the most? If this has you daydreaming, then a road trip from Las Vegas to Los Angeles is just what you need.
From sprawling deserts that will transport you to ‘Old West’ movies, to majestic mountains and coastal gems that never fail to wow visitors from all over the world, there’s no shortage of things to see from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. Now that the United States is open to tourists, it’s high time for an American holiday! We list down all the iconic sights you can discover in your journey, plus the best car rental deals, the nearest hotels, and the most budget-friendly Las Vegas and Los Angeles attractions in this handy guide. Happy reading!
Las Vegas to Los Angeles Itinerary
Driving time: 13-14 hours in total
Distance: More or less 670 miles
Duration: 5 days
Route: Sample Google Maps guide
What to bring: Sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, hiking boots/shoes, snacks, water, and comfortable clothing.
No. of Stop
Red Rock Canyon
16.3 miles from Las Vegas via US-95N and NV-159
123 miles from Red Rock Canyon via NV-160 and CA-190 W
Mojave National Preserve
121 miles from Death Valley to Mojave National Preserve via Cow Creek Rd and CA-127 S
138 miles from Mojave National Preserve to Joshua Tree via N Amboy Road and El Reposo Cir
33.7 miles from Joshua Tree to Palm Springs via CA-62 W and N Indian Canyon Drive
71.5 miles from Palm Springs to Temecula Wineries via I-10 W and CA-79
64.8 miles from Temecula Wineries to Disneyland California via I-15N and CA-91
34.6 miles from Disneyland California to Griffith Observatory via I-5 N and Loz Feliz Blvd
Last Stop (option 1)
Last Stop (option 2)
Santa Monica Pier
Day 1: Red Rock Canyon & Death Valley
Once you pick up your car rental from Klook, it’s time to head out to Red Rock Canyon. As its name suggests, Red Rock is a rugged national park famous for its red sandstone rock formations. Scale these magnificent natural beauties via rock climbing, or explore the park’s many hiking trails, such as the 4.5-mile Turtlehead Peak Trail, for only USD7. You can learn more about the wildlife in the area, as well as its geological past, at the nearby visitor’s center.
Your next stop, Death Valley, is a 2-hour scenic drive along the wide expanse of the Mojave Desert. It’s one of the largest national parks in the country, with unique and varied landscapes where you can try exciting activities. You can go sandboarding in the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, take pictures of the Badwater Basin’s salt flats, or hike to the Devils Golf Course.
Photo Credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/c-NFJc86CSc
Another option is to visit Star Wars locations in the park, starting with the multi-colored Artists Palette, fan-favorite Desolation Canyon, and the towering Dantes View where you can see the entirety of the Death Valley. As for accommodations you can stay in for the night, The Inn at Death Valley would be an excellent choice given their amazing service, excellent location within the park, and relaxing Callifornian-inspired suites.
Klook Tip: Death Valley is the hottest point in North America, so it’s best to visit before or after the summer months.
Day 2: Mojave National Preserve & Joshua Tree
Photo Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/brown-sand-under-blue-sky-9201502/
On your second day, drive on to Mojave National Preserve by way of Kelbaker Road for a glimpse of granite mountains, volcanic craters, and sun-baked wilderness. The closer you get, the more you’ll see of the preserve’s beloved gems – the otherworldly Kelso Dunes, the limestone caves of Mitchell Caverns, and a viewpoint of the world’s largest Joshua tree population at Teutonia Peak.
While on your way to Joshua Tree, you can drop by roadside attractions such as Skull Rock, The World Famous Crochet Museum, and Pioneertown. Skull Rock can be a quick stop, but the Crochet Museum and Pioneertown might require a few minutes strolling since they’re both bizarre in their own right – the first holds a kitschy collection of crocheted art, while the other one is a ghost town filled with wooden saloons and stores from the 40s.
Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/joshua-tree-desert-joshua-tree-1264748/
When the roads lead to desert plains dotted with cacti and Joshua trees against a backdrop of rocky mountains, then you know you’ve arrived at Joshua Tree National Park. It’s caught in between the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert, two differing ecological environments that eventually produced the park’s wonderfully weird flora and Mars-like terrain. You can scale up to 8,000 climbing formations on your visit!
Stay the night at hotels near Joshua Tree National Park – choose between America’s Best Value Inn and via Klook!
Day 3: Palm Springs & Temecula Wineries
Photo Credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/h2JEHnQm83c
After two days of being on the road, it’s time for some pampering in the city. Palm Springs has got you covered in all things indulgence – whether you’re craving a massage, a dip in a pool, or a shopping spree, you can find everything your heart desires here. You can also drop by tourist sites in and around the city, such as the Palm Springs Art Museum, Moorten’s Botanical Garden, and Cabazon Dinosaurs. Alternatively, you can try biking, hiking, horseback riding, and plenty of other outdoor activities in the surrounding Coachella Valley.
Photo Credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/udj2tD3WKsY
The indulgence continues on to Temecula, Southern California’s wine country. Treat yourself to a wine tasting or two at any of the 40 wineries in the area, all with their own award-winning specialties. You can choose between group tastings with other tourists or embarking on a self-guided tour, both of which lead to wine trails for every kind of wine lover. Get to know more about the history of Temecula, the process of winemaking, and sample a wide assortment of wines during this trip. Enjoy this experience to the fullest by booking a stay at Holiday Inn Express Temecula in advance!
Day 4: Disneyland California & Griffith Observatory
Now that you’re officially in Los Angeles, there’s no way you could miss the most magical place on earth – Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park! Meet your favorite Disney characters, hop on extreme rides, and immerse yourself in the worlds of iconic movies. Book fast pass tickets via Klook and get to visit Star Wars Land, Indiana Jones, Avengers Campus, and other 7 themed attractions packed with exciting features. Make sure to check out the Space Mountain, Haunted Mansion, and especially the Dole Whip counter for a sweet treat while queueing!
Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/griffith-observatory-los-angeles-3897616/
Of course, a trip to the City of Angels won’t be enough without a view of the Hollywood sign, and where else to see it from than the iconic Griffith Observatory? This art deco-inspired observatory has the best vantage point in the area – Hollywood to the south, downtown LA to the southeast, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. Even better, you can go on a journey into the cosmos here for free! Enjoy access to the Zeiss telescope, live presentations at the planetarium, and fascinating findings on the universe at their science exhibits.
Photo Credit: https://www.ladottransit.com/dash/routes/obslf/obslf.pdf
Klook Tip: Skip the uphill walk to Griffith Observatory and hop on a public shuttle for only USD0.50 instead. Once you park your car rental somewhere near Greek Theatre or the surrounding neighborhoods, catch a ride at any of the DASH shuttle stops (A, B, C and D).
Day 5: Long Beach or Santa Monica Pier
The best way to end a California road trip is a drive to the beach, and Los Angeles has two locations you might want to consider: Long Beach and Santa Monica Pier. These two are on the opposite sides of the coast, so we recommend choosing one final destination to maximize your beach day.
Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/long-beach-naples-naples-island-4218052/
If you’d like to get a feel of the local community, Long Beach is the way to go! This beach town is lowkey compared to Santa Monica, but even more charming with its family-friendly attractions like Aquarium of the Pacific and coastal neighborhood Naples Island. You can also find vintage shops, homey restaurants, and cultural centers here, all of which are full of character and significantly cheaper compared to the more glamorous parts of LA.
Photo Credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/Bb30Sjvj-lE
But if you’re a fan of Hollywood movies, then Santa Monica Pier is the place for you. The strip has been featured so many times that it has become an iconic landmark on its own – the Ferris wheel and the carnival in Pacific Park, Muscle Beach and its swimsuit-clad bodybuilders, high-end shops at Main Street, and palm tree-lined Venice Beach Boardwalk where people from all walks of life enjoy the sun.
These are just some of the best of what California has to offer between Las Vegas and Los Angeles! We hope that this exciting route has prepared you for your upcoming California adventure. We list down some of our top products to help you make the most out of your trip: