San Francisco - Las Vegas - 7 Day Self-Drive Itinerary

  • San Francisco CA to Yosemite National Park CA
  • Yosemite National Park CA to Bakersfield CA
  • Bakersfield CA to Las Vegas NV
  • Las Vegas NV to San Diego CA
  • San Diego to Los Angeles
  • Los Angeles CA to Santa Barbara CA
  • Santa Barbara CA to San Francisco CA

Distance: 1557 miles
Download: San Francisco to Las Vegas self-drive itinerary

Day 1. San Francisco CA to Yosemite National Park CA

Pick up your rental vehicle in San Francisco today. If travelling by Motorhome, allow at least one hour for pick up and time to familiarise yourself with your vehicle before you leave the branch.

Depart this morning and take the US-101 S. Stay in the left hand lane and take the Interstate 80 exit towards Bay Bridge/ Oakland. Continue on the I-80 E, and stay in the right hand lane to take the Interstate 580 E exit towards CA-24/ Hayward/ Stockton. Continue onto the I-205 E, and then merge onto the I-5 N. Continue onto the CA-120 E to Yosemite.

With over 1,200 square miles of national park, Yosemite is best known for its breathtaking waterfalls. Hike the challenging trail to the top of the Yosemite Falls for a spectacular view of the waterfall and gardens. If you are not a fan of hiking, the park also offers fishing, bird watching and rock climbing, as well as numerous other activities. Many of the sites can also be driven to, making it a very accessible park.

Distance: 165 miles, 3 hours 10 minutes.

Stay: Yosemite National Park Campgrounds.

Day 2. Yosemite National Park CA to Bakersfield CA

Depart this morning and take the CA-120 W, Greeley Hill Road, CA-49 S, CA-140 W and S Santa Fe Avenue to the CA-99 S in Madera County. Follow the CA-99 S to Golden State Avenue in Bakersfield.

The California Living Museum is a favourite among locals, and it is easy to see why. The museum is a great way to see which animals and plants are native to the state of California. Home to many animals that cannot be released back into the wild due to disabilities, visit these well-loved and diverse range of animals including the mountain lion and bobcat.

Distance: 232 miles, 4 hours 10 minutes.

Stay: Bakersfield River Run RV Park.

Day 3. Bakersfield CA to Las Vegas NV

Depart this morning and take the CA-58 E and the I-15 N to N Las Vegas Boulevard in Las Vegas.

The Strip is a 2.5-mile-long section of Las Vegas Boulevard, and is full of many activities quintessential to Las Vegas. If you’re looking for something to eat, come to The Strip at nighttime to enjoy some fine dining and the neon lights of Las Vegas. There is always some street entertainment to enjoy, from dancing fountains at the Bellagio Resort to erupting volcanoes of the Mirage Hotel.

If you would like to visit the Grand Canyon, it can be a full day if driving or taking the bus, or you can take a helicopter tour from Las Vegas. The helicopter tours are typically a half day, where you will fly over Las Vegas and into the canyon itself.

Distance: 286 miles, 4 hours 20 minutes.

Stay: Oasis Las Vegas RV Resort.

Day 4. Las Vegas NV to San Diego CA

Depart this morning and take the I-15 S, 1-215 S and I-15 S to 4th Avenue in San Diego.

Balboa Park is not your average park, offering everything from the Balboa Park Carousel, the Fleet Science Center and even a puppet theater. Spend the day walking through the lush gardens, including the Japanese Friendship Garden, and then even take the miniature railway, which is sure to be a hit with the kids. There is no end of entertainment here.

The USS Midway Museum is as close to a sailing experience you can get, without actually leaving the port. The museum is held on the American aircraft carrier, USS Midway commissioned a week after the end of WWII and saw active service up until 1992. With over 60 exhibits and 29 restored aircrafts, and even the opportunity to try out the flight simulator, it is sure to be a fun day at sea.

Distance: 332 miles, 4 hours 50 minutes.

Stay: Mission Bay RV Resort.

Day 5. San Diego CA to Los Angeles CA

Depart this morning and take the I-5 N to the El Monte Busway W in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles is the home of movies, so see some of the famous locations around the city. The Hollywood Walk of Fame covers 15 blocks of the Hollywood Boulevard, with over 2,500 stars celebrating the people who have made a significant contribution to the entertainment industry.

Another postcard-worthy attraction is the Hollywood sign itself. Enjoy an afternoon of exercise as you hike up to the top of the hill and to the sign. The reward at the end is to witness the breathtaking views of Los Angeles and its surrounds.

Distance: 120 miles, 2 hours.

Stay: Balboa RV Park.

Day 6. Los Angeles CA to Santa Barbara CA

Depart this morning and take the US-101 N to Garden Street in Santa Barbara.

The Old Mission Santa Barbara was established in 1786 by the Spanish Franciscans, and continues to be a cultural landmark for the people today. Home to the church, museum, cemetery and mausoleum, as well as 12 acres of gardens, this is the perfect place to educate yourself about the local history.

Stearns Wharf is a great place to grab a meal at the end of the day, offering the best views in Santa Barbara, alongside your meal. Discover the best of the local produce, with fresh fish and seafood being served every day.

Distance: 95 miles, 1 hour 35 minutes.

Stay: Santa Barbara Sunrise RV Park.

Day 7. Santa Barbara CA to San Francisco CA

Depart this morning and take the US-101 N to San Francisco.

On your way up the 101 there are plenty of great spots to detour onto the Cabrillo Highway (or simply take the longer router up the Cabrillo from San Luis Obispo) which hugs the coastline including the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Carmel-By-The-Sea and Monterey.

When you reach San Francisco, if you haven’t already, be sure to visit the infamous Alcatraz Prison, known for housing the worst criminals in America. If criminals caused trouble at other federal prisons, the worst of the worst were all sent here. Today you can take a boat out to the island, and tour around the cells and gardens. The tour is very popular, so book tickets in advance.

The Golden Gate Park has a variety of attractions to suit everyone in the family. With sites including the Japanese Tea Gardens, the California Academy of Sciences and the De Young Museum, you will spend hours trying to see everything on offer.

Distance: 326 miles, 5 hours.

Stay: Candlestick RV Park.


Disclaimer

DriveNow's suggested itineraries are made available to assist travellers create and build personalised journey plans. DriveNow does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of these itineraries and they are provided as is and as advisory only. You acknowledge that any reliance on or use of any itinerary shall be at your sole risk.

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