3 California road trip ideas

It is the time of year when we all start to plan family vacations. Spring break is fast approaching, and summer vacation is on the horizon. Sometimes we have enough of a break in our schedule to plan a plane trip somewhere and enjoy it for a week, or possibly more, but other times, we have a small break in our schedule and a road trip is the best option for a family vacation.

If you are local to California, and looking for a road trip idea, here are a few, which may seem obvious, but hopefully will spark a road trip idea anyway. If you are from out of state, you can easily fly into one of our airports, rent a car, and enjoy one or more of these spots on your vacation. Feel free to leave your road trip ideas in the comments below!

Napa Valley

napa river sunset winter

One of the most popular road trips in California is heading up to wine country. That being said, you don’t have to go wine tasting to enjoy the Napa Valley. This can be a road trip you enjoy with the entire family, and also as someone who does not drink alcohol.

There are plenty of activities in the Napa Valley the entire family can enjoy such as hiking through the Petrified Forest. Here is my full post on this beautiful destination. Call before you go to ensure they have recovered from the recent storms.

You can also visit the geysers, check out the culinary institute, or enjoy a winery with or without drinking.

Pismo Beach

pismo beach sign pier

Pismo Beach is one of the less traveled beaches in California. It is in between Los Angeles and the Bay Area, so for those of us traveling between the two Metropolitain areas, Pismo Beach is a great rest stop for lunch or brunch. That being said, have you ever stayed overnight? If not, then you should! There are fabulous hotels on or near the beach and the beach itself is quite relaxing in the quiet morning hours before the tourists arrive. Even when the tourists arrive, it isn’t too overrun.

In addition to enjoying the beach, you can drive a few minutes to San Luis Obispo and enjoy the hiking trails at Cal Poly SLO. You can check out my post about it here. Poly Canyon Trail is a must-see in the Pismo Beach, SLO area.


Lake Tahoe might be an obvious choice, but it is a place you can visit again and again. So, even if you have already taken a road trip to Tahoe, you might think about going back to see something new. There are too many trails to count, so hiking is always new and exciting. The views from most hiking trails are beautiful and beyond belief, therefore, it is always a breathtaking experience; in addition to the thin air! haha

There are also silver mines close by. These are worth the drive to see in person. We always talk about the gold mining history in California, but the silver mines were here too.

This year, we had record snowfall. This means the Tahoe region may still have snow during spring break and early summer! Grab your sled and get ready to play in the snow! You can build a snowman, make snow angels, have a snowball fight, and just play!

Of course, these are only three ideas. You can always take a road trip to a more obscure location in the state, or head down to Disneyland or Universal Studios for some fun. It is also fun to play tourist and check out all the tourist areas and traps in Hollywood.

What are your favorite road trip ideas in California?

Thanks for stopping by!