With its beautiful landscapes, majestic vistas, and endlessly varied terrain, it's no wonder that California is the ultimate road trip destination. Need proof? You got it. We've created four itineraries for you that highlight the diversity and wonder of the Golden State. Read on, watch the videos, and then start planning your own road trip adventure.
1. Inland Empire
Just a short drive from the surf and sand of Southern California, an entirely different landscape emerges: the mountains, lakes, and scenery of the Inland Empire. Head east from San Diego, Orange County, or Los Angeles, and take a California road trip along the 110-mile-long Rim of the World Scenic Byway, nicknamed for its stunning views along the cliffs of the San Bernardino Mountains. The video above will show you five great stops to make along the way, culminating at Big Bear Lake.
2. Highway One
In a mere 60 miles, this Highway 1 road trip delivers wonderful diversions and outrageous beauty along California’s Central Coast, including an eclectic hotel, the amazing Hearst Castle, and stunning views of a rugged coastline.
3. Central Valley
Famous for its bountiful produce, quality wine, and country music, the Central Valley is California’s heartland. It’s also a place of endless discoveries, so head out on a 250-mile road trip along California Highway 99 between Bakersfield and Lodi. You’ll find plenty of surprises, including premium ice cream in Bakersfield, Fresno’s vibrant urban scene, and wine country fun in Lodi.
4. Gold Country
A road trip on historic Highway 49 doesn’t simply take you from point A to point B—it also transports you to the past. Begin in Old Town Auburn with a stop at cozy Auburn Coffee Company for a chai latte or kombucha poured straight from the tap. After that, head over to Coloma, where the south fork of the American River runs through Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. Additional stops include Placerville (also know as "Old Hangtown") and Sutter Creek.
Want more road trip options? We've got plenty more for you right here.