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Trip Planning

Guide to West Coast Road Trips

The ultimate guide for your next family road trip to the west coast.

The following article was originally published on Red Tricycle as part of a partnership with Go RVing. The original post can be found HERE.

‘Tis the season for sunshine, exploring, and making memories! Get our guide here!

From Los Angeles

Venture to Ventura for laid-back, small-town vibes just outside of Los Angeles. Spend the day relaxing with the sun, the surf in the sand, or board the Island Packers Ferry for a trip out to Channel Islands National Park. This awe-inspiring park is made up of five remote islands. While you enjoy your hikes and photo ops, you'll need to bring your own drinking water and plan to pack out your trash, since the park does not have the same services as more accessible parks. Once you've finished your exploring, plan a night at Ventura Beach RV Resort where you can walk to the beach or bike to the pier. Bonus: The resort includes a free pancake breakfast each Sunday. 

Check out California's Little Denmark with a stop in Solvang. Snack on authentic Danish pastries while you wander through the windmills and Scandinavian-designed buildings. As you explore downtown and learn about Danish culture, hop on the horse-pulled Solvang Trolley to get around town! If your little one is an animal lover, surprise them with a stop at OstrichLand, where you'll get up closer and personal with ostriches and emus. Flying Flags RV Resort and Campground is just outside of Solvang, and has plenty of playgrounds and an off-leash dog park to entertain everyone. 

With a trip to Big Sur, getting to your locale is part of the fun! Spend a day driving along the Pacific Coast Highway for jaw-dropping views of the bright blue ocean over dramatic cliffs. When you're ready for a stop (and your driver wants to take in the views) plan a pit stop at Lucia Lodge for lunch and potential whale spotting. You'll love the delicious food and the kids will be excited for the postcard they get at the end of the meal. Plan to stay the night at Riverside Campground, a 34-site campground with a restaurant that will bring you a picnic so you can dine in the riverbed. 

When you're ready for wifi and phone service again, make your way up to Monterey for more oceanside exploring. Spend your morning walking around Cannery Row and plan an afternoon at Monterey Bay Aquarium—home to over 20,000 marine animals including sea otters, penguins, sharks, jellyfish and so much more. After an exciting day in town, wind down at Marina Dunes RV Park located just north of Monterey. This RV park has its own glamping section and is a quick walk to the beach or trails. 

You've heard of Paso Robles for being a wine-focused destination, but this so-cute spot offers loads of family-friendly entertainment as well! Spend the day exploring one of the many local wineries with kid-friendly activities like free gelato, epic zip lines and a kids grape tasting. At night, check out the Sensorio light show which was featured in The New York Times as #6 in ​“50 Places to Vis­it in 2020”. When it comes to a place to stay, plan a stay at Cava Robles RV Resort, which is equipped with pools, spas, fire pits, a wellness center, and dog parks!

From San Francisco

Lake Tahoe's giant freshwater lake makes it the perfect stop on a summer road trip! Rent paddleboards or kayaks to explore the crystal-clear waters, and plan a hike to see the Balancing Rock at DL Bliss State Park—a 250,000-pound boulder balancing on a small amount of granite. Relax at Tahoe Valley RV Resort, where kids can enjoy movie nights, game nights and a pancake breakfast! 

Did you know sequoias can grow over 250 feet tall? Learn about some of the oldest and largest sequoias on a trip to Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Explore the park on foot by hiking through the North and South Groves, along with checking out ancient volcanic formations. Once you've seen the trees up close, see more of the area via raft with a trip on the North Fork of the Stanislaus River through OARSGolden Pines RV & Campground is close to everything you'll want to see and has 22 RV sites with electric, water and sewer. 

Mountains, 200 miles of biking and hiking trails, and over 300 days of sunshine a year? Count us in. Redding has a lot you'll want to see, like the Sundial Bridge and Lassen Volcanic National Park, but be sure to scoop out some time for Shasta State Historic Park where you can learn about the gold rush and see the ruins of where a bustling city once stood. JGW RV Park has everything you'll need for a great stay: tons of wildlife and fishing along with a heated pool and strong wifi. 

Make a stop at Six River National Forest, which is made up of one million acres of land, four counties and six rivers. Plan to spend your day rafting on one of those six rivers with Redwood Rides, where you can do a mellow float or kick up the adrenaline with rapids. Mad River Rapids RV Park is just outside of the national forest and is only two miles to the beach! 

Humboldt Redwoods State Park is California's largest redwoods park and is home to several of the world's tallest trees. Plan to drive Avenue of the Giants, a 31-mile portion of historic Highway 101 that winds through the park. While at the park, check out Redwoods EdVentures for kid-friendly quests that let little ones earn patches for their accomplishments while exploring. Plan to stay at Giant Redwoods RV Park, which has river-view sites and an outdoor theater.

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Marketer, Content Creator, & Alliteration Advocate

Kenzie Kramer

Kenzie is a marketer, content creator, & alliteration advocate based in North Carolina. Kenzie has worked for brands such as, Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, Girls on the Run International, Charlotte Center City Partners, and Ally Bank. As of January 2021, Kenzie has been working as the Director of Partnership Marketing Solutions at Tiny Beans + Red Tricycle.