Summer is finally here! You've packed up the car and are ready to head out on a great adventure, but you may find yourself wondering exactly where to go. North, South, the beach, the mountains...? The questions are endless. Don't worry though - California has everything (and more) that you'd want for the best summer vacation! Below you'll find 25 amazing California road trip destinations as well as some fun places to stop along the way to add to your list.
California Road Trip Destinations
Battery Point Lighthouse in Crescent City
This lighthouse and museum
is a great stop if you happen to be in (or traveling through) Northern California.
Flickr by David A. Hoffmann
California Redwood Parks
We've raved about the beautiful California Redwoods before
, but they are worth adding to another list! Some of our favorites include: Jedediah Smith State Park and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park (find out more here
Flickr by keppet
Old Town Eureka
Traveling down the coast from Crescent City, you'll come to Eureka. Old Town Eureka is definitely worth a visit, especially the beautiful an historic Carson Mansion
Flickr by Kay Gaensler
Hiking in Mt. Shasta
Over a little ways from the coast is Mt. Shasta. Usually a destination for winter snowboarders and skiiers, Mt. Shasta has a lot to offer to summer hikers. Check out this website
for tons of mapped trails!
Flickr by Kei Noguchi
A less likely place to visit, Placerville is a great stop if you're on your way to Tahoe or feel like taking a day trip from the Sacramento area. With its historic buildings, free stage coach rides (the third Saturday of each month), and fine dining, Placerville has a lot going on! Check out the cities website
for more events.
Flickr by Wayne Hsieh
Napa Valley Wine Country
Make Napa Valley
one of your California road trip destinations this summer! Find actives, wine tours, and spas to build a road trip that is guaranteed to relax you.
Flickr by Big D2112
Be enchanted and overwhelmed by the stunning Hearst Castle
Flickr by Zengame
Pacific Crest Trail
Spanning over 1500 miles through California (and moving on into Oregon and Washington) the Pacific Crest Trail (known as the PCT to serious hikers) is a fantastic summer adventure! Find out more information about the PCT near you on the USDA Forrest Service website
Flickr by Steve Dunleavy
Old Town Sacramento and the California State Railroad Museum
Make your way through the historic streets of Old Town Sacramento
and stop off at the California State Railroad Museum
. You'll find lots of things to see and do whether you're from Sacramento or just visiting for the summer!
Flickr by Jack Snell
San Fransisco Fisherman's Wharf
The bark of a seal and the salty breeze of Fisherman's Wharf
is sure to satisfy your road trip curiosity this summer! Try the fresh seafood as well - trust us, it's some of the best you'll have!
Flickr by aaron arseneau
Golden Gate Bridge
While you're visiting San Fransisco, make a stop (or drive over) the Golden Gate Bridge
. Walking it takes about 20 minutes one way, and we'd recommend having your ride pick you up at the opposite side to avoid troublesome parking.
Flickr by Kevin Cole
Mt. Diablo State Park
Hike up the incredible Mt. Diablo
! Make sure to bring lots of water with you - things are dry due to this years drought.
Flickr by Keith Cuddeback
South Lake Tahoe
Located next to the Nevada state line, South Lake Tahoe is definitely a road trip destination you won't want to pass up.
Flickr by Patrick Nouhailler
Bodie State Historic Park
Visit an historic ghost town at Bodie State Historic Park.Make sure you check out their visiting guide
before you go!
Flickr by Jim Bahn
Yosemite National Park
If you enjoy being outdoors Yosemite is the destination for you! Check out their hiking guide
in advance and plan a great adventure.
Flickr by Hide
Camp, enjoy the beach, and find some great restaurants at Big Sur
over the summer.
Flickr by Trey Ratcliff
They say you can "Get your kicks on Route 66" so why not take a little road trip on this unmapped
(at least by current standards) road?
Flickr by Gianluca Bertoncelli
With rocky peaks and many trails, this heavily photographed LA park
is a great day trip destination!
Flickr by XavaZ
Pacific Coast Highway
The Pacific Coast Highway is more of a route than a destination, but you won't be sorry you chose to drive up the coast on the PCH with its stunning ocean views.
Flickr by Rachel Kramer
Santa Monica Pier
Ride a roller coaster, lounge on the beach, take a quick walk over to 3rd street. Santa Monica
has it all!
Flickr by Ross Pollack
Venice Beach Board Walk
Overflowing with street entertainment, unique shops, and endless people-watching, Venice Beach is a fun and entertaining California road trip destination.
Flickr by Calvin Fleming
Mission San Juan Capistrano
Make it your mission this summer to visit Mission San Juan Capistrano
(or any of the other California missions
Flickr by Sharon Mollerus
Palm Springs & Joshua Tree National Park
Whether you're golfing, spending time at Joshua Tree National Park
, or taking advantage of your hotels pool, Palm Springs
Flickr by Merton Wilton
USS Midway in San Diego
Climb aboard this floating museum
and enjoy all-day fun! Give yourself about 3 hours to complete the self-guided tour and don't forget your camera.
Flickr by Cameron Grant
San Diego Zoo
Come spend the day with the animals of the San Diego Zoo
Flickr by (left) Russ May
California is a huge
state and we know we've probably skipped some of your favorite places. Where are you going this summer? Any place we should know about? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below! Cover photo Flickr by Kay Gaensler
Source: The Grandest Road Trip
, Moon Travel Guides