Tour Las Vegas and California

Las Vegas to California Road Trip in 15 days: from “Sin City” to the National Parks

November 3, 2021 /

Warning: Due to COVID 19 some information in this article (e.g. operating hours) may not be up-to-date.

You are organizing a road trip and you have about 15 days. You have only one thing decided: round-trip plane tickets to one destination: Las Vegas!

Ok, so you know one thing, that you will land in “Sin City”, you will stay there one or two nights and then you will come back after about 2 weeks to get on a plane… but there is one problem: how do you fill up the time in the middle? What should you do in the remaining days?

This is the dilemma our reader faced, who booked the flight with some friends and then, when she was presented with the infinite possibilities of planning a trip, she wrote to me asking me for some advice. As a result, I decided to write this post, though not only for her, but also for all those who want to go on an amazing tour of Las Vegas and California. Even if you were to start from different cities (for example Los Angeles or San Francisco) the itinerary is easily adaptable.

The tour is published in three parts. Let’s start with the first part (Days 1-5).

Days 1 and 2: Las Vegas and California Tour… departure!

Once you have arrived in Las Vegas, there is only place you will want to go: the Strip, the famous street where you will find the most extravagant hotels and casinos in the world. The best time to visit the Strip is in the evening, so you may need to book a room for 1 or 2 nights, to fully enjoy Las Vegas by night.

Accommodations in Las Vegas

Making a list of things to do in Las Vegas is an easy task: walking along Boulevard South, playing in casinos, go to the shows in hotels and eat well! Each hotel offers (for a fee, of course) its own buffet and some of them are really top quality!

Days 3, 4 and 5: Between Two National Parks… The Old West!

After the metropolitan kitsch of Las Vegas, it’s time to explore nature. The tour continues in California. You will visit two national parks: Death Valley National Park and Yosemite National Park, with a stop at a historical treasure of the Old West!

DAY 3: The first national park, Death Valley, is only 2 hours from Las Vegas. Before you head into Death Valley you may want some information about its attractions and how to visit the park. You can find everything you need in the post How To Visit Death Valley: 7 Wonders Not To Be Missed.

You will spend the night in Death Valley (book in advance!) or in a nearby town and leave the next day. Get ready for the two most demanding days of this itinerary, but I assure you that you will not be disappointed.

Accommodations in and around Death Valley

DAY 4: On the fourth day, you will get up early (yes, that’s right, even though you are on vacation…) and continue north along the Nevada border. The goal is to visit Bodie, a perfectly preserved and most fascinating western town in the US. The journey to get to Bodie from Death Valley is quite long (4/5 hours) and the western town generally closes at 6:00 pm (here are the times on the site), so you must leave on time or we’ll miss the ghost town.

From Bodie you will head back and approach Mammoth Lakes (an hour or so of travel, also an opportunity to see Mono Lake if you missed it on the way there), a town surrounded by mountains where you will spend the night and leave the next day (although it deserves a longer visit…).

Accommodations in Mammoth Lakes

DAY 5: The next destination is San Francisco and the best way to get there is only one: drive through Yosemite National Park and admire its beautiful landscapes.

Be careful when following GPS directions: if you are in Mammoth Lakes and you type San Francisco as your last destination the GPS will make you go around Yosemite, taking you on an equally long road (remember that to drive through Yosemite you will need to purchase a Park Pass, being a National Park). From Mammoth Lakes to San Francisco there is a nice 6-hour trip.

Accommodations near Yosemite

You have concluded the first part of the itinerary. In the second part you will depart from San Francisco and then move on to Santa Barbara. In the meantime, let me know what you think. Have you been to these places? Did you like them?

Second part of the trip Santa Barbara-San Francisco


Our Tip:
Looking for accommodations for your trip from California to other parts of the Southwest? Read our guide that contains reviews of hotels and strategic tips for finding accommodations near major attractions: Where to Stay: Our Tips for the SouthWest Area

Warning: Operating hours can change and closures for extraordinary events can occur, so we strongly suggest to check the venues official websites.

lorenzo puliti
lorenzo puliti

I am fascinated by the wonders of the world I never tire of going in search of them.

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