Roadtrips

12 Day Self Guided Tour of Southwestern USA

Enjoy this 12 day self guided tour of California, Arizona and Nevada. From beautiful sandy beaches, to dry dusty deserts and great canyons deep into the earth this tour will show you the best of the great southwest.

Chantal Mercer
4 minute read

Enjoy this 12-day self-guided tour of California, Arizona, and Nevada. From beautiful sandy beaches, to dry dusty deserts and great canyons deep into the earth this tour will show you the best of the great southwest.

12 Day Road Trip through Southwestern USA

Day 1 Home to Los Angeles CA

After traveling from home to Los Angeles spend the rest of the day relaxing at your hotel. Most hotels offer shuttle service from the airport to the hotel. Take a dip in the pool and have a bite to eat. Your hotel can recommend a great restaurant that is close by.

Day 2 Los Angeles to Long Beach CA

Depending on which of the great RVs you rented pick up time will vary. If you have an early pick up scheduled, you will be able to pick up as early as 9 am. If your pickup time is not until the afternoon, that’s ok too. Your first stop is just 30 minutes outside the city of Los Angeles. Spend the day walking beautiful sandy beaches, take a cruise of the historic Queen Mary, or have a boat take you out to Catalina Island.

Day 3 Long Beach to Phoenix AZ

This leg of the trip is about 380 miles. Drive through Palm Springs, the home to many movie stars and elite golf courses. Once in Phoenix you can visit the Phoenix Zoo, the Arizona Science Center or the must-see Desert Botanical Center.

Day 4 Phoenix to the Grand Canyon AZ

230 miles will take you to the next stop on your trip, the exquisite Grand Canyon. From here you can take a guided tour down into the canyon, take a helicopter ride high overhead, or raft through the bottom of this great canyon.

Day 5 Grand Canyon to Las Vegas NV

4 hours will take you to the city that never sleeps. Spend the day getting is some of the best shopping you will get on your trip, or spend your day in the casinos. Check out the world-class shows that Las Vegas has to offer.

Day 6 Las Vegas to Death Valley NV

Death Valley has some of the most beautiful and baron landscapes you will ever see. Depending on the time of year you will be traveling you may get to see some of the desert flowers in bloom. If you are renting an RV you will need to check with the rental company as some companies will not allow travel to Death Valley during certain times of the year. It is 87 miles from Las Vegas to Death Valley.

Day 7 Death Valley to Napa Valley CA

This is the longest leg of the trip being 575 miles. Book yourself a wine tour or put on your walking shoe and visit Brothe-Napa Valley State Park. Visit the Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park and see the water-powered Grist Mill that was built in 1846.

Day 8 Napa Valley to San Francisco CA

Less than 50 miles gets you to your next stop. San Francisco is a beautiful city, filled with modern-day innovation but rich in history. From Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate Bridge to the San Francisco Zoo, there is so much to see and do.

Day 9 San Francisco to Santa Cruz CA

73 miles takes you to your next stop, Santa Cruz. Visit the Lighthouse Field State Park, Golden Gate Villa, or New Brighton State Beach. This is definitely one stop where you will want to spend your time strolling the beaches, the wharf, or the boardwalk.

Day 10 Santa Cruz to Santa Barbara CA

The Santa Barbara Historical Museum is just a few blocks from downtown and is worth the visit. The Mission Santa Barbara was built is 1786, a wonderful piece of history. This leg of the trip is 257 miles.

Day 11 Santa Barbara to Los Angeles CA

95 miles takes us back to Los Angeles. RV’s are usually return to the rental location in the morning. Since you will be in Los Angeles early in the day, take advantage by spending the afternoon at Disneyland. If you are looking for a quieter day, the Griffin Observatory is a popular tourist attraction that has space and science-related exhibits.

Day 12 Los Angeles to Home

Most hotels will have shuttles that will take you back to the airport.

The above itinerary is just a guide line. Do your research, maybe there is a spot along the trip that you would like to devote a little more time too. If you are travelling during the peak travel season you may want to make your campsite reservations well in advance.

For more on California, check out our article on California RV Rentals.

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