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California Summer Road Trip Guide with 15 Unique Stops

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCD chapter.

Summer is the perfect time to take road trips, and California is the perfect state for road trips. Here is a quick guide for a Golden State road trip with stops in the north and south that even most California natives haven’t seen! This guide starts north, travels South down the eastern border of California, and brings you back up the west coast to Davis.

Lassen National Park

Go visit a national park where almost every rock originated from the volcano. Lassen National Park is home to “the largest plug dome volcano in the world”.

Georgetown (Hotel)

Georgetown is known for its reportedly haunted hotel on Main Street. If you love visiting places that give you chills, this is the place for you.


Placerville is another small city notorious for paranormal activity. You’ll get chills as soon as you step out of the car.

Yosemite, Vernal Falls

Never in my 18 years of life has one place given me so much happiness. Yosemite is a magical place on its own, but Vernal Falls has to be my favorite. The hike up, the stairs leasing to the top of the water fall, it’s all beautifully overwhelming.

Death Valley

Although it sounds daunting, Death Valley is a true treasure. So much history, mystery and art are encompassed here.

Lava Tube in Mojave National Preserve

Want to be in the spotlight? Well come here and you literally will be. The feeling here is something completely new and exciting.

Ruins of Bombay Beach

Go visit thelowest community in America223 ft BSL. This place is sure to give you chills and who knows what you will find.

Wayfarers Chapel 

Modern architecture, glass chapel, and the pacific ocean– what more can you ask for? This chapel definitely made me feel like I was at Bella and Edward’s wedding.

Great Wall of LA

This place is a real treat for those who appreciate culture and history. A great way to capture a different perspective of L.A.

Pismo Beach

Pismo beach is what people picture when they think of California. Beautiful town, beach, high pier, and butterflies.

Bubble Gum Alley

Just a few minutes from Pismo is the Bubble Gum Alley. Go leave piece of yourself (well, technically gum) in San Luis Obispo.

Big Sur Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Big Sur is just a beautiful place that is a must to visit if you’re a California native. The main attraction here is McWay Falls.

Highway 1

Take scenic highway one on the drive from Big Sur to S.F. I promise, it’s worth the gas.

Stow Boat Lake House San Francisco

Here’s something different– go on a romantic boat ride on this reportedly haunted lake. Maybe you’ll catch someone else in your selfie…

Ferry Building S.F.

The Ferry Building in San Francisco is often overlooked by visitors. The inside is just as beautiful as the outside. The marketplace inside hosts a variety of local, sustainable products to fulfill your foodie needs.

Muir Woods

The oh so famous California redwood trees. Muir Woods is another must. The drive to, and out is amazing, and learning about John Muir and the National Park system is definitely the cherry on top of an already wonderful experience.

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