Seven Day Southern California RV Camping Itinerary

The kids are out of school for the holidays, and many companies are on virtual shutdown. What to do with all that time on your hands? Head to sunny Southern California, where the camping’s fine and there are hundreds of ways to amuse, educate and entertain the family. Here’s a seven-day Southern California RV camping itinerary that’s sure to be a hit.

Days One and Two: Newport Beach

Pick up your RV rental and then set up camp at this beautiful Orange County city by the sea. Rent bikes or kayaks at a local outfitter and then head for Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve, where a thousand acres of coastal wetlands invite paddlers, hikers, bikers and birdwatchers to discover the ‘Back Bay’ and its abundance of wildlife.

On your second day of camping in Newport Beach, treat the family to a short, scenic cruise from Balboa Peninsula to Balboa Island. While on the island, take the time to enjoy one-of-a-kind, locally owned shops and cafes and don’t miss the picturesque vacation cottages before heading back to Balboa Fun Zone on the Peninsula.

Tip: if you happen to come between Christmas and New Year’s Day, be sure to enjoy one of the Christmas Lights Cruises between Newport and Balboa Island. 

Days Three and Four: San Diego

An hour and a half south of Newport Beach, you’ll find a world of activities to keep your family entertained. Once you’re settled in your San Diego RV campground, make your way to the San Diego Zoo, where the annual Jungle Bells extravaganza turns this already fascinating place into a holiday wonderland.cabrillo_natl_monument_shutterstock_168668990

You’ll also want to save time to visit Cabrillo National Monument. It’s a wonderfully scenic history lesson for kids and adults alike, featuring a visitors’ center, a restored lighthouse, nature trails and a monument to the first European to set foot on our country’s West Coast. Round out your trip by visiting at least one of the city’s iconic beaches—Mission Beach, La Jolla Shores and Coronado Beach are local favorites.

Days Five and Six: Joshua Tree National Park

Take the three hour drive northeast from San Diego to find a completely different SoCal landscape. Joshua Tree National Park, a desert wilderness that’s a haven for birds, wildlife and unspoiled scenery, also features several campgrounds that accommodate RVs. Arrive early on Day Five to ensure you’ll find a campsite and then take off into the wilderness on a scenic drive, a nature hike or a photography safari. The ranger led tour of Keys Ranch gives a glimpse into California’s ranching history, and there’s nothing quite like camping in the peace and quiet of the desert.

Day Seven: Travel Day to Newport Beach

As you journey back to Newport Beach to return your RV rental, don’t miss the sights along the way. Palm Springs, fabled home to the rich and famous, is just outside Joshua Tree National Park. Down the road in Riverside, CA, challenge your fellow campers to complete the hike up Mt. Robidoux for an awesome view of the city. Continue another hour west on CA-91 and south on CA-55 to Newport Beach to complete your journey. 

Are you ready to spend a week soaking up the beauty and excitement of Southern California? Here’s a listing of excellent California campgrounds to help you plan. Hoping for a couple more days RV camping in SoCal? No worries! Our Happy Holidays RV Rental Special offers nine days’ RV rental for the price of seven during the month of December, so call us now to book your RV. See you in SoCal!

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