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5-Day Off Road Camper Van Round Trip Through California and Nevada

All true travelers know the hidden gems and secret beauty of a place are found the farther away you get from the crowds. Nature really comes alive in the places undisturbed by man, when one can hear the melodic sounds of crickets chirping, wolves howling, birds singing, desert sand blowing and waves lapping on the shoreline. So, say goodbye to the overcrowded campgrounds and explore the farthest corners of California’s national park with one of roadsurfer’s compact RV camper vans. We have created a 5-day off road camper van trip route that explores the beautiful scenery of Big Bear Lake, Joshua Tree, Mojave Desert, and more. You will be rewarded with the feeling of freedom and having the parks all to yourself!

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off road camper van

© roadsurfer GmbH / Kim Raaf

roadsurfer’s Compact Size Allows You to Go Further Than Before

Rent your roadsurfer camper van at our Los Angeles station, conveniently located next to the freeway, and head east for the off road camper van trip of your lifetime! We have selected an awesome mix of nature for you on this 5-day road trip. You’ll see stunning lakes, hike around some of the most unique trees in the world, try your luck in Vegas, and float on Lake Mead. Most of the recommended campsites are dispersed camping so you can truly enjoy peace and quiet, but please inform yourself of the local rules and regulations beforehand.

Day 1: L.A.- Big Bear Lake (Drive time – 2.5 hours)

  • Support the rehabilitation of wild animals at the Big Bear Alpine Zoo, a fun stop for the whole family. Here you can see animals you wouldn’t want to meet in nature: grizzly bears, black bears, mountain lions, wolves, flying squirrels, and more.
  • Have a fun beach day at Big Bear Lake. With over 22 miles of shoreline, you have endless opportunities to rent kayaks, jet skis, boats, go swimming, or even parasailing.
  • Hike Castle Rock Trail. It is a steep 1.3-mile hike, but if you’re up for the challenge, the view will be well worth the reward.
  • Cycle the 5-mile shoreline Alpine Pedal Path Trail. A flat path with stunning views, good for biking or walking, and stroller-friendly.

Campground: Serrano Campground

Day 2: Joshua Tree National Park (Drive time – 1.5 hours)

  • At the Joshua Tree Visitors Center, you can find the perfect hiking, biking, rock climbing, or horseback riding trail for you.
  • Stroll along the Cholla Cactus Garden trail and view the densely concentrated cholla cacti.
  • Hike Ryan Mountain, a 3- mile trail that summits the 1,000-foot mountain, that conveniently begins at your campsite.
  • Key’s View provides gorgeous panoramic views of the Coachella Valley and is well worth the 20-minute drive.
  • Ascend almost 9,000 feet on the Palm Springs Aerial Tram. You can enjoy restaurants, observation decks, a history museum, and lots of hiking trails at the summit.
  • Go stargazing! Thanks to the remote desert location, you can see millions of stars and the stunning Milky Way in the clear night sky. Make sure to wear some warm clothes.

Campground: Ryan Campground

Day 3: Mojave National Preserve (Drive time – 1 hour)

  • Start your day hiking up the 600 feet of sand at the famous Kelso Dunes. The sand dune peaks will offer you solitude and a gorgeous view of the Mojave Desert.
  • Go underground and explore the beautiful Mitchell Caverns, a diverse habitat full of limestone cave formations.
  • Visit the world’s tallest thermometer. A California landmark that commemorates the weather record of 134 °F recorded in nearby Death Valley in 1913.
  • Hike the Caruthers Trail, a three-mile one way through one of the Mojave’s most botanically diverse areas. Pack lots of water!

Campground: Sunrise Rock

Day 4: Lake Mead National Recreation Area (Drive time – 1.5 hours)

  • Take a tour of the Hoover Dam, you’ll be seriously impressed when you look down more than 730 feet at the 2nd largest dam in the world.
  • Cool off with a dip in Lake Mead. You can swim, rent a boat, canoe, kayak, and more.
  • Visit the Seven Magic Mountains, an art installation located in the middle of the desert.

Campground: Crawdad Cove (Road #90)

Day 5: Las Vegas (Drive time – 40 mins)

  • See where it all began at Fremont Street in Old Las Vegas. You’ll be amazed by the street performers, neon lights, and a 1,400-foot-long Viva Vision LED screen above your head. You’ll have to see it to believe it.
  • Try your luck gambling at poker, blackjack, or roulette at any of the world-famous Las Vegas casinos.
  • Enjoy the free entertainment on the Las Vegas Strip. Watch the water show at the Bellagio, see a volcano erupt outside the Mirage, and pop into the M&M and Coca-Cola Stores.
off road camper van trip

© roadsurfer GmbH / Kim Raaf

Get up close and personal with nature on these backcountry roads. California has many cool destinations that can be explored. The state alone has 9 national parks, three deserts, and two mountain ranges, and thanks to its popularity and beauty, dispersed camping is allowed in many places.

roadsurfer’s convenient and practical-sized RVs mean you won’t be inconvenienced on your travels. Our RV camper vans are spacious enough to cook, sleep, relax and dine in, yet compact enough to drive them to more difficult-to-reach locations. Taking a more “off-road” approach means you don’t have to limit yourself when planning for an epic camper adventure.

Start your roadsurfer off road camper van adventure today!

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