While the glittering lights and entertainment in Las Vegas can be intoxicating, there is much to be discovered beyond The Strip. After catching a show and lounging by your hotel pool, load up your car and head to the Springs Preserve for a whirlwind primer on area history, geology and critters. A hidden gem, this 180-acre nature preserve features indoor interactive exhibits on living sustainably in the desert, the humble beginnings of Sin City and the habits of its ancient and modern inhabitants.
From there, head to Death Valley National Park. Then drive north through what’s known as “the other side of California,” a startlingly beautiful high desert with sparsely populated towns full of character. Enter Yosemite through the East Entrance, taking Tioga Road past alpine meadows before dropping into Yosemite Valley. On your return route to Vegas, exit the park through the South Entrance and visit Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks.
Just outside of Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks lies Tulare County. It's one of the most productive agriculture areas in the world, making it a great place to do agri-tours, dine at restaurants serving locally produced food and see the dazzling murals in Exeter. Learn more in the itinerary to follow.
Road Trip Itinerary
Start: Las Vegas, Nevada
Before you head for Yosemite, visit Las Vegas' 180-acre utopia, Springs Preserve, that features museums, art galleries, animal exhibits, live show, and botanical gardens.
Death Valley National Park
The largest national park in the contiguous United States, Death Valley National Park is just 142 miles from Las Vegas. From the lowest elevation in the Western Hemisphere at Badwater, to the top of Telescope Peak, this park enfolds an incredible variety of landscapes.
3 Sights to See in Inyo County, the Land of Extremes
Inyo County claims the highest and lowest points in the lower 48. Stop at a WWII internment camp, read tales of local mountaineer, and see restored trains.
Bishop's Big Backyard on the Other Side of Yosemite
On the Eastern Sierra between Yosemite and Death Valley, walk among ancient trees, go trout fishing, and relax in a small town with down-to-earth people.
Try Your Luck and Fuel Up at Paiute Palace Casino
Test fate at the slots, poker, and more. Not a gambler? Fill your tank at the lowest-priced gas pumps in Bishop before you head to Yosemite.
Yosemite National Park
Enter Yosemite at its east entrance on Tioga Road. On your drive over this iconic park road, make these 3 pitstops before getting to Yosemite Valley. After exploring the waterfalls in Yosemite Valley, drive to Glacier Point for a high view of Half Dome, then head south to see the giant trees at the Mariposa Sequoia Grove, reopening spring 2018.
Download the Yosemite Driving Tour App
Feel like you're touring with a local in your car. The GyPSy Guide app uses your phone or tablet's location to play commentary about Yosemite attractions such as Half Dome and Tunnel View as you drive.
Take a Private Tour of Yosemite
Go on one of four classic tours, or go stargazing, fly fishing, or hiking with an expert guide from Yosemite Family Adventures.
Home in the Park
Who knew you could retreat to a house, cabin or condo in the heart of Yosemite National Park? Choose from over 100 properties in three locations at Yosemite's Scenic Wonders Vacation Rentals.
Pool Time at Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino
If spending time outdoors has you dreaming of swimming pools, a massage and a clean hotel room, consider getting pampered for a night or two at Yosemite's south entrance.
Two More National Parks
The Majestic Mountain Loop Stops at Three National Parks
If the only national park you visit in California is Yosemite, you'll miss seeing the world's largest living tree and Boyden Cave. Only have three days for your entire vacation? Start the Majestic Mountain Loop in Fresno.
Fields of Dreams Border Sequoia and Kings Canyon
Discover more than the biggest trees and the tallest mountains. Find out how the areas nestled against Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks feed the world.
Strange Formations are Rockin' Ridgecrest
In the heart of the Mojave Desert, you’ll find a far-out desert scene where a military base protecting ancient drawings and a living ghost town collide.