Phoenix to Fresno Road Trip Guide


Phoenix is the capital of Arizona and the perfect beginning point of your RV trip to Fresno, California. With over 1.6 million people living there, you know it has to be a special place. Founded in 1867, the city began as an agricultural area where the Gila and Salt Rivers met. Since then, it has become a bustling and beautiful place for everyone to enjoy with a diverse culture.

In the northeastern section of the Sonoran Desert, it stays warm all year long, so outdoor activities are enjoyed year-round. From hiking and biking to swimming and boating, Phoenix has plenty of recreational opportunities for people of all ages. Kids love visiting the zoo and parents love the 200 golf courses to play on.

Even though you can drive to Fresno in about nine hours, you did not get a motorhome to just drive from one point to another. You could fly to Fresno or drive a car if that is the case. Why not spend a few days enjoying some of the fun places along the way? You can start out by visiting some of the awesome places in Phoenix such as the South Mountain Park Preserve, Mystery Castle, or one of the three museums in the city before heading to your next adventure.

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Max RV length
Max trailer Length
Road trip length: 2-3 days
Recommend rig: motorhome
audience: family

Point of Interest

Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium, and Safari Park

Make your first stop Wildlife World in Litchfield Park, just 30 minutes from Phoenix. This huge park is a fantastic place for the family to see and interact with some wild animals. Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium, and Safari Park has something fun for everyone with 600 different species of both exotic and endangered animals. Go to the wild and wonderful show to see the penguins, sea horses, and sea lions, take a walk along the kangaroo walkabout, or ride the tram around and through the wildebeest, baboons, hyenas, and rhinos.

If you want to ride some rides, this park has that too. From the Soaring Eagle Zipline to the Vertigo Swing Ride and the Flying Scooter to the Log Flume. They even have a roller coaster right between the llamas and alpacas. When you get done doing that, ride the train or the boat near the wallaby and emu houses. You can also watch a sea lion show, feed the giraffes, or take the kiddos to the petting zoo.

Grab a bite to eat at one of the five restaurants at the park. The Mexican Café has burritos, nachos, and quesadillas, the Safari Grill and Congo Cooker have burgers and other meals on the go, and you can get snacks and candy at the SkyRide Café. If you want to sit down to dinner, try the famous barbecue at Dillon’s Restaurant. Don’t forget to stop and get some souvenirs and other unique gifts at one of the gift shops before you go.

Imperial Sand Dunes

If you are a fan of all-terrain vehicle (ATV) riding or just watching, check out the Imperial Sand Dunes in Brawley, California on your RV trip to Fresno. Even if you don’t care about ATVs at all, this is a fantastic place to visit with the family. This park, located in the southeastern corner of California, is the largest sand dune area in the state and the biggest ATV area in the country.

You can explore the dunes on foot or take a hike along one of the trails in the adjoining 26,000-acre North Algodones Wilderness Area. Along the eastern edge of the dunes, the New Coachella Canal offers some respite from the heat when the water is high. The lack of shade is an issue for some RVers, so make sure your awning is in good shape to keep you shaded from the So-Cal sun.

Midway Campground is one of many campgrounds around the dunes where you can park your rig for the night before heading on to your next adventure. However, it is first-come, first-served, so keep your options open to checking out the surrounding campgrounds as well. Some of these others include the Buttercup Campground, Cement Flats, and Glamis Flats.

Joshua Tree National Park

About 100 miles and 1.5 hours from the dunes, stop at Joshua Tree National Park in Twentynine Palms. The Joshua Tree is a unique type of tree that looks like it belongs in a Dr. Seuss book. These aren’t the only unique flora in the park, though. Take a look around and you can spot hundreds of different varieties of trees, flowers, and cacti dotting the desert.

If you enjoy hiking, there are 27 hikes in Joshua Tree National Park with 13 easy walks, six moderate trails, and eight difficult hikes. For a short trek with the family that will let you see some amazing views, try the quarter-mile Keys View Loop Path. You can also use some of the trails for bikes if you brought your bikes with you. Those under 16 must wear a helmet when riding and you should too, actually.

For those who like climbing, this park has plenty of opportunities for all skill levels. From easy bouldering you can do with the kids to extreme rock climbing that can be a challenge for even the most experienced. No matter which you choose, be safe and follow the rules and regulations set by the park. Stop at one of the picnic areas for a bite to eat before heading to your next destination.

Los Angeles

Another 131 miles and 2.5 hours to Los Angeles, there is so much to do and see while you are here, you will probably want to stay the night before heading on to your destination tomorrow. The city of angels is the second most populated city in the country, just second to New York City. This city has it all from mountains to oceans and deserts to forests.

While you are in town, you have to see the Hollywood Sign on Mount Lee. Be sure to get some pictures to share on your favorite social media sites. Take a walk on Hollywood Boulevard and check out the Hollywood Walk of Fame. If you have the time, stop in at Knott's Berry Farm, a 57-acre theme park with 40 rides including 10 roller coasters and two water rides. Or if you really want to enjoy some rides, take a trip to Disneyland in Anaheim. Then there is Six Flags Magic Mountain right in LA, which boasts 19 roller coasters and 45 rides.

When you are ready to relax, head to one of the parks in the area where you can camp and enjoy the peace and quiet of the woods after a long day of crowded cities and theme parks. You can reserve one of the 118 RV sites at Dockweiler Beach State Park where 84 are right on the coast. Known for being one of the best campgrounds in LA, they can handle rigs up to 40 feet with full hookups, showers, grills, and picnic tables at every site. Angeles National Forest, just 26 miles from LA, has three separate campgrounds. Los Alamos has 93 sites, Coldbrook has 22, and Manker has 21.


From Los Angeles, you are only going to have to drive another 266 miles and four hours to Fresno, where you can enjoy some of the sights before heading to your destination. Fresno, which means ash tree in Spanish, was established in early 1872 as a railroad station and was named for the ash trees lining the San Joaquin River.

Located in the San Joaquin Valley, it is the fifth most populated city in California and is almost in the middle of the state. After your awesome RV trip from Phoenix to Fresno, you may be ready to get out and get moving again. If you are still in the mood for amusement rides, head to the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, which has rides and a splash park for the kids. If you like the arts, check out the Fresno Art Museum or Artists Rep Theatre.

Choosing a place to stay while you are in Fresno is going to be difficult because there are so many great choices. Millerton Lake State Recreation Area has over 100 spacious spots that can fit RVs up to 36 feet in length. All sites have utilities and many spots are right on the lake. For more amenities and recreation, head to Visalia KOA where you can find almost 100 sites with utilities. The kids will love the game room, playground, pool, and the horseshoe pit. Relax and let the family enjoy Fresno before heading off on your next RV trip.

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