Riverside to Waco Road Trip Guide


Riverside, CA, is a place of many firsts, so when you are there, make sure you check out all the places that are iconic and legendary in their own right. Check out California’s first polo field and golf course. Riverside also established California’s citrus industry and built an empire around it, so missing out on its rich history would be a shame.

While a suburb of Los Angeles, CA, Riverside is famously known as the Inland Empire. Enjoy your time in Riverside by enjoying outdoor parks such as California Citrus State Historic Park, Castle Park, UC Riverside Botanic Gardens, Riverside Art Museum, and the dreamy Mount Rubidoux Park.

Head east from Riverside and get on highway 60 to take the most scenic route to Waco. Along the way, you’ll get many roadside attractions that will make this trip an unforgettable memory in your mind.

Your last stop, Waco, TX, will make you feel a little turned around at first, but only because it has so much to offer and so many attractions that you’ll have a hard time cramming it all into your days. We suggest staying at Waco for a good whole week to make the best of it. Enjoy mountain biking, hiking, shopping, and the various tours in this historically rich city.

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Max RV length
Max trailer Length
Road trip length: 7+ days
Recommend rig: motorhome
audience: friends

Point of Interest


Your last stop before you reach your destination and put this RV road trip to an end has to be a small-town-like city that will make you feel at home at once. Goldthwaite in Central Texas is one of those quaint cities that are small yet full of life. Nestled in the scenic hill country, they host their own popular music festivals, offer great food, and preserve their rich history for every passerby to appreciate.

This small city was established in 1885 and has a population of about 1900. This is the kind of town where everyone knows everyone and you’ll be welcomed with open arms and friendly smiles. The city sparkles even brighter with magic in the air during the holiday seasons. If your spontaneous RV trip has been planned just in time for the holidays, we suggest spending it here and making unforgettable memories.

Fort McKavett State Historic Site

Fort McKavett State Historic Site is a 150-year-old structure located in West Texas and lies on top of a remote, windswept hill. The fort was established in 1852 by the U.S. Army. However, the army vacated the fort by 1860 and left it abandoned and empty. In 1868, when the Indian Wars began, the fort was reclaimed and four African American Regiments were stationed here, including Sgt. Emmanuel Stance, the first Buffalo Soldier to win the Medal of Honor.

After realizing its historical significance, the state restored Fort McKavett, and now it is considered one of the most accurately preserved examples of a Texas Indian Wars military post. You can park your RV in the open parking space and take a tour through the vistas to not just learn but feel the history of West Texas as you listen to the real stories of the army and gaze upon the exact place where they stood, slept, and fought a century ago.

Balmorhea State Park

Flanked by Odessa and El Paso, Balmorhea State Park rests proudly as an oasis within a desert landscape. This jewel in the desert is the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool. The blue crystal water seems even more star-like by the fact that it is surrounded by nothing but desert terrain. This stop feels even more heavenly during the summers when you get a chance to nose-dive into the clear water in the sweltering Texas heat.

San Solomon Springs feeds this pool with more than 15 million gallons of water daily. It is one of the most perfect swimming spots in Texas where you can swim, tread water, scuba dive, or just float and gaze upon the forest trees shading you.

The state park permits camping in one of its 34 campsites. and you can spend the night here in this oasis before continuing on with the last few stops on your RV road trip.

Franklin Mountains State Park

Leaving Tucson, rested and fed, drive for a four-hour stretch across the far west Texas landscape and along the border of El Paso, TX, until you cross paths with the legendary Franklin Mountains State Park. The reason we call it legendary is that this is the largest state park in an urban surrounding, looming high above the city of El Paso.

The state park is also historically significant because once upon a time, many years ago, the Franklin Mountains provided all the vital resources for good living for early native people of the land. Now, RV road trippers from all over the states seek this park as a chance to escape all the modern facilities and get closer to nature.

The high-desert terrain is excellent for hiking and you can leave your RVs at the parking space or at a campsite and give those stiff leg muscles a little bit of a workout. The state park includes 125 miles of multi-use trails including mountain biking, hiking, and horseback riding.

Presidio Historic District

After your zoo adventure, drive on for two hours and take another break at Tucson. The city is known for its dramatic beauty and also recognized for its rich history at the El Presidio Historic District. The notable Tucson Presidio District is home to the very site where the City of Tucson was first established as a Spanish military fort in 1775.

You can spend a whole day here, roaming, relaxing and even picnicking out of your RV in El Presidio Park. Expand your aesthetic appreciation by visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and learn more about Arizona’s history in Arizona Historical Society Downtown Museum.

Satisfy your hunger pangs at the El Charro Café, which doesn’t only serve deliciousness but is also “the nation’s oldest Mexican Restaurant.” The café serves the most authentic Northern Mexico-Sonoran and Tucson style cuisines. When you are full to the brim, stroll the district so you do not miss out on any of the Spanish-Mexican, Anglo-American and Eclectic architectural styles adobe and brick buildings.

Phoenix Zoo

Phoenix Zoo isn’t your regular zoo, which is why you must stop here regardless if you are with the kids or not. While the zoo has been voted as one of the top five zoos for kids in the USA, it carries much more sophistication and insight into the animal kingdom to keep the adults interested as well.

The feature that makes this zoo stand out is its conservation of fauna that is native to desert biomes. These desert animals belong to the Southwestern United States and are native here.

Phoenix Zoo is also popular for its ZooLights and is considered one of the best-known holiday-light displays in Arizona. The entire zoo lights up as hundreds of displays sparkle and glitter with a plethora of colorful lights. The theme of these lights varies every year and if you are so lucky to make this trip around the same time, you can witness its greatness for yourself.

Walnut Canyon National Monument

You have a long road trip ahead of you and after exploring Riverside and camping at Palm Springs, make up the time and drive for a better part of the day to make it to Walnut Canyon National Monument in Flagstaff, AZ.

However, all those hours of driving will feel like nothing compared to the sight that will unfold before you in the thickly forested area southeast of Flagstaff. Walnut Canyon came into being as a result of the seasonal stream called Walnut Creek.

This small creek flows east and its insistent drifts engraved a 600-foot deep canyon. This creek continues onwards, to eventually join the Little Colorado River on its way to the Grand Canyon. This canyon is old, and within it used to live an ancient civilization, the signs of which can still be seen. You can visit the actual pueblos at this site.

Palm Springs

An hour after you exit Riverside, you’ll find yourself at the much-beloved city of Palm Springs, CA. Popular amongst vacationers, the best thing about this city is that it hosts everyone. From uber-rich celebrities to adventure-seeking RV road trippers, everyone finds something to enjoy in this beautiful community.

One of the highlights of this city is its scenic beauty and the sense of adventure it comes with. Bordered by four striking mountains, it is an oasis with natural hot mineral springs, world-class spas, and exceptional dining experiences. If you wish to pamper yourself before embarking further on the high-desert terrain then Palm Springs is the place.

Popular attractions in the city, which are also RV friendly include Indian Canyons, Mount San Jacinto, and Moorten Botanical Garden. If you seek adventures that include jeeps and Humvees, bicycle and off-road vehicles, hiking across scenic trails, and ending the day with stargazing, then this is the stop you must not miss.


Waco is a vivacious and lively city with much excitement to lift up your spirit and keep you smiling for days! This city is for anyone who is a fan of farmhouse-style aesthetics. Make your way down to the extremely popular and much-loved Magnolia Market, fill your bags at the antique shop, and rejoice when you find some good local finds at a good price.

Once you’re done shopping and collecting a bunch of memorabilia from your trip, learn about the culture and history of the city by strolling through the historic district right alongside the enormous Brazos River, or admire the Waco Mammoth National Monument and the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame & Museum. When you feel all famished after all the touristy stuff, beeline for the food trucks for the most delicious treats in the city.

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