Sacramento, California is known for several things, including the nickname “America’s Most Diverse City”, given by Time Magazine. This beautiful coastal city is a popular place to go fishing, kayaking, swimming, and more, thanks to the over 23 miles of rivers in the area. Many people enjoy going to Sacramento for the amazing weather.
Nearly every day of the year is filled with sunshine and comfortable temperatures. When it does get hot in the summer, there is a cool Delta breeze that comes in from the coast. One thing that stands out about this city in California is all the farms and orchards in the area. You’ll get farm to table food just about anywhere you go in Sacramento.
Whether you’re in this beautiful city for a visit or you call it home, everyone loves a road trip to a new place they haven’t seen before. You can easily rent a camper van, pack it with snacks and everything else you’ll need for a Sacramento to the Grand Canyon National Park road trip! It’s a good idea to make stops along the way to get the most out of the trip. Here are a few options.
Right on the brink of the Grand Canyon is the Kaibab National Park. This place is an outdoor lover's paradise. You can put on some hiking boots and attempt to summit Kendrick Mountain, with an elevation of nearly 10,500 feet. This is also a stunning area to lay down a blanket or set up a table to enjoy a nice and relaxing picnic outside.
Just be sure to clean up after yourself to keep the area in shape for animals and future visitors. You can go fishing at the Kaibab National Forest and have a great time exploring the land along the way. If you do decide to camp here overnight, stargazing is a must! Due to the lack of pollution, you’ll see stars shine bright all over the sky as long as the sky is clear. A beautiful pit stop before the grand finale!
If the Chaffee Zoo wasn’t enough, let’s get acquainted with Bearizona Wildlife Park. This is an experience that you won’t be able to have in many other places in America. This is a wildlife park that offers a drive-thru experience. Imagine that! You won’t even have to leave the comfort of your rental camper van to be able to enjoy this park!
While you can get out and enjoy this place on two feet, it may be fun to take advantage of the drive-through option. As you drive around you’ll be able to see the wildlife of Arizona in their natural habitats. This includes buffalo, black bear, elk, and more. On the walk-through tour, you’ll be able to see bobcats being fed, catch an otter show, and more. There are also plenty of places to camp nearby if you need to get in some rest before hitting another national park!
As you continue your way to the iconic Grand Canyon National Park, you can swing by the Bonelli House in Kingman, Arizona. This place is quite impressive and may make you a little jealous. The entire house was built in 30 days in 1894. If that’s not shocking enough, George A. Bonelli, the owner of the house, paid only $40 for the land.
While today's housing market is quite different, it’s still a fun place to explore. Around 20 years after the house was first built, there was a fire that caused the family to lose almost everything. The things that weren’t destroyed in the fire can now be found in the museum. Visiting the Bonelli House will transport you back in time and you’ll be able to see what it was like to live during that time. It’s a unique and interesting stop along the route.
After a few days of exploring museums and a zoo, it’s time to immerse yourself in the great outdoors! The Mojave National Preserve is the perfect place to get away from social media and anything that may be causing you stress in your normal everyday life. There are a plethora of things that you can do during your visit. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can explore caves and hike all around deep canyons.
One of the things this national park is known for is having an extinct volcano that you can walk in and around! It’s over 6,000 years old and you won’t find anything like it anywhere else. Surrounded by wildlife that provides a natural soundscape, this is a beautiful place to stay for a night or two as well. You can camp at the preserve or one of the nearby campgrounds.
Another unique stop on this route is the Route 66 Mother Road Museum. This museum is completely run by passionate volunteers and is filled with amazing artifacts. You don’t need to be interested in cars to enjoy visiting the Route 66 Mother Road Museum. The exhibits tend to rotate, ensuring you’ll always see something new during your visit. If you want to check out what this museum has during your travels, you can check out the calendar on their website.
There are hundreds of photographs of old classic cars. You’ll even get the opportunity to see gas pumps, vehicles, and things from the early 1950s. After a long day at the museum, you’ll probably want to get a bite to eat and rest. No worries! Park your van at Kern River Campground to get in some rest before making your way to the next stop.
The next morning you can make your way towards the Kern County Museum. Located in Bakersfield, California, it is less than two hours south of Fresno. This museum is historic and focuses mostly on the history of Kern County. There is even a unique Pioneer Village that you can explore. Kern County Museum consists of 16 acres and you’ll find over 50 buildings that will immerse you in the late 19th century.
There are different collections and exhibits that you can see as well. If you’re a proper history buff, you’ll enjoy this pit stop on your way to the Grand Canyon. The museum is open six days a week from the late morning until the early evening. It’s a beautiful place to stretch your legs and get a break from staring at the road for hours on end.
About 170 miles away from Sacramento, you’ll be able to visit the Fresno Chaffee Zoo for an afternoon that will make you feel like a kid again! The zoo is located in Poeding Park and consists of nearly 40-acres of land. There are plenty of different animals to spend the day with - 190 species of them to be exact. Like many other zoos, Chaffee Zoo has a number of entertaining attractions including Stringray Bay, Sea Lion Cove, African Adventure and more.
There are daily events that include a bird show and live chats with a zookeeper. If you’re an animal lover, this place should definitely be on your road trip list! Not only is there a shop for you to pick up something to remember your trip by, but there’s also a coffee shop and dining area as well. Park the van at the Fort Washington Beach Campground before continuing your trip.
Without leaving the city, you can visit the iconic Old Sacramento Waterfront District. There you will find over 125 different places to shop, eat, drink, and be entertained. A large part of the Old Sacramento Waterfront District is the Old Sacramento State Historic Park where you can find a peaceful place to get away from the business of the bustling city. There are banquet spaces, theaters, shooting ranges, psychics, and more in this area.
You can shop for clothes, knick-knacks, gifts, jewelry, and anything else your heart desires. There are also multiple museums in the area for you to explore. You can’t go wrong with taking a boat ride onto the water to get a stunning view of the city. You can even check out Aftershock Festival if you’re planning your trip during October.
You’ve made it to the Grand Canyon National Park. Here you will be able to gaze at one of the most breathtaking sights in the world. You can go hiking through the deep canyons, watch the wildlife, or take photos to share with your loved ones. It’s well worth it to park the van for a night or two and enjoy reaching this beautiful destination.