San Diego to Las Vegas Road Trip Guide


A road trip from Southern California's San Diego, north and east to the adult playground of Las Vegas, Nevada, makes an excellent weekend RV road trip for couples who want to take in the vast, stark and beautiful desert landscape en route and enjoy some unique play and wilderness exploration opportunities.

The trip is just over 300 miles long. You will depart from San Diego, heading north on Route 163 to Interstate 15, then just keep heading northeast to “Sin City”!

San Diego has plenty to see and do with attractions like SeaWorld, and the San Diego Zoo, beautiful parks, nearby beaches, and an exciting waterfront district. Enjoy entertainment, fine dining, and shopping in San Diego before you venture out into the desert wilderness as you head north through California and east to Nevada. Enjoy amazing desert wilderness areas from the comfort of your climate-controlled vehicle. You will pass through national wilderness areas including the Mojave National Preserve, Angeles National Forest, and the San Bernardino National Forest, where you can enjoy hiking, camping, and wildlife watching. Once you arrive in Las Vegas, the wilderness exploration can continue at nearby Red Rock Canyon National Preserve, and you are in close proximity to all the wonderful attractions of Las Vegas.

Southern California and Las Vegas are high traffic areas, as is the San Bernardino area, and you might want to choose a smaller camper van or RV so that negotiating urban traffic is less of a chore. Also, smaller RVs are more easily accommodated at the national and state parks along the way. Ensure your vehicle is prepared for extreme temperatures, as the trip between San Diego and Las Vegas will take you through desert terrain and very hot climate conditions.

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Max RV length
Max trailer Length
Road trip length: 2-3 days
Recommend rig: van
audience: couple

Point of Interest

Race Car Driving

While many people enjoy the shopping, casinos, and entertainment available in Las Vegas, there are also some unique activities you won't find readily available anywhere else. Ever wanted to drive a high-performance race car? You can fulfill your supercar driving fantasies at Exotics Racing, the Las Vegas track located just north of the city features seven hair raising turns and an 1800 foot straight away.

You can arrange a turn behind the wheel of some of the world's most exotic cars. Drive a Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche Audi or even an Aston Martin at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, with the coaching of a professional race driving instruction. There are over 50 exotic cars and 20 race cars available to drive. The more cautious can also arrange ride alongs, or you can try racing go-karts on a special track.

The supercar driving experiences are available Tuesday to Sundays, and you should make reservations online or by phone prior to your arrival. This is a truly unique, once in a lifetime experience!

Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area

Heading towards Las Vegas, you will pass through the city of San Bernardino. Just north of the city, you enter the fabulous natural wilderness areas of two national forests. The area includes the Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area, which can be reached with a short jaunt east of Interstate 15, just north of San Bernardino on Route 138.

The campground here provides an excellent overnight stop, or just a great place to enjoy hiking, fishing, boating, and swimming on the blue waters of Silverwood Lake. The Mesa Campground on the south shores of the lake provides 26 RV camping sites with full hookups for RV campers. The campsites are appropriate for moderately sized or small RVs and connect to hiking trails and swimming and boating areas.

A local marina provides watercraft rentals so you can get out on the water and enjoy watersports and fishing activities. Reserve your spot as this campground fills up early. Online reservations and information can be found at Silverwood State Recreation Area Information and Reservations. In the distance, you will see snow-capped mountains, and from the hiking trail that runs around the lake, you will have the opportunity to spot local wildlife.

You can even arrange for a Bald Eagle Barge Tour between January and March on Saturdays. Venture out on the lake to view rare water birds like blue herons and snowy egrets, and spy bald eagles, red tailed hawks, osprey and Cooper’s hawks in the trees along the shore. Reservations for the barge tours are highly recommended to ensure a spot.

Balboa Park

Start your road trip by visiting Balboa Park, a 1200 acre, “cultural oasis”, centrally located in San Diego, centrally located, just west of the San Diego Zoo. The park contains 17 museums and delightful gardens as well as the zoo, and is a short distance from the amenities of San Diego's downtown area. Check out the website at Balboa Park for events and programs taking place at the park during your stay.

The park features live performances including dramas, comedies, and musical and dance performances, on 10 indoor and outdoor stages. You don't have to worry about being rained out of open-air shows; San Diego boasts warm, sunny conditions throughout the year, with little inclement weather. This historic park was established 150 years ago and not only features beautiful scenery in the heart of the urban center, but many exciting attractions and activities. Enjoy the carousel or miniature train, or just kick back under the shade of a centuries-old tree and enjoy the gardens, blooms, and butterflies which are plentiful at the park.


When you arrive in Las Vegas, the entertainment is just beginning. Take in world-class shows, visit casinos, enjoy fine dining, tour museums, take in a round of golf, and hit the shops. Drive or stroll down “The Strip” at night to view the glittering lights and neon signs. Relax poolside and soak in the desert sun at local hotels and resorts, ride on thrilling roller coasters, and view numerous attractions at local casinos. There is no end to all the activities in Las Vegas with attractions being open 24 hours a day!

RVers can camp just west of the city at the Red Rock Canyon National Forest and the campground here, just east of Las Vegas. Reservations are recommended and available at Red Rock Canyon National Forest. The campground puts you within a 20-mile drive of “The Strip”. After a long day of urban play in Las Vegas, relax at the campground, and enjoy activities like hiking, rock climbing, and cycling in the peaceful Mojave Desert terrain.

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