Janet Lam-Graham

West coast USA road trip itinerary

A classic American road trip starting in Los Angeles. Driving on the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH or California State Route 1), camping among the redwood trees in the coastal state parks.

Reaching as far north as the Wine Country and from there going across to Sacramento. Then travelling down to Death Valley to spend a few days camping and hiking, and taking a detour to the bright lights of Las Vegas.

Eventually returning to Los Angeles, stopping off at a ghost town on your way there.

At a glance

You’ll drive just over 2000 miles if you use this itinerary.

Days 1 to 3Los Angeles
Days 4 to 10Coastal state parks
Days 11 to 14San Francisco
Days 15 to 16Wine country, Sacramento and down San Joaquin Valley
Days 17 to 19Death Valley
Days 20 to 22Las Vegas
Days 23 to 24Calico Ghost town
Day 25Orange County
Day 26Los Angeles

Getting there and around

Book a seat on the no-frills Norwegian airline for an affordable long haul flight option to Los Angeles. Food and drinks onboard are an extra cost so consider brining your own packed meal, bottled water and snacks and/or eat a meal at the airport before your flight.

Transport + accommodation = mini RV

To make the most of being outdoors and to save a bit more money, combine your mode of transport and your accommodation: hire a custom built mini RV for your American road trip adventure. We used Juicy Rentals which offer mini van people carriers that have been converted to little camper vans.


The the back seats of the Juicy mini RVs can be converted to a double bed and an internal table, with storage space under the benches. If you need extra sleeping space then choose the Juicy Trailblazer minivan which has a ‘penthouse bed’ for two people on top of the car and can be accessed by a pull out ladder. At the back of the vehicle there’s a sink, tap, drain, water tanks, plus a draw fridge (powered by the car battery) and two gas stoves (one integrated and another portable). You can also hire extras on your trip like pots, pans, cutlery, utensils, plus bedding and towels.


Just be aware these vehicles are not your standard RVs, they don’t enable electric and water hook-ups and it won’t be accepted to camp at some RV parks. The good news is that they are much more manageable compared to the mammoth sized RVs. There are plenty of state and national parks you can camp at and sites are lower cost (as they don’t require the water and electric hook-ups).