Planning Guide

How to Plan a Road Trip from Las Vegas to San Francisco

Welcome to USAPlanning a road trip from Las Vegas to San Francisco be prepared to spend minimum nine hours on the road and drive more than 550 miles. You can choose among several routes depending on the season when you plan to have a road trip. If you are planning a trip in winter you had better avoid the northern route as the roads can be very dangerous and sometimes even may be closed. Another consideration that may impact your choice of the route is whether you are working within a strict time frame or not. Because of picturesque scenery and thrilling attractions you will encounter on your way it may be worth taking the most scenic route and even making some side trips that are a bit off the beaten path. 

Items you will need:

U.S. Road Trip Map or GPS

Step 1

The first thing you should do to choose the route that suits you most is to figure out how much time you plan to spend on the road. If you don’t have much free time or are going to travel during the winter months, consider taking the most direct southern route, following Interstate 15 west and I-5 north. You will be traveling on interstates all trip long. The northern route is the most picturesque, offering gorgeous views with fabulous mountainous terrain and is preferable to be driven during the warmer months as some roads may be closed in winter. This scenic route follows U.S. Highway 95 north, California Highway 120 west and several smaller roads till it reaches I-580 west.

Step 2 

Find out what attractions you can see on your way and build a travel itinerary. Plan a route with stops for the sights you wish to visit and decide how far you want to go off the direct course. Another factor you should take into account is how long you plan to stay at each attraction or area. There are several attractions near each of the routes. In order to see the Mojave Desert you will have to take the southern road and to see jaw-dropping Mono Lake you will choose the northern route. Yosemite is also not far from the northern route and is worth taking a short side trip to enjoy the unique divine nature found only there.

Step 3

Book hotel rooms in advance, especially if you are traveling during peak vacation times. If you opt for the northern road, it would be a wise idea to plan ahead as you will come across small towns with few motels on your way.

Step 4

To organize your road trip you may create free accounts on sites such as TripIt or Road Trippers. By doing this you will be able to keep an eye on both your mileage and hotel reservations.