Memorial Day weekend is a great chance to get away from the everyday busy life and go on a quick adventure not too far from San Diego. Whether you’re used to traveling in an RV or just giving it a try, these top 11 spots are perfect for seeing beautiful nature, having fun with the family, and finding all the comforts for a nice and unforgettable journey.

Key Takeaways

  • Explore Close to Home: All destinations are within a comfortable driving distance for a long weekend trip.
  • Diverse Attractions: From beaches to forests, there’s something for everyone.
  • Family-Friendly: Each location has RV parks that cater to families, ensuring a fun and safe environment for all ages.

Julian, CAJulian, CA

Distance from San Diego: Approximately 60 miles

Nestled in the Cuyamaca mountains, Julian is renowned for its historic gold mining past and its current charm filled with apple orchards and homemade pies. Visitors can enjoy a stroll through the quaint downtown, visit the Julian Pioneer Museum, or take a guided tour in the old mines.

Local RV Parks: Stagecoach Trails RV Resort and Pinezanita RV Park & Campgrounds offer full hookups and family-oriented amenities.

Drive Description: The drive to Julian provides scenic mountain views and, depending on the season, a display of wildflowers or autumn leaves.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National ParksSequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Distance from San Diego: About 360 miles

These twin parks are famous for their giant sequoia trees, including the world-renowned General Sherman Tree. Families can explore over 800 miles of hiking trails, participate in ranger-led programs, or simply enjoy the awe-inspiring views of the vast wilderness.

Local RV Parks: Sequoia RV Ranch and Kings Canyon RV Park provide great access to the parks along with necessary amenities.

Drive Description: The route to these parks takes you through the agricultural heartland of California, with opportunities to stop at local farm stands or enjoy panoramic views of the Sierra Nevada.

View looking down on the pier in Santa Barbara, CASanta Barbara, CA

Distance from San Diego: Roughly 220 miles

Santa Barbara offers a blend of cultural history, relaxing beaches, and picturesque city views. Families can visit the Santa Barbara Zoo, explore the interactive MOXI Museum, or relax at East Beach.

Local RV Parks: Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort and Ocean Mesa RV Park are popular for their amenities and proximity to local attractions.

Drive Description: The drive along the Pacific Coast Highway to Santa Barbara is filled with breathtaking coastal views and several spots perfect for a quick stop and enjoy the ocean breeze.

Dragon sculpture in Anza-Borrego State ParkAnza-Borrego State Park

Distance from San Diego: About 85 miles

Anza-Borrego, California’s largest state park, offers a spectacular display of natural desert beauty, with its vast landscapes featuring wildflowers, cacti, and rugged badlands. Visitors can explore miles of hiking trails, visit the informative visitor center, or partake in a guided Jeep tour to learn more about the desert ecosystem.

Local RV Parks: Borrego Palm Canyon Campground and Leapin’ Lizard RV Ranch are well-equipped for RVs and provide a base to experience the serenity of the desert.

Drive Description: The drive to Anza-Borrego passes through mountainous roads with expansive views of the desert below, making for an impressive approach to the park.

Lake Arrowhead, CALake Arrowhead, CA

Distance from San Diego: Approximately 115 miles

Lake Arrowhead offers a cooler climate and picturesque mountain scenery, ideal for families looking to escape the city heat. Popular activities include boat tours on Lake Arrowhead, hiking in the surrounding forests, and exploring the charming Lake Arrowhead Village.

Local RV Parks: Dogwood Campground and North Shore Campground provide a cozy retreat within nature, complete with modern amenities.

Drive Description: As you ascend into the San Bernardino Mountains, the route offers stunning vistas and occasionally, sightings of wildlife such as deer or bald eagles.

RV in Joshua Tree National ParkJoshua Tree National Park

Distance from San Diego: Around 160 miles

Joshua Tree is a magical place where the Mojave and Colorado deserts converge, famous for its fascinating rock formations and the iconic Joshua trees. Families can enjoy climbing, star gazing, or hiking through scenic trails like Hidden Valley.

Local RV Parks: Joshua Tree Lake RV & Campground and Black Rock Canyon Campground are favorites, offering good facilities and close proximity to the park’s main attractions.

Drive Description: The route to Joshua Tree travels through eclectic desert towns and past roadside attractions, adding a unique flair to the road trip experience.

Big Sure CABig Sur, CA

Distance from San Diego: About 450 miles

Big Sur offers one of the most iconic stretches of the California coast, known for its dramatic cliffs, redwood forests, and breathtaking ocean views. Families can explore the famous McWay Falls, hike the trails in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, or simply relax and take in the stunning coastal scenery.

Local RV Parks: Big Sur Campground & Cabins and Riverside Campground & Cabins offer family-friendly accommodations close to nature.

Drive Description: The drive along Highway 1 to Big Sur is renowned for its scenic beauty, with numerous viewpoints and photo opportunities along the Pacific Coast.

Palm Springs city signPalm Springs, CA

Distance from San Diego: Roughly 140 miles Palm Springs is a desert resort city with a fun mix of relaxation and adventure. Families can enjoy the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, explore the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, or tour the numerous art galleries.

Local RV Parks: Emerald Desert RV Resort and Palm Springs RV Resort provide luxury amenities in a picturesque setting.

Drive Description: The route through the desert features historic sites and panoramic views of the Coachella Valley.

Laguna Beach, CALaguna Beach, CA

Distance from San Diego: About 80 miles

Laguna Beach is famous for its vibrant arts community, beautiful beaches, and marine life preserves. Families can visit the Laguna Art Museum, explore tide pools at Crystal Cove State Park, or enjoy a day at the beach.

Local RV Parks: Crystal Cove State Park Moro Campground and Laguna Beach RV Resort offer great locations with easy access to the beach and local attractions.

Drive Description: Coastal drive with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and opportunities to stop at various beaches and coastal parks.

Yosemite National Park Yosemite National Park

Distance from San Diego: Approximately 390 miles

Yosemite National Park is renowned for its majestic waterfalls, towering cliffs, and giant sequoias. Families can enjoy sights like Yosemite Falls, the Half Dome, and El Capitan.

Local RV Parks: Yosemite Lakes RV Resort and Yosemite Pines RV Resort offer full amenities and close proximity to the park entrances.

Drive Description: The drive offers spectacular views of the Sierra Nevada and passes through historic Gold Rush towns.

San Luis Obispo valleySan Luis Obispo

Distance from San Diego: About 315 miles San Luis Obispo is a charming city with a relaxed pace, featuring a blend of natural beauty and cultural sites. Families can explore the historic Mission San Luis Obispo, enjoy local wineries, or visit the nearby beaches.

Local RV Parks: Avila/Pismo Beach KOA and El Chorro Regional Park Campground are popular choices for their scenic settings and family-friendly facilities.

Drive Description: The drive north on Highway 101 passes through diverse landscapes, including rolling hills and coastal views.


San Diego is a great starting point for an amazing Memorial Day weekend RV trip. You can easily reach beautiful forests, charming coastal towns, and quiet desert views, all just a short drive away. No matter what you like, there’s a spot nearby that’s just right. Each place offers its own cool attractions and activities to make your long weekend fun and unforgettable. Remember to book your RV sites soon, though, because they fill up fast during holiday weekends!


What are the best RV parks for families in these areas?

  • Julian, CA: Pinezanita RV Park & Campgrounds
  • Sequoia and Kings Canyon: Sequoia RV Ranch
  • Big Sur: Big Sur Campground & Cabins
  • Yosemite National Park: Yosemite Lakes RV Resort
  • Laguna Beach: Crystal Cove State Park Moro Campground

Are there any pet-friendly RV sites in these areas?

  • Many RV parks welcome pets, but it’s always best to check their specific pet policies. Parks like Joshua Tree Lake RV & Campground and Emerald Desert RV Resort are known for being pet-friendly.

Tips for first-time RV travelers during Memorial Day weekend?

  • Plan Ahead: Book your campsite well in advance.
  • Check RV Requirements: Ensure your RV is in good condition and you have all necessary supplies.
  • Arrive Early: Aim to arrive at your destination early to set up and avoid traffic.
  • Explore Locally: Use local resources and staff recommendations to find hidden gems.

Are there specific RV driving tips for first-timers?

  • Practice Driving: Spend time practicing driving and parking the RV before your trip.
  • Understand Your Vehicle: Know the height and weight of your RV to navigate roads and bridges safely.
  • Plan Your Route: Avoid narrow roads and low-clearance bridges by planning your route in advance.
  • Rest Often: Take frequent breaks to avoid fatigue, especially on longer drives.

What should I pack for an RV trip?

  • Essentials: Include navigation tools, first aid kit, flashlights, batteries, matches, and cooking supplies.
  • Clothing: Pack for all weather conditions, especially if you’re visiting areas with varying climates like the mountains or the desert.
  • Food and Water: Bring plenty of drinking water and easy-to-prepare meals.
  • Entertainment: Games, books, and outdoor equipment like hiking gear or bikes can enhance your trip.