The Best Western U.S. Road Trips for Your Next Camper Van Adventure


If you’ve been dreaming of #vanlife adventures, you’re not alone. There’s truly nothing better than leaving your troubles behind and hitting the open road in a custom camper van. Whether you’re new to the world of vans or a long-time road warrior, discovering new road trip ideas can be a huge source of inspiration.

We’ve created this list of the very best U.S. road trip ideas for the western U.S. to help you get out and explore the far corners of our beautiful country in your custom camper van. We have compiled road trip ideas for every season and for various timeframes. Enjoy!

Photo by Tembela Bohle from Pexels

The Quintessential Pacific Coast Road Trip

We can’t make a list of U.S. road trip ideas without including a route along the beautiful Pacific Coast. Since long before the days of #vanlife, people have been taking road trips up and down the west coast of the U.S. to enjoy its breathtaking scenery and opportunities for various activities.

From the sun-soaked beaches of southern California, to the giant coastal redwoods north of San Francisco, all the way up to the temperate rainforests of western Oregon and Washington, the Pacific Coast offers a non-stop stream of natural beauty. Some favorite stops include the several van-friendly beaches along the Oregon coast, where you can take your (preferably 4×4) Sprinter van for a drive out onto the expansive sandy shores. Other must-sees include the giant redwoods of northern California, and the van life-friendly beachside community of Ventura in southern California.

Depending on how long of a trip you’re planning, you could travel just a short section of the Pacific Coast, or plan a route that includes the entire coast, from the Mexican to Canadian border. Weather and climate vary immensely depending on what section of the coast you find yourself on. Spring, Summer, and Fall can all offer great weather from border-to-border, with summer being the safest bet for sunny travel along the northern coast. If you’re traveling in winter, you’ll probably want to stay towards the southern reaches of the Pacific Coast, as these areas stay much drier and warmer during this time of the year than the rest of the route.

Photo by Chris Janda from Pexels

The Desert Getaway

If you’ve never visited the vast desert landscapes of the southwestern U.S., do yourself a favor and start that camper van up, now! From sandstone monoliths to cactus flats as far as the eye can see, the deserts of the Southwest make for a road trip you will never forget.

Few sights are as breathtaking as the massive sandstone towers and arches of southern Utah, and that’s why this area is at the very top of our must-visit locations in the Southwest. In the summer, temperatures in this area can reach well over 100 degrees. Great weather can be had in the shoulder seasons, and winter can also provide some crisp and sunny conditions. While you’re in the area, be sure to visit Arches National Park, and consider venturing out of your way for a chance to see some of the ancient rock art sites scattered around the Moab area.

Another must-visit desert locale is Red Rocks National Conservation Area outside of Las Vegas. The incredible, vibrant rock walls and canyons make for great scenery while hiking and mountain biking. Las Vegas is just minutes away, so you can even hit the strip while you’re in the area, if that’s your jam.

Photo by Sam Kolder from Pexels

The Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains

If you’re looking for a road trip idea that is off the beaten path, consider checking out California’s eastern Sierra Nevada Mountain range, accessible via U.S. Route 395. The ‘east side’, as locals call it, is home to expansive mountain views and sagebrush as far as the eye can see.

Recreation opportunities abound, with world-class hiking, climbing, fishing, and skiing all accessible from the 395 corridor. RV parks and campgrounds are scattered along Highway 395, as are opportunities for more rural camping on BLM land. While you’re in the area, be sure to check out the various wild hot springs outside of Mammoth Lakes, CA, where you can soak and enjoy wide-open views of the Sierra Nevada and White mountain ranges. You can even legally camp directly next to some of the springs!

As you journey northward along 395, make sure to stop at Mono Lake to view the other-worldly mineral deposits and spot some of the rare birds that frequent the area. If the nearby Tioga pass is open, you can easily access Yosemite National Park from this area as well. The pass is generally open from May-October.

The weather on the east side can vary wildly, but temperatures in the lower elevations usually stay fairly moderate in the spring and fall. During the winter months, nighttime temperatures consistently drop well below freezing – but fewer crowds, world-class skiing opportunities, and various hot springs make a trip to the east side during winter a possibility for many travelers. In the summer, you’ll want to stick to the higher elevations, such as the areas around Mammoth Lakes and Tuolumne Meadows. Temperatures in the lower elevations along the 395 corridor soar well above 100 degrees in the summer.

Are you looking for a Sprinter camper van to help you make these dreamy road trip ideas a reality?

Check out our models to learn more about the adventure vans we build here at Muse & Co. Outdoors!

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