Making your travel to Las Vegas part of the experience makes your trip just that much better! If you are doing a San Francisco to Las Vegas drive, you are in for a special treat depending on the route you take. The fastest route takes you on a U-shaped journey through Southern California, where farmland is abundant. Or, if you’re the adventurer, make the San Francisco to Las Vegas road trip better by traveling through Northern California’s stunning national parks and forests.
Pack your bags, rally the troops, and fill the tank, because we have all the road trip recommendations to have the best San Francisco to Las Vegas drive.
The San Francisco to Las Vegas drive is the perfect length for a day of road tripping. The I-5 S and the I-15 N are the two main roads you’ll be traveling on to get to Sin City, taking you 569 miles mostly through California, and takes approximately 9 hours to drive as long as traffic and weather conditions are ideal. However, to avoid the long stretch of farmland, you can opt to take a longer route on the US-395 S and US-95 S through national forests that spans 638 miles and takes nearly 11 hours to complete. Trust us – the scenery is worth the longer trip!
If possible, avoid starting your road trip to Vegas on the popular weekend days, and instead leave on less-popular driving days like Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday to avoid heavy traffic. Allow for longer drive times if you plan on traveling to the city for Las Vegas events or during the holidays. No matter where you’re driving from or which day of the week, the traffic is sure to pick up closer to the city.
Of course, your first stop on the way to Golden Gate Hotel & Casino for your Las Vegas road trip… has to start at the Golden Gate Bridge! This orange suspension bridge is San Francisco’s iconic landmark, so make sure to snap a pic.
This National Historic Park is a beautiful Rosie the Riveter park dedicated to the WWII Home Front workers. Stop by the welcome center for educational and interactive exhibits to learn of the historical impact of this program and the women behind it.
Like roller coasters? Like animals? Then Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is the place for you! If you want a little adrenaline to keep you going on your San Francisco to Las Vegas drive, be sure to get your thrills at this awesome theme park.
On your San Francisco to Las Vegas road trip, pay tribute to the car that’s making it all happen by visiting the California Automobile Museum. See classic cars, learn automotive history, and check out cool exhibits – like the road trip exhibit!
Founded in 1964, Apple Hill began with 16 apple ranches. In 2018, the community is now home to produce farms, flower gardens B&Bs, wineries, and more. Stop by and try some delicious produce while taking in the serene surroundings.
When driving through Northern California, stopping to see Lake Tahoe is a must. Make a visit to Sierra at Tahoe Resort to enjoy the beauty of the area while exploring the outdoor activities or grabbing a bite to eat with a view of the slopes.
Want an even better view of Lake Tahoe? Pack a lunch and have a picnic at Thomas F. Regan Memorial City Beach. Weather permitting, you can also swim, use the observation deck, play sand volleyball, and eat at their restaurant.
Some describe this reserve as looking like you’ve landed on Mars. Mono Lake, which was formed by an ancient inland sea, is surrounded by tufa towers made of limestone. Walk around the shores and take in the unique landscape.
Take a little detour off the main route to make a stop in Mammoth. Mammoth Brewing Company offers some unique and delicious brews, tasty food, and a killer view if you need a break from the drive. Just be sure to drive responsibly!
Located slightly off the beaten path is the Goldwell Open Air Museum, a sculpture park filled with unique sculptures from artists-in-residence and other artists. Started in 1984, this spot has grown into a popular spot for art enthusiasts.
Some say life isn’t only about the destination, it’s about the journey. If you’re planning your next trip to Las Vegas, consider hitting the road and making an adventure out of it.