One of the most beautiful places in the United States, Death Valley National Park has lines of cliffs at every turn and is home to all sorts of wildlife. The park offers a variety of activities, from hiking opportunities to scenic walks to fishing and much more. Discover what makes this one-of-a-kind national treasure so special today!

The “san diego to joshua tree national park” is a road trip that takes place from San Diego, California to Joshua Tree National Park. The journey will take you through the desert and over mountains, giving you plenty of beautiful views.

This short but exciting road journey from San Diego to Death Valley National Park will take you through chiseled mountains and unearthly landscapes. There’s also the chance to taste some of California’s greatest wines and see some of the state’s most beautiful places.

The route from San Diego to Death Valley National Park is 280 miles long and takes 5 hours. Temecula Wine Country, San Clemente, Los Angeles, Newport and Huntington Beaches, and the San Bernardino Mountains are all worth visiting.

If the notion of a desert journey intrigues you, keep reading to learn more about where to stay, the best route, and what you may see along the way.

What is the distance between Death Valley National Park and San Diego?

a comparison of routes

Route Distance Time to Drive
Route No. 1 280 miles 5 minutes and 13 seconds
Route via Los Angeles 337 miles 5 minutes and 58 seconds

Without pauses or overnight stays, a road journey from San Diego to Death Valley National Park runs 280 miles and takes at least a day.

While you could certainly hurry it, you should consider staying at least one night, if not more, to take in all of the attractions the roads have to offer.

On that point, the routes have a combination of dry, undulating mountains and harsh desert, giving scenery suitable for anyone. The majority of the driving is done on interstates and highways, which makes it fast and simple.

On this journey, you may experience some traffic since one route passes through San Bernardino and the other passes via Los Angeles. If you go into the city, you will almost certainly face traffic, so schedule your stops appropriately.

Beautiful sunset of Los Angeles downtown skyline and palm trees in foreground. Choosing the Route via Los Angeles will give you a glimpse of this beautiful city.

Chones/Shutterstock.com

Although this location is infamous for it, avoiding rush hour would be the best approach to reduce the risks of congestion. If you want to escape traffic, bypass Los Angeles and take the route via San Bernardino.

The best way to go from San Diego to Death Valley National Park is via car.

A road journey from San Diego to Death Valley National Park might take two different routes, each with its own set of sights. The primary difference is that one stays away from Los Angeles while the other goes there.

Route of San Bernardino

I-15 will take you away from San Diego and towards Escondido and Temecula. Pass through Temecula and join onto Interstate 215 in the direction of Riverside.

Continue on Interstate 215 past San Bernardino and along the San Bernardino National Forest’s border.

You’ll briefly re-join Interstate 15 before departing to unite with Highway 395 at Sunset Ridge. Continue on the highway through Ransburg and Peasrsonville; at Olancha, turn right onto Route 190 and follow it into the National Park.

The Downtown Route via Los Angeles

Out of San Diego, continue Interstate 5 along the coast. Before exiting onto Route 73, the highway will take you along the Pacific Ocean through San Clemente.

To get to Interstate 405, use Route 73 past Crystal Cove State Park. Through the Urban Jungle, take Interstate 405, with an optional diversion to Huntington Beach and Long Beach if desired.

The 405 will eventually take you out of town, through Bel Air and the Getty Museum. It will then take you to San Fernando, where you will exit onto Route 14 soon after.

Continue on this road until you reach Redrock Randsburg Road, which leads to Highway 395. Continue north to Olancha, where you’ll find Route 190, which will take you into Death Valley National Park.

Between San Diego and Death Valley, the best locations to stop are

Even though it isn’t far, we recommend stopping at least once on your way from San Diego to Death Valley. Splitting the travel into two parts allows you to take it slowly and take in the views.

Here are some suggestions for places to stay along the trip to help you organize your stops:

In Temecula, stay on a vineyard.

If you want wine, exquisite food, and leisure with a breathtaking view of the surrounding desert scenery, the Carter Estate Winery and Resort is a terrific spot to visit.

There are a number of Mediterranean bungalows on this estate, each with its own private entrance. The bungalows feature fantastic views of the surrounding region and are an excellent spot to unwind and relax.

You’ll also have access to an outdoor pool with plenty of seats to take in the beautiful California sunshine. If the weather isn’t cooperating, you can always go to the gym to break a sweat.

With its tasting facility, the estate caters to wine aficionados, who can have a sit-down session sampling their award-winning wines.

Vineyards at the wine region in Temecula, Southern California with the grapes in the foreground and the mountains behind. If you like wine, a visit to Temecula’s vineyard is a must.

ekam/Shutterstock.com

You may eat supper at the on-site Vineyard Grill restaurant once you’ve had your drink. Breakfast, lunch, and supper are all available, as well as a large selection of Carter Estate wines.

Stay at the Welk Resort, which is ideal for families.

The Welk Resort is an excellent overnight stay between Escondido and Temecula, boasting one of California’s most stunning swimming pools. With so much to see and do in the neighborhood, you’ll want to stay for a few days.

There are two 18-hole golf courses, a 300-seat theater, swimming pools, whirlpools, tennis courts, and a wonderful gym at the Welk Resort for visitors to enjoy.

There are also a variety of surrounding attractions, such as the San Diego Zoo and other local beaches where you can acquire that traditional Californian tan.

Lion statue at the entrance to San Diego Zoo with palm trees in the background and a blue sky. The San Diego Zoo is a nice spot to go before going to the beach.

Shutterstock.com/Arne Beruldsen

There are several contemporary and large rooms and family suites to choose from, each one more appealing than the last. All of the rooms are fully furnished, and some of the bigger ones even feature gourmet kitchens where you can prepare your favorite dishes in elegance.

The resort’s primary restaurant is the Canyon Grill, however there are other lighter eating alternatives accessible poolside. For your grocery requirements, there is also an on-site market, so you won’t have to leave the property if you don’t want to.

The Welk Resort is nestled against a stunning background of wooded mountains, as if it didn’t have enough going for it already. The Welk Resort is very difficult to top, with a low price and a large list of services.

On a road drive from San Diego to Death Valley National Park, there are many sights to view.

There’s much to see on a road trip from San Diego to Death Valley National Park, with two routes to choose from. Here are some of the major sights along the journey to help you plan your stops.

  1. Welk Theatre – You may already be planning to stay here, but if not, a visit to the Welk Theatre to see a play is worth the trip.
  2. Temecula Wineries – Temecula has a variety of outstanding wineries that you won’t want to miss.
  3. Temecula Old Town – If you can’t make it to a winery or vineyard, Temecula Old Town offers a fantastic pub scene where you may sample the local libations.
  4. The first McDonald’s restaurant debuted in San Bernardino, and it is now a museum documenting the chain’s development.
  5. The San Bernardino Mountains are a picturesque range located near Los Angeles.
  6. Los Angeles – The City of Angels boasts one of the most intriguing nightlife scenes in California, as well as one of the most interesting history.
  7. San Clemente State Beach – If you opt for the downtown Route via Los Angeles why not plan an afternoon walk along the beach.
  8. If San Clemente doesn’t appeal to you, consider visiting one of these two seaside cities.
  9. The Getty – Well known for its impressive collection and wonderful views, this sits right along the downtown Route via Los Angeles.
  10. Getty View Park – A magnificent view back towards the city may be seen just up the road from the museum.
  11. Badwater Basin – At over 300 feet below sea level, this is the lowest point in North America.
  12. Dante’s Vista – A breathtaking view of Death Valley National Park’s bizarre scenery.

Badwater basin at sunset, Death Valley National Park, California with dry soil and mountains in the background. Badwater Basin is the lowest spot in North America.

Lucky-photographer/Shutterstock.com

When is the best time to go from San Diego to Death Valley National Park?

A road journey from San Diego to Death Valley National Park will be busiest throughout the summer. It will be the hottest as well. Because Death Valley is one of the hottest areas on the planet, you may want to plan a vacation there in a month or two.

Winter is a terrific season to vacation since Los Angeles is calmer, which means you can get a nice hotel price. More rain is possible in the city, although temperatures are expected to stay comfortable and warm.

One of the great benefits of traveling at this time of year is that the desert heat is avoided. On the other hand, the evenings may be quite cold, so bring your thickest clothing if you come at this time of year.

If you’re going on a road trip in the summer, aim to go sightseeing during the coolest hours of the day. Because the sun is not as high in the sky early in the morning and late in the afternoon, these are excellent times to go exploring.

During the middle of the day, when the heat is at its peak, try to stay as cool as possible. Finding a place with a pool might be a terrific way to unwind.

Death Valley National Park in the morning with mountains at the foreground and the sun rising in the background. Sunrise at Death Valley National Park is breathtaking.

Sierralara/Shutterstock.com

Consider spring or autumn if winter isn’t your thing. In Death Valley, as in winter, you’ll dodge the worst of the heat. Furthermore, prominent sights will be quieter, which is advantageous if you want to come when there are less people.

The changing seasons will have no effect on any of the roads along this route, so you may plan your road trip at any time of year. Just remember to be cautious in Death Valley’s blistering heat and to pack lots of water.

San Diego is the largest city in California. It’s known for its beaches and sunny weather. Yosemite National Park is located in Northern California, about 2 hours north of San Francisco. Reference: san diego to yosemite.

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