If you're looking for a way to discover the stunning states of Nevada and California, look no further than this road trip from Las Vegas to Palm Springs which takes you through some of the must-see sites in this region.
The 460-mile road trip from Las Vegas to Palm Springs will take about 8 hours to drive. On the way, you'll get to admire Mojave National Preserve, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Joshua Tree National Park and the Sequoia National Forest.
If we've piqued your interest, keep reading to discover all the fabulous adventures and attractions that await you on this once-in-a-lifetime trip!
How far is Palm Springs from Las Vegas, and how long will the road trip take?
|The Direct Route||460 miles||8 hours|
|The Los Angeles Route|
via Death Valley
|500 miles||9 hours|
There are two routes that will take you from Las Vegas to sunny Palm Springs, and each one offers a different but fabulous experience.
Choose the Direct Route for a shorter trip, traversing 460 miles in just under eight hours of travel time. You'll still get to experience some cool attractions along the way, like the Mojave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park, as well as a stop in Lake Havasu City.
The second route, our Los Angeles Detour via Death Valley National Park, traverses just over 500 miles and will take you about nine hours in total to travel, not including pit-stops or toilet breaks. This route includes a stop in iconic Los Angeles, as well as Sequoia National Park.
While you could complete either route in a day of driving, we recommend taking between three to four days for either trip to get the best experience overall!
Best road trip route from Las Vegas to Palm Springs
When it comes to choosing a route for this road trip, it all comes down to what sort of experience you're looking for.
The Direct Route is perfect for those looking to enjoy all there is to see between Las Vega and Palm Springs without being too leisurely; you'll get a chance to discover Mojave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park along the way, as well as the stunning Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area. Best of all, you can stop in Lake Havasu City overnight, and enjoy this city's many attractions and beautiful scenery.
For those taking the Los Angeles Route, expect a slightly longer route that offers access to Death Valley National Park, beautiful Olanche (right by the Sequoia National Forest) and, of course, iconic Los Angeles. This route is ideal if you're looking to make your way to Palm Springs at a leisurely pace.
The Direct Route
The first thing you'll need to do if you're taking the Direct Route is head east on E Fremont St towards S Casino Center Blvd. From there, you can turn left onto S 4th St and take the ramp on the left to I-515 S.
Merge onto US-95 S and keep right at the fork to stay on the highway. Follow the signs for Searchlight/Needles and turn left onto NV-163 W, which will take you into California.
Once you're in sunny California, make your way to the CA-178 E. From there, turn left onto CA-62 E/Twentynine Palms Highway and right onto Indian Canyon Dr. Turn left onto E Palm Canyon Dr and continue straight to stay on the road. From there, turn right onto Gene Autry Trail and then left onto Ramon Rd.
Make sure to visit Joshua Tree National Park, located near here and the perfect stopping point. From there, continue onto I-10 until you've reached the stunning city of Palm Springs, where you can enjoy a relaxing time by the pool!
The Los Angeles Route
To get from Las Vegas to Los Angeles is pretty simple! Start by heading south on I-15 towards Los Angeles. Stay on the I-15 for approximately 4 hours until you reach downtown Los Angeles. Along the way, you can stop by in stunning Olancha (close to Sequoia National Forest) or visit the Death Valley National Park, a highlight of this route.
Once you arrive in Los Angeles, you can explore popular tourist attractions such as the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Universal Studios Hollywood, and the Getty Center. When you're ready to continue your journey, head south on US-101 towards Palm Springs.
From there, you can basically stick to the US-101 for approximately 2 hours until you reach Palm Springs. Along the way, you'll pass through scenic areas such as the Santa Monica Mountains and the San Bernardino National Forest; we definitely recommend stopping in both!
Once you arrive in Palm Springs, you can explore the city's unique architecture, luxurious resorts, and desert landscapes, or you can simply relax by the pool!
Best places to stop between Las Vegas and Palm Springs
Though you could feasibly make either of these trips in one day, we recommend taking at least a few days to leisurely explore the many attractions along both routes.
Get some fresh air in Lake Havasu City
For those choosing the Direct Route from Las Vegas to Palm Springs, we recommend stopping in beautiful Lake Havasu City, located right along your route.
Located along the Colorado River, this is the only city on the Direct Route once you've left the greater Las Vegas area. It serves as a perfect stopping point, especially after a day of driving through deserts. The city offers several beautiful resorts and beaches on the Colorado River, where tourists can enjoy recreational fishing, boating, and other outdoor sports.
One of the highlights of Lake Havasu City is the London Bridge, which was donated by the UK in the 1970s and rebuilt in its current location. And if you're looking for some outdoor fun, you will find plenty of opportunities for activities like fishing, boating, and hiking in Lake Havasu City. The city also has several parks and recreation areas, including Lake Havasu State Park, which features sandy beaches and picnic areas.
When it comes to accommodation, look no further than the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Lake Havasu, which boasts modern and spacious rooms and suites that come with all the essentials like flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, and free Wi-Fi.
One of the best things about this hotel is the complimentary hot breakfast served every morning, which includes tasty options like eggs, bacon, and pancakes. You'll also find a great outdoor pool and hot tub, plus a fitness center for if you're feeling particularly energetic.
A favourite aspect of this hotel is it's easy access to London Bridge, Lake Havasu State Park, and the Colorado River, the most interesting attractions in Lake Havasu.
And if you're looking for some outdoor adventure, there's plenty to do like boating, fishing, hiking, and golfing. Best of all, you'll have no trouble getting back on route in the morning as this hotel is located right by the highway.
Enjoy the eclectic cityscape of Los Angeles
If you've opted for the Los Angeles Route, we can't think of a better spot to stop overnight than the beautiful city of Los Angeles. Located towards the end of the route, Los Angeles is the biggest city on this route and grants access to the stunning Pacific coastline.
Known for its film and entertainment industry, Los Angeles also offers a stunning coastline, a lively gay district, a superlative culinary scene, and an incredible arts and culture scene which includes everything from classical and contemporary music to award-winning galleries and museums.
When it comes to attractions, we recommend checking out the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where you can take in a stunning collection of pre-Columbian to contemporary works.
You could also take a hike up to Griffith Observatory, a staple of the city and offering unparalleled views of the city. Finally, for the film buffs, we recommend a visit to exciting Universal Studios Hollywood.
You'll find tons of options for accommodations in Los Angeles; one of our favorites is Pendry West Hollywood, a luxury hotel located in the heart of lively West Hollywood and right by the Sunset Strip.
Boasting a relaxing rooftop pool, fitness center, restaurant and bar, the Pendry has everything on hand for an amazing stay. You can enjoy private parking (available at a reasonable cost) and beautiful city views from the rooms and suites.
Best of all, this hotel is located right in the center of the action, so you can leave your car behind and explore the city by foot or public transit.
Where to stay when you reach Palm Springs
There are tons of options for accommodations in Palm Springs, which is generally known for its ritzy hotels. We recommend L'Horizon Resort & Spa, an iconic adult-only Palm Springs hotel offering stylishly-decorated rooms and suites.
You'll have no trouble relaxing at this hotel, which boasts a full-service spa and hot tub, as well as an outdoor pool surrounded by stunning desert landscapes and fire pits. Grab a bite at the Horizon's on-site restaurant, offering alfresco and pool-side dining experiences.
Rent one of this hotel's free-to-use bicycles and explore the area, including the nearby attractions like Moorten Botanical Garden, Baristo Park and the Palm Springs Art Museum. Best of all, this hotel offers a secluded and introspective experience, located just outside of Oswit and the beautiful Tahquitz Canyons.
Things to see on a road trip from Las Vegas to Palm Springs
There's an endless amount to see on the route from Las Vegas to Palm Springs. Check out some of our favourite attractions below.
The Direct Route
- Clark County Museum - Check out this regional museum featuring historical buildings, mining artifacts and an exhibit hall—located right outside of Las Vegas.
- Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area - Discover this wonderful national conservation area, home to Native American rock art and tons of hiking trails.
- Mojave National Preserve - The Mojave National Preserve is an absolute must-visit on this route; this historic preserve features canyons, mountains, former military mines and a 10,000 year history of human connection with the desert.
- Lake Havasu Museum of History & Havasu Rocks - This down-to-earth museum offers exhibits on the history of the Lake Havasu area, with a focus on steamboats, mining, wildlife and local history.
- London Bridge Beach - Located close to London Bridge in Lake Havasu, this beach offers ample opportunity to relax along Lake Colorado's cool waters.
- Buckskin Mountain State Park - This full-service recreation and camping area is located between two dams and offers tons of hiking trails as well as several dining options.
- Rice Desert Signpost – Grab a picture of yourself with this signpost, located in the middle of Rice Desert and about thirty minutes off-route!
- Keys View at Joshua Tree – You won't get a better view of Joshua Tree National Park than from Keys View, where you can take a look at the stunning mesas, mountains and valleys of the area.
- Skull Rock – Check out this eerie natural rock formation that resembles a skull and which is just a quick hike away from your route.
The Los Angeles Route
- Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area - Enjoy a rock climb or hike in this fabulous park, located right outside of Las Vegas. There are also options to explore this conservation area by car! You might need to make a reservation for a timed-entry slot, so check the official website before traveling.
- Death Valley National Park - This vast park offers over 3 million acres of designated wilderness and hundreds of miles of backcountry roads; there's no landscape in the US quite like this park!
- Sequoia National Forest - Take a beautiful walk through Sequoia National Forest, known for its jaw-droppingly huge Sequoia trees and making this an ideal spot for a leg stretch after a day of driving!
- Prospect Park, LA – Gaze out over the beautiful city of Los Angeles from this picturesque park, which also boasts an amphitheater and orange grove.
- Cabazon Dinosaurs – For the dinosaur fans, this tv-famous vintage roadside attraction offers a chance to get up close to giant dinosaur sculptures.
- El Dorado Spa – Looking for a place to relax on your route? Look no further than the stunning El Dorado Spa—just make sure to book in advance.
- Palm Springs Windmill Tours – Take an education tour of tis modern wind turbine farm, where you can learn more about the wonders of renewable energy.
Best time to go on a road trip from Las Vegas to Palm Springs
There's truly no bad time to visit Palm Springs, which is known for its stunning weather year-round. That being said, if you're someone who's sensitive to heat or who doesn't enjoy lots of humidity, we recommend avoiding a visit in the summer.
The best time to visit Palm Springs is during the fall and spring, when the temperatures are somewhat lower but high enough to enjoy outdoor activities.
Summers in Palm Springs are known for being quite hot, even sweltering, and without too much precipitation. Temperatures during the summer will typically range from 70 degrees to a whopping 106 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite the heat, this is a really popular time for tourists, so expect slightly higher accommodation rates as a result.
When it comes to the winter time, Palm Springs experiences cool and comfortable temperatures, ranging between 40 degrees and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
This means it may be a little too cold for swimming in pools but you'll still have a chance to enjoy tons of fabulous activities. If you're looking for a more affordable time, try visiting Palm Springs in the winter but after the holiday season for cheaper accommodation!
Spring and fall are both great times to visit Palm Springs, as you'll be able to enjoy warm temperatures while benefiting from lower accommodation prices.
A typical spring or fall season will have temperatures ranging from 50 degrees all the way up to 100-degrees Fahrenheit; this means you can still get a wonderful sunny vacation in, without worrying about the crowds that summer brings.
For activities during your visit, you might enjoy one of Palm Springs' many renowned festivals which are mostly centered around the winter months. You can stop by the Palm Springs International Film Festival, Palm Springs Modernism Week or Tour De Palm Springs in the wintertime.
The iconic Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival takes place in the spring (typically April), so be sure to plan for - or around - that!