Los Angeles to Lake Tahoe Road Trip

For the ultimate road trip, travel along SoCal’s highways across diverse landscapes and endless natural wonders. Great for outdoor enthusiasts and those looking for an epic getaway, a road trip from Los Angeles to Lake Tahoe is a journey that’s just as epic as the destination. Make the most of your drive to Lake Tahoe by stopping at some of the country’s most famous national parks, trekking the finest mountains and witnessing jaw-dropping scenery as far as the eye can see.

Begin your Los Angeles to Lake Tahoe drive by renting your vehicle from one of our neighborhood locations. Flying in? Perfect – pick up your rental from the airport and get going soon after you land.

Drive Time from Los Angeles to Lake Tahoe: approximately 8 hours, 38 min

Distance from Los Angeles to Lake Tahoe: approximately 516 miles

Best Car for this Road Trip: SUV

Start Your Trip

  • 1. Los Angeles

    With nearly 300 days of sunshine per year, it’s easy to see why Los Angeles is one of the world's top travel destinations. While cruising through the City of Angels, you’re bound to get a taste of stardom sprinkled with California flair. From classic must-sees like the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Rodeo Drive to more cerebral stops like the Huntington Library and Griffith Observatory, there are plenty of things to do in Los Angeles. If you’re looking for a relaxed vibe in Los Angeles, drive through the rolling estates of Beverly Hills, sink your feet in the sand at one of the many postcard-perfect beaches along the shoreline or bask in the sun while enjoying the prime Los Angeles weather. With a variety of attractions, there’s much to experience in Tinseltown.

    Tip: Los Angeles is famously nicknamed the “Entertainment Capital of the World” – so keep an eye out for celebrity sightings!

    Cost: Free, but activities may have fees

    Dog Friendly: Yes

  • 2. Bakersfield

    About 100 miles north of Los Angeles is Bakersfield, a special destination with a small-town vibe. Dubbed “the country music capital of the West Coast,” visitors will encounter a thriving cultural scene, historical sites and recreational fun. Located at the southern end of California’s Central Valley, Bakersfield weather provides a year-round destination with sun-drenched summers and mild winters – perfect for adventure seekers and outdoor enthusiasts. Soak up some tranquility and trek the Kern River Parkway Trail through a preserved riparian habitat that offers some epic scenery. If you prefer a more immersive experience while exploring the city, browse unique spots along the Selfie Trail and share Bakersfield from your perspective. Whether you’re traveling as a family, solo or just looking for a fun place to spend the afternoon, there are plenty of things to do in Bakersfield.

    • Tip: Plan your trip ahead of time by checking out the schedule of events
    • Cost: Free, but activities may have fees
    • Dog Friendly: Yes
  • 3. Visalia

    From Bakersfield, head north for an hour and 15 minutes toward Visalia, a majestic city tucked into the Sierra Nevada foothills. The Visalia region is known for its proximity to Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks – making it the perfect stop for nature lovers. If you’re looking for fun things to do in Visalia, take a stroll through the store-lined downtown streets and browse local art galleries, grab a bite at one of the locally-owned restaurants and wash it all down with a craft beer in the brewery district. Visalia weather provides an ideal place to spend some time drenched in nature – visitors can enjoy Mother Nature’s playground while biking, hiking or rafting in some of the state’s most beautiful terrain. From families to foodies and everything in between, adventure awaits in Visalia.

    • Tip: Make sure you don’t miss out on some fantastic entertainment – check out the city’s schedule of events
    • Cost: Free, but some activities may have fees
    • Dog Friendly: Yes
  • 4. Fresno

    Located 45 minutes northwest of Visalia is Fresno, California, a diverse city full of history, culture and community. Famous for agriculture and farm-to-table produce, Fresno restaurants feature dishes as unique as fresh. A sophisticated gem in the center of the San Joaquin Valley, Fresno is full of eclectic art, historical sites, museums and natural grandeur. One can’t-miss attraction is the Forestiere Underground Gardens, a subterranean world full of lush greenery and fruit trees that took one man more than 40 years to construct. Thanks to the optimal Fresno weather, Springtime is packed with breathtaking fruit orchards – take some time to wander the Fresno Blossom Trail and witness fruit trees as they explode with color. With so many things to do in Fresno, California, you’re bound to make memories that will last a lifetime.

    • Tip: Plan your visit ahead of time and check out Fresno’s calendar of events
    • Cost: Free, but some activities may have fees
    • Dog Friendly: Yes
  • 5. Sacramento

    The last and longest leg of your road trip takes 2 hours and 45 minutes to travel from Fresno to Sacramento, California’s capital city. From farm-fresh dining options and bustling farmers markets to Gold Rush-era attractions and eclectic street art, there are many fun things to do in Sacramento. Rooted in history, this buzzing city is full of entertainment and adventure around every corner. For a day full of animal fun, get up close and personal with more than 140 different species at the Sacramento Zoo. Those seeking an adrenaline rush can take advantage of the prime Sacramento weather and jump into an inflatable raft to ride the rapids along the American River. Whether looking for family-friendly activities or a dose of serenity, Sacramento is filled with things to do, taste and see until your heart’s content.

    • Tip: Plan your itinerary ahead of time by checking out Sacramento’s calendar of events
    • Cost: Free, but some activities may have fees
    • Dog Friendly: Yes

    Ready to hit the open road? Reserve your car today!

FAQs for Your Road Trip From Los Angeles to Lake Tahoe


What is the halfway point between Los Angeles and Lake Tahoe?

The tiny town of Wood Ranch, California marks the halfway point from Los Angeles to Lake Tahoe. Located in Fresno County, this charming town sits almost in the center of the state.

Is a car needed in Lake Tahoe?

While driving a car around Lake Tahoe isn’t necessary, many visitors find it convenient to have a car while exploring the area.