Drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas: A Road Trip of Neon Dreams and Desert Scenes

The Ultimate Mixtape

Embarking on a road trip without the perfect mixtape is like heading to Vegas without your lucky socks—utterly unthinkable. With open road stretching from Los Angeles to Sin City, every mile deserves its own anthem.

Playlist Planning

As I prep for the 270-ish mile jaunt through the barren yet bizarrely beautiful Mojave Desert, I meticulously curate a playlist that’ll have both my ears and my ’97 RV’s speakers wondering if they hit the jackpot.

First up, classics. They set the tone like a good hors-d’oeuvre: inviting but not overwhelming.

  • Take It Easy by The Eagles – Because you have to take it easy when you’re stuck in LA traffic trying to leave town.
  • Free Fallin’ by Tom Petty – It’s almost as if Petty crooned this one just picturing the I-15 stretch by Barstow.

Next, time for current bangers. These will be the tunes belted out while munching on snacks bought from a gas station that doubles as a souvenir shop.

  • Levitating by Dua Lipa – If your RV starts floating, it’s not the aliens; it’s just Dua’s disco vibes.
  • Blinding Lights by The Weeknd – To set the mood for the neon lights waiting at our destination.

Let’s not forget the indie gems and guilty pleasures. For every hundred miles, there’s an obscure band or a pop-tastic chorus that can make even the Joshua trees swoon.

Mile MarkerTrackArtistCampground for a Tune-up
115Malibu 1992COINNew Shady Rest Campground
150Here I Go AgainWhitesnakeHolloway’s Marina & RV Park
215RiptideVance JoyBaker’s Hole Campground – because irony.

Desert Driving Anthems

Once you hit the desert proper, it’s time for anthems so powerful, they can almost cool you down. Trust me, I’ve tried it.

  • Desert Rose by Sting, because saying ‘sting’ in the desert seems right.
  • Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen – RVs were most certainly included in his definition of the road.

In my highest-quality RV (behold her majestic faux wood paneling), these anthems resonate with the soul of every mile marker. Also, let’s not underestimate the effect of a song matching the scenery; as the neon curtain of Vegas unfolds, play Waking Up in Vegas by Katy Perry, and watch the cityscape sync to the beat.

Snack Attack Strategy

Cars speed through the desert, passing cacti and rocky formations. The sun sets behind them as they approach the bright lights of Las Vegas

When embarking on a drive that spans a decent chunk of the Mojave Desert, I adhere to a strict code: keep the snacks plentiful and the water flowing. Let’s be honest, the journey from Los Angeles to Las Vegas is roughly 270 miles of road that begs for munching.

Sweet and Salty Selections

As I’m slaloming through traffic on the I-15, I’ve got a snackscape that rivals the Vegas buffet scene. On my passenger seat, you’ll find a spread that’s more curated than an art gallery opening.


  • Jerky (Beef or Turkey): Low in fat and high in protein; perfect for the long stretches without a pit stop.
  • Nuts (Almonds, Cashews, Pistachios): Nothing screams “I’m on top of my snack game” like a selection of unsalted nuts.


  • Dark Chocolate: It’s got antioxidants, so it’s health food, right?
  • Fruit Leather: It’s like fruit’s hip, chewy cousin and far less likely to cause a sticky steering wheel situation.


  • Popcorn: It’s the fluffy cloud of snacks—so light, I can pretend I’m eating air.

Hydration Station

I treat my body like the sacred temple it is, especially when crossing desert terrain. Hydration is key, and I have a two-tiered approach to stay quenched.

Water: It’s vital. I’ve got a cooler that could double as a life raft, stocked to the brim with icy H2O bottles.

Electrolyte Drinks: We’re talking a colorful assortment that looks like a neon sign on the Vegas Strip. They’re stashed within arm’s reach so I can grab ’em without a second glance away from the road.

Roadside Oddities and Attractions

Quirky roadside attractions line the desert highway from LA to Vegas. A giant thermometer, alien-themed gas stations, and kitschy souvenir shops dot the landscape

Embarking on a road trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas feels like hopping into a reel of a buddy comedy film where the roadside attractions are the punchlines. Lucky me, I’ve got my trusty RV as a companion, and I’m on a mission to find the quirkiest pit stops. Fueled by an insatiable curiosity (and too much coffee), I’m about to find out if a thermometer can actually be worth pulling over for and if aliens prefer beef jerky over human brains.

World’s Largest Thermometer

Alright, here’s the hot gossip: nestled in Baker, California lies a colossal thermometer standing 134 feet tall, which is like a skyscraper if skyscrapers measured fever instead of ambition. The World’s Largest Thermometer celebrates the record 134 degrees Fahrenheit recorded in Death Valley back in 1913. Current location to thermometer: a toasty 94 miles from LA. It’s practically a mirage made of steel and bulbs. After gawking and snapping photos, I can cool my jets about 15 miles down I-15 at the Whiskey Pete’s Hotel and Casino, where I park my RV and gamble that the air conditioning in the casino is as robust as their slot machine collection.

Alien Fresh Jerky Store

Moving from scorching desert heat to the eerie chills of extraterrestrial encounters, I venture an additional 63 miles to reach the Alien Fresh Jerky Store in Baker. Founder Luis Ramallo decided to stockpile his intergalactic-inspired snacks right here on Earth. I walk into what is a snack shack for the Starship Enterprise crew. From beef jerky to alien souvenirs, this place has got it all, and with my ET radar, I confirm with a wink; the jerky is out of this world. Need to recover from close encounters? Just a 40-mile cruise to the Hitchin’ Post RV Park & Motel in Las Vegas offers safe harbor for my terrestrial vessel.

Packing Pro Tips

Ditch the baggage blues and gear up for the wind-in-your-hair, tunes-blasting journey from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. With my top-tier tricks under your belt, you’ll be the envy of every tumbleweed you pass on the 270-mile scenic route.

Space-Saving Hacks

Rolling clothes instead of folding? Groundbreaking (and sarcasm aside, space-saving). My tees are snug as sushi rolls, making more room for the essentials, like my Elvis costume for an impromptu Vegas show. And shoes, those clunky travel companions, are stuffed with socks and chargers, becoming makeshift tech hubs.

  • Clothing: Roll, don’t fold.
    • T-Shirts: Like sushi rolls
    • Pants: Rolled tightly
  • Shoes: Dual-purpose storages
    • Socks: Inside shoes
    • Chargers: Within shoes

Forget-Me-Not Essentials

Never forget that the desert is sneaky—hot as Hades by day, chillier than a polar bear’s toes by night. Hence I pack my sunblock and my snugliest hoodie like they’re VIPs. And hydration? That’s a no-brainer—there’s a water bottle clinging to me tighter than my last date.

  • Climate Control:
    • Sunblock: SPF Bazillion
    • Hoodies: For those desert chills
  • Hydration:
    • Water Bottles: The thirst is real

Vegas Prep 101

A long desert highway stretches towards distant Vegas skyline, flanked by barren landscapes under a scorching sun

Before we turn the ignition, let’s talk essentials—money and fashion. Yes, darlings, we need to chat about those greens in your wallet and the chicness (or lack thereof) that you’ll pack.

Money Management

Starting off with the moolah because, let’s face it, Vegas wasn’t built on wishes. My advice? Set a budget. It’s easy:

  1. Gambling: Set a hard limit. When it’s gone, pretend you’re in a desert—oh wait, you are!
  2. Entertainment: J.Lo’s show ain’t cheap. Allocate funds for shows and clubs.
  3. Food & Drink: Fancy dining, or the $1.99 shrimp cocktail? Budget for both.

Trust me, you don’t want to gamble away your gas money and end up hitching a ride back in a chicken truck.

Dress Code Decoded

Here’s the skinny on Sin City fashion: it’s a sequin sea. But you also need comfy shoes for the (brace yourself) 4.2 mile trek down the Strip.

  • Daytime: Think poolside glam meets comfort. Flip-flops and your sassiest sunnies.
  • Nighttime: Bring out the bling, but a word to the wise—don’t outshine the neon.

Remember, what you pack can mean the difference between ‘fabulous’ and ‘tourist lost in a casino’ chic.

Navigating Like a Boss

When you’re taking the wheel on the drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, you want to be the one who zigs while others zag. Trust me, I’ve managed to outsmart those sluggish caravans of tourists and found some gems to gawk at on the way.

Avoiding Traffic Tricks

Let’s tackle the beast first: traffic in LA. It’s like an eternal pot of coffee that never quits percolating, especially near Downtown or the infamous I-15. My trick is to hit the road when the city’s night owls are still snoozing.

Aim to sneak out between 4 AM and 6 AM—any later, and you might as well bring brunch.

Pro tip: Waze is your bestie here; use it to keep an eye out for pesky congestion spots like the El Cajon Pass near San Bernardino, which adds miles and minutes to your journey.

Once I’m free from LA’s clutches, I keep one eye on my trusty companion—no, not my chihuahua, but Google Maps, ready to divert at a moment’s notice.

I recommend stocking up at Barstow, about 115 miles in, and just cozy up at the Shady Lane RV Camp, a beacon of restfulness—and it’s got “shady” in the name, which bodes well for a cool nap.

Scenic Route Options

Now, if you’re not in a rush and crave a feast for the eyes, the Mojave National Preserve turns a drive into a safari; it’s about 60 miles off I-15 near Baker.

Think of it as a detour through Tatooine, sans Jawas. Make sure to have a decent camera, because your phone shots won’t do the justice to the Joshua Trees that Spielberg could.

Craving more? Try the detour through Zzyzx Road, which sounds like a snooze but is actually like uncovering a trivia gem to drop at your next dinner party. It’s a quick hop off the I-15.

As evening falls and Vegas lights loom, consider a pit stop at Las Vegas Bay Campground—a quiet, starry respite before the razzle of the Strip, and just 33 miles out.

With these tricks up your sleeve, you’ll transform from hapless tourist to road-savvy traveler. Now go wear that invisible crown, you navigational maverick! Keep it between the lines and under the limit, or at least try to!

Car Checkup Comedy

A car being checked by a mechanic with a puzzled expression, surrounded by comical tools and gadgets, with a road sign indicating "Los Angeles to Las Vegas" in the background

Before hitting the road on the epic pavement pilgrimage from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, ensure your trusty chariot doesn’t turn the adventure into a stand-up routine about highway breakdowns.

Tire Tales

Picture this: I’m giddy with excitement, my RV is packed, and I’m all set to conquer the 270-ish miles to Vegas. But wait—my tires look more deflated than my aunt’s souffle.

Checking tire pressure? Essential, because nobody wants to play spin-the-wheel with a blowout on I-15.

Luckily, humor’s a great co-pilot. My tire pressure gauge—a freebie from my last oil change—is as accurate as a horoscope.

So, off to the nearest air pump for a quick inflate to the proper PSI, ensuring my ride rolls smoother than a Vegas dealer.

  • Recommended PSI: 50-60 for RVs
  • Gauge Check: At least once a month
  • Fun Fact: Properly inflated tires can save you enough gas money to try your luck at the slots.

Oil Odyssey

I tip my hat to those who relish in the “3,000 miles or every three months” mantra. As for me, my RV’s engine is my fortress, and a well-oiled fortress is less likely to lay siege on my desert escapade.

The dipstick—no, not my last Tinder date, the one under the hood—shows oil levels more erratic than my enthusiasm for karaoke. A top-off before departure is my non-negotiable giggle guarantee.

  • Oil Check Interval: Every gas stop
  • Memoir Material: Twisting yourself into a pretzel to reach the dipstick

Campgrounds: Safe havens I recommend are the oasis-like havens of Walmart parking lots—the unofficial stopovers for all RV maestros.

It’s free, and you’re but a hop away from emergency snacks or a cheeky souvenir. Now, isn’t that a comforting thought as you’re tucked in between the family-sized toothpaste and tire cleaner?

  • Location: Various
  • Amenities: Close proximity to civilization
  • Budget: Thrifty, like off-Strip blackjack tables

Rest Stop Reviews

A desert highway stretches into the distance, flanked by barren land and distant mountains. A rest stop sign stands tall against the blue sky

When hitting the road from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, the real jackpot isn’t at the casinos—it’s discovering rest stops with toilets cleaner than your fears of interstate bathrooms and nap nooks cozier than a kangaroo’s pouch.

Cleanest Toilets on the Route

Let’s cut to the chase, the throne room at Eddie World in Yermo is basically the Buckingham Palace of bathrooms. It’s about 135 miles from LA, and trust me, the sparkle of the stalls is worth the suspense.

  • Eddie World Yermo
    • Distance: 135 miles from Los Angeles
    • Features: Stalls cleaner than my conscience on a Sunday morning, and luxury soap that’ll have you sniffing your hands for hours.

Nap Nooks

About 198 miles into my rubber-tramping journey, Whiskey Pete’s in Primm swoops in like a caffeine-fueled mirage. They’ve got parking fit for an RV and, wait for it, actual silence.

  • Whiskey Pete’s in Primm
    • Distance: 198 miles from Los Angeles
    • Vibe: Quieter than a mime’s birthday party, with ample parking for your RV to catch some Z’s.

Camping more your style? The Hitchin’ Post RV Park & Motel in Vegas hooks you up with a safe spot about 264 miles from your LA starting block.

You can snooze under the stars, and your RV can finally take a break from lugging your adventure-thirsty self across the state.

  • Hitchin’ Post RV Park & Motel
    • Distance: 264 miles from Los Angeles
    • Amenities: Top-notch security, making it a safe haven for weary vehicles and their snoozy drivers.

Safety Skits

Safety Skits drives through desert landscape from LA to Vegas

Listen up, folks! Just because the road from Los Angeles to Las Vegas is paved with good intentions doesn’t mean a tire blowout will send you straight to heaven. We’re talking about turning mishaps into guffaws and breakdowns into stand-ups.

Emergency Laughs

Imagine this: I’m cruising down I-15, about 42 miles past Barstow, envisioning the buffet at Caesar’s, when my trusty RV decides to cough up a lung.

Instead of panicking, I pull out my “comedic first aid kit,” which includes a whoopee cushion to keep me chuckling instead of cursing and a joke book to remind me there are funnier things than my current predicament.

After the laughter therapy, I call for roadside service with a smile.

Mile MarkerCampgroundPerk
100Victorville RV ParkComedy clubs nearby—stay for the puns
150Barstow/Calico KOAScenic views for inspiration
272Las Vegas RV ResortStand-up specials at the clubhouse

Roadside Assistance Antics

Here’s a scenario: I’m about 60 miles out from Vegas, and I spot an RV on the side of the road — not mine, thankfully.

I pull over in my moving comedy club to offer some moral support.

I step out decked in a mechanic’s jumpsuit lined with fake squirting flowers and hand the stranded traveler a jack… in the box.

It’s safe to say, when you can turn a sticky situation into a slapstick simulation, you’ve got it made.

  • Eddie World Yermo (Mile Marker 194) – Where every vending machine choice feels like improv.
  • Whiskey Pete’s Hotel and Casino (Mile Marker 230) – Arguably safer than playing poker with a jester.
  • Oasis Las Vegas RV Resort (Mile Marker 269) – The spot where hilarious poolside antics are always on the agenda.

LA to Vegas Lore

Let’s take a trip down memory lane—or should I say, Interstate 15—as I guide you through the not-so-sleepy stretch from LA to Vegas.

There’s more history and pop culture packed into this 270-mile asphalt adventure than in a Vegas buffet.

Historic Highlights

As I rolled out of LA in my trusty RV, I could practically see the ghostly echos of the Mojave Desert’s past.

Barstow, CA (115 miles from LA), is more than just a pit stop—it’s the heart of the historic Mojave Road.

Fun fact: this was an essential trade route for early Indigenous peoples and later, a highway for mail delivery before emails were a thing.

Not wanting to miss a beat, I made my camp at the Calico Ghost Town Campground.

Talk about a safe spot with a side of spook—I was nestled among the remnants of a 19th-century silver mining town, only a crumpled dollar bill away from abandoned mines and dusty saloon fronts.

Pop Culture Pit Stops

The world of pop culture has left its glittering mark along the I-15, too.

For instance, Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner in Yermo, CA, (72 miles from Barstow, you do the math!) is a time capsule where you can scarf a burger surrounded by Elvis memorabilia. I bet The King himself would have loved the jukebox tunes and life-size cardboard cutouts.

Next up, Zzyzx Road (yes, that’s the name and spelling, I didn’t faceplant on my keyboard), is located about 94 miles further down the highway. It boasts a name so quirky it’s been featured in movies, songs, and probably alien transmissions. Rumor has it, it was named by a dude who wanted the last word in the English language—talk about last-place envy.

I rested my wheels at the nearby Whiskey Pete’s Hotel and Casino because nothing screams ‘Nevada’ like sleeping next to a casino, I tell ya.

Similar Posts