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Note: All travel is subject to frequently changing governmental restrictions—please check federal, state and local advisories before scheduling trips. This post was updated May 26, 2020.

With some travel restrictions still in place in California, the closest you’ll likely come to a trip around the Sunshine State right now is planning one. And it’s never too soon for that. Take a look at these gorgeous photos captured along Highway 395 for a little trip inspiration, for when the time is right.

You could drive California’s scenic HWY 1 (like everyone else)…

california highway 1

Or you could do California Highway 395 on the eastern side of the state…

california highway 395

Which would allow you a refreshing dip in the cool waters of Lake Tahoe

lake tahoe

The wild west treasures of the ghost town of Bodie…


Skiing Mammoth Mountain

mammoth mountain

A glimpse of the eerie and majestic tufa formations at Mono Lake…

mono lake

A hike through Yosemite National Park (you’ve heard of that place, right?)

yosemite national park

Scenic vistas of the Owens Valley…

owens valley-

A side trip to Death Valley National Park…

death valley national park-

And the quirky charms of Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch.

Bottle Tree Ranch

Bottle Tree Ranch | Flickr CC: Kārlis Dambrāns

As the highway ends, swing on down to Palm Springs

palm springs

Where you’re only a stone’s throw from Joshua Tree National Park

joshua tree national park-

The weird splendors of the nearly forgotten Salton Sea…

salton sea

And the folk art majesty of Salvation Mountain.

Salvation Mountain

Salvation Mountain | Photo courtesy of Jenna Faye


Pretty awesome trip, right?

california highway 395

And here’s how you do it!

Screenshot 2015-03-24 09.28.17

If you do follow the coast, check out these recommendations.

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Tagged: California

Note: Orbitz compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

Jason Heidemann

Jason Heidemann

Jason is a Lead Content Specialist for Expedia Group, and manages content initiatives across numerous Expedia-owned brands. His work has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Time Out, the Huffington Post, Chicago Magazine, Passport and many others.

One thought on “The road trip less traveled: California Highway 395”

  1. You are soooooo right!! Hwy 395 is an absolute joy. There are more beautiful lakes and cool older QUIET towns – nice RV park settings – where there’s room to breathe. But most of all – such a less stressful drive. FARRRRR less traffic – just not so crazy!! And 1 & 1/2 hours difference is N_O_T_H_I_N_G when it comes to STRESS relief!!

    Definitely worth the drive!!

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