A 45min drive I can see the Milky Way. But to see it go from the horizon to horizon it is 4 to 6 hour drive. Must plan for no moon. I like the upper desert White Mountains Camping, Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, Inyo Maps, California Bristlecones and the lower one Anza-Borrego Desert SP (near Palm springs. But the Sierras cut through the state and at very high elevations the view is perfect. We have high mountains where we get above the clouds/haze that block the city lights. So in under one hour I can go here Mount Wilson Observatory - Wikipedia where E Hubble helped give people a good idea of what they were seeing in the night sky.