To get yourself settled into your American Road Trip, the first day you will take a short 4-hour drive south to Austin, Texas. Enjoy a wonderful lunch and see the sights of this vibrant city. In the afternoon you will continue your drive to San Antonio, where you will spend your first night of your great American Road Trip.
San Antonio is known as the most attractive of Texas’ major cities – and much the oldest too, having celebrated its 300th birthday in 2018. The legendary Alamo, symbol of Texan independence, stands at the very heart of the city, while the River Walk, a glorious network of waterside pathways that’s tucked below street level and lined with bars and restaurants, offers leisurely strolling through downtown and beyond. You will be staying at the Courtyard San Antonio Riverwalk.
After enjoying an easy start to your road trip, today is a full driving day of about 7-8 hours. You will be heading north from San Antonio through the great Texas panhandle towards Roswell, New Mexico. The panhandle is a vast area of farm fields, wind farms and oil wells as far as the eye can see. And to be frank, there is not much else, but it is definitely an experience. Keep an eye on your gas tank and don’t forget to refuel when half empty – gas stations can be quite a ways away. The reward at the end of this longer travel day is making your way onto Historic Route 66 and a well-deserved rest in the alien capital of the world. Roswell New Mexico is renowned as the site of an alleged 1947 UFO crash. And they have been merchandising the fact ever since. You will be staying at Fairfield Inn & Suites Roswell.
Take the morning to explore the Roswell phenomenon, a byword for kookiness of all kinds, entirely due its status as the site of the world’s most famous UFO incident – the alleged crash of a real-life flying saucer in the desert nearby, back in July 1947. Whether or not you're a true believer, it’s worth coming to Roswell to experience one of America's most enduring and fanatical pop-culture memes. Sure it's about as cheesy as it gets, but conspiracy theorists and X-Files fanatics descend from other worlds into Roswell in real seriousness. Make sure you check out the International UFO Museum and Research Center and its display panels and library for some added weirdness. In the afternoon, its time to hop into your car to take the short 3-hour drive north to Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Missions, museums and Meow Wolf. All are players in the story of 'the city different,' a place that makes its own rules without forgetting its long and storied past. Walking through its adobe neighborhoods, or around the busy plaza that remains its core, there's no denying that Santa Fe has a timeless, earthy soul. Indeed, its artistic inclinations are a principal attraction – there are more quality museums and galleries here than you could see in just one visit. You will be staying at the Courtyard by Marriott Santa Fe.
Nestled in the mountains, Flagstaff's laid-back charms are many, from a pedestrian-friendly historic downtown crammed with eclectic vernacular architecture to amazing hiking trails in the country's largest ponderosa pine forest. It’s railroad history still figures firmly in the town's identity. Throw in a healthy appreciation for craft beer, freshly roasted coffee beans and an all-around good time, and you have the makings of the perfect northern Arizonan escape. You will be staying at the Courtyard by Marriott Flagstaff.
On a first trip to the Grand Canyon, it is easy to make a classic rookie mistake: Most visitors slowly drive the South Rim and stop at all of the same viewpoints, taking some photos, but doing little else. There it is – big, beautiful but somewhat underwhelming - back in the car. But to really experience the Canyon we will take the time to stay overnight and do at least a short hike down below the rim to see it on a different scale. Read a great article HERE. You will be staying at the Bright Angel Lodge, directly in the Grand Canyon National Park.
Heading west from Flagstaff towards Nevada you will enter the Lake Mead National Recreation Area and drive over one of the most iconic symbols of America, Hoover Damn. Take some time to explore the area, take an engineering tour of the power plant, marvel at the views from the bridge and gaze into the abyss below. Towards the end of the afternoon your drive will take you to the entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas, Nevada where you will stay two nights in the iconic Ceasars Palace Hotel next to the Bellagio Fountains. Another hotel you may want to consider is The Cosmopolitan Hotel.
Enjoy world class entertainment and dining, see a show, or walk the strip and Freemont street downtown. Go into the oldest Casino in the United States (Binions) and have a picture taken with a million dollars in cash, then head over to the newest Casino in Nevada (Circa) as you gaze over the 3-story sportsbook and head back for some much needed rest, while basking in the warm sun overlooking the pool and the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas Boulevard. **Shows are still limited, but many have a planned start date of early May, I recommend seeing Absinthe or Cirque du Soleil’s “O”.**
From Las Vegas your trip will take you north on I-95 towards Beatty, Nevada, turning west towards the California border through Death Valley National Park. Once you are on the California side you will be turning north on Highway 395 towards Benton, CA. This drive will take you alongside Sequoia National Forest, Inyo National Forest and lead you towards the entrance of Yosemite National Park. You will enter Yosemite National Park, driving westwards on Highway 120 and spend a night in the Evergreen Lodge, directly in the park.
The jaw-dropping head-turner of America’s national parks, and a Unesco World Heritage site, Yosemite (yo-sem-it-ee) garners the devotion of all who enter. From the waterfall-striped granite walls buttressing emerald-green Yosemite Valley to the skyscraping giant sequoias catapulting into the air at Mariposa Grove, the place inspires a sense of awe and reverence Feel your heart instantly moved by unrivaled splendors: the haughty profile of Half Dome, the hulking presence of El Capitan, the drenching mists of Yosemite Falls, the gemstone lakes of the high country’s subalpine wilderness and Hetch Hetchy’s pristine pathways.
On the other side of Yosemite awaits Modesto California where you will turn north towards Stockton and Sacramento (you can bypass Sacramento if you want to save time) heading to wine country in beautiful Napa Valley.
Napa Valley is exactly what you expect when you think of Wine Country: hillside chateau wineries, bold cabernets, vast expanses of perfectly ordered grape vines, grassy slopes speckled by the tungsten sun, restaurant dinners that go on for hours, and some of the finest and most luxurious small-scale boutique hotels anywhere in California, like the 5-star Meritage Resort & Spa.
Your journey will then take you south towards San Rafael and over the Golden Gate Bridge into downtown San Francisco. A two night stay in the city will allow you to experience the beautiful city and its sights. Never the same. Always San Francisco. No matter if this is your first time to visit San Francisco, or you’re here to renew an old acquaintance, the city never ceases to surprise. San Francisco is so packed full of beautiful sights, arts and culture and things to do that going once is not enough. You will be staying at the Westin St. Francis Union Square.
One of the most beautiful stretches of road is the Pacific Coast Highway “PCH” (Hwy #1) between San Francisco and Monterey. Beyond Monterey lies Big Sur State Park as you head south along the coast towards Santa Barbara, with an overnight stay at Pismo Beach. You will be staying at the luxurious beachside resort Vespera on Ocean, an Autograph Collection Hotel.
On day two of your drive you will eventually be driving past Santa Barbara, Malibu towards Beverly Hills where you will spend two nights exploring the City of Angels and Hollywood.
SPECIAL NOTE: **There is currently a road closure due to a wash out, just South of Big Sur State Park scheduled to open before summer, there may still be a detour in May**
Its been called many nicknames, city of angels, tinsel town. In L.A. every neighborhood sets a different scene. Eclectic, progressive, trendy, laid back or retro. There's a place for you in this California hotspot. We have found some of the best boutique hotels in the city. Great locations, excellent service and unique places. We also found some fun stuff for you to do. The TMZ Hollywood tour is a hoot, it focuses more on celebrity gossip than actual history. Of course we also gave you the option to go for the classic city tour rich in history and insights. Enjoy a sunset cruise to Catalina island, or helicopter ride over Malibu. You will be staying at the Hotel Beverly Terrace, nestled between Beverly Hills and Hollywood with plenty of parking spaces.
Travelling south on the PCH will take you into Orange County, with a lunch scheduled at Pelican Hill overlooking the Pacific Coast. After lunch you will head south towards Laguna Beach, a quirky and artsy town known for its surfer vibe, artist community and glamorous mansions. You can choose to stay a night or drive an hour further south to San Diego, spending a wonderful night in the city voted best place to live in California. You will be staying at Moxy San Diego in the Gaslamp District.
To save some time you will take a short flight on Alaska Airways from San Diego to Portland Oregon, where you will collect your new vehicle and start your road trip on the northern west coast. We suggest leaving in the mid-afternoon which will still give you the morning to stroll the beach and enjoy the warm California sun. Make sure to gas up the rental car prior to dropping it off to avoid additional charges.
Best coffee. Most food carts. Top craft breweries. Number-one hipster haven. Portland is a city of indie-spirited superlatives and humble, off-beat charms. Portland has a long-held reputation as one of the country's top culinary destinations – James Beard was born here, after all. Portland has an almost unfair abundance of natural beauty – perfect parks, leafy trees, vibrantly flowering shrubs lining pretty residential streets, the Willamette River meandering through town, and Mt Hood on the horizon. You will be staying at the AC Hotel Portland Downtown.
Home of Starbucks, The Seahawks, the Mariners and the Seattle Sounders FC there’s always something happening in Seattle. Whether you’re a family looking for budget-friendly activities or a sports fan on the hunt for the latest Instagram-worthy sports vista, the Emerald City has you covered. Meet artisan makers, shop indie boutiques and designer fashions, admire priceless works of art, sing your heart out at a karaoke club, and enjoy nature—all without ever having to leave the city. You will be staying at the W Hotel Seattle.
After a slow start to the day, with a Seattle Coffee Company cub of Java in hand you will be returning to Dallas later in the afternoon. Make sure to gas up the rental car prior to dropping it off to avoid additional charges.