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Your Next Epic Western American Road Trip Is Here: California to New Mexico

Your Next Epic Western American Road Trip Is Here: California to New Mexico

Looking for a rad spring or summer road trip that starts in LA and takes you to Santa Fe? 

Your itinerary and routes are right here!

8 Things to Know Before You Go:

1. A lot of what you will see on this trip will be on Native American reservation and they don't accept credit cards. You will have to make sure you have enough cash to participate in everything included in the recommended itinerary. 

2. It's a lot of driving. Feel free to take your time and spread it out if you have to. If not, make sure you notice when you're sleepy and be responsible. Bring awesome tunes (playlist ideas for you right here), have your caffeine if you need it, get a good nights rest everywhere you stop. 

3. Pack snacks! Bring something delicious and save costs. Plus many of your options will be fast food during your long drives. Get yourself a cute cooler and lots of water (it is the desert) and some ice. 

4. If you're not doing this one solo, have yourself a driving partner you may want to take turns with and keep each other entertained. 

5. If you're driving your car, make sure  to get your car road trip ready.  You should check your tires, air pressure, oil, your spare,  windshield wipers and fluid, your battery, AC, so forth before setting out. There are long stretches of driving without any resources and sometimes patchy service in case you need assistance. Throw extra blankets and water in the car as well. 

6. If you're solo you may want to provide your emergency contact with your route and itinerary. 

7. If you're renting a car, opt for something fuel efficient. It not only helps save time, but can keep gas costs lower. 

8. Pack your polaroid camera or polaroid printer, film, a cute journal, double sided tape and markers.  On your down time you will want to scrap book this epic road trip. 

Your 8 Day Western USA Road Trip Itinerary

DAY 1: LOS ANGELES TO LAS VEGAS

las vegas strip at night
  • Leave Los Angeles early in the morning and head to Las Vegas (Pull out listening to Willy Nelson's On the Road Again
  • Stay at hotel of choice (But the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is tops).

DAY 2: SEVEN MAGIC MOUNTAINS AND THE NEON SIGN MUSEUM

Seven Magic Mountain 

Seven Magic Mountain 

  • Wake up early and make your way to Seven Magic Mountains (if the weather is nice aim for sunrise photos).
  • Then spend the afternoon at the very cool neon sign museum.  Tickets are sold until 10 PM. 
  • Stay in Vegas for another night and chill or do whatever you see fit in the city of sin...

DAY 3: GLEN CANYON DAM/LAKE POWELL AND ANTELOPE CANYON

  • You will drive through AZ and then UT for a bit to get to the dam. Note you will lose an hour. 
  • Make sure to enjoy the state welcome signs! 
Photo by vwalakte/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by vwalakte/iStock / Getty Images
  • Then you'll head to Antelope Canyon
  • The upper and lower both require a tour guide. 
  • The lower, less tourism is tighter and less known for the light rays that penetrate the canyon. 
  • Both require a $48 fee and the length depends on the type of tour you take. Also expect an additional fee to the Navajo reservation of about $8. 

DAY 4: FOUR CORNERS MONUMENT AND ARRIVE IN SANTA FE

  • Get ready to set off early for the 4 corners monument. 4 states at one time! Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. Bucket list - check!
  • Note: Four Corners monument is on the Navajo reservation, so it's cash only entry of $5 per person. Make sure you have enough cash on this trip. And come with patience. The line can get long (you can use the time to think of your creative pose), but someone will be happy to take your photo. It's worth the wait. 
  • Wrap up with the monument and start making your way to Santa Fe. 

DAYS 5, 6, and 7 - ENJOY SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO

  • Alternative: stay for two days only (5 and 6 only - Here's what you can do in Santa, Fe. ) and then make way to Albuquerque end of day 6. Plan to take a hot air balloon ride early the next morning on day 7.  
  • Afterwards start making way back to Los Angeles. Spend the night in Kingman, AZ 
  • Stay at the SpringHill Suites Marriott

DAY 8 - DRIVE BACK TO LOS ANGELES

  • Make a stop at the Continental Divide for a quick photo op.
  • Plan to stop at Bluewater Outpost for some amazing moccasins 

 

Don't have 8 days to spend traveling?

Here's Your Your 6 Day Western USA Road Trip Itinerary

Day 1 - Leave after work and stop at Buffalo Bills in Primm, Nevada for the night. 

Buffalo Bill's is also dog friendly

Buffalo Bill's is also dog friendly

Day 2- Visit 7 magic mountain in the morning bright and early and then start making your way to Glen Canyon Dam/Lake Powell.  You will skip Antelope Canyon and head straight to 4 corners monument. If you aren't too tired, proceed to Santa Fe after Four Corners.  But of course, if you need to stop, stop!

Days 3 and Day 4 - enjoy Santa Fe

Day 5 - Drive Back to Los Angeles stop in Kingman AZ for a night

Day 6 - Complete drive back to LA 

Feel free to modify either itinerary as you see fit, especially if you're solo or with your pup! 

And enjoy being out on the open road!

A Gorgeous 4 Day Itinerary in Banf and Jasper NP, Canada

A Gorgeous 4 Day Itinerary in Banf and Jasper NP, Canada

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