California is gorgeous year round: from the beautiful ocean views to the rolling hills, our state is quite the looker. However, sometimes it can feel like we are stuck in 12 seasons of sunshine (we mean that in the best way). Though living on the West Coast can have its major perks, there are few things like fall and winter time on the East Coast. We’ve rounded up some ideas for a West Coast to East Coast road trip.
1. Los Angeles/San Francisco, California to Saguaro National Park, Arizona (7.5 hours)
Less than an eight hour drive from the beautiful city of Los Angeles, you can find the Saguaro National Park. With miles and miles of cacti, this Tuscan park is a succulent-lover’s oasis. With tons of hiking options for all skill levels, the Saguaro National Park is a fantastic option whether you’re going solo or bringing the family. It also makes for a scenic drive! If you’re starting your drive from San Francisco, you may want to take a pit stop and not embark on the 13 hour drive all at once. If you’re looking for a great halfway point to spend the night, we’d recommend Las Vegas (9 hours from San Francisco) or Los Angeles (6 hours from San Francisco).
2. Saguaro National Park, Arizona to White Sands, New Mexico (4 hours)
Looking for an instagram-worthy spot? The White Sands National Monument is a must-see spot on your West to East Coast road trip. These pure white sand dunes are truly breathtaking. At the White Sands National Monument, you can picnic, take some pictures, hike, or even slide down the dunes (because why not?!). We’d recommend driving all the way to the end without stopping, as the dunes at the very end are quite incredible.
3. White Sands, New Mexico to Dallas, Texas (10 hours)
Just 10 hours from the White Sands National Monument, you can find the iconic Texas city of Dallas. There are tons of things to do in Dallas (whether you have a few hours or a few days). The Dallas Arboretum is a beautiful, year round! If you’re looking for something indoorsy, the Dallas Museum of Art is one of the largest art museums in the entire country. For food, definitely try out some classic Texas tex-mex or BBQ.
4. Dallas, Texas to Nashville, Tennessee (10 hours)
Continue heading south towards Nashville, Tennessee. We recommend taking a quick stop in Memphis along the way. You can’t miss Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley. Looking for an amazing snack? Muddy’s Bake Shop is to die for. If you’re passionate about music, take a guided tour of Sun Studio, where Elvis, Johnny Cash, and more recorded at! After Memphis, head three hours southeast to Nashville. Check out the Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Parthenon.
5. Nashville, Tennessee to Asheville, North Carolina (4.5 hours)
From Nashville, you can take 1-40E all the way to Asheville, North Carolina. You can’t go wrong with a quick visit to the Biltmore Gardens or the Blue Spiral 1 art gallery. The Blue Ridge Parkway makes for a gorgeous, scenic drive. There are even great hikes that you can do along the way! You can even getting some skiing in at Maggie Valley. If you’re looking to explore Asheville a bit more, the downtown has some great places to shop and eat. Asheville has the most breweries per capita, so there are tons of options for brewery tour if you’re looking for something a bit boozy (and you have a designated driver).
6. Asheville, North Carolina to Charleston, South Carolina (4 hours)
Just four hours from Asheville is the colorful city of Charleston. The entire city itself feels like it’s frozen in time. Spend the day at one of Charleston’s many beaches or stroll along the Battery. If you’re looking for something unique, definitely check out the 500 year old, Angel Oak. There are also tons of great bars and restaurants in Charleston to explore.
7. Charleston, South Carolina to Jacksonville, Florida (4 hours)
Why not hit Jacksonville, Florida on your coast to coast trip? From the Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary to the Big Talbot Island State Park. Between sandy beaches and bike tours, there are tons of great ways to hit the great outdoors - year round. If you want to spend some more time in Florida, you can head south towards Palm Beach, Miami, and Tampa.
8. Jacksonville, Florida to New Orleans, Louisiana (8 hours)
On your drive back to the West Coast, you can’t go wrong with hitting New Orleans on the way home. Bourbon Street is a blast if you’re looking for something fun to do after the sun goes down. Explore French Quarter and Jackson Square while you’re there. If you’re looking for something different, the National WWII Museum is very cool and moving. For some classic jazz, the Spotted Cat Music Club is a lot of fun. Just make sure you stay the night in the city and avoid drinking and driving!
9. New Orleans, Louisiana to Austin, Texas (8 hours)
Next stop - Austin, Texas. There are lots of great things to do and see in Austin. Get some paddle boarding or kayaking in during your stay. Take some pictures at Graffiti Park at Castle Hill or even take a graffiti tour with a painting class. Check out the Texas State Capitol or watch the bats from the Congress Avenue Bridge. For some classic Texas BBQ, head to Franklin Barbecue for some brisket and slaw.
10. Austin, Texas to Sante Fe, New Mexico (11 hours)
In 11 hours, you can make it from Austin, Texas to Sante Fe, New Mexico. Sante Fe is such a unique city, and it’s a great stop for anyone that loves art. Check out some of the hundreds of art galleries in the city or visit the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture. If you’re looking for a great place to take the kids, the Harrell House Bug Museum is a winner. For some fun outdoors, book a river rafting adventure or discover the city on a bike tour.
11. Sante Fe, New Mexico to Oljato-Monument Valley, Utah (6 hours)
Oljato-Monument Valley is postcard worthy. Take a 1.5 hour tour of Monument Valley’s Valley Loop Drive to take in some scenic views. If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, Wildcat Trail is a pretty moderate hike.
12. Oljato-Monument Valley, Utah to Antelope Canyon, Arizona (2 hours)
On your way out of Utah, definitely stop by Antelope Canyon on your journey back. If you’re looking to create some photography magic, look no further. Antelope Canyon is such a hidden gem that is well worth the drive.
13. Antelope Canyon, Arizona to Los Angeles/San Francisco, California (8 hours)
If you’re heading back to Southern California from Antelope Canyon in Arizona, you may want to go straight home. If you want to see one last amazing thing before heading back, definitely drive through the Mojave National Preserve. It’s a pretty stunning, desert drive - just make sure you have enough gas in your tank. The Joshua Tree Forest is especially surreal. San Francisco is a 13 hour drive from Antelope Canyon, so you may want to spend the night in Vegas if you don’t want to drive the entire distance in one day. For something unique and perplexing, the Racetrack in Death Valley National Park will completely blow your mind. It truly takes “off the beaten path” to a whole new level.
Thinking about taking a cross country road trip? Whether you’re more the impulse getaway type or you’re looking for a long trip to plan out for 2019, there’s never a wrong time to see all the coolest spots America has to offer. From the Grand Canyon to the Vegas strip, there are so many incredible places to check out and explore. If you’re planning on taking your Canvas car, we’d definitely recommend upgrading your mileage package to unlimited so you can drive as far as you need to. So start putting together your road trip playlist, pack your bags, and get ready to head from the West Coast to the East Coast.