Driving from L.A to Houston: destination recommendations

Hello, I thought I’d tap the teeming millions for some collective wisdom.

I’m driving out to Houston from L.a to visit a friend in a few days. I’m taking my time. Going to spend a week heading out there, and a week coming back. On the way back I think I’ll head north and visit the grand canyon and re-route thru Las Vegas.

Rough route out there

rough route back

I’m hoping you all have some recommendations on places to go/eat/do.
Currently all I have on my list is The Heart Attack Grill, visit Bisbee AZ, and the Grand canyon.

Since I’m doing this slow-boat style I’ll also probably be sleeping in my car more then once. Campsite recommendations(showers would be nice, but not absolutely necessary) would be much appreciated


When are you leaving? Phoenix and Tucson both have spring training baseball, but that doesn’t start until March.

In Phoenix, I’d suggest Macayo as a place to eat. The Heard Museum is worth a visit.

It also looks like you’ll be by the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. I used to live there and can suggest many things to do there and some great restaurants. Let me know if you’re planning on spending any time there.

On the way back, try Kachina in Flagstaff, AZ.

Thanks Dale

I’m probably leaving Monday or Tuesday.

The route is just a guideline as I have no schedule I can go anywhere within a reasonable distance . What did you have recommended for Dallas? Any good BBQ? Shows worth watching? I’m not a big sports fan although I am a rock climber.

Visit Picacho Peak State Park in AZ and hike to the top.

Stay at the Shady Dell in Bisbee.

If the weather is halfway decent, check out the hot spring-fed pool at Balmorhea State Park in Texas.

To Houston:
Biosphere2 between Phoenix and Tuscon (they tried to create a self-sustaining habitat with different zones of plants where people could live)

Kitt Peak National Observatory outside of Tuscon-Nighttime observing program (from sunset until 10-11 pm) spend time with an astronomer looking at the stars using a really big telescope

Carlsbad Caverns in Carlsbad N.M. (north of El Paso, TX) underground caverns with wide range of tours from handicapped accessible to hands-and knees with a headlamp “wild caving”

Lyndon Baines Johnson Ranch (former President)- between Fredricksberg and Johnson City, TX northwest of San Antonio, TX

San Antonio, TX Riverwalk in downtown (eating and entertainment), Alamo (Texas History)
To Los Angeles:

Blue Bell Ice Cream factory in Brehnam, TX (tours and great ice cream)

George W. Bush Presidential Library on the campus of Texas A &M University in College Station, TX on Highway 6 north west of Houston.

continue up highway 6 (watch out for small town speed traps!) to Waco for the Dr. Pepper Museum

Dallas, TX - Dallas World Aquarium (not just fish, has animals in their habitats from tree-tops to ground level)
Sixth Floor Museum- Kennedy Assassination

Fort Worth-world class art museums(Kimball Art Museum, Amon Carter Museum (western art)
Fort Worth Stockyards-cowboy (not the football team) stuf, twice a day cowboys move a herd of longhorn cattle. in the Stockyards go to Billy Bob’s Texas- a honky-tonk country-western place with real bull-riding inside

Amarillo, TX Cadillac Ranch (10 Cadillac cars buried nose down)

Albuquerque, NM Sandia Peak Ski area and Arial Tramway

Northern Arizona- Petrified Forest; Winslow,Az (the Eagles song “Take it Easy” -Standin’ on the corner in Winslow, AZ ; Meteor Crater (amazing site)

The Glass Walkway over the Grand Canyon (not in Grand Canyon National Park)

Macayo’s is OK for Gringo Mexican, but if you want the real thing, try Los Dos Molinos

If you are into caves, Kartchner Cavernsis well worth seeing.
Also, the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. And the Titan Missile Museum.

Rosa’s Cantina (of the Marty Robbins song fame) is about 50 feet off of I-10 in El Paso. We stopped there a couple of years ago. My first thought was, “Wow, what a great place to be robbed and then stabbed.” But we stuck with it and I’m glad we did.

Just north of Tucson, and a few miles east of I-10, is Biosphere II. It’s well worth seeing.


On the way back, visit the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Then swing north and drive through Zion National Park.

Then as you’re coming back on I-15 heading toward Vegas, wave at the city of St. George. I promise to wave back.

Damn this stupid netbook track pad. It somehow inadvertently causes carriage returns.

The Petrified Forest is pretty spectacular. And since you are passing through Winslow Arizona, you may as well stand on a corner and look for a flat bed Ford.

I’m kind of bummed that I didn’t spend the money to see the Meteor Crater. I was just really pissed that there was no indication that it cost money to get in and I was a broke college student. You have to drive pretty far off the 40 to get there.

If you’re going in the general Vegas direction, you ought to go through Death Valley. If you were leaving in three or four months, you coulda humped over one of the passes through the Sierra Nevada. Having done the drive, if you’re not in a hurry, you could think about bypassing the Interstates altogether and stick to Blue Routes (you can just check the “avoid highways” button on google maps.

Thanks guys! It looks like there’s plenty more to see then I’ll have time to do, but keep em coming!

It’s actually the George H.W. Bush Library at Texas A&M. The George W. Bush Library is not completed and will be on the SMU campus.

You’re route to Vegas has you crossing Hoover Dam. I’ve done that, and the traffic is terrible. You might want to plan it so you’re there at an off-peak time (if there is such a time). Or, it’s also worth taking the tour, if you like big, engineering/geeky things.

I was going to suggest the same thing, but I don’t think it’s open for the season, yet. Not even sure what the conditions at the South Rim are like in February/March.

Around the Las Cruces area you can turn off and head into Old Mesilla, an old town square with some cool, artsy shops. White Sands is also in the area, and that’s fantastic–follow signs toward Alamogordo. There’s pretty much nothing between El Paso and Kerrville–what towns that are there are mainly speed traps, so be careful (esp. Fort Stockton).

South Llano River State Parkis just a few miles off of I-10 near Junction, Texas. The park and the adjacent Wildlife Management Area feature a lot of cool bird life and hiking trails that really showcase the Texas Hill Country. (Even if much of the park is closed off to protect turkey breeding areas, as noted in the link, the WMA is still accessible.) Really nice place.

One fun thing to add to your route would be to go through Roswell (which works even better if you hit up Carlsbad Caverns) on the way out of Texas and up to Albuquerque. From Albuquerque you’re headed through the Four corners which is worth a photo op.
I’d suggest paying attention to the weather for that section of your trip it gets pretty cold out there and sleeping in a vehicle isn’t the best idea unless your prepared. Unfortunately this time of year there really isn’t a lot to do up in the Four Corners area except ski but if you’re up for that Durango Mountain has much better snow then Sandia and won’t put you off your route.
I also want to second Zion I drove it last year heading to Vegas and it was pretty beautiful and has the coolest tunnel I’ve ever been in. The only other suggestion I would make is that the speed limit drops at night in Texas and after driving 80+ all day through Arizona and southern New Mexico it can be a soul crusher to have to drop to 65 so you may want to plan accordingly.

I’d go through Austin instead of San Antonio, time permitting. San Antonio has the River Walk and the Alamo, but I prefer the scenery, atmosphere, and night life of Austin.