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  • La Jolla, CA
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    Starting Point: San Diego, California

  • Temecula California
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    Discover SoCal’s Wine Country: Temecula, California

  • Joshua Tree, California
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    Experience The Beauty Of California’s Desert: Joshua Tree National Park and The Mojave National Preserve

  • Las Vegas, Nevada
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    Viva Las Vegas!

  • Grand Canyon
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    A Memorable Drive To The Grand Canyon

  • Flagstaff, Arizona
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    End Of The Road: Flagstaff, Arizona

  • Stop 7
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    Bonus Leg: A Detour to Sedona

San Diego Road Trip
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Southwest Landscapes

  • Route distance:
    1185km
  • Suggested Time:
    1-2 weeks

Sun, desert landscapes and outdoor adventure

California, Nevada and Arizona have always been synonymous with adventure. This part of the United States maintains an aura of unlimited possibilities and untamed wilderness. Experience it for yourself on a road trip that will take you across beautiful beaches, vibrant cities and natural wonders that you can’t find anywhere else. What to bring: A study pair of hiking boots, plenty of water, and camera for all of the beautiful views!

01
La Jolla, CA
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Ballast Point Brewery
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SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - MAI TAI YACHT CHARTER
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San Diego at night, California
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San Diego, California
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Torrey Pines  San Diego, California
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Starting Point: San Diego, California

Begin the journey in sunny San Diego, California. Fly into San Diego International Airport — conveniently located near the heart of the city — where you can easily pick up a rental car. There are plenty of pristine beaches to choose from, including the scenic resort town of Coronado, about a 15-minute drive from the city. Spend a day exploring this ocean-side community by biking, soaking up the sun on the public beaches or embarking on a sailing tour. If you’re looking for a place to hang your hat, check in at the Hotel del Coronado, which has offered luxury beachside lodging for more than 125 years. While in San Diego, devote some time to the city’s beloved Balboa Park, where you will find the San Diego Zoo, 15 museums and other attractions. The nation’s largest urban cultural park, the picturesque park is a favorite among locals for not only for its world-class culture, but for its distinctive architecture and open spaces. The internationally acclaimed San Diego zoo houses more than 3,500 animals from all across the globe, as well as over 700,000 exotic plants. A trip to San Diego isn’t complete without a visit to one of the city’s microbreweries; to get a taste for local beer, tag along on a guided brewery tour. For dinner, shopping and nightlife, head to Old Town San Diego or the Gaslamp Quarter.

94 km
1 hour by car
02
Temecula California
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Temecula California Crush and Brew
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Temecula California Wine Tours
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Temecula California
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Temecula California
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Temecula California  Wine Tours
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Discover SoCal’s Wine Country: Temecula, California

Kick off the drive east by heading north on Interstate Highway 15 past rolling hills covered in grape vines to Temecula, California. A part of Southern California’s wine country, Temecula is known for its mild climate, its booming wine scene, bed & breakfasts, spas, and restaurants. The area offers about 30 vineyards including the lauded cozy Vindemia Estate Winery, as well as a charming old town with wooden boardwalks and Pechanga, a casino resort.

171 km
2 hours by car
03
Joshua Tree, California
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Joshua Tree, California
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Joshua Tree, California
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Joshua Tree, California
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Mojave Route 66
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Joshua Tree, California
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Experience The Beauty Of California’s Desert: Joshua Tree National Park and The Mojave National Preserve

For a change of scenery, get back in the car and head for the arid desert landscape of Joshua Tree National Park. A local favorite, this otherworldly park is named for the native Joshua tree, which dot the landscape amid the varied rock formations. Take a hike in Hidden Valley or head to Joshua Tree Ranch to explore the park on horseback. Bring plenty of water, as temperatures in the desert regularly exceed 35 degrees Celsius in the summer months. After Joshua tree, drive northeast past rolling mountains and prickly cacti to the Mojave National Preserve. The park is home to rolling sand dunes, volcanic cinder cones and canyons, and offers a sense of California’s past like abandoned mines and homes. Grab a map at the Kelso Depot Visitor Center and take in the beautiful Kelso Dunes and the Providence Mountains.

328 km
4 hours by car
04
Las Vegas, Nevada
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Hoover DAM
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Las Vegas Adventuredome
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Las Vegas Casino
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Las Vegas, Nevada
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Las Vegas, Nevada
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Viva Las Vegas!

Even though Las Vegas, Nevada is less than three hours from the solitude of the Mojave National Preserve, this city is anything but quiet. With its seemingly endless options for dining, shopping, gambling and adventure, Las Vegas lives up to its billing as the “Entertainment Capital of the World.” Begin your stay here on the iconic Las Vegas Strip by taking in the complimentary Fountains of Bellagio show, playing regularly after 3 pm. Just north of the Bellagio, the Venetian offers gondola rides and plenty of high-end shopping. Other Vegas attractions include Cirque Du Soleil performances at numerous hotels around town, the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay and the new LINQ entertainment district at Caesar’s Palace, which offers chic restaurants, a bowling alley, an observation wheel and more. When you need a break from the bright lights of Las Vegas, head about 45 minutes southeast to the iconic Hoover Dam. Built during the Great Depression, the massive dam is an engineering marvel constructed to control flooding and supply hydroelectric power to the Southwest. Lake Mead National Recreation Area surrounds the dam and feels like a lush oasis in the blazing desert. Cool off with a swim in or a boat ride on the sprawling lake.

200 km
2 hours by car
05
Grand Canyon
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Grand Canyon
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Grand Canyon Arizona
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Grand Canyon, Arizona
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Grand Canyon, Arizona
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Hoover Dam
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A Memorable Drive To The Grand Canyon

Follow the meandering Colorado River to Arizona’s world-famous Grand Canyon. One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon is a must see for any Southwest road trip. Be sure to visit the Grand Canyon Skywalk, a horseshoe-shaped bridge with a glass floor suspended more than 1,200 meters above the canyon floor. The Skywalk offers spectacular views of the Grand Canyon’s crevices. (Visit at dusk to take photos of the brilliant red sunsets.) Continue on to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park for hiking, camping, tours and wildlife viewing.

345 km
3 hours by car
06
Flagstaff, Arizona
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Flagstaff, Arizona
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Flagstaff, Arizona
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Flagstaff, Arizona
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Flagstaff, Arizona
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Flagstaff, Arizona
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End Of The Road: Flagstaff, Arizona

As you drive from Grand Canyon National Park to Flagstaff, Arizona, you’ll see the landscape transform from an arid desert to a mountainous evergreen forest. In Flagstaff you’ll discover a historic, Western-style downtown lined with boutique shops, and locally owned restaurants and bars. Take full advantage of the change of scenery here by hiking in the San Francisco Peaks and stargazing at the Lowell Observatory.

47 km
1 hour by car
07
Stop 7
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Stop 7
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Stop 7
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Sedona, Arizona
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Sedona, Arizona
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Bonus Leg: A Detour to Sedona

Though Flagstaff marks the end of your main route, consider taking one last detour to soak in the red rock vistas of Sedona, Arizona. Considered a sacred place for many Native American tribes, the area has a mystical feel with its stunning colored geological formation and its thriving arts community. A short hike on Cathedral Rock rewards you with stunning views of rust-hued buttes and the charming town nestled among them. Consider a hot-air balloon ride to take in the stunning valley views. And if you’re in need of some relaxation, there are dozens of spas and resorts to choose from. Afterwards, drive about two hours south to return your rental car and catch a flight home from Phoenix, Arizona’s Sky Harbor International Airport.

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The Colorado Street Bridge, a Beaux Arts-style concrete arch built in 1913
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Destination

Pasadena