And just like that our road trip is complete! My sister and I have made it to Santa Monica and we could not be happier about how things went! The trip was an utter success and I am so happy to say that I have driven across America! Here is the recap of our final leg. Stay tuned for my wrap-up post full of tips and resources!
STATES CROSSED: New Mexico, Arizona
On the morning of day five we set off from Albuquerque, New Mexico towards our stop at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. I'll be honest with you guys, this is a tough drive. It is long and there is not much to see on the way. We stopped at the Petrified Forest National Park (near Holbrook, Arizona) on our way there. It was super cool and I always love to visit national parks. They also had a nice restaurant inside with clean bathrooms!
Something I've learned throughout this driving process (which I'm sharing with my sister) is that listening to musicals helps immensely. Having a plot to follow is so helpful when you're going down two to three hour stretches of nothingness. We listened to almost the entirety of Hamilton which was amazing because Hamilton is amazing.
We made it to our hotel after about six hours. We stayed at the Grand Canyon Plaza Hotel which is super cute and has an adorable green indoor courtyard. The restaurant was super expensive and was not that good so I don't recommend eating there, but otherwise it was great! The hotel is walking distance from an IMAX theater that screens a cool Grand Canyon film, and it also is a stopping point for Pink Jeep Tours as well as the free shuttle bus that goes to the Grand Canyon Visitor Center.
Be warned that you'll need to buy a $30 vehicle pass for your party (even if you are just taking the bus and not driving in). The shuttle will take you to the main visitor center which is where we got all of our great photos (our viewing point was Mather Rim). There is also a bus depot there that will take you to different viewing points around the South rim. The Grand Canyon was beautiful and amazing, and we went just before sunset so we got to see that beautiful golden hour light.
STATES CROSSED: Arizona, Nevada
On day six, we travelled from our location near the Grand Canyon all the way to Las Vegas, Nevada. The trip was not too long, and we stopped for lunch at In-N-Out near Kingman, AZ. Once we started approaching Las Vegas, Nevada, the traffic got pretty bad on I-215. We made it to The Venetian Hotel where we booked a super affordable room and enjoyed Vegas for the night.
My sister and I walked across the casino and through the many shops along the Italian-style walkways and manmade canal. The interior of the hotel was beautiful and very Vegas. I highly recommend the Italian food at Trattoria Reggiano, and definitely visit Houdini's Magic Shop just next door.
STATES CROSSED: Nevada, California
On our final day, we drove from Vegas to Santa Monica, California. We passed through Baker, California where we grabbed a bite to eat, and drove straight on 'til the 405. I definitely recommend avoiding the 405 if you are going to be driving on it for the first time after having driven for seven consecutive days. It's pretty wild. But overall, the drive to Santa Monica, California was an absolute blast.
I am going to be doing one final post of all of my tips & tricks to have the best road trip ever. I started compiling them on day one and I have definitely collected a ton of small ideas that will make your trip so much smoother.