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  1. Default From Kansas City to San Diego

    Hello. My fiance and I are trying to plan a road trip for Late May. We are thinking of taking a week or two to drive from Kansas City to San Diego. We were not sure if driving there and back would be the best option, or driving there and flying back or would better. Neither one of us has been out west or on a road trip, so we are a little lost in the planning. If anyone has any advice on routes, attractions and places to stay to help us out, that would be great. Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The two things it sounds like you most need to think about are time and transportation, which are the key factors in a one way or a round trip.

    Transportation is a factor because if you do a one way trip, obviously, you can't take your own car, and any rental car is going to add on a rather significant one way drop fee.

    The other is time - more specifically the difference between one and two weeks is very significant. If you only have one week, then a one way trip is almost your only option. Its going to be a good 3 day drive to get to California, so a round trip in one week would only give you enough time to get there and then immediately turn around and come home. However, if you have 2 weeks, then you've at least go the potential of doing a round trip, where you have two different route and lots of things you could see and do both directions of this trip.

    Once you've got down some of the details, then you can worry more about other attractions.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome aboard RTA!

    I will second Michael's suggestion that it's a two-week minimum if you want to drive from MO to SD and back. Frankly, this is a common trip for us, as we live in the San Diego area and we have family in Missouri. From KC you are looking at 3 long days of driving, or 4.

    If you stick to interstates, there are two suggestions: Go out one way and return the other way. Along I-70 West and I-15, it would take 3 days of heavy driving to get to San Diego. That would make your overnights at Burlington or Limon CO (we prefer Burlington), and Richfield or Salina, UT (we prefer Richfield; more choices). Another route would be I-35 South to OKC where you catch I-40 West, and you catch I-15 South through Riverside County and into San Diego. We find that's more comfortable with 4 shorter days, but you may choose to do this in 3 long days. You'd be overnighting in western OK and somewhere around Holbrook, AZ. (In 4 days, we are comfortable with El Reno OK, Albuquerque, and Kingman, AZ, which makes the last day a bit shorter. YMMV.)

    Along either route there are so many things to see that you'd have to choose wisely. I-70/I-15 has Rocky Mt NP close by, Glenwood Springs, Arches NP, Escalante Canyon, Canyonlands, Zion NP, Las Vegas, and more. I-35/I-40/I-15 has Cadillac Ranch near Amarillo (a short stop but rather quirky), Petrified Forest NP, Grand Canyon NP, and more.

    Those are just some ideas.


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