I realize this is quite a common road trip and I've read a lot of threads for places to go but I can't manage to figure how to budget the time and break up the driving or where to stay. We have four days budgeted and possibly one night if that helps. These are just Google Maps driving routes, so happy to take advice on anything because it's my first time planning a road trip.
Lodging recommendations would be especially helpful as I am responsible for that part of the trip.
These are the destinations we want to hit (please suggest more if they are on the way):
Anza Borrego State Park
This is our planned route so far but I'm wondering if we're driving too little in the beginning and too much at the end. How long do you really need in Joshua Tree and is it worth staying there overnight? Is this enough time for everything? I really want to see Petrified Forest but not sure if we'll have time too.
Drive from LA to Anza Borrego Desert State Park (150 miles, about 3 hours) Directions
Drive from Anza Borrego Desert State Park to Joshua Tree National Park. (73.9 miles, about 1.5 hour) Directions
Stay the night at/near Joshua Tree National Park
Drive from Joshua Tree National Park to Lake Havasu, AZ (149 miles, about 2.5 hours) Directions
OPTION: Drive from Lake Havasu, AZ to Flagstaff, AZ (206 miles, 3 hours & 15 minutes) Directions
Should we stay in Lake Havasu or Flagstaff or is there somewhere near there that might be worthwhile? Anything to see or eat?
Drive from Lake Havasu OR Flagstaff, AZ to Grand Canyon South Rim
Lake Havasu to Grand Canyon (232 miles, 3 hours and 45 minutes) Directions
Flagstaff to Grand Canyon (78.3 miles, 1.5 hour) Directions
Drive from Grand Canyon to Hoover Dam (243 miles, 3.5 hours)
Drive from Hoover Dam to Las Vegas 33.9 miles, 42 minutes
Stay the night in Las Vegas
Drive from Las Vegas to Death Valley (123 miles, around 2 hours) Directions
Drive from Death Valley to LA (304 miles, 5 hours) Directions