Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. Default Austin, TX to San Diego - October 2015

    Hey everyone,

    I have two weeks to travel between Austin & San Diego in October of this year (not including a few nights at both ends). We don't really have a route yet but I doubt we'll venture further North than I40 along the way.

    I'd be keen to dip across the border into Mexico if possible but I'm very aware that many places are not safe.

    We're English but it's not our first time roadtripping in the States (Denver -> LA last year). I'm keen to see some Americana so may head up and do a bit of Route 66 despite the warnings about it being heavily touristy.

    To give you an idea of the type of thing I like, on the last road trip I was completely blown away by Arches National Park, Dead Horse Point, Colorado & Utah mountains. Less bothered about the long flat drives through Utah & Nevada ;-)

    We're into independent DIY culture and are quite hippyish so any notable counter-culture stops would be high on our list of things to do...


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default For Your Consideration

    With your interests and available time, there are many, many possible routes and attractions that would fill the bill, and I'm sure others will offer their thoughts, but here is one admittedly meandering route that will give you most of what you're looking for. From Austin, you've got a lot of "long flat drives" through the west Texas plains to get through so you might want to hop on I-10 and head directly for Fort Stockton. At that point turn north on US-285 to Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Along the way, maybe take a quick side trip into Mentone TX. Mentone is the county seat of Loving County and the entire county has a population of around 67. Mentone is kind of unique in that it's an almost ghost town functioning as a local seat of government.

    You can then turn west on US-82, or continue a bit farther north to Roswell and US-70, but in either case, your next unique natural point of interest would be White Sands National Monument. From there head west towards Tucson. This is another opportunity to wander off the straight and narrow and you'll want to check out the roads (NM-9, NM-80, AZ-80, AZ-82) through southern New Mexico and Arizona that give access to places like Columbus, Tombstone, and Kartchner Caverns. This is also your chance to cross the border into Mexico. Most rental companies will NOT allow you to take their cars into Mexico. Partly this is a safety issue, but it is also an economic one. Mexico requires that every car driven in Mexico have insurance issued by a Mexican insurance underwriter and it just is not cost effective for car hire firms to carry that insurance. If you want to cross the border, your best bet is to walk across at either El Paso TX or Nogales AZ. Both places see a lot of pedestrian traffic and there are areas near the crossings that 'cater too' (read: "try to fleece") tourists. Still if you just walk across and keep your wits, it's a chance to at least see something of Mexico.

    Next up: run north from Tucson (home of the Pima Air and Space Museum, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, and Saguaro National Park) through Phoenix to Camp Verde at which point it would be time for another little 'detour', west on AZ-260/AZ-Alt89 to Jerome and then back north on AZ-Alt89 to Sedona. These two towns represent the heart of hippie Arizona and will set you up for a run up through Oak Creek Canyon to Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon. Leaving the Canyon to the southwest to Williams sets you up to drive the longest remaining stretch of the old Route 66 roadbed, now marked as AZ-66, from Seligman through Peach Springs and on to Kingman.

    From Kingman you've got a choice, either up across Hoover Dam to Las Vegas and then down past the Mojave National Preserve or down through Lake Havasu City and through Joshua Tree National Park to San Diego.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 04-30-2015 at 01:37 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Just one more.

    ... and I'm sure others will offer their thoughts, ...
    Hard to argue with or top the advice above. It will be a wonderful trip.

    One attraction I would add. From Kingman, whether you choose to visit LV or not, there is a wonderful original section of rte 66. It will make you feel you are driving on roads of the 50s and 60s, over Sitgreaves Pass and through the lovely western town of Oatman, where burros wonder in the main street. This stretch from Kingman to Topock is probably the most authentic part of rte 66 left. The drive is ever so scenic. As you drive imagine vehicles from decades ago coping with the road and the pass.

    A short section of I-40 will take you to scenic 95 south which then takes you to Parker via Lake Havasu City, following the Colorado river the whole way.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    AZBuck may know the situation in either El Paso or Nogales for crossing the borders into Mexico. From here in San Diego, though, we don't really recommend Tijuana. It's just not a good situation down there. Definitely don't drive your vehicle over the border. On the few occasions when I have traveled into Nogales Mexico or Mexicali (from Calexico, also not recommended), we've parked our vehicle on the American side in a safe parking lot, and walked across. That was awhile ago, but the vehicle issues haven't changed, only the unrest (which has gotten worse).


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    The only really safe border town is Algodones, which is west of Yuma. It's not a traditional tourist town, it's a little town full of medical offices and pharmacies. I would definitely not use El Paso, that's across from Juarez which is one of the most dangerous cities on the planet.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Albuquerque, New Mexico

    Default Taos is nice

    Quote Originally Posted by davetaylor
    We don't really have a route yet but I doubt we'll venture further North than I-40 along the way.
    Taos, NM is north of I-40, but not so far that you couldn’t fit it into this trip. There’s a lot of great things to see around here, but I think that you’d find the Earthships particularly interesting.

    If you were to follow AZBuck’s suggested route as far as Roswell, NM, you could drive from there to Taos in 4 ˝ - 5 hours [ using US Hwy. 285 to Santa Fe and Espańola, then NM Hwy. 68 to Taos ]. That would be the fastest way to get there, but if you wanted to take more time, there are other fun, scenic routes that you could use.

    Edit: More Eco-friendly things in Taos
    Last edited by howard; 05-02-2015 at 05:27 PM. Reason: added another URL

  7. Default

    Hey everyone - I just wanted to say a big thanks to you all for providing so much food for thought. With your suggestions we've started to compile a rough Plan A, safe in the knowledge that we'll almost certainly deviate pretty drastically!

    Given your advice, and a bit more research, I think we'll ditch the idea of crossing the border and instead make a detour to Big Bend NP early on before heading North in the vague direction of Santa Fe, then turning West. We'll be hitting a lot of your suggestions along the way.

    If you're interested in our route then read on...

    3 nights in Austin leaving on October 8th, when we'll spend the day driving towards Big Bend. I know this is going to be a long drive day, so if we can't get there in one day then we'll stop overnight, probably in Marathon.

    We'll hike in Big Bend for a day and stay overnight before driving up to Marfa, and then onto Carlsbad with a detour to Mentone. Not sure exactly where we'll stop for the night on this section as it seems unlikely we can squeeze all that in without a stop.

    From there we'll head to Santa Fe via Roswell, and then turn West towards Sedona, Flagstaff & the Grand Canyon. Then its on via AZ66 to Kingman before heading South. We'll take Lifey's recommendation of driving via Oatman too.

    If anyone has any extra thoughts on that route then I'd be very happy to hear them. This is a terrific forum, thanks again for your helpful suggestions.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Austin to Big Bend is a 460 mile drive. By west Texas standards (80 mph on I-10), that's a day's drive of about 9-10 hours (depending on how much you stop). You might want to get reservations on the receiving end, though, so you don't lose out.


Similar Threads

  1. Road trip from Orlando to Austin July 2015
    By Paull90 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 03-09-2015, 03:06 PM
  2. Denver to San Diego, April 2015
    By HilaryUK in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 08-08-2014, 03:08 PM
  3. San Diego to Austin!
    By ysilva in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 05-05-2011, 11:11 AM
  4. San Diego to Philadelphia in October
    By ReLoad7272 in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-22-2010, 03:16 AM
  5. San Diego to Sacramento (mid October)
    By imported_Will in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 09-22-2004, 10:35 AM


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name