I am planning my first ever road trip (that too solo). I am a little nervous and looking for suggestions. I am planning to do this early September. This is what I have so far:
1. Fly to Vegas, spend 1.5 days (2 nights).
2. Early morning drive to Hoover Dam and Flagstaff (I am thinking to stay in Flagstaff). Explore Flagstaff for the rest of the day. Should I drive to Sedona? So, far I only have Lowell Observatory on my list but I think I should have some time on hand to do more. (1night)
3. Drive to GC spend the day and return by evening. Overnight in Flagstaff. (1night)
Alternative: Drive to Hoover Dam and stay outside GC (at Tusayana). Explore GC half day and next morning. Then drive to Flagstaff in the afternoon and stay overnight. I am very keen to vistit Lowell. Can I do anything else?
Which option will give me most time at GC. I dont want to regret not spending enough time there.
4. Drive to Painted Desert, Petrified Forest and Albuquerque. Overnight in Albuquerque (1night). How long would it take to enjoy Painted desert and Petrified forest. I am thinking of just driving through. Is stopping recommended or drive through is enough?
5. Albuquerque to White Sands to Carlsbad. I am planning to just drive through White Sands. Is it worth it just for a drive through? The reason I ask it that it adds 2 hours to the driving time. Alternative is to drop White Sands altogether and goto Carlsbad via Roswell. Where can I stay in Carlsbad? Or should I drive a little more towards Texas and stay somewhere else?
6. Carlsbad to Houston - I did not find anything interesting in between. Anything worthwhile? This will be the day where i will be driving for 9 hours or so. So, I dont want to take any detours.
Am I trying to do to much? I would also appreciate hotel and restaurant recommendations for the trip. Moreover, I am renting a car for one way and those are so expensive. Any tips / suggestions?
Thank you for your time.