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  1. Default Quincy,MA till Los Angeles, CA road trip

    Hello, I am planning a road trip (Round trip) from Quincy, MA to Los Angeles, CA in April, 2019. I'll be driving my car and will be travelling along with my wife and son. I'd like to know which would be the best route to take? I would like to stop by in Chicago,IL and Grand Canyon, AZ. Could you please also provide a conservative estimate as to how many days would i need on the road for one way and a round trip?

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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    There's never a generic "best route" to take, especially when talking about a cross country trip.

    In terms of a direct route, I-90 would take you on a direct route from Quincy to Chicago, and I-55/I-44/I-40 would take you to Los Angeles, with the Grand Canyon a relatively short detour from that route. However, those are hardly your only options, you could look at taking I-80 and/or I-70 across Colorado and Utah, and still have the ability to go down to the Grand Canyon. And of course, there are lots of other non-interstate highways that are options too.

    You're looking at a trip that's about 3100 miles, so you're looking at a minimum of 6 days to safely and comfortably cover the miles with your family, but that's just time to drive, not extra time to see Chicago or the Grand Canyon.

    So based on what you've said, you're going to need at least 7-8 days each way. Figuring that you probably want to spend some time in California, I wouldn't consider driving this distance round trip unless you've got a minimum of 3 full weeks.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Welcome to RTA!

    I'd recommend you make the Chicago stop going one way and the Grand Canyon stop going the other way. The route recommendation below assigns Chicago to the outbound trip. I'm also going to minimize tolls for you. Not counting stops, this is about a 6300 mile round trip, and will require at least 12 days of just driving - 6 days each way.

    Quincy to LA:

    I-95 south to Old Lyme CT
    CT-9 to Middletown CT
    CT-66 to Meriden CT
    I-691 to I-84
    I-84 to Scranton PA
    I-81 to I-80
    I-80 to Youngstown OH
    I-76 to I-71
    I-71 to Mansfield OH
    US-30 to Merrillville IN
    Go into Chicago
    Note - there are toll roads all around Chicago, if you have a EZ-Pass from MA, it will work for all tolls you do see between MA and IL.

    Toll alternates:
    1. Take the Mass Pike to Sturbridge, then I-84 all the way to Scranton, follow above.
    2. Take the Mass Pike to NY, then the NY Thruway all the way to PA, I-90 through Cleveland to the Ohio Turnpike to the Indiana Toll Road to Chicago.
    Leave Chicago and get to I-80
    I-80 to I-76
    I-76 to Denver
    I-70 to I-15
    I-15 to LA


    Leave LA to I-15
    I-15 to I-40
    I-40 to Williams AZ
    AZ-64 to the Grand Canyon
    Leave the Grand Canyon on AZ-64 east to US-89
    US-89 to Flagstaff
    I-40 to east of Knoxville TN
    I-81 to Scranton
    From Scranton use one of the 2 ways previously recommended back to Quincy

    Depending on how much time you actually have, you should look at some good maps and look for other stops that may interest you along those 2 basic routes. If you are only going to actually explore Chicago and the Grand Canyon, that's an awful amount of driving just to get from point A to point B, sightseeing along Interstate highways through the windshield.

    I would look at other options if Chicago, LA, and the Grand Canyon are all you want to see and you don't have a lot of time. Fly to Chicago, then fly to LA. Rent a car, drive to the Grand Canyon, return the car in Phoenix, Las Vegas, or Salt Lake City, and fly home from there. If you do that, I'd probably look at Salt Lake City, seeing some of the Utah "Big 5" parks on the way.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default "Best" is Personal

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    RoadTrips are inherently personal. They appeal to people precisely because of the ability to choose where you want to go, what you want to see, and how long you want to take doing it. So there simply is no generic "best route". What we can do is review a couple of your options and then let you and your family decide what best fits your preferences. Then once you've made the major decisions, we can offer help on some sights along the way that might appeal to your interests (which we don't know yet other than Chicago, Los Angeles and the Grand Canyon.

    So, let's start with the simplest case, a one-way drive from Quincy to Los Angeles via Chicago and the Grand Canyon. The fastest (although not necessarily the 'best') route would simply be I-90 to Chicago, then I-55/I-44/I-40 (the replacement for Route 66) to Flagstaff, detour up to the Grand Canyon and finally continue on I-40/I-15/I-10 into Los Angeles. That's roughly 3,225 miles of driving, and would conservatively take six days MINIMUM just for the driving. Add time for whatever you want to do in Chicago as well as time spent at the Grand Canyon and other stops and you're looking at around nine or ten days.

    A second option would be to do a 'loop trip' taking a more northerly route through Chicago one way and a more southerly route by way of the Grand Canyon on the other. That would allow you to see far more of the country than simply using the same route out and back. In that case, the route through Chicago would be a minimum of just over 3,000 miles and need six days, conservatively, plus time spent in Chicago and along the way. The route through Grand Canyon National Park would be 3,140 miles and again need six days plus time spent at the Canyon and other stops along the way.

    I will say that on such long RoadTrips as the one you are contemplating, trying to stick to the minimums in terms of driving times does not make for great trips. In order to achieve those times you need to spend the vast majority of a day, day after day after day, in the car. Adding a third to a half (or more) as many days to the absolute conservative minimum allows you to actually explore the many different parts of the country you'll be traveling through and to actually take a day off from driving every so often due to weather or just driving fatigue.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    As has been mentioned many times, all estimates are bare minimum and if you are planning to make this a fun family holiday road trip I would agree that the minimum required would be 3 weeks, but personally I would be looking to nearer 4 weeks to take on such a trip with family fun in mind.

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