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  1. Default San Diego to San Antonio

    Hi all - We are likely to be visited from the UK next year (Spring or Summertime) and couldn't decide between San Diego or San Antonio for a place to visit, so we're looking at now maybe doing both and including a short road trip between the two!

    So, I'm looking for a bit of advice on possible routes and things to see on the way. We have two kids (9 and 11), so will need to fit in some sights and activities that they would enjoy. Obviously we've got Tombstone on the route, which I'm sure the kids will love!

    Google tells me its a 20 hour drive, so we will probably split it over 2 or 3 days and stop off on the way (ideally not in a city as we're already book ending the trip with cities).

    Any tips, advice, do's/don'ts would be much appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    That drive is definitely not "20 hours". Google may be able to drive that in 20 hours, but it doesn't need to get caught in traffic, deal with construction, stop to eat or use the facilities, or take a break from the white stripes. People need about 2-1/2 days to drive the almost-1300 miles, and that doesn't include any sightseeing stops or detours to places like Tombstone (which adds an extra 100 miles or so).

    Among places one could stop, and these are just a few: Saguaro National Park (western portion or eastern portion, or both) near Tucson, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum near Tucson, Big Bend National Park in southwestern Texas. Bear in mind that during the summer, this route is along the desert floor, which means hot.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Phoenix, Arizona

    Default You should take a look at our book!


    Driving between San Diego and San Antonio, you'll be traveling on Interstate 10 most of the way. We have a travel guide devoted to "Scenic Side Trips" in Arizona and New Mexico that are essentially detours off the Interstate Highways, and there's an entire section of the book devoted to the stretch of I-10 that you'll be using. There's a LOT to see in that part of the Southwest, and much of it is reasonably close to your route. Here's a link to the listing on Amazon: RoadTrip America Arizona and New Mexico: 25 Scenic Side Trips. Check the reviews and the "Look Inside" feature to see if the book might be useful to you.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    As Donna indicated, the 20 Hours spit out by a computer program is only valid in a virtual world that doesn't ever have to slow down, much less stop, for things like traffic, gas, restrooms, and stir-crazy kids.

    So your quick dos and don'ts-
    Do make this trip, it could be a great experience.
    Do make sure to check the costs, as one way car rentals can be quite expensive.
    Do check out Rick's book, which should provide lots of ideas.

    Don't even think about making this trip in less than 3 days, and really consider taking even more time if you can.

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

    Default Can you share some more info?

    Perhaps you could tell us more about your plans, seeing the 'big' picture rather than just a slice of your trip helps us to help you. Tell us of your interests and what is it that makes San Diego and San Antonio places to visit ? (I'm not suggesting they are not but it helps us to understand as there are many great places to visit) How long will you be in the USA for ?

  6. Default

    Thank you everybody for all the tips! I will certainly check out all the links. It does sound like we need to factor in more time that originally planned.

    We really enjoyed LA on our last trip, which included time out in the desert at Joshua Tree and surrounding area. So we want to do some city excursions where there is a lot going on, including taking the kids to Legoland. But also really keen to escape the city and see some wide open vistas, small towns, quirky attractions, etc. the kind of things you see on a good road trip! We've both wanted to visit and experience Texas for a while and a friend who travels a lot to the US with work recommended San Antonio as one of this favourite Texan cities, with plenty to kids both us and kids entertained!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Set on Texas at this point ?

    The beauty of road trips is that you get to do what you want to do and if that appeals and is within your budget for one way car rentals etc then that's great, but as mentioned it will be a full 3 days of driving with a quick visit to Tombstone. So the question would be, will it be fun for the Kids ? This is purely a thought, but have you looked at many alternatives ? With a 3 day road trip and say, 3 days in San Antonio, what could you do with that time differently ? With similar mileage you could visit Grand canyon and up through Page AZ to Zion NP and back to LA via Vegas, perhaps across Death valley. (Very hot in summer but the landscape is fascinating from the car) Alternatively you could head to Sequoia and Yosemite NP's (amazing!!) and across to San Francisco (Alcatraz, Pier 39 etc) and back to LA via the scenic coast road with Monterey Bay Aquarium and Hearst castle as possible places to visit. I wouldn't underestimate just how much fun Kids can have from just running around in the parks and enjoying nature. As I say, it's just food for thought and whatever you decide if you have more questions just ask them here.

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