My friend and I need to drive from DC to LA at short notice and are looking for advice on routes and places to stop along the way. We have 9-10 days in late February to do the drive. The primary goal is getting to LA, but we’re hoping that along the way we can see a few sights or at the very least drive through some interesting and varied scenery, as well as do some short hikes. We’ll have a dog with us, but like us, she’s used to traveling and happy to spend plenty of time in the car when necessary.
From looking at maps and suggestions given to previous travelers, it sounds like there’s a higher chance of snow delays on I-70 through Colorado and Utah at this time of year, so it seems like we should be aiming for I-40 through the western half of the US. For the eastern half, are there any advantages of I-81/I-40, over I-70/I-44/I-40? I’ve travelled along the I-81 corridor several times previously so it would be nice to see something different.
We’re happy to do longer days of driving where there aren’t many good options for places to stop, so that we have more time to stop at more interesting locations. We know that we’ll need to stick to Interstates most of the way to make better time, but we’d also be keen to get off the interstates occasionally if there are any particular stretches of scenic road along the way that won’t eat up big chunks of time.
As well as food/bathroom breaks, we’d like to aim for at least one decent walk each day (an hour or more) if possible, or several shorter walks - primarily for the dog, but also for us. We can just stop and walk around towns on the way of course, but I’d love any suggestions for good places to hike/wander that aren’t too far out of our way - state/local parks, short hiking trails, etc. Would also consider non-dog-friendly attractions that don’t require too much time to see - we could take turns walking the dog while the other goes inside.
Towards the end of the drive I know there are lots of great national/state parks that would be worth the several hours detour, so if we make good enough time to AZ we’ll try to squeeze in a quick visit and some walks in a couple - maybe Grand Canyon, Zion.
I’ve used the advice given to previous travelers on this and other forums to plan many wonderful trips in the past, but given the short notice on this one I thought I’d post my own questions for the first time. Appreciate any and all suggestions.