Grab Your Shades, It’s Time For A Thrilling Road Trip!

Grab Your Shades, It's Time For A Thrilling Road Trip!

It’s Time for a Road Trip! There’s nothing quite like the thrill of a road trip, and there’s no better way to experience the beauty of the United States than hitting the open road. Let’s see what kind of adventures awaits.

Join me on my first cross-country journey with my husband as we go from Florida to California and back, taking in all the sights and sounds along the way.

Road Trip Itinerary

  • DAY 1: Cape Coral > San Antonio, 1295.79 miles, 18 hours
  • DAY 2: San Antonio > Gilbert,  970.35 miles, 13.5 hours
  • DAY 3: Gilbert > Los Angeles, 396.64 miles, 5.75 hours
  • DAY 4 – 17:  Explored SoCal
  • DAY 18: Los Angeles > Las Vegas, 270.21 miles, 3.75 hours
  • DAY 18 – 21:  Explored Las Vegas
  • DAY 22: Las Vegas > Hoover Dam, 37.30 miles, 40 minutes
  • DAY 22: Hoover Dam > Grand Canyon, 248.12 miles, 3.75 hours 
  • DAY 23-26: Grand Canyon > Cape Coral, 2275.66 miles, 32 hours
  • Total: 5494.1 miles, 76+ hours (with stops)
Grab Your Shades, It's Time For A Thrilling Road Trip - Map

Road Trip Prep

Planning a cross-country road trip can be overwhelming yet exciting. As someone who has traveled from Florida to California, I can attest to the importance of proper preparation.

I have listed some tips below:

Choose your route – Take some time to research places you would like to visit. As well as plan hotel stays, and restaurants you would like to eat at. Looking for gas stations on your route is also a good idea.

Check your car – Before heading out on any road trip, ensure everything in your vehicle is in working condition. Check your lights to make sure they are all working properly. Have your oil changed if needed. Be sure to check your tires and all fluids.

Bring a map – With cross-country trips, you never know when you might lose cell service, and the last thing you want is to be lost in the middle of nowhere without a backup plan. Bringing a map may seem old school, but it’s a simple and reliable way to ensure you won’t get lost on your adventure.

Pack snacks – Eating out every meal on the road can get expensive. Pack snacks and water for the long drive and to stay hydrated. You can snack on sandwiches, protein bars, fruit, and more.

Choose or create playlists – Entertainment is key for a long road trip, so bring audiobooks, podcasts, or playlists to keep you going.

With the right road trip prep, this adventure will be one for the books.

Day 1 - Cape Coral to San Antonio

Our first day was the longest drive because we wanted to get as far as possible. Usually, we have the most energy on the first day. So driving close to 18 hours was not a problem with our taking turns. I did not enjoy the Houston traffic at rush hour! I had to let my husband take over.

We grabbed a bite to eat and stayed the night in San Antonio. We got up early and got coffee from Starbucks and breakfast sandwiches from McDonald’s. After we finished breakfast, we hit the road.

Day 2 - Drive to Gilbert

The next morning, we made our drive to Gilbert, which was a little over 13 hours. Texas is such a big state, and it is exhausting to drive through. Gilbert was our next stop for a refresh and recharge. We got takeout and enjoyed relaxing at the hotel.

Day 3 - Drive to Los Angeles

Los Angeles was our last stop on the first leg of our road trip. It was pretty cold, so we grabbed our coats and bundled up. Coffee and a quick breakfast were certainly needed before returning to the road.

The views of the mountains were simply amazing! I loved the openness of the drive. There is not a lot to see but the amazing landscape.

We got gas before we left because we weren’t sure how long it would be between gas stations on this part of the drive.

Day 4 - 18 Explore SoCal

California was calling, and we answered with an adventurous spirit! From the moment we arrived in California, we were determined to make the most of our trip. Let the ticking off our California bucket list begin one amazing experience at a time. 


Despite the chilly weather, it was hard to resist the allure of the stunning beaches in Huntington and Ventura. Though we couldn’t take a dip, we breathed in the refreshing sea breeze and marveled at our surroundings.

Father Serra Cross in Ventura Beach is a true hidden gem. As I stood before this towering cross, overlooking the ocean below, I couldn’t help but feel amazed by its majesty and spiritual significance.

Whether you’re a history buff or simply seeking a unique sight to behold, visiting the Father Serra Cross is an experience not to be missed.

After our exploring, it was time to eat. We had lunch at Limon y Sal; what an awesome experience. It is a place worth visiting: great atmosphere, food, and margaritas.

Griffith Park

Next up for this trip was Griffith Park. We visited the Griffith Observatory, which has exhibits on astronomy, history, the planets, and much more!

The Observatory was built in 1935. The detail is incredible, a sight to see, and you will learn so many amazing things. The Observatory has free admission, so if you want a budget-friendly experience, this is one to add to your list.

Wow, what a day it was! After spending the morning exploring the wonders of The Observatory in Griffith Park, we decided to up the ante and hike our way up to the iconic Hollywood sign.

Now, let me tell you, that hike was something else. But the breathtaking views of LA made it all worth it. The uphill climb was challenging, but the panoramic views of the city were more than worth it.

And don’t even get me started on the photo ops we snagged once we reached the sign. Did it even happen if you didn’t take a selfie with the Hollywood sign?

All in all, it was an adventure-filled day that we won’t soon forget.

Old Town San Diego

Visiting  Old Town San Diego was one of the highlights of our trip. The views on the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) were breathtaking. Seeing the ocean and mountains was so beautiful. I soaked up all I could.

Old Town is considered the birthplace of California. It has cute shops and great food! You can browse 40 unique indoor and outdoor shops at Old Town Market alone.

We did a lot of walking and checked out the sites. We had lunch at Barra Barra, where I had my first California burrito. The food and margaritas were great!

There is quite a bit to do in Old Town. We were only there for one day, so we couldn’t experience everything.

Day 18 - 22 Drive to & Explore Las Vegas

When we arrived in Las Vegas, we were instantly swept up in the city’s vibrant and exciting atmosphere. What was supposed to be a day trip turned into a 3-night stay! With that in mind, we had to find a place to stay. Not realizing it was NASCAR weekend!

The only available room was at the Southpoint Hotel Casino & Spa. It is a beautiful place to stay but a little far from the Strip, so we knew it was only for one night.

Our next stay was at the Rio Hotel & Casino for nights two and three. The Rio is just one block off the Strip and was the perfect home base. There were restaurants on site. And there was a rooftop lounge that we enjoyed in the evenings.

Walking the famous Strip and checking out Fremont Street on day two in Las Vagas was worth it. It is truly larger than life! We stopped and had food and drinks at some restaurants along the way.

Gilly’s is a popular honky-tonk bar on the Strip. We decided to go there, and it was so much fun. We danced the night away.

Day 22 - Drive to the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon

After a few days in Las Vegas, we were ready for our next adventure. The alarm was set early so we could get up and head to the Hoover Dam. 

Hoover Dam

The Hoover Dam is overwhelming at first. Since adding it to our bucket list, my excitement has been building for the day we could finally visit.

Standing before the colossal structure, my jaw dropped as I took in the sheer size and magnitude of the engineering feat. Thinking that this incredible dam was built in the 1930s is mind-blowing.

As I walked through the dam, learning about the workers who risked their lives to make it all possible, I couldn’t help but feel humbled by their bravery. All in all, seeing the Hoover Dam in person was an experience I’ll never forget.

Grand Canyon

After seeing Hoover Dam in the morning, our next stop was the Grand Canyon. Our road trip was filled with countless adventures, but the Grand Canyon was undoubtedly the highlight.

Experiencing the winding roads and vast desert landscapes, we knew we were in for a treat. Nothing could have prepared us for the incredible sight at the canyon’s edge. The rocks’ vibrant red and orange hues against the sky left us in awe.

We were captivated by this incredible natural wonder. And were lucky enough to be there before sunset. We were able to experience the amazing sunset, which was captivating.

It’s hard not to feel humbled by nature’s power and beauty. The Grand Canyon is undoubtedly a testament to that. It was a truly unforgettable experience we will remember for the rest of our lives.

Day 23 - 26 Drive home to Cape Coral

Driving away from the Grand Canyon and heading home to Cape Coral, there was a bittersweet nostalgia in the air.

Everything about that breathtaking place. The majestic cliffs, the serene Colorado River below, and the wide expanse of sky above. 

As we left the Grand Canyon behind and headed towards the familiar sights and sounds of Cape Coral, it’s hard not to feel a tug at our heartstrings.

There will be other destinations and adventures, but there’s no place quite like home.

Final Thoughts

As we pulled into our driveway back in Cape Coral, Florida, the tripometer read 6,213.9 miles. The memories we’ve made along the way will be treasured for a lifetime.

Reflecting on our travels, we can’t help but feel grateful for the opportunity to experience the diverse landscapes and cultures that make up this amazing country. As much as we were ready to head home by day 23, it’s bittersweet to see our adventure come to an end.

But our journey doesn’t have to end here. Please share your treasured road trip memories with us in the comments below. Because, after all, what is a journey without friends to share it with?

Until next time, happy exploring!

Grab Your Shades, It's Time for a Road Trip - Driving

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This is what I call a road trip. You came across so many cool spots. The Grand Canyon is one of the spots I would like to visit someday. Road trips are fun with the right people to capture memories for a lifetime.

What a memorable road trip you had. I’m from San Diego and love Old Town 🧡