In just four days, you can experience two major American cities and the West’s most famous natural attraction. But you’ll be doing a lot of driving. With a full seven days, you can add a day to each place to experience them more fully.


Day 1: Los Angeles

If you have just one day in Los Angeles, don’t try to do it all; you’ll end up spending most of your time on the freeway. Instead, focus in on the part of town that interests you the most. Movie fanatics should go to Hollywood to wander the Walk of Fame. Outdoors lovers should target one of the beach towns (Malibu, Santa Monica, or Venice Beach) to enjoy the sun and sand. Families will most likely want to head to the house of the mouse (better known as Disneyland).

The sun rising over the Los Angeles city skyline.

Sunrise over Los Angeles. Photo © Konstantin Sutyagin/123rf.


Day 2: Driving from Los Angeles to Las Vegas (270 Miles/5 Hours)

Take I-10 East out of Los Angeles, and then use I-15 North for the majority of your drive.

Las Vegas

You’ve only got one night in Las Vegas, so spoil yourself. Stroll the Strip, popping into casinos like The Cosmopolitan, Bellagio, and Caesars Palace for food, drinks, a show, gambling—or all of the above. End your night at the Mandarin Bar, with its glittering view of the Strip.

Floor to ceiling windows offer a view of the Vegas strip at the Mandarin bar.

Enjoy the tremendous view from the Mandarin Bar. Photo courtesy of the Mandarin Oriental.


Day 3: Driving from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon (280 Miles/5 Hours)

This desert drive follows US-93 South and I-40 East to the Arizona town of Williams. From there, take AZ-64 North to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon

Walk along the park’s Rim Trail for outstanding, accessible views of the canyon. In Grand Canyon Village, stop into the Hopi House to see Native American art and the Lookout Studio, where you can use telescopes set up on the outdoor terrace to get better views of canyon features. Get a meal and spend the night at the El Tovar Hotel, the national park’s most elegant lodging option.

View from the South Rim Trail of the Grand Canyon

View from the South Rim Trail of the Grand Canyon. Photo © Steve Estvanik/123rf.


Day 4: Driving from the Grand Canyon to Los Angeles (500 Miles/8 Hours)

The eight-hour trek from the Grand Canyon to Los Angeles is a grueling desert drive. Take I-40 West to Barstow. From Barstow, take I-15 South, then take I-10 West into the heart of L.A. Be prepared to slow down when you hit the L.A. traffic.

Road Trip Route: Los Angeles to Las Vegas to Grand Canyon


Excerpted from the Second Edition of Moon California Road Trip.