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USA Cross Country Road Trip Itinerary

This April 2017 I drove across the USA with my childhood best friend Molly Dacey. (And by “I drove” I mean that Molly drove us all 3,000+ miles and I strived to be the best 'New Yorker that forgot how to drive' passenger possible.) She was moving from our hometown of Philadelphia across the country to Los Angeles, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to drive across the country with her!

I’ll get into the details of how we planned our route in another post ― but overall we used the Roadtrippers website and app to map out all of our stops and it was super easy to use and share while planning together from different states. Much like I did with my Fire & Ice Tour Itinerary post, I’ll lay out the day to day schedule and any notable stops along the way. These were our make it or break road trip essentials that kept us happily chasing daylight all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

Day 1

Sunday 4/2/17

  • Daily Total Miles: 899

  • Daily Total Driving Hours: 15.5

  • Start Location & Time: Philadelphia, PA at 7am ET

  • End Location & Time: St Louis, Missouri at 9:30pm CT

  • Timezone: East to Central (gained an hour ― we didn’t think about the time zones when planning so that was an awesome travel surprise!)

  • States: PA, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri

  • Overnight: St Louis at our friends Janine and Andrew’s apartment

  • Notable Stops:

  • Cracker Barrel in Carlisle, PA for breakfast with Lindsay and baby Ryker to kick off the trip. :)

  • Mission Taco in STL for margaritas and tacos with Janine and Andrew!

Day 2

Monday 4/3/17

  • Daily Total Miles: 499

  • Daily Total Driving Hours: 8

  • Start Location & Time: St Louis, Missouri at 12pm CT

  • End Location & Time: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma at 8pm CT

  • Timezone: Central

  • States: Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma

  • Overnight: Oklahoma City at 21c Museum Hotel OKC

  • Notable Stops:

  • St Louis Arch, very exciting to see in person and it was more gigantic than I thought, but access to the top of the Arch was closed due to construction... just another reason to go back!

  • Tri-State Marker for Oklahoma + Missouri + Kansas.

  • Mary Eddy’s in OKC for a delicious dinner and drinks.

  • OKC Museum touring at 21c Museum Hotel. (Check out my article on HuffPost about this one!)

Day 3

Tuesday 4/4/17

Day 4

Wednesday 4/5/17

  • Daily Total Miles: 527

  • Daily Total Driving Hours: 6

  • Start Location & Time: Santa Rosa, New Mexico at 12pm MT

  • End Location & Time: Grand Canyon, Arizona at 7pm PT

  • Timezone: Mountain to Pacific (gained an hour!)

  • States: New Mexico, Arizona

  • Overnight: Grand Canyon at the Grand Canyon Inn

  • Notable Stops:

  • We had so much fun climbing, jumping in and swimming!

  • We were originally supposed to hike around Tent Rocks in NM this afternoon, but skipped it in lieu of making it to the Grand Canyon for sunset ― tough choice but we definitely made the right one. :)

  • Making it to the Grand Canyon (South Rim) JUST in time for sunset; it was stunning and brought tears to our eyes.

Day 5

Thursday 4/6/17

  • Daily Total Miles: 490

  • Daily Total Driving Hours: 9

  • Start Location & Time: Grand Canyon, Arizona at 2pm PT

  • End Location & Time: Santa Monica, California at 11pm PT

  • Timezone: Pacific

  • States: Arizona, California

  • Overnight: Santa Monica at our friend Kristin’s apartment

  • Notable Stops:

  • Grand Canyon Sunrise

  • We got up at 3:30AM to get ready and leave super early to get to the park before sunrise ― it was a priceless, incredible experience to watch the sunrise at the South Rim and see all the brilliant colors of the Grand Canyon come to life with every sun ray that hit it.

  • We couldn’t tear ourselves away from all that the Grand Canyon National Park had to offer and ended up staying a few hours later than planned to explore. We walked, skipped, hiked, and drove to at least 11 different viewpoints on the South Rim and each spot was unique and cool in it’s own right.

  • The Grand Canyon Desert View Watchtower is on the South Rim and offers a really cool view from the top of the Watchtower (also a gift shop and bathrooms there!).

  • Made it across the country to California!

  • We were taking photos of each state sign as we crossed the state line, and of course I missed getting California’s sign! So we took the first exit back to Arizona when we crossed the state border, turned around and got that Welcome to California sign! (You can see the Snapchat videos here from this whirlwind!)

You can check out more photos from the trip on my Facebook, on Molly’s Instagram, on my Instagram, and we’re sharing some Snapchat videos too! Have any road trip questions or suggestions? Did we miss an amazing city or unique stop that you love along our route? Let me know in the comments, via email, or on Insta ― looking forward to hearing your opinions!



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