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Travel Tuesday: Family Road Trip from Texas to California

We had such a good time on our road trip!  Today I am sharing the itinerary from our most recent road trip from Texas to California and back.  This time we did not include Route 66, but if you want to focus on Route 66 (Disney/Pixar Cars lovers in your family?), click here for my blog post on our family Route 66 road trip from a year and a half ago.  I featured a lot of the spots that inspired Cars. 

Today's post is focused on the itinerary and the kid-friendly stops and sight-seeing excursions from this trip.  Click here for a separate blog post with my tips on how to survive (and actually enjoy) a road trip with young children.  As I state in that post, we try to keep it under a max 8 hours of driving per day, as that is what seems to work best with our young kids.

First, we will start with the drive to California from East Texas.

Day 1
Departed East Texas (we were there for Christmas with my husband's family).
Drive through Dallas, Texas.
Dinner in Abilene, Texas.
Spend the night in Hobbs, New Mexico.
Can't forget to pack your essentials! We found that after a long day of driving, an exercise like yoga, Pilates, or PiYo was the perfect way to stretch and get some fitness in at the hotel each night.
Longhorns we saw en route in East Texas.

Day 2
Breakfast at the hotel (we try to seek hotels with a free hot breakfast to save time and money).
Visit Roswell, New Mexico.
Drive through Ruidoso, New Mexico.
Lunch in Alamogordo, New Mexico.
Visit White Sands National Monument.
Spend the night in Tucson, Arizona.
Beautiful rainbow over a field in New Mexico.
The kids just loved Roswell!
Some of the alien-themed sights of Roswell, New Mexico.
Fun at the UFO Museum in Roswell.
An art installation at the UFO Museum in Roswell.
More fun at the Roswell UFO Museum.
Roswell had lots of alien-themed souvenirs... even something in burnt orange for my Texan.
More sights in Roswell.
We stopped to play in some snow near Ruidoso, New Mexico.
We weren't dressed for snowy weather, but we had fun anyway!
On a boardwalk between some dunes at White Sands National Monument.
Ready to slide down some sand dunes at White Sands!  G was fired up!
No fear: G was the first one to slide down the dune.
More family fun on the dunes at White Sands National Monument.
Brothers climbing up the sand dunes.
These kids had so much fun sliding, that we had trouble getting them to leave White Sands!
Day 3
Breakfast at the hotel.
Drive through Phoenix, Arizona.
Lunch in Indio, California (get your first In N' Out Burger on the journey).
Drive through Palm Springs, California.
Arrive at our first destination in Murrieta, California (to spend time with family).
Hard to beat free hot breakfast at the hotel!
Wind turbines near Palm Springs, California.
Day 4
We stayed in Murrieta for a few days with family, so day 4 is actually "Travel Day 4" and not the 4th day of our trip.  We stayed a few days in Los Angeles as well, but we will stick with the road trip/travel days here.
Breakfast at the hotel.
Drive to Los Angeles, California.
Lunch at Sugarfish on La Brea (the best sushi you have ever had).
Visit Hollywood Blvd.
Dinner at your choice of a number of fabulous restaurants in LA (click here for my list of favorite LA restaurants).
Even the kids loved Sugarfish.  The best sushi... no exaggeration.
Even though we lived in Hollywood for years, we still had to do the tourist thing.  Here's G at Grauman's Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood Blvd. Walk of Fame.
Since we were in LA on New Years Day, I had to seek out some place with black-eyed-peas for my Texan.  We found a delicious restaurant in Carson.  I highly recommend R&R's Soul Food if you are in that area.  This was LEGIT!
Day 5
Breakfast at the hotel.
Drive through Barstow, California, grabbing lunch somewhere in the vicinity.
Try not to stop much so you can make it to Grand Canyon South Rim by sunset.
Dinner in Grand Canyon Village.
Spend the night in Flagstaff, Arizona.
We didn't leave early enough to get to the Grand Canyon before sunset, but we went and visited anyway.  It was gorgeous in the light of the near-full moon.  Totally a different perspective on the South Rim.  The pictures don't do it justice.
Dinner at Plaza Bonita in Grand Canyon Village.  HUGE platters of Mexican food.
Day 6
Breakfast at the hotel.
Drive to Sedona, Arizona, hike and have lunch (check out next week's Travel Tuesday blog post to see my write-up on an easy, family-friendly hike in Sedona).
Drive through Phoenix, Arizona, pick up an early take-out dinner for later.
Spend the night in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
My boys and me enjoying one of Sedona's many breathtaking views.
Gorgeous Sedona.
More Sedona scenery.
Beautiful Sedona, unfiltered.
Fried cactus at Olde Sedona Bar & Grille.  For the record, it was good - tasted like a cross between fried zucchini and fried okra.
Day 7
Breakfast at the hotel.
Souvenir shopping in El Paso, Texas (Saddleblanket).
Lunch in Fort Stockton, Texas.  Don't forget to visit the "world's former largest roadrunner statue."
Arrive home in Central Texas, pick up a take-out dinner close to home.
A nice, greasy patty melt at Howard's Drive-Inn in Fort Stockton, Texas.


Papi Cruz said...

Wow! What an amazing trip you had. Amazing as well were the experiences you gave to your children.

Laura V said...

Looks like fun!! What hotels do you recommend? Our summer vacation is going to be similar to yours. However, I don't have any idea where to stay.


ramonaruby said...

@Laura that will be a fun trip! I am a Hilton gal, so I tend to seek out hotels in the Hilton family (Hampton Inns are great because they have free breakfast), either to collect more Hilton points, or using free nights with my points. The good thing is there are Hilton family hotels almost everywhere, so I just search on the Hilton website or app for the cities we want to stay in along the way.