Road tripping from Miami to Los Angeles
Perfect for: Embracing the weirdness of America’s most eclectic cross-country route.
Start in Miami. Head out early, grab a cafe con leche and say adios to the Magic City. Don’t slow down until you reach St. Augustine, the nation’s oldest city. Visit the Castillo de San Marcos and Ponce de Leon’s “Fountain of Youth.” Next stop: New Orleans. Settle in for a night of solo bar hopping, beignets, and live jazz. Go for four Hurricanes or one French 75 — the world is your muffuletta.
Everything’s bigger in Texas, and that ain’t just something folks say. Eat your fill of Salt Lick BBQ in Austin, tap your foot to a band or two, and then it’s onward to the Hill Country town of Fredericksburg. Marfa is totally out of the way, but go anyway to see what all the fuss is about. Lookout for Border Patrol trucks — with 71 traffic checkpoints near the southern US border, there’s always a chance you’ll be stopped.
You’ll get an uncanny feeling driving on the 10 Freeway through El Paso (one of the safest US cities) and looking over at Juarez (one of the most dangerous cities in the world) on the other side of the Rio Grande’s barbed-wire-topped riverbed. The radio stations get a bit fuzzy and confused here, and you’ll probably get that “Welcome to Mexico” message on your cell, alerting you to a change in costs and coverage.
Power through New Mexico (White Sands!) and Arizona (orange rocks!), and stay alert at those sketchy casino gas station rest stops where you will inevitably need to stop and pee. If you can time your trip through Joshua Tree to catch a majestic sunrise, do that. Snap some pics, grab breakfast at an Anthony Bourdain favorite and your final destination is in sight; congratulations! LA’s hilly hikes, Pacific sunsets, ramen, street tacos, and tattoos might convince you to stay a while. — Allison Ramirez