Best for: Desert city to west coast wonders
The journey: 392 miles
Soak up the shimmering sights of Las Vegas for a few nights. Cruise into the city and pull over to take a snap with the world-famous sign. Feel the roaring energy of Sin City – a world of casinos, nightclubs and pool parties. Hit up the Aria Resort & Casino to rock the roulette wheel and party the night away at Omnia.
Wake up for a hangover brunch at Tom’s Urban in the New York New York Hotel and Casino, then grab your pool party outfit for the Encore Beach Club at Encore at Wynn. Dive into a legendary day of cocktails and dancing.
When you’ve had enough of party and repeat, make tracks south to Palm Springs. Although you can choose from a couple of routes, nature lovers should swing through the Mojave National Preserve. Pitch up and wander through blankets of wildflowers, rippling sand dunes and an array of canyons, plains and mountains. Remember to pack plenty of snacks and water to keep you going.
Alternatively, make some quirky stops along Interstate 15. Make your first break at one of Nevada’s oldest bars, Pioneer Saloon – a great place for a bite to eat. Drive a little further, then pull over in the town of Baker, home to the world’s largest thermometer. A cheesy photo opportunity awaits.
Further down, you can stroll through the Ghost Town of Calico and, for a fee, traverse the old mining tunnel. If you need a classic American foodie stop, the flamboyant Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner will feed your soul. Before reaching Palm Springs, steer onto Route 66 and make your way to Elmer’s Bottletree Ranch – a free art exhibit displaying a forest of mermaid colours and vintage trinkets.
Where to stay: The Cosmopolitan is the place to stay in Las Vegas. Check out its chic Chandelier Bar for a glitzy drink, kick back in spacious and stylish rooms and savour every moment in this luxurious adult playground.
Arrive to the dizzy sensations of La-La Land and experience the city famed for, well, everything famous.
The stars shine even brighter in the desert – so a stop in the magic of Joshua Tree National Park is a must. Arrive in time for sunset and watch the silhouettes of Joshua Trees disappear. Come nightfall, gaze up into the glistening night sky.
Outgoing adventurers should drive through the desert landscape of Coachella Valley, following the road south to the glow of Salvation Mountain and curious Slab City – a destination known as ‘The Last Free Place’. Soak up the bubble-gum colours in this remote atmosphere, which attracts hipsters, Instagram-goers and families alike.
When in Palm Springs, ride two-and-a-half miles up into the mountains of Chino Canyon in the world’s largest rotating aerial tramcar to admire the captivating views of Mt. San Jacinto State Park. Lookout from observation decks at the top, then begin to explore the 50 miles of hiking trails.
If you have time, enjoy more of the outdoors with a trip to The Living Desert – a preserve in the Colorado Desert, which fosters beautiful nature and wildlife. Head to the Moorten Botanical Garden to see a chorus of cacti and palm trees, surrounded by captivating mountains. Just a short drive away, Tahquitz Falls offers a gentle walk to a waterfall oasis.
Once you’ve experienced the highlights of Palm Springs and Greater Palm Springs, get the show on the road and head out to Mormon Rocks before arriving in Los Angeles. Listen to the legendary ‘Chanting Rocks’, whose sandstone song can be heard when the wind blows.
Where to stay: Enjoy a euphoric break at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa. Swim in a choice of several pools surrounded by palm trees, play on one of two Championship golf courses or take part in a yoga class. After a busy day, unwind in the spa before dinner in Lantana. Their open-air kitchen serves pizza from a wood-burning oven.
Embrace the dizzy sensations of La-La Land. Experience the city famed for, well, everything famous. Take a gander at the Hollywood sign, stargaze at the Griffith Observatory and explore Runyon Canyon – with a break at the top for some of the best views across the City of Angels. Find your favourite stars’ names on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and shop on Rodeo Drive, then move to Sunset Boulevard for music and nightlife. Check out the city’s coolest hangouts in our Los Angeles neighbourhood guide.
Soak up the bohemian vibes of Venice Beach. Savour the three-mile stretch of coastline alongside sun-seekers and boardwalk roller-skaters. Immerse yourself in the artsy scene, find a tipple to tickle you and enjoy the free-spirit vibes of this hot spot. A little further along, you can play on Santa Monica Pier – with a night-time Ferris Wheel ride to watch the Pacific Ocean glisten. See what else you can get up to with our guide on outdoor things to do in L.A. Los Angeles – what a way to wrap up your road trip.
Where to stay: Discover Beverly Hills and Hollywood on your doorstep from The Garland. Relax in the beautiful garden, lounge by the pool and hop aboard the free trolley service to Universal Studios and CityWalk.