The best places to see, eat, and sleep on an I-10 road trip
Cruising coast to coast on Interstate 10!
From the Pacific to the Atlantic, if you're crossing the country through the southern part of the country, you'll probably spend some time on Interstate 10. Good thing, too, since I-10 takes you through some pretty awesome landscapes-- the deserts of Southern California, Texas's Hill Country, and the Florida Panhandle are all highlighted along the way. Whether you're just hopping on for a little bit, or you're seeing this bad boy all the way through, there's tons to see and do just off the route.
The road starts in Los Angeles, and on your way out of the city, you can make a quick detour to grab a bite to eat at Tio's Tacos, a folk art shrine with Mexican flair/delicious Mexican restaurant-- they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, so you can satisfy your craving for Mexican whenever! Once you're out of the LA area, you'll find yourself near the quirky town of Palm Springs: stop by Joshua Tree National Park or Anza-Borrego Desert State Park to stretch your legs, or book a stay at one of the stylish hotels in town, like The Saguaro.
After California, I-10 will take you into Arizona. Whether you're staying at the elegant Maricopa Manor Bed & Breakfast and enjoying a fresh, juicy, locally-sourced burger from The Stand in Phoenix, or you're eating a Sonoran hot dog at El Guero Canelo (it's wrapped in bacon and topped with a slew of goodies, like beans, grilled onions, fresh tomato, crema, mustard, and jalapeno) and exploring Saguaro National Park in Tucson, you won't have much trouble keeping entertained on the road here. Plus, you'll also pass by the epic Titan Missile Museum and a quick detour will take you to the kitschy historical town of Tombstone, where the infamous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral took place. Stop by Big Nose Kate's to grab a bite to eat or a drink in a historic Wild West saloon.
Then, the interstate will take you through a short portion of New Mexico. You won't be here long, but you can stop by the gorgeous desert landscapes of City of Rocks State Park, explore the scrubby greenery of Dripping Springs Natural Area, and spend the night soaking up some New Mexico culture at the Lundeens Inn of The Arts; each room in this B&B (located in a historic, 100-year-old building) is named for an artist and decorated with Southwestern flair.
A full third of the I-10 route is located through Texas: the road crosses the Lone Star State at its widest part. Grab some cheap, quick grub at Chico's Tacos as you swing through El Paso, take a dip in the world's largest spring-fed pool at Balmorhea State Park, or take your adventure underground at the Caverns of Sonora. I-10 will take you to San Antonio, and it's worth it to stop here to explore the San Antonio River Walk. Book a stay at the impossibly cool Hotel Havana and spend a day taking in all the delicious food and culture San Antonio has to offer! On your way to Houston, stop by for some Hill Country BBQ, Texas style, at Granzin Bar-BQ or Black's Barbecue, and once you reach Houston, you can visit the Space Center Houston and stay in another chic Texas hotel: Aloft.
Head on from Texas into Louisiana, and make sure to bring your appetite, because you'll find tons of delicious dining options here. The French Press does a classy, French/Southern-inspired breakfast and lunch on Tuesday through Sunday, and chic dinners on Friday and Saturday nights. If you want something more casual, hang with LSU students while enjoying a beer, some oysters, and great live music at The Chimes in Baton Rouge. You can experience Cajun culture at the Mardi Gras Museum, go back in time at the historic Acadian Village, and spend the night in Southern glamour at the Historic Michabelle Inn. And make sure to stop by the Abita Mystery House: this famous, offbeat attraction has collections of antique oddities, folk art awesomeness, and will likely be the best $3 you'll spend on the trip. Plus, hit up New Orleans and spend an evening exploring Bourbon Street, enjoying fried chicken from Willie Mae’s Scotch House, and chowing down on beignets from Cafe Du Monde!
You'll also spend a tiny bit of time driving through Mississippi. Since the route is getting pretty close to the Gulf of Mexico here, you'll want to grab some crawfish and crab on the bayou at the Blow Fly Inn, enjoy the views of the ocean from the Biloxi Lighthouse, and take a moment to enjoy the white sand beaches and blue-green water at Gulf Islands National Seashore Park.
I-10 spends even less time going through Alabama, but there's plenty to see and do in Mobile! Mix it up from all the seafood by ordering some saucy BBQ at The Brick Pit, and visit the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park for some insane military history at one of the country's most notable battleships.
The oceanside fun continues as I-10 takes you through Florida's Panhandle. You can detour down to Pensacola and stay the night at the Noble Manor Bed & Breakfast (it's got a hot tub!) and then grab breakfast at the retro-tastic Coffee Cup Restaurant before heading back to I-10. See a lesser-known side of the Sunshine State at Florida Caverns State Park, enjoy some more BBQ at Piggy's (you are in the South, after all!) and rest up some more at Tallahassee's Governor's Inn. Definitely don't miss out on Ichetucknee Springs State Park (they have awesome tubing, swimming, and manatee-spotting opportunities) on your way to your final destination: Jacksonville. Celebrate with a swim at Jacksonville Beach, a great meal at Moxie Kitchen And Cocktails, and a good night's sleep at Casa Marina!
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