The Ultimate Road Trip Guide: Driving From Dallas To Los Angeles

Feel like going on an epic American road trip? Driving from Dallas to Los Angeles takes you through expansive deserts, busy cities, and stunning national parks across Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. This 1,500+ mile journey along Historic Route 66 is full of fun stops and scenic views. If a drive from Dallas to LA is on your bucket list, here’s everything you need to plan the ultimate Southwest road trip adventure.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick overview: The drive from Dallas to LA covers over 1,500 miles, taking around 23 hours of nonstop driving. The classic Route 66 path goes through Amarillo, Albuquerque, Flagstaff, and Barstow. Roadtrippers should allow 3-5 days, budgeting for hotels, packing wisely, and planning sightseeing stops.

Dallas to Los Angeles Road Trip Route and Timing

Following Historic Route 66

Embarking on a road trip from Dallas to Los Angeles offers the perfect opportunity to explore the iconic and nostalgic Route 66. This historic highway, often referred to as the “Main Street of America,” stretches over 2,400 miles and takes you through a diverse range of landscapes, charming towns, and roadside attractions.

Driving along Route 66 allows you to experience the rich history and culture of the American Southwest, making your journey even more memorable.

As you travel on Route 66, you’ll encounter unique landmarks such as the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, where a row of buried Cadillacs stands proudly in a field, and the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona, where you can spend the night in a cozy wigwam-shaped room.

The route also takes you through iconic cities like Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Flagstaff, Arizona, where you can explore their vibrant downtown areas and indulge in delicious regional cuisine.

Driving along Route 66 provides a sense of adventure and nostalgia, as you follow in the footsteps of countless travelers who have made this journey before you. It’s a chance to immerse yourself in the history and culture of America’s past while creating lasting memories along the way.

Driving Distance and Duration

The distance between Dallas, Texas, and Los Angeles, California, via Route 66 is approximately 1,400 miles. The driving duration can vary depending on factors such as traffic, road conditions, and the number of stops you make along the way.

On average, the journey takes around 22 to 24 hours of driving time.

It’s important to plan your road trip to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Consider breaking up the drive into multiple days, allowing time to explore the attractions and towns along the route.

This way, you can fully appreciate the diverse landscapes and cultural experiences that each destination has to offer.

Mapping Your Road Trip Itinerary

When planning your road trip from Dallas to Los Angeles, it’s essential to create a detailed itinerary to make the most of your journey. Start by mapping out the route, marking must-see attractions and potential stops along the way.

This will help you estimate the time needed for each leg of the trip and allocate enough time to explore the sights that interest you the most.

While it’s great to have a general plan, be open to spontaneous detours and unexpected discoveries. Flexibility allows for serendipitous moments and the chance to stumble upon hidden gems that may not be on the typical tourist radar.

Don’t forget to research and book accommodations in advance, especially during peak travel seasons. This ensures you have a comfortable place to rest each night. There are a variety of lodging options available along the Route 66, ranging from charming motels to cozy bed and breakfasts.

Remember, the journey is just as important as the destination, so embrace the adventure and enjoy the freedom of the open road as you embark on your Dallas to Los Angeles road trip.

Top Sightseeing Attractions and Destinations

Embarking on a road trip from Dallas to Los Angeles offers an incredible opportunity to explore some of the most iconic and breathtaking sights across the United States. From historic landmarks to natural wonders, here are the top sightseeing attractions and destinations along the way:

Hitting Route 66 Highlights

Driving from Dallas to Los Angeles allows you to experience the legendary Route 66, one of America’s most famous highways. Along this iconic route, you’ll encounter several must-see highlights. Make a stop at Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, where vintage Cadillacs are half-buried in the ground, creating a unique art installation.

As you continue west, don’t miss the stunning landscapes of Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, known for its ancient fossilized trees. And of course, the historic Santa Monica Pier marks the end of Route 66 and is a must-visit attraction in Los Angeles.

National Parks and Monuments

One of the highlights of a road trip from Dallas to Los Angeles is the opportunity to visit some of the country’s most awe-inspiring national parks and monuments. Start by exploring the beauty of Big Bend National Park in Texas, where the Rio Grande carves dramatic canyons and offers incredible hiking trails.

As you venture further west, make sure to visit the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, a natural wonder that will leave you in awe of its sheer size and breathtaking vistas. Joshua Tree National Park in California is another must-see destination, with its unique desert landscape filled with iconic Joshua Trees.

Quirky Roadside Attractions

A road trip wouldn’t be complete without stopping at some quirky roadside attractions along the way. From the “World’s Largest Peanut” in Durant, Oklahoma to the “Cadillac Ranch” in Amarillo, Texas, you’ll encounter a variety of odd and interesting sights.

In Holbrook, Arizona, be sure to check out the “Wigwam Motel,” a unique lodging option where you can spend the night in a tepee-shaped room. And if you’re a fan of extraterrestrial encounters, make a detour to Roswell, New Mexico, where you can explore the International UFO Museum and Research Center.

For more information on each of these attractions and destinations, you can visit the official websites of the respective national parks and monuments, as well as local tourism boards.

Where to Eat, Drink, and Sleep on the Drive

Road Trip Dining Along Route 66

When embarking on a road trip from Dallas to Los Angeles, one of the most iconic routes to take is Route 66. Along this historic highway, travelers will find a plethora of dining options that offer a taste of nostalgia and regional cuisine.

From classic diners serving up hearty breakfasts to roadside BBQ joints and charming mom-and-pop restaurants, there is something to satisfy every craving.

One must-visit spot along Route 66 is the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas. Famous for its 72-ounce steak challenge, this restaurant offers a truly Texan dining experience. Whether you’re up for the challenge or just looking for a delicious meal, the Big Texan Steak Ranch is a must-stop on your road trip.

As you make your way through New Mexico, be sure to stop at the iconic La Posada Hotel in Winslow. This historic hotel features the Turquoise Room, a renowned restaurant that showcases the flavors of the Southwest.

From green chile stew to Navajo tacos, the menu at the Turquoise Room is a celebration of the region’s vibrant culinary heritage.

Heading further west into Arizona, make a pit stop at Joe & Aggie’s Cafe in Holbrook. This charming diner has been serving up Mexican and American comfort food since 1943. Don’t miss their famous green chile cheeseburgers, a local favorite that will leave you craving for more.

Lodging Options and Camping

When it comes to finding a place to rest your head after a long day of driving, there are plenty of lodging options along the Dallas to Los Angeles route. From budget-friendly motels to luxury resorts, there is something to suit every traveler’s needs and preferences.

If you’re looking to embrace the spirit of adventure, consider camping along the way. There are numerous campgrounds and RV parks scattered throughout the journey, offering a chance to connect with nature and sleep under the stars.

Some popular camping spots include Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona and Joshua Tree National Park in California.

For those seeking a more luxurious experience, there are also a variety of upscale resorts and boutique hotels along the route. From historic landmarks to modern retreats, these accommodations offer a comfortable and indulgent stay for road trippers.

Bars and Nightlife

After a long day on the road, it’s always nice to unwind with a cold drink and good company. Luckily, there are plenty of bars and nightlife options along the Dallas to Los Angeles drive.

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, make a stop at Marble Brewery. Known for its craft beers and laid-back atmosphere, this local favorite is a great place to relax and enjoy a pint. If you’re a fan of live music, head to Launchpad, a popular venue that showcases local bands and touring acts.

When you reach Flagstaff, Arizona, be sure to visit the Historic Brewing Company. With its cozy taproom and wide selection of beers, this brewery is a great spot to sample some local brews. For a unique experience, check out the Museum Club, a historic roadhouse that has been serving drinks since 1931 and features live country music.

As you near your final destination of Los Angeles, make a stop at The Varnish, a speakeasy-style bar located in downtown LA. Known for its expertly crafted cocktails and intimate ambiance, The Varnish is the perfect place to toast the end of your epic road trip.

Road Trip Preparation and Packing Tips

Budgeting for Fuel and Expenses

Before embarking on your road trip from Dallas to Los Angeles, it’s important to budget for fuel and other expenses along the way. Fuel prices can vary significantly across different states, so it’s a good idea to research the current prices along your route.

Websites like can provide up-to-date information on gas prices in different areas.

In addition to fuel, consider other expenses such as tolls, parking fees, and any attractions or activities you plan to visit during your journey. Set aside a separate budget for these expenses to ensure you don’t overspend along the way.

Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance

Prior to hitting the road, it’s crucial to thoroughly inspect and maintain your vehicle to avoid any unexpected breakdowns or issues along the way. Schedule a visit to your mechanic for a comprehensive check-up, including checking the tires, brakes, fluids, and ensuring all lights are in working order.

It’s also important to have your vehicle’s oil changed and the air filter replaced if necessary. Taking these preventive measures can save you from potential headaches and delays during your road trip.

Packing Road Trip Essentials

When it comes to packing for a road trip, it’s essential to strike a balance between bringing necessary items and avoiding overpacking. Here are some road trip essentials to consider:

  • Navigation tools: Carry a GPS device or use navigation apps on your smartphone to ensure you stay on track.
  • Emergency kit: Pack a first aid kit, flashlight, spare tire, jumper cables, and other emergency essentials.
  • Comfort items: Bring pillows, blankets, and travel pillows to ensure a comfortable journey.
  • Snacks and drinks: Stock up on non-perishable snacks and drinks to keep you energized throughout the trip.
  • Entertainment: Don’t forget to pack books, magazines, or download podcasts and music to keep you entertained during long stretches of driving.

Remember to pack your belongings in a way that allows easy access to essentials and keeps your vehicle organized. Consider investing in travel organizers or packing cubes to maximize space and keep items easily accessible.

By adequately budgeting for fuel and expenses, conducting a thorough vehicle inspection, and packing road trip essentials, you’ll be well-prepared for an unforgettable journey from Dallas to Los Angeles.

Driving Tips for a Smooth Journey

Embarking on a road trip from Dallas to Los Angeles can be an exciting adventure. To ensure a smooth journey, it is important to keep in mind some essential driving tips. Whether you are a seasoned road tripper or a first-time traveler, these tips will help you navigate the highways and make the most of your trip.

Cautious Desert Driving

As you make your way through the desert landscapes of the Southwest, it is crucial to practice cautious driving. The desert can present unique challenges, including extreme temperatures and long stretches of isolated roads.

Be sure to keep your vehicle well-maintained and carry extra water and supplies in case of emergencies. Additionally, be mindful of wildlife that may wander onto the road, especially during dawn and dusk hours.

Avoiding Fatigue

Driving long distances can be physically and mentally demanding, so it’s important to prioritize rest and avoid fatigue. Plan your journey in advance and schedule regular breaks to stretch your legs and refresh your mind. If possible, share the driving responsibilities with a travel companion.

Remember, a well-rested driver is a safer driver.

Navigating Traffic Around LA

Arriving in Los Angeles can be an exciting but challenging part of your road trip. The city is known for its heavy traffic, especially during peak hours. To navigate the traffic efficiently, plan your arrival during off-peak times.

Utilize navigation apps or GPS systems to find alternative routes and avoid major congestion. Additionally, familiarize yourself with the local traffic laws and be prepared for the fast-paced nature of LA driving.

For more information on road trip safety and driving tips, visit Remember, a well-prepared and cautious driver can make all the difference in ensuring a smooth and enjoyable journey from Dallas to Los Angeles.


A road trip from Dallas to LA takes you through the heart of iconic Americana, from the small towns of the Southwest to the glitz of Hollywood. With some thoughtful preparation, you’re ready to hit the highway for a memorable drive along Historic Route 66. So roll down the windows, cue up your road trip playlist, and soak up all the funky pit stops, natural wonders, and wide open spaces the open road has to offer. Your LA adventure awaits!

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