To take this long trip across America’s southern-most states is to travel through two distinct American subcultures: the spicy southwest and the country-fried southeast. And while cuisine may not be the only thing that distinguishes these regions, it’s an ideal way to remember your journey. From the red desert of New Mexico to the green Spanish moss of Savannah, a Southern Pacific road trip is sure to give you a new appreciation for America’s diversity.
Total Length: 3,000 miles
States Included: California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia
To plan your road trip, use our search along the route tool to find hotels on the Southern Pacific route—just enter your starting and ending points to get started.
Want suggestions for things to do and see on the way? Here are some of the most popular points of interest:
Sunny San Diego is a spectacular place to begin or end your trip. This laid-back, seaside city is blessed with endless beaches, intriguing colonial history, and one of the most popular zoos in the world. Families will also enjoy the variety of aquatic activities, from sea kayaking to surfing to scuba diving.
The Old West of your imagination—a dusty landscape of giant cactuses, tumbleweed, and gorgeous red sunsets. Nearby Tombstone may be the most famous town of the Wild West—it’s where the infamous OK Corral shootout went down in 1881. Visitors may watch a reenactment of the shootout, tour the town’s cemetery, and explore the Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park for a more in-depth history of the city.
There’s no doubt about it: kids love cupcakes, clowns, and caves. Carlsbad’s Big Room was once the world’s largest cave chamber, although it no longer holds that title. Its magnificent stalactites and stalagmites are still sure to impress, and the occasional bat flights will certainly thrill your kids (but don't worry, they don’t bother tourists).
Probably the most famous twin cities not in Minnesota, Dallas and Fort Worth both make excellent halfway stops. Booming Dallas is a shopper’s paradise, with more malls per capital than any other American city. Fort Worth is more relaxed, with Texas’s cowboy heritage a ubiquitous presence. Surprising to some, both cities contains several world-class art museums.
These two cities, approximately an hour apart from each other, share a rich American historical heritage—ironically, both played major roles in the Confederacy and Civil Rights Movement. Within a few blocks of each other in Montgomery are the State Capitol (briefly the Confederate Capitol), the church where Martin Luther King, Jr. was a pastor, and a museum dedicated to Rosa Parks’s 1955 bus boycott.
Georgia’s “Presidential Trail” takes visitors through these two small cities, each significant in the lives of a 20th-century president. Jimmy Carter was born and raised in humble Plains, and he and his wife maintain a home there to this day. Just an hour is Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Little White House in Warm Springs. Roosevelt built this modest home near the therapeutic hot springs he visited to treat his polio, and the house remains in its original condition.
Complete your road trip with a rental car from Avis, Budget or Hertz. You will enjoy discounts of up to 35% and double, triple or quadruple bonus points towards your next Reward Night stay.