A dream of mine has always been to take a road trip across the USA (think Volkswagen bus, polaroid snaps, national parks). Until I have the chance to do it all in one trip, visiting a few states at a time will have to do! The first states to cross off the list? Arizona and Nevada.
I flew into Phoenix Sky Harbour Airport and hopped into our Volkswagen bus (okay, okay- it was a Honda Pilot. A girl can dream!) and drove out to Goodyear, Arizona. This was our home base. There are some pretty great hiking opportunities in the Goodyear area, and all of your basic amenities, such as restaurants and grocery stores.
Interesting rock formations and a big blue sky – credit Char & Linds
Drive southeast toward the Mexican border and you’ll find the tourist town of Tombstone. (If you haven’t watched the movie, stop reading, go watch it, and come back!!)
Tombstone is a western town complete with cowboys, saloons, and gunslingers, and is the historic location of the O.K. Corral shooting. Grab lunch at Big Nose Kate’s and get dressed up in your best suits and dresses for a night at the saloon.
Mega-tourist tip: get one of those old-timey group photos and take in the O.K. Corral show. Don’t forget to swing by Boothill Graveyard on your way out of town. These headstones seem humorous (and let’s face it, they are hard not to chuckle at) but they are real! They say a lot about society in that era.
On to Yuma and Mexico
Head west on Route 8 to Yuma, a city right on the American-Mexican border. Park your vehicle and walk over the border into Los Algodones (don’t forget your passport!), which is an experience in itself. You might be surprised about how relaxed it is crossing the border into Mexico and so strict to cross back into the USA. Stroll through colourful, vibrant markets, enjoy live entertainment and an authentic Mexican lunch, and…get your teeth fixed?? Many Americans go to Los Algodones to visit the dentist or the optometrist because it is so cheap! I found this quite unbelievable.
Fun fact: the original London Bridge (yep, from the nursery rhyme) that once crossed the River Thames is now in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Why? The architect that designed the bridge also planned the community of Lake Havasu, so he deconstructed the bridge, numbered the pieces, and had it reassembled in the middle of the American desert. Take a boat ride, grab lunch, and take in this little bit of the UK. Lake Havasu City is located north from Yuma on route 95.
Head further North on Route 40 and 93 and time travel as you change time zones while driving past the Hoover Dam, a hydroelectric power plant and huge tourist attraction. The dam confines Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the US (only when it is full!) Take in beautiful views as you cross into the Silver State.
Not far from the Hoover Dam is famous Las Vegas, Nevada. What do I really need to say? Sin City has something for everyone, and even just driving or walking The Strip is a fun addition to any road trip.
Spend a night and take in one of countless shows, visit each hotel gift shop, ride the roller coaster in New York, New York, and have dinner under the Eiffel Tower. Vegas can be enjoyed by anybody, just remember, what happens in Vegas…
My road trip ended here, but there are so many more things you can do along the way, such as the Grand Canyon, Sedona, and the Valley of Fire State Park.
Don’t be afraid to act like a goofy tourist and snap silly, cliche pictures next to monuments or on the side of the highway or in a quaint little restaurant. These photos help form the memories you will cherish for the rest of your life. Have a great trip!