The deserts of Southern California, Texas' Hill Country, and the Florida Panhandle are all highlighted along Interstate 10, which runs across the southern part of the U.S.. Whether you're just hopping on for a bit or crossing from coast to coast, here are our favorite things to do along I-10.
I-10 starts on the West Coast in Los Angeles. The sprawling City of Angels has so much to experience you could easily spend weeks here. Whether you want to go star-spotting in Hollywood, sample street tacos, or play in the ocean waves, plan to spend at least a few hours reveling in classic L.A. activities.
1800 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA, US
The Venice Beach Boardwalk is the perfect place to do some people watching. Spot surfers riding waves by the pier, weight-lifters pumping iron at Muscle Beach, and fascinating folks displaying their talents at the Venice Beach Freak Show. The carnival-like atmosphere also features kitschy shops, sandy beachfront, and plenty of food.
S Harbour Blvd, Anaheim, CA, US
If you've got a day to spare, then make your way to a classic theme park: Disneyland. Gaze upon Sleeping Beauty's Castle on Main Street U.S.A., ride Space Mountain in Tomorrowland, and head to Fantasyland once the sun sets to bask in the fiber optic light displays.
3948 Mission Inn Ave, Riverside, CA, US
On your way out of Los Angeles on I-10, make a quick detour to grab a bite to eat at Tio's Tacos. You'll appreciate the folk art as much as the food in this eclectic Mexican eatery, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
50770 Seminole Drive, Cabazon, CA, US
You might recognize this iconic roadside attraction from Pee-wee's Big Adventure. Originally built in 1964 to garner attention to a now-defunct restaurant, the massive dinos currently stand guard over a museum and gift shop.
1800 East Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA, US
Once you're out of the L.A. area, you'll find yourself near the resort city of Palm Springs. Book a stay at one of the stylish hotels in town, like The Saguaro, a retro-kitsch boutique hotel. The colorful rooms, chic bar, luxurious spa treatments, and outstanding pool make this a decadent getaway.
74485 National Park Dr, Twentynine Palms, CA, US
Stretch your legs after cruising I-10 with a hike at Joshua Tree National Park. Named for its well-recognizable trees—which are actually a species of yucca plants—the park also has fascinating geological formations. Hike out to Skull Rock for climbing and boulder scrambling. If you brought a tent, you can set up camp at one of the nine campgrounds inside the park.
3538 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ, US
Road trips and burgers go hand-in-hand, but the grub you'll find at The Stand in Phoenix is definitely not your average fast food fare. The patties are made fresh daily and topped with crisp, locally-grown veggies and other tasty accoutrements. Pro tip: The hand-spun milkshakes are renowned. Get the chocolate chile shake if you're feeling adventurous.
If you extend your stay in Phoenix, the Clarendon Hotel and The Saguaro Scottsdale are among the many excellent accommodation options.
2700 N Kinney Rd, Tucson, AZ, US
Detour off I-10, and take a scenic cruise through Saguaro National Park. Saguaros can live for over 100 years and grow to be 20 feet tall, and they're relatively rare, only native to certain parts of Mexico, California, and Arizona.
There are many nice hotels in Tucson, as well. The Cactus Cove Bed and Breakfast and the Catalina Park Inn are a couple worth checking out.
6000 E Valencia Rd, Tucson, AZ, US
The Pima Air and Space Museum is one of the largest air and space museums in the country, housing more than 300 historically significant aircraft. The museum partners with the nearby 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, known as the world's largest airplane boneyard, to offer a bus tour, which will take you past more than 4,000 decommissioned planes.
1580 W Duval Mine Rd, Green Valley, AZ, US
In Green Valley, you'll pass by the epic Titan Missile Museum, which houses the only remaining Titan II intercontinental ballistic missile. Get an up-close look at a missile that could launch a nine-megaton nuclear warhead.
417 E Allen St, Tombstone, AZ, US
A quick detour off I-10 will take you to the town of Tombstone, where the infamous gunfight at the O.K. Corral took place. A number of preserved buildings and kitschy attractions share tales of the Old West days. Stop by Big Nose Kate's to eat or drink at the Grand Hotel's original bar, which dates to the 1880s.
2631 N Johnson Rd, Benson, AZ, US
Along I-10, you are sure to notice many colorful billboards promoting The Thing as a mystery of the desert. If you find yourself curious, make a stop at this classic old-school roadside attraction, which has featured quirky exhibits and souvenirs since 1965.
Next, 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. Rocks and boulders, shaped by the forces of nature into hoodoos and pinnacles, reach nearly 40 feet tall, and make for a striking landscape to hike through.
618 S Alameda Blvd, Las Cruces, NM, US
Spend the night soaking up some New Mexico culture at the Lundeens Inn of The Arts. Each room in this bed and breakfast—located in a historic 100-year-old building—is named for an artist and decorated with Southwestern flair.
Dripping Springs Road,, Las Cruces, NM, US
New Mexico is also home to Dripping Springs Natural Area. Here, you'll find piñon and juniper lining the easy, well-marked trails. Watch for desert wildlife, including golden eagles, mule deer, hawks, quail, lizards, and mountain lions.
Wsmr P Rt 1, White Sands, NM, US
The White Sands Missile Range Museum is full of information about the U.S.’s nuclear program and rocket technology. Head outside to the Missile Park to snap photos. The park has roughly 60 different rockets all used in combat in the years between WWII and the Gulf War.
6900 Hueco Tanks Rd. #1, El Paso, TX, US
A full third of the I-10 route is located in Texas, as the road crosses the Lone Star State at its widest part. Right after you cross the border, you'll find Hueco Tanks State Parks. The rocky hills offer a scenic backdrop for hiking and world-class climbing.
Since you're in the area, consider finding a hotel in El Paso. Fully renovated in 2020, the Hotel Paso del Norte is a historic landmark.
11381 Montwood Dr, El Paso, TX, US
Grab cheap, quick grub at Chico's Tacos as you swing through El Paso. This local favorite offers deep-fried taco deliciousness smothered in tomato sauce and topped with a healthy dose of shredded cheese.
State Hwy 17, TX, US
Take a dip in the world's largest spring-fed pool at Balmorhea State Park. The pool itself is 1.75 acres big and holds 3.5 million gallons of water. The San Solomon Springs pump 15 million gallons of clean water into it each day, creating a natural, non-chlorinated swimming hole.
As deep as 25 feet deep in some places, the pool is perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving. Plus, since the water stays around 72 to 76 degrees naturally, it's refreshingly cool, but not too cold, during the hot Texas summers.
Balmorhea State Park offers camping and an old-school motor lodge onsite, as well.
From the Pacific Coast to the Atlantic Ocean, a trip along the entirety of I-10 means crossing through deserts, hill country, swamplands, small towns, and big cities. One simple interstate can let you experience U.S. landscapes, cultures, cuisines, and attractions.