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California to Virginia

Travel Forums North America California to Virginia

1. Posted by calbert91 (Budding Member 2 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

I am going to be traveling with my girlfriend from southern California, Inland Empire, to Richmond, Virginia during the second week in August. We have just under a week to get across and we're taking the I-40 route across. We're taking a brand new sedan so we're not too worried about car issues but we are limited to what we can bring since she is moving out there to go to school.

What I am looking for is some useful advice, information, or tips for taking this route or some great destinations along the way. We're both totally up for little kitschy things like the world's largest ball of yarn. The one place we both agree we have to stop at is the Grand Canyon.

Any help would be great! Thanks so much.

2. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3573 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Well, I was going to suggest LAS VEGAS!! but you don't have time. I suggest you take Route 66 between Kingman and Williams. It will only take a couple hours more than I-40. Great photo ops. Grand Canyon Caverns is on the way to GC as well.

Meteor Crater is a maybe. Unique yes, worth the money? not sure. We also visited the Petrified Forest in Jan. Totally worth it when snow was on the ground, but not sure in August. Entrance fee plus it is HOT!! Perhaps just stop in Holbrook for the Route 66 stuff and buy a piece of petrified wood. Cadillac Ranch just outside Amarillo TX is worth a stop. Certainly Graceland is on your list, worth my money and time when I went. Will go back when I am in Memphis again. Mammoth Cave is on your route as well. Many other cave tours in this area. You might want to spend a day at Virginia Beach before hitting Richmond. Good luck with your planning.

3. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 2009 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Is that ever going to be a hot drive! The Route 40 website has a list of nearby attractions

4. Posted by calbert91 (Budding Member 2 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Daawgon thanks for the list but that is for Route 40 which is around San Francisco, we're taking I-40, slightly different and starts in Barstow

5. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 1999 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

As someone who moved from Baltimore to California by driving this exact route in the opposite direction (and then did it again when my son moved back from his college days), here's my suggestions (many of these are the same things recommended by vegasmike6 above, but I decided to repeat them so you'll get the order of the attractions correctly:

First head east to Palm Springs or to Las Vegas and take a day out of your trip to enjoy the nightlife and swimming pools. From here head out to see both the Grand Canyon and Sedona (Sedona first if you are coming from Palm Springs, the Grand Canyon first if coming from Las Vegas). From here, head east to Albuquerque, and then leave I-40 long enough to go north and take a must-see side trip up to Santa Fe, NM. The downtown section is worth your eating, shopping, and tourist visit time. Take I-85 north to US 285-South or US 84-South back down to I-40 and then continue east towards Texas and Virginia.

From here go to Amarillo, TX and check out both "The Big Texan" and the Cadillac Ranch west of town.

Next take the long drive across Oklahoma and Arkansas on to Memphis. There you need to visit Beale street (where there are lots of great BBQ restaurants, BB King's music theatre, and the old Sun Recording studios where Elvis first recorded his songs). South of town is Graceland, Elvis Presley's old home, which you should tour.

When you get to Nashville, you will want to visit the Opryland Hotel, Opryland amusement park, and the Grand Ole Opry theatre. Also in town you will want to visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Wild Horse Saloon and Andrew Jackson's Hermitage. If you get a chance they have lots of events evenings in the summer down by the river through town.

Continue east through the Shenandoah National Park, then west of Richmond, check out Thomas Jefferson's Montecello near Charlottesville, VA (also where the beautiful University of Virginia campus is located). From here it is a short trip on to Richmond, VA.

P.S. Mammoth Caves is actually not right on the way, but if you want to take a side trip up to Kentucky, then it would be something to visit. You could head on east through West Virginia and on to Baltimore and/or Washington, DC if you wanted, then cut south the 90 miles back down to Richmond in that case.

[ Edit: Edited on 31-Jul-2011, at 10:07 by Calcruzer ]

6. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3573 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Those are great suggestions for 'calbert91'. However, he did say that they had 6 days, so they will have to get cracking to get all that in!

7. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 1999 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!


I totally agree--but then I'm the type that would drive from Santa Fe all the way to Memphis in a day and a half just so I'd have enough time for all the other stuff. I suppose not everyone is that crazy, though.

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