Road trip from New York to Los Angeles

Updated: Sep 14, 2020

This road trip has something for everyone whether you are traveling with family or in a group.

Driving from east coast to west coast or west coast to east coast takes approx. 42 hours if you drive non-stop covering distance of 2,790 miles.

However, this road trip isn't something you haste, instead it's for fun and thrill.

Over 7 days you will drive through 12 different states: New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona (optional) and California.

Arizona is optional if you wish to pass through. I love Arizona for its vivid landscape - Antelope Canyon, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Horseshoe Bend, hence I extended my trip to drive through Arizona.

Below is the picture of Horseshoe Bend in Arizona, I love this nature's creation.

You will be driving through 4 different time-zones (EST,CST,MST,PST), probably the longest road trip which you can imagine in United States and trust me you will love it.

Road trip is always a fun for people who love driving and if you are driving in a group it will be more memorable.

I have mentioned the hotels, locations, routes and drive hours which I followed. You can tweak it if you have any other plans.

Unfortunately, I was the only driver for the whole trip. However, I was not alone, my wife helped me to keep me awake with her poor jokes ;)

Initial Plan

You can plus/minus extra days in between if you like/dislike the place. Don't book hotels in advance, instead book it on the same day so that you are independent to change your plan.

  • Day 1: New York to Chicago, IL

  • Extra day to roam around Chicago

  • Day 2: Chicago, IL to Omaha, NE

  • Day 3: Omaha, NE to Rocky Mountains, CO

  • Extra day to roam around Colorado

  • Day 4: Rocky Mountains, CO to Page, AZ

  • Extra day to roam around Arizona

  • Day 5: Page, AZ to Las Vegas, NE

  • Extra day to roam around Vegas

  • Day 6: Las Vegas, NE to Los Angeles, CA

  • Roam around Los Angeles, San Diego ;)

Day 1. New York to Chicago, IL (11 hours, 745 miles via I-80)

Eleven hours drive is too much, isn't it? Yes, but I planned to drive maximum on first day because first day I was full of energy, also stopping at Chicago was a good idea.

However, you can split this drive into two days (7+5 hours drive) making a stop at Cleveland, OH if eleven hours drive is too much for you.

You can visit Rock and Roll Hall of Fame if you get some time in the evening, it's located on the shore of lake Erie in downtown Cleveland and it's beautiful.

I have already visited Cleveland couple of times so I didn't had much to explore there.

Anyways, I stayed at Cool Springs Inn, Michigan City approximately an hour drive from Chicago due to couple of reasons.

First reason was cost, hotels in Chicago were too expensive, approx. 3-4 times costlier than what I paid in Michigan City ($45). Secondly, Chicago is hardly an hour drive from this place. So you can wake up little early in morning and roam around Chicago if you want.

You can visit Navy Pier, Willis Tower, Cloud Gate, John Hancock Center, Shedd Aquarium, Art Institute of Chicago etc.

There is a lot to do in Chicago (in fact a day is not enough for Chicago) so get a city pass and try to explore as much you can.

At the end of the day you can drive back to Cool Springs or book another hotel nearby.