So-Cal & Arizona Desert Drive self-drive 

From the Golden State to the Grand Canyon State

Curate a playlist of Californian classics as you drive from San Diego to Palm Springs, continuing east into Arizona, where monumental wonders await.

On this 11-night road trip, you’ll drive east from the sparkling Pacific Coast, visiting San Diego and Palm Springs before crossing the state border into Arizona for adventures in the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River. You’ll touch Route 66 at Flagstaff (where the night skies are nothing short of dazzling), get swept up in the scenery of Sedona, and finish in the luxury folds of Scottsdale, an upscale part of Phoenix, the capital of Arizona.

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San Diego, Palm Springs, Lake Havasu, Flagstaff, Sedona, Scottsdale

Recommended itinerary

San Diego

Sunny shores

San Diego is a perfect springboard for adventures in Southern California. While there’s plenty to keep you occupied in the city (apart from feasting on excellent tacos and delving into Balboa Park’s museums and restaurants), you can take easy day trips to other SoCal highlights, whether you want to hike in Torrey Pines, enjoy an afternoon in exquisite La Jolla, or even venture further up the Californian coast to the surf towns south of LA.

San Diego

Palm Springs

A desert hideaway

After it burst into life in the 1950s, Palm Springs has continued to be an escapist place for LA residents and celebrities. Mid-century style still lingers here, but it’s a place that continues to reinvent itself with new shops, restaurants, resorts, and galleries. You could hike in the Indian Canyons, seek out palm groves and Indian rock art, or walk through the Andreas Canyon in search of hummingbirds – the options are more varied than you might think.

Lake Havasu

Adventures on the Colorado River

After driving 200 miles east through Joshua Tree National Park, you’ll reach Arizona’s border with California, where Lake Havasu City sits on the Colorado River. There are water sports and outdoor activities galore here. The lake is known for its clear waters and sandy beaches, although perhaps you’ll find yourself taking a leisurely walk across the original London Bridge, which was relocated from England in the 1960s.


Visit the Grand Canyon

Venture deeper into Arizona, continuing your journey east to Flagstaff in the mountains. Astrotourism is big here, thanks to the dark skies. It’s where the Apollo astronauts famously trained for their missions, and scientists mapped the lunar landscape. You’re also within an hour’s drive of the Grand Canyon to see this magnificent geological spectacle.


Energy vortexes

This mesmerising stop will reveal red rock formations and one-of-a-kind energy said to emanate from the earth. It's a place that has long attracted artists, healers, and spiritual seekers. You can join in yoga or meditation or hike through the canyons and see the famous rock formations up close.


A fitting finale

Once you reach Phoenix, there’s plenty more adventure to be had in the Sonoran Desert. Perhaps you’ll take the chance to unwind in a luxury resort in Scottsdale instead, a part of the city known for high-end resorts, championship golf, luxury shopping, and pampering spas.