Road Tripping the Scenic Route from San Antonio to Las Vegas

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From the mesmerizing blue waters of Canyon Lake to the big bright lights of the Strip, the scenic route from San Antonio to Las Vegas is easily one of the most gorgeous drives you can take in the United States.
This isn’t a quick and easy road trip, mind you. Driving the scenic route will take you on a nearly 1,300-mile adventure across four states that would take almost 19 hours to complete if you drove nonstop. But if you’re someone who appreciates natural majesty and splendor, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a nicer drive than this one.
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Starting off: Visiting San Antonio, Texas

If you’re from San Antonio Texas, feel free to skip ahead. But for those of you who’ve never been, there’s a whole lot that this cool, modern American city has to offer.
The wood planks of a San Antonio bridge reflect the orange glow of the sunset.
San Antonio, Texas

What to do

San Antonio is home to the historic Alamo, where the Battle of the Alamo took place in 1836. The city is also home to four famous Spanish colonial missions, each a world heritage site. The Spanish Governor’s Palace is an impressive sight to behold, too.
If zipping around upside down is more your thing, check out the Six Flags Fiesta Texas theme park.
Colorful Six Flags rollercoaster tracks arch above a row of bushes. Houses with Spanish roofs are in the background.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Where to eat

If you’re hungry or in the mood for some shopping, be sure to check out San Antonio’s famous River Walk, home to locally owned businesses and some of the best restaurants in the state.

Leg 1: San Antonio to Ozona, Texas

Approximately 3 hours
You probably haven’t heard of Ozona, Texas, a sleepy little town along Interstate 10. But don’t let the lack of fame or small stature fool you! Ozona is a cool place with some interesting sites to visit—and a great place to break up some of the driving on your trip.
A dirt desert road curves around a bend in Ozona, with the sun falling below a line of blue-gray clouds.
Ozona, Texas

What to do

While visiting Ozona, be sure to check out the ruins of Fort McKavett, the Old Ice House Ranch Museum, and the renowned Caverns of Sonora.

Where to eat

A trip to Texas wouldn’t be complete without getting some barbeque, so check out Wagon Wheel BBQ on Avenue E.

Leg 2: Ozona to El Paso, Texas

Approximately 5 hours
Nestled right against the US–Mexico border, El Paso is home to world-famous food and some of the most scenic driving roads in the whole of North America.
Fluffy white clouds sit in the sky above a view of El Paso, Texas.
El Paso, Texas

What to do

Take in the Sun City from Scenic Drive (that’s literally the name of the road!) and cruise through history on a driving tour down the Mission Trail. Looking for more nature? Be sure to check out Highway 28 and the Transmountain Road!

Where to eat

In the mood for some of the best Mexican food in the country? Café Mayapán cooks up some of the best regionally traditional food you can find. Their restaurant is fully staffed by underprivileged women from the El Paso area, so you can eat great food and feel good about buying it!
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Leg 3: El Paso to Tombstone or Tucson, Arizona

Approximately 4 to 5 hours
Depending on your interests, you can make your way from El Paso to either Tombstone or Tucson. If you want to do both, spend the afternoon in Tombstone and then explore Tucson the next morning! It’s right along the way toward your final destination of Las Vegas—and the drive up route 80 to Interstate 10 is beautiful.
The silhouettes of cacti and the mountains stand out against a vibrant red sky.
Tucson, Arizona

What to do in Tombstone

Like the town of Deadwood in South Dakota, Tombstone Arizona is a fun little tourist trap themed on life in the Wild West. Once the site of the infamous shootout at the OK Corral, Tombstone is brimming with historical sites, great food, and live-action western reenactments happening right in the streets everywhere you go.
This exciting tourism experience is definitely a crowd pleaser and will surely be a big hit if you’re traveling with kids.
A horse-pulled carriage passes by Wild West-themed storefronts along a wide dirt road.
Tombstone, Arizona

What to do in Tucson

If Tombstone isn’t your thing, Tucson offers plenty of its own sights to take in. Tucson’s Botanical Gardens, the Reid Park Zoo, and the Pima Air and Space Museum are all definitely worth a visit while you’re in town.

Leg 4: Tombstone or Tucson to Phoenix, Arizona

Approximately 2 hours
The shortest leg of the trip takes you to Phoenix, Arizona’s tourist-friendly capital. And this isn’t just a stop to break up the remaining drive to Las Vegas, either. Phoenix is one of those cities you may not think of as a vacation hotspot, but after visiting, you might just find yourself planning a whole other trip there!
A man photographs the Phoenix city lights as they glitter below a orange and blue sunset.
Phoenix, Arizona

What to do

Legendary American architect Frank Lloyd Wright made Phoenix his winter getaway; it hosts his winter home and architecture school, Taliesin West, which is open to public tours. The globally recognized Heard Museum of anthropology is something you need to see to believe. Phoenix also has an impressive zoo, awesome museums, and more.

Where to eat

Ready to settle in for a meal and maybe browse a few art galleries? Make your way over to Old Town Scottsdale and take a sheltered stroll down its old-west covered walkways.
If you enjoy steak, you’re going to love Durant’s, a famous steakhouse. Phoenix is also home to a world-class Native American-themed restaurant Kai. The food at Kai is so good it’s almost worth visiting Phoenix with the sole intention of eating there!
Five bronze horse sculptures emerge from a water fountain in front of a line of shops.
Old Town Scottsdale

Leg 5: Phoenix to Las Vegas, Nevada

Approximately 5 hours
As one of the biggest and most famous tourist destinations on the planet, it’s impossible to suggest what you need to see in Las Vegas Nevada within the scope of this article. Heck, you couldn’t do that in a dozen of them! Las Vegas is a whole city built from the ground up for having fun.
Pink fireworks appear to shoot from the rooftop of Treasure Island Casino.
Las Vegas, Nevada

What to do

This isn’t the same old smoky gambling town it used to be. Kids are definitely welcome in modern Vegas, with tons of attractions specifically for families. The Discovery Children’s Museum, the Adventure Dome at Circus Circus, and M&M’s World are all super fun for kids of all ages.
Not a gambler? There are still plenty of games to play in the Fun Dungeon at Excalibur, where you’ll find the world’s biggest Pacman game. Thrill-seekers who don’t mind heights should also check out the insane rides at the Stratosphere hotel, which dangle you off the roof of the building. There are lots of shows, parks, and eateries you can visit that don’t involve gambling.
If you are a gambler, well, come on… it’s Vegas! As family-friendly as the city has grown in the past decade or so, this is still a casino town. Most of the recommendations mentioned above take place at casinos, in fact. So for adults, Vegas is a whole other type of playground. Just try not to wake up in a chapel with an Elvis impersonator marrying you to a stranger.

Get roadside assistance you can rely on

This scenic route from San Antonio to Las Vegas isn’t about the destinations you’ll visit, but the journey you’ll experience along the way—and what a journey it is! An adventure exploring 1,300 miles along some of the most iconic, awe-inspiring roads and highways in America. Who doesn’t want to see that?
Of course, a massive five-plus day road trip through America’s warmest states will put quite a bit of stress on any car. Whether you’re taking your own vehicle or renting one, you’re going to need roadside assistance, just in case.
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