What is the best route from San Diego to Phoenix?

I’m planning to visit some buddies in Phoenix, but I don’t know which road to take. I’ve heard that I-8 is fast and I-10 is beautiful, but I’m not sure the extra time makes up for the view. Which route is the best option for me to take from San Diego to Phoenix?

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Answer provided by
Joshua Levy
Answered on May 20, 2022
The road from San Diego, California to Phoenix, Arizona, isn’t too long, but it still takes about six hours of driving. Luckily, drivers have a few options for optimizing their time on the road. Here are the best routes to take from San Diego to Phoenix:
I-8: The fast route:
  • Drive time: 5 hours 30 minutes
If you’re hoping to make the trip as quick as possible, I-8 is the way to go. This route takes drivers right along the border with Mexico. And while there isn’t much to see, it’s a nearly straight shot to Phoenix.
  1. Take I-8 east out of San Diego
  2. Continue for about 5 hours
  3. Exit onto Highway 84 North
  4. Continue until you hit Phoenix.
I-10: The scenic route:
  • Drive time: 6 hours 30 minutes
If you have an extra hour to spare, this may be the route for you. While you’ll need to head north for about an hour to meet up with Highway 10, the road takes you through several beautiful areas like Joshua Tree National Park and Palm Springs. Once you reach I-10, it’s also a straight shot to Phoenix!
  1. Take Highway 15 North out of San Diego
  2. Continue for about 1 hour
  3. Merge onto I-10 East
  4. Continue until you hit Phoenix
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