5 Days Southwest USA Road Trip

road trip

How to see and enjoy Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Las Vegas and Zion National Park on a five-day road trip going from Los Angeles and back? If you want to know how we did it and see our itinerary and map, keep on reading.

Day 0  (Los Angeles)

Renting a car

Before heading for our road trip we had to rent a car. We already pre-booked a vehicle but we ended up not liking the one we chose. In the end, we decided on a car that was a grade higher and more expensive. It was and excellent choice because the car was comfortable and felt good sitting in for about 5 to 6 hours a day.

Getting and insurance

Your personal insurance, as well as liability insurance, is a must. Also, I strongly advise getting advanced insurance. We were skeptical about it but then we were glad we had it because our windshield was hit by a stone on the road and the window cracked. We would have to pay a large amount of money without having it covered by the insurance.

Day 1 (Barstow, Lake Havasu)

First of all our trip didn’t start out how we planned. As we were going back from visiting our friends in Kansas our flight got canceled, cutting a half day from our travel plan. (You can read about our canceled flight story here).

Our first plan was to travel to Lake Havasu, a large and beautiful reservoir on the Colorado River. Unfortunately, the long travel hours and lack of sleep got the best out of us, so we had to make a stop earlier and spent a night in Barstow instead.

Day 2 (Kingman, Flagstaff)

The second day of our road trip we made a short stop in Kingman, Arizona to visit Metcalf Park and see the historical trains and locomotives. You can also visit the Route 66 museum and see the original road sign, photographs, and stylish diner’s facilities. The rest of our day we spent on the road and then finally arrived in Flagstaff where we had a chilled day, did our laundry and stocked up on some food and water.


Day 3 (Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam)

On the morning of our third day, we left Flagstaff pretty early and headed for our journey to Grand Canyon. It took us around two hours, longer than we expected because of some roadworks.

When we arrived at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon we decided to rent bikes for and hour. This was a great idea as we explored more in a shorter amount of time. You just have to be careful of the pedestrians and wild animals moving through the forest. We managed to ride to the Yaki point and back (which is around 7 miles/11,2 km long).

After leaving Grand Canyon behind we headed for Las Vegas and made a stop at the famous Hoover Dam. The waterway lies on the Colorado River in between Arizona and Nevada. The best place to see it is from the 1500 foot long Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. It was already getting dark and they were closing the place so we continued our journey to Las Vegas.

grand canyon

grand canyon

grand canyon

hoover dam

Day 4 (Las Vegas, Zion NP)

After our first night in Las Vegas, we headed to Zion National Park that turned out to be my favorite place of this whole journey. The rock formations are breathtaking. I wish we had more time to spend there and go for a track.

In the evening we went to explore the city of Las Vegas. The city is very hot during the day so it is best to go out at night (but you will fight your way through crowds of people).

In Vegas I advise you to get accommodation off the strip, you will save a lot of money because on the strip you pay extra resort fees. We stayed in lovely Desert Rose Resort in a lovely apartment including a kitchen and a living room separate from our bedroom. We had a balcony to enjoy our morning coffee at. All for about $180. Consider going to Las Vegas during a week, you will spend half the money for accommodation than on the weekend.




vegas zion





Day 5

Next day we had few hours to rest by the hotel pool and then we headed for our final journey back to Los Angeles. On our way back we stopped at on of the outlet shopping centers that is Vegas full of. You can buy there designer clothing and accessories for fraction of its starting retail price.

It was a great trip full of exciting places to see and things to do. I wish we had more time for exploring Zion National Park but other than that the time we spent at each place was enough. We also missed the Monument Valley that was in our plan but we will explore it next time.

vegas hotel

usa road trip map

Our journey map going from Los Angeles

  1. Lake Havasu
  2. Kingman
  3. Flagstaff
  4. Grand Canyon
  5. Hoover Dam
  6. Las Vegas
  7. Zion National Park

5 Days USA Roadtrip 5 Days USA Roadtrip

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Blog Comments

Looks like a great trip. Ideal for me as I’m moving the the US for a year but want to try and see as much as possible 🙂

There’s something magical about the Southwest. I can’t quite put my finger on it – but it might have something to do with the dramatic rock formations and brilliant colors!

That’s a lovely route, thanks for the map and for the extra advice on insurance! A windshield cracked only once in my life and it was my own car’s and you know how you imagine that would never happen again 🙂 Thanks for the reminder 😉

Yes, I didn’t want the insurance at first, finding it useless but they convinced me and now I am glad we got it 🙂

I’m so jealous! I wanted to go adventure when I was in Vegas a few weeks ago, but no one else wanted to. The Southwest looks so amazing and I want to roadtrip like this!

Oh this looks like so much fun! I love a good road trip.

grand canyonnnnnn! omg going there is a dream for me! awesome pics! road trips are the best and i wish to do the same when i get to the US! <3

I am so terrible. I always travel abroad and never explore my own backyard. So this post is great inscentive to do so. I would love to see the Grand Canyon and I would assume the only good way to do this would be to rent a car. I would probably stop in Vegas even though it’s a little flashy for me. Thank you!

We spent two nights in Vegas but just because it was a great middle point for visiting some of these places. I didn’t find the city to be much appealing 🙂

These are great tips! I love road trips and this route is AMAZING!

I love road trips! This looks like such a great one too. I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, but am taking a road trip there in the fall! Las Vegas is in our route too. Thank you for sharing your adventure.

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