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Epic Los Angeles to Las Vegas Road Trip

Vehicle provided on behalf of Kia

One of our favorite summer road trips was when we went off the beaten path from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Normally, when going on a Las Vegas road trip, we can’t wait to get to the city and drive all the way to Vegas with as minimal stops as possible. This year, we did things differently and turned a four-hour drive into a 12-hour drive, and it was the best Las Vegas road trip ever!

If you make this road trip, you’ll want to leave early! Leaving from Los Angeles or Orange County will take about the same amount of time, and your family can easily accomplish all these stops, and make it to Vegas before sundown.

You’ll want to load up your Kia with plenty of snacks and water for the kids. Then put your favorite playlist on the radio, and get ready to experience an epic road trip!

Our first stop along the road trip added an extra hour that we weren’t planning, but was the adventure of a lifetime. If you have an AWD vehicle and have a family who likes thrilling adventures, then you’ll want your first stop to be at the Mojave Desert Rock Faces. They are a little hard to find in the middle of the desert, but when you do, your kids will get a kick out of it.

If you don’t stop at the rock faces, The Oro Grande Shops are a perfect first stop to take some pictures, grab a snack, and do a little shopping. There is a cool gas station right next to the shops that you’ll want to pull over and check out with the kids.

Our next stop on our way to Vegas was to Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch. The ranch is one of the neatest places along Route 66, and there is so much to explore. Entrance is free, but tips are encouraged to be left of the artist.

After leaving Bottle Tree Ranch, you’ll find more fun places to stop for photo opportunities. We found a cool ghost town (Sagebrush Inn) on the side of the road that looked just like it did in the old west. We also made a stop to check out a rad Route 66 themed motel and walked around downtown for awhile.

While it’s not something that you would expect to find along Route 66, if you’re a SoCal native you’ll want to stop at the very first Del Taco. They still wrap their food in the famous Naugles yellow paper, and you can find some of the classic Naugles menu items that we’ve all missed. Plus, try the Barstow-themed foods too – super cool and tasty!

Just a short drive away from the Del Taco is the Western American Railroad Museum. The museum was closed when we visited, but that didn’t matter. The best part of the museum is the cool train cars where kids can climb on, and it’s a great spot to get a family picture.

Before leaving town, we made a quick stop at the Desert Discovery Center to catch a glimpse of the “The Old Woman Meteorite” which is the largest meteorite found in California. The stop only takes a few minutes, and why not? How often are you going to see a massive meteorite?

The kids were ready for some lunch, so our next stop was at Peggy Sue’s Diner. We enjoyed a burger and milkshake before running around the funky and fun Diner-Saur Park.

If you have time, the Calico Ghost Town would be your next stop. You’ll need about two hours for this stop, and since we wanted to make it to the Seven Magic Mountains, we skipped this stop, but I did get a picture of the classic Jenny Rose Restaurant sign before getting back onto the freeway.

Your next stop is going to be a little eerie, and one you’ll never forget. Pull off the road to explore the mystery behind Zzyzx Road. You’ll see salt flats and explore an abandoned resort. There are times when the road is not paved, so I recommend driving a Kia with AWD.

Before going into the next town, you might spot what looks like a small town on the side of the freeway, and it is something super cool! Between Zzyzx Road and the town of Baker is an abandoned water park! While you can’t go near it (fencing and security cameras everywhere) you can catch a glimpse of it from the main road.

Then the fun begins as your family drives into the town of Baker. While in town you can get a milkshake at the Mad Greek Cafe, check out the temperature at the World’s Largest Thermometer, and stock up on jerky at Alien Fresh Jerky.

The last stop before arriving in Vegas is at the Seven Magic Mountains. You’ll want to watch your timing on your road trip to make sure you can stop here before sundown. The art exhibit is only here for a short time, and is a must stop on your way to Vegas.

Have fun on your upcoming trip and experiencing your drive to Vegas unlike you’ve ever done before. Happy Road Tripping.

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