Georgia to California: Cross-Country Road Trip Itinerary

On November 1st, my best friend and I drove across the country and created a detailed itinerary for you road-trip loving and adventure seeking humans.

Our East Coast to West Coast itinerary includes Airbnb cities that we loved, road trip jams, and to-die-for burger joints.

DAY 1: Atlanta, GA – Alabama – Mississippi – Tennessee – North Little Rock, AR

The first 2 days of this drive were definitely not as scenic as the last two. Flat highway and Georgia trees covered most of this first day. Since Memphis was too close to stop in for the night, considering we wanted to make it to CA in 4 days, we decided to stop there for lunch! We yelped and found a delicious local sandwich place called Pops Deli that was known for its Philly Cheesesteaks and a touch of southern love. It was a quick drive off of the Interstate and had plenty of grass for us to let the pups out of the car.

The AR state line we crossed was over a river and the sign was a pretty sight in a beautiful bridge. Throughout this drive we chatted and listened to the perfect playlist that Halle & her husband, Matt, made together. I will list some of the artists from this playlist at the end of the post.

We arrived at our cute North Little Rock Airbnb around 6 that night and headed out for some yummy Mexican and margs that night (however the restaurant was not memorable enough for us to remember it’s name). The apartment was perfect for our dogs and was in walking distance from a great view of Little Rock.


DAY 2: North Little Rock, AR – Oklahoma – Amarillo, TX

We unfortunately got rear ended the night we arrived into Little Rock, which put a slight damper on our exploration of Little Rock. But with a little help from Starbucks, and the cutest local diner called Littlefields Cafe, we got everything sorted out with insurance and got on the road around noon. In order to pass the time we looked up fun bff questions to ask each other and to keep our minds off of the driving! We were excited to get to Amarillo and see what they had to offer, but since we got a late start, we had to leave that for the next morning. Not to mention we were pretty exhausted. We got to our Amarillo Airbnb and it was the cutest home with absolutely everything we needed. It had separate bedrooms and they even left complimentary refreshments for us. Including wine and beer 😉 We were grateful for the space for the dogs and for their hospitality. This Airbnb was Halleson’s favorite from the trip!


DAY 3: Amarillo, TX – New Mexico – Flagstaff, AZ

We woke up refreshed and headed to Target in Amarillo for some necessities. It isn’t a roadtrip without a Target run, amiright? Our first excursion from the road was to the Cadillac Ranch, which was just minutes from our Amarillo Airbnb. It was windy and chilly but an exciting stop for us.

We then got back on the road towards Arizona and the Painted Desert/Petrified Forrest National Park. Our indie playlist was perfect for this desert ride and we enjoyed the scenery pretty much the entire drive. We asked each other more questions, talked a bunch, and took in the world that was passing by us at 100 MPH (sorry Mom).

We got to the Painted Desert in the knick of time – only an hour to spare. And we used every second of it! We arrived at the portion of the national park that was deemed “The Painted Desert” and got out and began to explore. Halleson started climbing in and I was hesitant, but soon followed her. We got some incredible shots and it was really a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

We got to Flagstaff once it was already pitch black outside, which led to us being super sketched out by our Flagstaff Airbnb because it was a ranch home and the drive up was unpaved and very poorly lit. In the daylight however, this Airbnb was absolutely stunning. The view from the porch took my breath away and it felt like we had been transported to a scene from a movie. It was my favorite from the trip!

Once we had arrived at the ranch and unloaded the dogs, we went out to find food. While I was attending to the dogs, Halle was looking up places to eat and reading over recommendations from our host. We decided on a place called Diablo Burgers and wow, we were in for a treat. We got there and the bartender told us that it was shared seating aka you sit where you can and it doesn’t matter who is next to you! A cool concept that required a little too much socializing for our worn out minds, but again, a super cool concept. These ginormous, mouth watering burgers were served on english muffins with the most fresh and delightfully seasoned french fries I had ever consumed. It was not a cheap stop for dinner, but WOW was it worth it. It was named USA Today’s best burger in Arizona for a reason. My mouth is watering as I am writing this and remembering how delicious it was. Once we finished at Diablo’s, we wandered around a little shopping area in Downtown Flagstaff and stumbled upon a shop called PJ Chilcottage and it was the perfect mix of handmade items and Flagstaff souvenirs that were not super mainstream.


DAY 4: Flagstaff, AZ – Newport Beach, Californa

The morning of the 4th day, we were ready to hit the road and see the Grand Canyon. We made a pit stop at a cute, cozy coffee shop called Late for the Train and grabbed our morning fuel. We began to drive towards the Grand Canyon and we drove through national park upon national park, admiring the beauty that surrounded us. Looking back, I wish that we would have stopped to capture the huge trees and beautiful mountains that were certainly picturesque, but I think that there are some things that are meant to just be experienced.

We arrived at the Grand Canyon, parked the car, and headed to the South Rim. It is indescribable how beautiful the view is. Pictures don’t do it complete justice, but we sure tried.

After our stop at the Grand Canyon that ended way too quickly, we got back into the car and settled in for the remainder of our trip. Newport had been a far off idea when we started, and we were almost there! In order to save time and make up for the time we had spent at the Grand Canyon, we didn’t stop much on the last day. Except for when we were almost out of gas and there was no gas station in sight so we had to stop at the nearest one and it was FIVE DOLLARS A GALLON. Yup, you read that right. It was pretty crazy.

We arrived in Newport Beach that night and Halleson helped me settle into my new home! It was a whirlwind of a trip, and I would go back to the beginning in a heartbeat.

Killer Indie Road Trip Playlist – Artists
Alabama Shakes
London Grammar
Half Moon Run
Jack Garratt
Hippie Sabotage
Zak Abel
Imaginary Future

We hope that you have enjoyed going on this cross-country road trip with us! We hope that you find this itinerary useful and the pictures a wonderful guide for your next trip. If you read this and chose to make the journey across the US, we would love to hear about it/see pictures.

‘Till next time, xx Madison + Halleson

Photos by Halleson White Photography + Myself

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