Last fall, our family did the unthinkable… we took a cross-country road trip from Florida to California with our 4-year-old, 2-year-old, and our dog.
Oh, and I was 7 months pregnant!
Our family thrives on living adventurously and being spontaneous, and while everyone else thought we were crazy to attempt such an outing, we did it and loved it.
For my fellow adventurers, travelers, and daydreamers, I’m sharing our itinerary and the highlights of our trip across the southern United States, in hopes that it will inspire you and help you plan out your own cross-country adventure.
A couple quick notes - we never drove more than 4-6 hours in a day, and we spent multiple nights in some cities so that the entire trip ended up taking about two and a half weeks. This is a very doable schedule with small children!
Here’s how our trip went down:
1. We left from West Palm Beach and drove to Pensacola on the first day. This day consisted of sightseeing along the Florida turnpike… nothing too exciting to report!
2. Things picked up from Pensacola though, and we headed toward the bayous and made it to New Orleans in time to have red beans and rice for dinner. The next morning a street performer sang gospel songs right in front of our table at Cafe du Monde while we ate scrumptious beignets. Then, our girls were fascinated by all the horse-drawn carriages, so we took a tour of the French Quarter in one, before we left the city.
3. After New Orleans, we made our way toward Texas and had our roughest day on the road… a tractor trailer flipped on the main highway, and they shut it down for several exits. There were police blocking the entrance ramps, and our GPS wouldn’t give us another route around that highway. It was already dark by then, and it was really unsettling to not feel secure in where we were going (we couldn’t believe technology failed us!). That’ll teach us to drive 3,000 miles without a paper map in the car. :) We eventually found a small road that paralleled Highway 10, but that detour cost us several hours and forced us to stop in Houston for the night.
4. The next morning we continued on to our original destination of San Antonio and settled in for our first two-night stop of the trip. We absolutely loved the city’s Riverwalk… it’s beautiful, quaint, and well-shaded, and it has a very peaceful, European feel to it. We also ventured away from the Riverwalk long enough to pay our respects to the Alamo!
5. After San Antonio, we made a slightly backwards detour to Dallas so that we could have dinner with friends who live there. On our way to Dallas, we stopped for lunch at Stubb’s BBQ in Austin, and it was delicious! I just wished we could have stayed longer to hear Paolo Nutini play that night. But we headed up to Dallas and spent a great evening with my mentors Bill and Michelle, as well as their two teenage girls (who my 4-year-old calls her “big girl friends” :) ). We didn’t get to see the city much, but we liked the area, and we had some great Mexican food at a really nice outdoor shopping area… I’d go back and explore some more!
After Dallas, we braved driving across the gigantic expanse of western Texas in hopes of reaching New Mexico… which I’ll dish about in my next post!
The first half of our road trip was such an incredible experience and really wasn’t one I’d even expected to have in my life. I'm so thankful that we had the opportunity to do it! If you’re looking for a way to create your own lifestyle of freedom and adventure, come join our team! We’d love to help you on your path to success!