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Anne asked

Best route

We have chosen to drive to Scottsdale for our fall vacation this year rather than fly. We want to break it into 2 or 3 days. We will be staying in hotels on the way, no pets, just my husband and myself. Any suggestions on best route/ interesting stops?

Birmingham (Alabama) Scottsdale (Arizona)

1 Answer
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answered first by
Claire from Fort Worth, Texas
This sounds like a great trip, however you will probably need 4 days! We have driven from Fort Worth TX to Scottsdale several times. The most direct route from here is to take I-20. It will merge with I-10 in West Texas; 10 goes straight into Phoenix. From Fort Worth, the drive is 2 days (one overnight) if you do not stop for anything but food and gas. Texas is very wide - 813 miles across. If you take the Northern Route from Fort Worth using US287, I-40 and I-17 it takes 3 days. (when you come through DFW, unless you plan to stop in one of the two cities, it is best to take the outer loop around the Metroplex rather than go straight through) 
In all honesty, I would skip DFW because just about everything you do will take longer than you might wish to take.. but...
In Fort Worth: Stockyards National Historic District, the Fort Worth ZooSundance Square or travel south for about 40 miles to Glen Rose for the dinosaur footprints. Nearby Granbury would be a nice stop for overnight.  
Farther west, Big Bend National Park is south of I-10 with actual mountains (!). If you go north from I-10 you can visit Carlsbad Caverns National Park. From the park, you can head for El Paso. You can spend the night in El Paso.
There are vineyards in El Paso along I-10 otherwise not much.  When you get to Arizona it is an easy short drive to Mexico if that interests you. There is an interesting and very old mission near the border and an artists village in Tubac.    
Mica Mountain and Mt Lemmon are both north of I-10 between Kartchner Caverns State Park and Abilene
An alternative is to take I-65 to I-40 then south on I 17 into the Phoenix area. If you take this route, you will drive the entire width of Oklahoma. All along I-40 there are several small towns along that route that are like a step back to the 1950s. If the timing is right, visit Winslow (Arizona). There is a little park dedicated to The Eagles there, with bronze statues of the band members and a Flat Bed Ford.  
You can stay on I-40 then take I-17 through Flagstaff into Phoenix.  Between Flagstaff and Phoenix are Sedona and Jerome (Arizona) (Jerome is really neat supposedly haunted.)
You will be covering a lot of territory on this trip!! Lots of beautiful country, with  amazing night skies! Fall is the best time to make this trip too. Good Luck!

Comments (2)

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Anne
Claire, Thank you so much for this fantastic insight into our cross country trip. Our main objective is to get to Scottsdale for a week with our west coast family without having to fly and seeing some sights on the way. You have made me realize that we won’t be seeing many sights except those from a moving car if we want to make it in 3 days. I think we have decided to take the northern route through Memphis and Oklahoma. We are going to try to book it to Oklahoma City the first day..wish us luck! Thanks again, Anne · (1 like)
 

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Claire
My mom used to drive from just north of Nashville to OKC in a day. One thing about the North Route, the scenery across Northern New Mexico is wonderful. Gallup NM is full of Navajo related shopping and so on. Navajo Nation is in the southern part of the 4 Corners. So have a great drive, enjoy the Mexican food and the beautiful scenery. You will really enjoy Scottsdale; Old Town is full of arty shops and great places to eat. If you have time, try to plan a day trip up to Sedona or Jerome ( or both) My daughter was married in Sedona and it is so gorgeous. Jerome is an old copper mining town that spreads across the side of a hill. It is now full of shops and restaurants and is great fun to explore. When in Scottsdale, if you want a fancy meal, check out The Mission. It is fabulous.
 
 
 

Mentioned in this answer:

VIEW DETAILED MAP
  1. Stockyards National Historic District (attraction)
  2. Fort Worth Zoo (attraction)
  3. Sundance Square (attraction)
  4. Glen Rose (city)
  5. Granbury (city)
  6. Big Bend National Park (park)
  7. Carlsbad Caverns National Park (park)
  8. El Paso (city)
  9. Tubac (city)
  10. Mica Mountain (natural feature)
  11. Mt Lemmon (attraction)
  12. Kartchner Caverns State Park (attraction)
  13. Abilene (city)
  14. Winslow (Arizona) (city)
  15. Flagstaff (city)
  16. Sedona (city)
  17. Jerome (Arizona) (city)
comments (2)


   
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