Miami's famous skyline with sunbeams shining through the skyscrapers, palm leaves framing the image

Road trip from Los Angeles to Miami

Updated by Pat Dorri on February 28 2024

Pack your bags for the cross-country road trip of a lifetime! This epic drive from Los Angeles to Miami will take you from the turquoise shores of the Pacific Ocean to the sun-kissed beaches and buzzing nightlife of Florida past iconic cities and world-famous national parks.

The 2,880-mile road trip from Los Angeles to Miami will take 42 hours to drive. On the way, you can visit Joshua Tree National Park, Phoenix, Tucson, Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, El Paso, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, New Orleans, Santa Fe and Orlando.

This is the road trip from Los Angeles to Miami is perfect for anyone who loves history, culture, nature, and adventure. With so much mileage to cover, read on below to learn more about our recommended routes, exciting destinations, best places to stay, and the best seasons to travel.

How far is Miami from Los Angeles, and how long will the road trip take?

Comparison of road trip routes between Los Angeles and Miami
RouteDistanceDriving Time
Southern Route2,880 miles42 hours
Northern Route2,950 miles44 hours

The Southern Route from Los Angeles to Miami covers an impressive distance of 2,880 miles in approximately 42 hours without accounting for any detours.

Alternatively, the Northern Route stretches over 2,950 miles and takes about 44 hours to cover if you were to drive it nonstop.

Each route, rich in diversity, is perfect for a road trip spanning 10 days to two weeks. By taking your time, you'll get to appreciate all the dramatic beauty and cultural richness these regions have to offer.

Miami Beach, Florida on Ocean Drive at sunset, with a beach in the foreground and palm trees before a row of buildings lit up in fluorescent colours.
A world-famous destination, Miami welcomed a jaw-dropping number of 26.5 million visitors in 2022.
Sean Pavone/

Best road trip route from Los Angeles to Miami

Both the Southern and Northern Routes from Los Angeles to Miami offer a journey through diverse landscapes and incredible cities, each with its unique charm and attractions.

The Southern Route is a sunny journey through the American South. Skirting close to the Mexican border and along the Gulf of Mexico coastline, you'll travel through culturally diverse and historical cities like El Paso and New Orleans.

This route also takes you through big, bustling metropolises such as Phoenix, Houston, and Tampa. The landscapes are equally varied, ranging from the sunny, stunning deserts of Arizona to rugged forests and canyons in southern New Mexico and Texas, and finally to the seaside landscapes and forests of Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida.

In contrast, the Northern Route provides a journey through nature's wonders, including the majestic Grand Canyon, Mojave National Preserve, and the Sitgreaves National Forest.

This route also takes you through Native American lands full of history and culture. Here, you can experience ancestral Puebloan dwellings, reservations, and historic museums between Arizona and New Mexico.

The cities along this route are not short of allure either. You'll visit Albuquerque's culturally diverse metropolitan area, Santa Fe's beautiful architecture and art galleries, Dallas's modern metropolitan vibe, and Orlando's renowned theme parks and cultural attractions.

How to drive from Los Angeles to Miami

The map above shows our suggestions for the best road trip routes between Los Angeles and Miami. Keep reading for detailed descriptions of both routes, where to stay on either, and the best things to do on the way.

Southern Route

Begin by taking Interstate 10 (I-10) east towards Phoenix. As you leave Los Angeles, consider a detour to explore the unique landscapes of Joshua Tree National Park.

Once in Phoenix, check out the Phoenix Art Museum before continuing on I-10 to Tucson, where the Tucson Botanical Gardens await.

Continuing along I-10, you'll reach El Paso. Here, the El Paso Museum of Art offers a cultural break. Pushing further along, you will drive south to marvel at the mysterious Marfa Lights Viewing Area and have the opportunity to make a detour to of Big Bend National Park.

You'll then arrive in San Antonio via I-10, where a stroll along the famous River Walk offers a blend of history and modern city life. Next, head to Houston, indulging in the wonders of the Houston Museum of Natural Science, before veering off to Baton Rouge to see the Louisiana State Capitol.

From Baton Rouge, continue on I-10 to New Orleans, a must-see historical destination full of non-stop fun. Continuing east on I-10, you'll pass through Florida, stopping at Pensacola Beach for a seaside experience.

Next, divert south onto I-75 towards Gainesville, home to the Florida Museum of Natural History. Further along I-75, Tampa's Florida Aquarium and Myakka River State Park offer diverse experiences of marine life and natural landscapes.

From here, drive through Fort Myers and Napa and head east to reach your destination in Miami.

People relaxing and sunbathing on the beach with beach chairs and sunshades. In the back the Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier.
Take a break at Pensacola Beach and sunbathe on its white silky sand if you are following the Southern Route.
Michael Rosebrock/

Northern Route

Starting from Los Angeles, head northeast on I-15 towards the Mojave National Preserve. After exploring the preserve, continue to the iconic Grand Canyon National Park to experience one of the world's natural wonders.

From the Grand Canyon, head on I-40 towards Flagstaff. Following the interstate further east, make a detour to the Petrified Forest National Park, where you can see fossilized trees and colorful badlands.

Next, you'll enter New Mexico, stopping in Albuquerque. Here, the historic Old Town provides a glimpse into the region's past. Continue north to Santa Fe, where the Santa Fe Plaza and its surrounding art galleries and museums are a cultural delight.

Next, you'll head east to Dallas, where the Dallas Museum of Art awaits. From Dallas, follow I-20 into Mississippi, passing through the serene Bienville National Forest towards Jackson and east towards Columbus.

Continue east to Georgia, and then head south on I-75 to Gainesville, Florida, where the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens provide a lush retreat. As you approach Orlando, you can visit Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando.

Finally, continue south on Florida's Turnpike towards your destination of Miami.

Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA with beautiful colors in the sky at sunset and shapes of the canyon taken at Yavapai Point.
Don't miss out on the chance to visit the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon National Park if you are traveling on the Northern Route.
Filip Fuxa/

Best places to stop between Los Angeles and Miami

There are almost endless places to stop to rest along the way. Below are our favorite places to rest so you can make the most out of exploring the region.

Learn about the rich history of San Antonio

San Antonio, located roughly halfway through the Southern Route, is an ideal overnight stop. San Antonio lies just over 20 hours from Los Angeles and is famous for its historical significance, with the Alamo, an old Spanish mission and fortress, standing as its most famous landmark.

Another major highlight is the San Antonio River Walk, a picturesque network of walkways along the river, lined with restaurants, bars, and shops, perfect for leisurely exploration and enjoyment.

The Alamo is a famous landmark in San Antonio. The photo is taken during sunset with purple and pink clouds in the sky. A cobbled pathway leads to the lit-up landmark.
One of our favorite places to visit while in San Antonio is the Alamo.
Sean Pavone/

For your stay, we recommend the luxurious Omni La Mansion del Rio, an elegant hotel situated in downtown San Antonio, right by the River Walk. This hotel has a beautiful tropical courtyard with a fabulous outdoor swimming pool.

The rooms are spacious and exquisitely furnished, featuring marble bathrooms, with some offering balconies. You can enjoy stunning views of the river, the city, or the courtyard.

The hotel's on-site restaurant provides a wonderful culinary experience. You'll also have access to a well-equipped wellness center.

In terms of nearby attractions, the Briscoe Western Art Museum is just about 500 yards away. For a serene outdoor experience, Travis Park, a lovely community park and picnic spot, is located about 400 yards from the hotel.

Explore the vibrant markets of Santa Fe

Santa Fe, located about 14 hours and 30 minutes into the Northern Route, is an unmissable stopover. Famous for its rich blend of Hispanic, American, and Native American influences, Santa Fe is known for its stunning architecture and famous arts scene.

The city is home to over 250 art galleries, showcasing everything from traditional to contemporary art, and its architecture, especially the southern Pueblo Revival style, adds to its unique charm.

Santa Fe is also famous for its historic downtown area, where you can explore the Santa Fe Plaza, a central gathering space surrounded by historic buildings, and Meow Wolf Santa Fe, an immersive art experience unlike any other.

A red robot statue in the parking lot of Meow Wolf on a sunny day
For a unique experience in Santa Fe, we highly recommend visiting the quirky immersive art experience of Meow Wolf.

Santa Fe is the oldest state capital in the United States, inhabited since at least 1607. It's also the highest state capital, with a whopping elevation of 7,199 feet!

For your stay in Santa Fe, the highly-rated Inn on the Alameda is perfect. This charming and cozy inn, located close to downtown Santa Fe, offers rooms and interiors decorated in traditional Santa Fe style, providing an authentic local experience.

The inn features an outdoor fireplace, a terrace, and a picnic area, making it an ideal spot for relaxation and socializing. Guests appreciate the inn's peaceful yet convenient location, only a short walk from downtown and its many attractions.

Near the Inn on the Alameda, you can visit the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, just about a mile away, showcasing the works of one of America's most significant artists. Additionally, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi is located merely 500 yards from the inn.

READ MORE - Click here for great hotel options

Where to stay when you reach Miami

Miami, famed for its beautiful beaches and year-round warm weather, is rich in cultural attractions. The city is known for its vibrant and strong Cuban influence and wonderful nightlife that captures the essence of the city.

South Beach has it all for a taste of Miami's renowned beach life. For nature enthusiasts, a visit to the nearby Everglades National Park is an unforgettable adventure. Keep in mind that the latter is a drive away, and plan your day accordingly.

Aerial view of Everglades National Park, Florida, with stunning blue waters and lush green vegetation and sunset above
While in Miami, you can also visit the nearby Everglades National Park to spend some time in nature.

Miami is the only city in the United States known to have been founded by a woman. The city owes its existence to Julia Tuttle, a local businesswoman who played a crucial role in the extension of the Florida East Coast Railroad to Miami, paving the way for its development.

For your stay in Miami, consider The Elser Hotel Miami, offering modern accommodation close to the coast. The hotel prides itself on its spacious rooms, which feature fresh, modern interior decoration, ensuring a luxurious stay.

After such a long drive, relaxing in the outdoor swimming pool and the hot tub will sound like a dream come true.

Once rested and ready to explore, you'll be only a short walk away from many of the city's top highlights and attractions. You'll be close to the city's top restaurants and destinations such as the Bayfront Park and Bayfront Park Station.

Things to see on a road trip from Los Angeles to Miami

The drive from Los Angeles to Miami is full of endless stops and experiences. To help make planning this journey easier, we've included our favorite highlights below.

Southern Route

  1. Joshua Tree National Park - A unique desert landscape where two distinct desert ecosystems, the Mojave and Colorado, converge, featuring fascinating geologic formations and a variety of plants and animals.
  2. Phoenix Art Museum - This museum offers an expansive collection of art from across the world, encompassing classic and contemporary works, and often hosts national and international traveling exhibitions.
  3. Tucson Botanical Gardens - A serene oasis in the heart of Tucson, these gardens showcase a diverse array of desert plants and feature themed gardens including a butterfly and herb garden.
  4. Coronado National Forest - Spanning diverse landscapes across southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico, this forest offers outdoor enthusiasts a playground for hiking, bird-watching, and scenic drives.
  5. El Paso Museum of Art - Located in downtown El Paso, this museum houses a permanent collection of over 7,000 works of art and frequently features exhibitions that highlight regional and international art.
  6. Marfa Lights Viewing Area - A mysterious phenomenon in West Texas, the Marfa Lights are unexplained lights visible in the desert outside the small artsy town of Marfa, attracting visitors and curiosity seekers.
  7. Big Bend National Park (detour) - A remote park in West Texas, offering dramatic mountain and desert scenery, diverse wildlife, and a range of outdoor activities including hiking, birding, and stargazing.
  8. River Walk, San Antonio - A network of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River, lined with bars, shops, restaurants, and public art – a vibrant urban sanctuary in the heart of the city.
  9. Houston Museum of Natural Science - One of the most visited museums in the US, it features an extensive range of exhibits on science, space, paleontology, and more, including a planetarium and butterfly center.
  10. Louisiana State Capitol - The tallest capitol in the U.S., this Art Deco skyscraper in Baton Rouge features observation decks with panoramic views and is surrounded by beautiful gardens.
  11. French Quarter, New Orleans - The city's historic heart, known for its vibrant nightlife, colorful buildings with cast-iron balconies, and a rich blend of cultures reflected in its music, cuisine, and festivals.
  12. Pensacola Beach - Located on Santa Rosa Island, this beach is famous for its soft, white sands and crystal-clear waters, offering a peaceful retreat and various water activities.
  13. Florida Museum of Natural History - Located in Gainesville, this museum is Florida's official state-sponsored and chartered natural history museum, featuring exhibits on the region's fossils, native cultures, and habitats.
  14. The Florida Aquarium - An expansive aquarium showcasing a wide variety of aquatic and terrestrial animals, emphasizing Florida's unique ecosystem and conservation efforts.
  15. Myakka River State Park - One of Florida's oldest and largest state parks, offering diverse wildlife viewing, hiking, boating, and camping opportunities in a natural Florida setting.
The sand colored exterior of the museum with a red colored abstract sculpture
If you are on the Southern Route, pay a visit to El Paso Museum of Art.
The Image Party/

Northern Route

  1. Mojave National Preserve - A vast area of desert wilderness in southeastern California, featuring canyons, mountains, mesas, and an array of plant and animal life.
  2. Grand Canyon National Park - A world-renowned natural wonder, offering breathtaking panoramic views, hiking trails, and a rich geological and cultural history.
  3. Lowell Observatory - An active astronomical observatory known for its role in the discovery of Pluto, offering educational programs and telescope viewing for visitors.
  4. Petrified Forest National Park - Famous for its vast deposits of petrified wood, this park also features colorful badlands, ancient petroglyphs, and a section of the historic Route 66.
  5. Acoma Pueblo - Known as "Sky City," this Native American pueblo is built atop a sheer-walled mesa, offering a glimpse into the living history and culture of the Acoma people.
  6. Albuquerque Old Town - The historic heart of Albuquerque, featuring centuries-old adobe buildings, charming shops, art galleries, and restaurants that reflect the city's Spanish, Native American, and Mexican heritage.
  7. Santa Fe Plaza - The central part of the city, known for its historic adobe buildings, vibrant arts scene, and numerous festivals and markets that showcase the rich cultural tapestry of Santa Fe.
  8. New Mexico Route 66 Museum - A museum dedicated to the history and culture of the iconic Route 66, featuring vintage cars, memorabilia, and stories about the famous highway.
  9. Dallas Museum of Art - A major art museum in the Arts District of downtown Dallas, with a collection spanning 5,000 years of history and a wide range of world cultures.
  10. Bienville National Forest - Located in central Mississippi, this forest offers a peaceful escape with its pine-covered hills, small lakes, and abundant wildlife.
  11. Civil Rights Memorial - Located in Montgomery, Alabama, this memorial honors those who died during the Civil Rights Movement and is a testament to the ongoing struggle for racial equality.
  12. Chattahoochee River Walk - A scenic walkway along the Chattahoochee River, providing picturesque views, recreational opportunities, and access to the vibrant Uptown Columbus area.
  13. Kanapaha Botanical Gardens - This 62-acre facility features a collection of themed gardens, including the largest public display of bamboo in Florida and a picturesque water garden.
  14. Walt Disney World Resort - The renowned resort in Orlando offers a magical experience with its multiple theme parks, including the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom.
  15. Universal Orlando - A theme park resort in Orlando known for its exciting rides, shows, and attractions, including The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Universal Studios Florida.
Sand colored, historic building and its balcony
Learn more about the Acoma people during your visit to the historic Acoma Pueblo on the Northern Route.

Best time to go on a road trip from Los Angeles to Miami

Miami is the perfect year-round destination and this road trip from Los Angeles can be undertaken any time of the year. Both routes are also perfect throughout the year. However, each season has different weather and events.

Winter in Miami is marked by mild temperatures, typically ranging from 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This season is perfect for exploring outdoor attractions like Everglades National Park without the heat of summer. The Art Deco Weekend in January is worth checking out.

Driving conditions along the Southern Route during winter are generally mild, while the Northern Route might mean occasional snow and ice, especially near the Grand Canyon and Santa Fe.

Spring in Miami sees temperatures rising to a comfortable range of 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It's a great time to enjoy the city's outdoor attractions and cultural events, such as the Miami Film Festival, in April. If you are traveling on the Southern Route, you can visit Fiesta San Antonio.

Summer in Miami is quite hot, with temperatures often soaring into the high 80s and 90s Fahrenheit. While this might be ideal for beachgoers, it can be quite intense for those unfamiliar with tropical climates.

The Southern Route during summer is also hot and perfect for beach stops along the Gulf of Mexico. The Northern Route is slightly cooler and perfect for visiting the national parks.

Summer events include the Viva Big Bend Music Festival in July on the Southern Route and the Grand Canyon Music Festival from August to September on the Northern Route.

Fall in Miami is slightly cooler, ranging from the high 70s to mid-80s Fahrenheit, and less humidity, making it an ideal time for outdoor activities and exploring the city.

The Northern Route offers stunning foliage views during fall, while the Southern Route stays warm. In terms of events, the Fiestas de Santa Fe in September is a highlight on the Northern Route.