Best Southern USA Roadtrip Route: Phoenix to Miami

by | Travel Guides + Tips

What happens when you have less than one week to move across the country? You make one hell of a road trip out of it! We had 5 days and 2,365 miles to cover. Here’s our itinerary…

Wednesday: Miami FL –> Phoenix AZ –> Deming NM

The adventure started in Phoenix – at the airport. I flew straight in from Miami at 7pm and my brother picked me up and we started the drive.

Roadtrip Phoenix to Miami

The roadtrip begins… Phoenix to Miami!

It was late at this point but we wanted to get across the border into New Mexico. The goal was to make it to El Paso the first night, but we crossed a time zone which made it longer than expected.

We stopped in Deming, NM and stayed at a La Quinta.

Pro Tip: Use HotelTonight to book your travels along the way. It’s an app that pulls together all of the last minute rooms to be sold within the next 3 days at hugely discounted rates. Most hotels along the highway will run you about $50 – $75 per night and some include free breakfast.

Tell ’em Lindsey sent you – Use my code LVWEISSERT to get $25 OFF your first hotel night!

Total Driving Time: 4.5 hours

Thursday: Deming NM –> San Antonio TX

Our goal today was to get to San Antonio. It was a pretty ambitious goal… It’s 10 hours away from Deming, NM and you cross TWO timezones so you lose two hours. It feels as if you’ve been driving for 12 hours. We called it ‘The Texas Treadmill’ because it felt like we were perpetually 2 hours away from our destination… it was never ending.

There is literally NOTHING in this stretch of Texas except a few roadside stops. I did find that you can still eat healthy in the middle of the desert. Most fast food places will sell salads. I chose this one at Wendy’s which had quinoa, nuts and berries in it. I’m vegetarian so I skipped the chicken, but sorry Vegans – I think it will be a little harder for you guys to enjoy tasty food. Pack lots of fruit…

Healthy food roadtrip

You can eat healthy on a roadtrip… when there is nothing but fast food! Salad at Wendy’s.

Finally, we arrived in San Antonio after a LONG ten hours!

First stop was the hotel. We chose the Red Roof Inn PLUS just on the edge of downtown. It was an easy 15 minute walk to the Riverwalk and had a covered parking garage. We went straight to the Riverwalk and enjoyed a nice stroll along the river to find dinner. Great spot for dinner and drinks and there are a lot of choices to choose from.

San Antonio riverwalk

San Antonio Riverwalk and boat cruise

Total Driving Time: 10 hours

Friday: San Antonio TX –> Houston TX –> Lafayette LA

The next morning we went back to the Riverwalk and took one of the River cruises. It’s a quick way to learn about San Antonio and it’s history. Grab a coffee and some food before you go and enjoy it on the cruise!

Then it was back in the car for 3 hours towards Houston, TX.

We found our way into the downtown center of Houston and walked around to find food.

I noticed the streets are really wide and easy to get around and have easy parking. Everything was really clean too.

We ended up at Moonshiners Bar and Grille. Good place to sit and have some wine on happy hour and enjoy some pasta and plan the next part of the trip.

We knew we wanted to spend as much time as possible in New Orleans so we decided to keep trucking towards Louisiana.

I picked a La Quinta in Lafayette because it was much cheaper than spending two nights in New Orleans. It’s only 3 hours from Houston and then only another 2 hours to New Orleans so it was the perfect place to spend the night and wake up early to continue the adventure.

Total Driving Time: 6 hours

Saturday: Lafayette LA –> New Orleans LA

We woke up in Lafayette and got straight on the road. Friends suggested we check out Oak Alley Plantation and Jean Lafitte National Park along the way.

Oak alley plantation

Oak Alley Plantation House

Oak Alley was the first stop. It’s $22 per person to enter the museum and get a tour of the house on the plantation. You’ll walk around the beautiful property and learn about the plantation and slavery before the Civil War. It’s quite popular, but if you get there in the morning then you can finish everything in 1 hour. After the tour we enjoyed a Mint Julep (a southern drink made with Bourbon) under the massive Oak Trees.

Mint julep oak alley plantation

Enjoying a classic Mint Julep at Oak Alley Plantation!

Then we continued on another 45 minutes to Jean Lafitte National Park. There is a boardwalk you can take and walk through the Louisiana Bayou. It’s beautiful to see all of the Spanish Moss hanging from the trees and the Cypress Knees poking out of the bayou. There are quite a few trails, so depending on how long you have, you can stay for as little or as long as you want.

Jean lafitte national park

Exploring the Louisiana Bayou at Jean Lafitte National Park

Then it was onto New Orleans! Check out my 24 hours in New Orleans guide to see our whirlwind adventure that covered A LOT of ground.

Total Driving Time: 2.5 hours

ProTip! HotelTonight was WAYYYY to expensive this night (it was a Saturday in New Orleans afterall). So we used Airbnb to find a place to crash for the night. 65% cheaper!

Sunday: New Orleans LA –> Mobile AL –> Tallahassee FL

We woke up and walked around the French Quarter for a bit and then had a Jazz Brunch at Muriels on Jackson Square to top it off.

We left New Orleans at 2pm and decided the first stop to stretch our legs would be Mobile, Alabama.

Mobile Alabama

Downtown Mobile, Alabama

The I-10 goes straight through Mobile so it’s an easy detour. It appears that the main street is Dauphine street where all of the restaurants and nightlife are.

If you want a great view of the city, go to SkyView Lounge at the top of the Holiday Inn on Government Street. It opens at 5pm and offers the best view of Mobile and surrounds.

The final stop of this day was Tallahassee. It’s another 3.5 hours from Mobile, Alabama.

Total Driving Time: 5.5 hours

Monday: Tallahassee FL –> Miami FL

We had to make it to Miami by tonight. We woke up in Tallahassee and explored.

Then it was on the road for 7 hours.

Florida is VERY long and can be boring. You can take two routes… The Florida Turnpike which will cost you about $20 to go down the state, or you can cut over to Jacksonville and take I-95 the whole way down (it’s 30 mins slower but it’s FREE!)

We arrived in Miami at 8pm. Home sweet home!

Total Driving Time: 7 hours

Road Trip Totals

  • Hotels: $483
  • Food: $375
  • Petrol: $200
  • Misc: $68
  • Travel (Uber): $47

Total Cost: $1,173 for 2 people

** Budget about $100 per day per person for 5 days.

Driving Time TOTAL: 35.5 hours

The Essential Playlists

These playlists will keep you occupied for hours on end… this is what got us through the Texas Treadmill! Enjoy :)

  • Car Rides and Sunshine – A fun, upbeat and melodic house playlist, perfect for cruising during the day.
  • Throwback Tunes: 90s – A classic compilation of 90s Throwback Tunes to survive the longest stretches of the I-10 (I.e. The Texas Treadmill)
  • Songs To Sing In The Shower You’ll be belting out tunes along the whole way of the I-10.

Lindsey Victoria

Lindsey Victoria

Lindsey is the author of A Life Well-Balanced, a lifestyle blog dedicated to helping people live a more balanced life – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.


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