Interstate 15 is one of the major Interstate Highways in the western United States, starting in San Diego and going all the way to Alberta, Canada. A few notable states I-15 passes through include California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, and Montana. I-15 will also take you through some major (and majorly awesome) cities like San Diego, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and Butte. Built to connect America's "Inland Empire" with San Diego County, located along the Mexican Border, I-15 helps fuel tourism from California to Vegas and connects Idaho Falls and Great Falls. There's loads to do along this 1700+ mile route, so here are a few highlights.
Since you're starting in San Diego, head to the Cabrillo National Monument to get a great view of the city skyline, the harbor and the Pacific Ocean. This monument commemorates the first time a European explorer set foot on the West Coast of the US (and does a good job of commemorating the Native Americans who lived here as well), which make it a perfect starting point, since you're about the explore the American West.
San Diego is a wonderful place to start your I-15 road trip. If you have a day or two, there are loads of outdoor wonders to see and do in San Diego, from the La Jolla Sea Caves to sunsets at the Newport Beach Pier. After exploring the city, chow down on classic diner food at the Ramona Cafe, or dig into unusual burgers at Tioli's Crazee Burger.
If you need a hotel in San Diego, the Andaz Hotel, the Indigo Hotel and the Hotel Vyant are all vacation-ready spots to spend a night or two.
910 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA, US
San Diego has a long history of being a Naval base, and what better way to learn about it than at the longest-serving aircraft carrier of the 20th century? The USS Midway Museum is more than just an aircraft carrier, it's a living museum that lets you explore the planes, sleeping quarters, the engine room, the bridge, and tons more. Kids and adults alike will be blown away by the sheer size of this ship.
13455 San Pasqual Rd, Escondido, CA, US
Lets face it: driving can be stressful, especially if you're stuck in traffic coming out of the city. Live music, reasonably priced tastings, food trucks and more make Orfila Vineyards in Escondido, CA a great place to stop and take a breather while traveling. Plus, you can pick up some bottles of wine as a souvenir.
2120 Harmony Grove Road, Escondido, CA, US
If you prefer beer to wine, though, fear not: the famed Stone Brewing Company is on the I-15 route as well. Tour the facility, see what they've got on tap, and grab some food!
9400 Dufferin Ave, Riverside, CA, US
Pay tribute to one of the region's most important crops, the orange, at California Citrus State Historic Park in Riverside! The boom in the citrus industry was often referred to as "California's second Gold Rush" and it was an important part of California's economy for a long time. Here, you can stroll through orange groves and check out vintage farming equipment while learning about this favorite fruit.
via Juneberry Dr
16825 D St, Victorville, CA, US
The California Route 66 Museum in Victorville is part museum, part gift shop, and even though it's small, it's a great look at the most iconic road trip in American history! Located in the former location of a popular Route 66 restaurant, the Red Rooster Cafe, the exhibits here are fun and ooze vintage Americana.
24266 National Trails Hwy, Oro Grande, CA, US
Next up is Bottle Tree Ranch in Oro Grande. The size and attention to detail at this folk art roadside stop is incredible, and it's a great place to stretch your legs. The work of one man, Elmer Long, the whole thing is made entirely of disposed of garbage and junk...but as they say, "One man's trash is another man's upcycled folk art wonderland."
36600 Ghost Town Road, Yermo, CA, US
Calico Ghost Town in Yermo is a historic site that's been turned into a full-blown tourist attraction. The formerly abandoned mining town has a museum, gold panning, a mine tour, gift shops, restaurants, and even a campground, in case you really want to immerse yourself in Wild West vibes not too far off I-15.
Baker, CA, US
Snap a picture of the country's weirdest road sign as you cruise past Zzyzx Road. Then tell your driving buddies all about the town's crazy history: it was founded as a fake hot spring resort (heated by boilers, and not natural springs) by a crackpot "doctor"... and that's just the beginning of the weird story!
72242 Baker Boulevard, Baker, CA, US
Snacks can make or break a road trip, so stock up on fuel at Alien Fresh Jerky, a totally offbeat jerky shop. The kooky UFO theme and the delicious flavors (like lemon peppered beef and honey chipotle, among others) are quirky and absolutely delicious.
31900 S. Las Vegas Blvd, Primm, NV, US
As you continue along I-15, you hit Primm, Nevada, where you can visit Bonnie and Clyde's Death Car for a macabre photo op. Back in the day, right after Bonnie and Clyde met their extremely violent end, several fake "Bonnie and Clyde death cars" were making their rounds. However, it's generally accepted that this one, riddled with bullet holes, is probably the real deal. It's located at Whiskey Pete's Casino, and you can even see Clyde's blood-stained shirt there, too.
310 W Spring St., Goodsprings, NV, US
Pioneer Bar in Goodsprings is rich with Wild West history, including cigar burns in the bar left by Clark Gable, who drank away his sorrows here after learning about the death of his wife. The bullet holes in the wall were left from when a man was shot dead cheating at cards. And this place doesn't rest on its history, either: they make killer drinks and tasty grub like tacos, lasagna, and their infamous ghost burger.
4925 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV, US
I-15 is a major route for traveling to Las Vegas, so whether you explore the Strip or head off the beaten path, it's worth stopping off here for a bit. Try your hand at a different kind of game while in Vegas: some old-school pinball. The Pinball Hall of Fame is pretty much a museum dedicated to the arcade classic, except you can play with all of the machines. Each machine costs between 25 and 50 cents to play, and all the money goes to charity!
520 E Fremont St, Las Vegas, NV, US
While in Vegas visit the Burlesque Hal of Fame on Fremont Street; it's an incredible place to sample Sin City's sexier side. Dedicated entirely to the art of the tease, you'll find vintage costumes, an in-depth history, all kinds of props, and tons more.
And if you find yourself in need of a hotel in Vegas, the Artisan Boutique Hotel, the Flamingo and the Palms are some spots to look into.
Valley of Fire Road, Overton, NV, US
While on I-15 definitely take some time to stretch your legs and soak up some beautiful scenery. Valley of Fire State Park is an incredible detour that features ancient trees, mysterious petroglyphs and striking red stone formations.
New Gold Butte Rd, AZ, US
Go even further off the beaten path to Little Finland, a strange patch of land where the wind has eroded the sandstone into bizarre shapes. You'll feel like you've left Earth for Mars!
170 E Redhills Pkwy, St George, Utah, St. George, UT, US
Next stop: Utah! You can't really climb on the rocks in Little Finland, but at Pioneer Park (which is free) you're allowed to do some low-key bouldering and rock climbing while soaking in the beautiful views of the Utah landscape.
Leeds, UT, US
When you pass through Leeds, UT, pull over at Silver Reef Ghost Town. There's not a ton left here, but the museum and exhibits dedicated to this former mining town are really interesting. Several buildings have been rebuilt, so you can take a tour, or go solo and explore the area yourself.
1 Zion Park Blvd, Springdale, UT, US
A trip along I-15 just wouldn't be complete without visiting Zion National Park. There are almost countless reasons to make the journey out to this incredible National Park. The Subway hike, Angels Landing trail, the Weeping Rock, and tons of other hikes and features can be found inside this one-of-a-kind park.
The best time of year to road trip along I-15: Since I-15 passes through so many states, it's difficult to predict the weather through all the states at any given time of year. Especially in Montana, road conditions change frequently, though road closures are particularly rare. Winter can get quite snowy, but summers are high tourist season, so prices will be higher for lodging. Likewise, Utah is an incredibly popular road trip destination during summer and early fall, particularly around Zion National Park. From San Diego to Vegas, Sunday is the busiest travel day of the week, so plan accordingly.