My Ultimate Road Trip Guide from LA to Salt Lake

This past Winter Break, my best friend Sara and I decided to go on a roadtrip from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City, a ten hour drive that we divided into two days of driving there, one day full of exploring and two days of driving back. Here is my complete guide, including our best and worst moments, on how to make the most out of your trip from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City.

HERE IS WHAT WE LOVED:

On the Road to Las Vegas

-Barstow Train Station: An old train station redesigned into a hot spot for fast food places and tacky gift stores. What more could you ask for?

-Zzyzx Road: There is much more to this road than meets the eye. Don’t stop walking at the lake; keep going to find the swings and old bath house. This place is great.

-Alien Jerky: A funky little side stop for beef jerky and extraterrestrial lovers of all kinds, or even just curious travelers looking for a clean bathroom. Buy some hot sauce for me.

-Seven Mountains: This art installation is located in the desert close to Vegas, with a clear exit ramp signaling when to get off the freeway. It is one of my personal favorites from this trip, and I strongly recommend seeing it before it is taken down in May 2018.

-The Lotto Store: A large store containing all the lottery dreams you could ask for, this stop is great for people looking to win big. (Or those looking to win big who lose a few dollars, like me.)

Beaver, Utah

-Crazy Cow Restaurant: Sara and I loved this cow-themed joint with classic dishes and a gift shop.

Sugarhouse, Utah

-Mellow Mushroom Pizza: A funky pizza place with high-end pizzas and appetizers, this place is super cool and definitely yummy.

-The Rose Establishment: I am a sucker for cute coffee and breakfast places, and The Rose Establishment was all my dreams and more. Although they were out of the Rose Chia Bowl, so I had to drown my tears in my London Fog instead.

Salt Lake City, Utah

-Antelope Island: Antelope Island is the largest island on the Great Salt Lake, and despite the small entrance fee, it is well worth visiting. Bison and other wild creatures were able to be seen throughout the island, along with breathtaking views and a fun visitor’s center. (I love visitor’s centers.)

Saratoga, Utah

-Saratoga Hot Springs: This was the best hidden gem of our whole trip; we trekked it out to Saratoga to find a mysterious natural hot spring in one of their parks. Although it was cold, muddy and we forgot to pack a change of clothes, the public hot spring was better than a jacuzzi and a truly unique Utah experience.

Provo, Utah

-Station 22: A restaurant on Provo’s main drag in BYU’s college town with delicious food. I very much appreciated the fine mac n’ cheese and grilled cheese items Utah provided.

-Bruges Waffles & Frites: A yummy little dive right next to Station 22, with a Tuesday night $2 waffle dessert special. You know we took advantage of that.

Zion, Utah

-Zion National Park: I cannot emphasize enough how important and amazing Zion National Park is. It’s definitely worth the $30 cost. Also, take a peek in Zion Rock & Gem store for beautiful rocks and designs.

St. George, Utah

-Twisted Noodle: This healthy St. George restaurant made my tastebuds sing. 10/10.

-Nielsen’s Frozen Custard: This less-than-healthy St. George custard spot also made my taste buds sing. Thank you, St. George. 10/10 again.

-Laser Mania Family Fun Center: $5 laser tag in Utah? Not even a question.

 

HERE IS WHAT WE DID NOT LOVE:

-Bottletree Ranch: I’m sure this place is great, aesthetically pleasing and everything else you could ever want, but sadly they don’t open until 12pm so I was never able to find out.

-Mona Lake rope swing: This place looks awesome in pictures, but Mona was so icy that we weren’t able to safely drive on the roads or park our Prius. Boo you winter, leave us alone!

-Las Vegas, Nevada: Vegas was not in a good mood on a Sunday night, with happy hour lies, major blisters and trouble finding cheese fries. Also, the Luxor spread a false rumor that their jacuzzi was working when it definitely was not. Not your best look, Vegas.

-Downtown Salt Lake City, Utah: Possibly because it was a Monday night and drizzling, the actual city area of Salt Lake City didn’t offer us as much to do as we’d hoped to find. We had a lot more fun in Utah’s small towns and quirky stops.

-Park City, Utah: Park City, we wanted to love you so much. Once again, boo you winter for creating a snow storm that prevented us from going to Park City and fulfilling our dreams!

MISTAKES, MISHAPS AND MEMORIES (ETC.):

-PLAN AHEAD! (but don’t disregard the value of spontaneity): Originally, our road trip was supposed to be to Denver, Colorado until we realized the day before that maybe we weren’t well-versed in driving through icy mountains and didn’t want to spend a large amount of our incomes on tire chains. Although re-configuring our trip was a bummer at first, the extra days we had in Utah were actually the days we had the most fun!

-KNOW THE WEATHER AND PACK ACCORDINGLY: We could have definitely made use of one or two more heavy duty coats, hiking boots, blankets and towels.

-PLAYLISTS ARE A BLESSING: Spotify is your best friend!

-TAKE A LOT OF PICTURES: Snap away. Who knows if you’ll ever see this again?

-SNACKS ARE LIFESAVERS: Our choices were veggie chips, sweet potato chips, mini chocolate chip cookies, dried mango and dried apples from our savior and god, Trader Joes.

-AIRBNB IS WONDERFUL: Airbnb will be way cheaper than any hotel and usually much nicer. Appreciate the kind people that participate in Airbnb for making your life easier and cheaper.

-YOU WILL BE EXHAUSTED: Road trips are not for the weak of heart. Get up early, drive, explore, drive, go to bed early, repeat.

-APPRECIATE YOUR JOURNEY!: It is an experience unlike anything else. Have an amazing, crazy time and say hi to all the cows for me.