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What is the best possible route from Flagstaff to San Diego?

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Flagstaff, Arizona
2 posts
2 reviews
What is the best possible route from Flagstaff to San Diego?

Hello. I will be driving from Flagstaff to San Diego. There are three possible routes that I don't know which one to go with.

1. First route is "Drive via I-8 W · 493 mi - 7h 2 min"

2. Second route is "Drive via I-10 W · 503 mi - 7h 22 min"

3. Third route is "Drive via I-17 S · 485 mi - 7 h 26 min"

I'm looking for the most clean and comfortable route. I don't mind to drive on the longest one if it is the best one.

Thank you in advance.

Tacoma, Washington
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
4,060 posts
1 review
1. Re: What is the best possible route from Flagstaff to San Diego?

What is best??? im serious---best is such a vague term that means different things to different peopl.

Other constraint---are you trying to do this in a day or over 2-3 days?

The routs are all basically going the same way....you go someway down to I-8 then take I-8 to San diego.

The fastes route is drive I-17 to PHX then get to I-10 briefly then cut over to I-8 along AZ 85 to Gila Bend and take I-8 to San Diego.

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
58,516 posts
42 reviews
2. Re: What is the best possible route from Flagstaff to San Diego?

Must say the estimates by Google are very optimistic. We already count 8 hours between Sedona and San Diego fastest way. Anyway, most scenic route is the one via Wickenburg, Blythe and to El Centro. 78 (Blythe-Brawley) is very scenic but slower than the fastest drive via I17, loop 101 west of Phx, 85 to Gila Bend and I8 to San Diego.

West Yellowstone...
Destination Expert
for Flagstaff, West Yellowstone
Level Contributor
2,093 posts
57 reviews
3. Re: What is the best possible route from Flagstaff to San Diego?

Hi Jaffar, welcome to the forums!

When traveling from Flagstaff to San Diego, we always took the first route mentioned. It is very scenic traveling from Flagstaff south towards Phoenix (and if you have not already been through Sedona, you would be advised to start that trek down Hwy. 89A through Sedona prior to the Y then take the left at the Y to return to I-17 - I'm not sure if you're a Flagstaff resident or just chose this location for your profile as this is your first post). The route between Buckeye and Yuma is rather desolate, as I recall, and especially between Buckeye and Gila Bend (so use a restroom before you make that road change from I-10 to I-8), but it gets scenic again after Yuma.

Since the recommended routes all remain the same until after you leave AZ, I'd suggest you post this question also in the Road Trip (tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g1-i12567-Road_Tri…) or San Diego (tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g60750-i41-San_Die…) forums for alternate perspectives.

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
58,516 posts
42 reviews
4. Re: What is the best possible route from Flagstaff to San Diego?

If you drive via Gila bend and Yuma make sure to stop at Dateland and have a shake there.

http://www.dateland.com/Cafe.html

Flagstaff, Arizona
2 posts
2 reviews
5. Re: What is the best possible route from Flagstaff to San Diego?

Tet14

Hello. Thank you for replying. Excuse me I'm not very familiar with roads name. Which one of the list is the route that you mentioned it is very scenic?

Thank you for the Dateland advice! I will keep that in mind

Adventuritis

I really do appreciate your reply! So helpful! I live in Flagstaff and go to Northern Arizona University, so you know next week will be the spring break! I went to Sedona many times so now it's time for Cali!

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
58,516 posts
42 reviews
6. Re: What is the best possible route from Flagstaff to San Diego?

Most scenic route is route #3 (I17-Lake Pleasant-Wickenburg-Blythe-Brawley-111 to I80 and west to San Diego.

Tempe, AZ
Level Contributor
7,554 posts
4 reviews
7. Re: What is the best possible route from Flagstaff to San Diego?

College student, huh?

I will offer this: once you get to I-8 you will likely encounter Border Patrol and sniffing dogs. Do not have any contraband on you at this point. You will get caught. This goes for the way home, as well.

Have fun.

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
58,516 posts
42 reviews
8. Re: What is the best possible route from Flagstaff to San Diego?

I80 must be I8 of course.

Encinitas...
Destination Expert
for Zion National Park, Joshua Tree National Park
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14,298 posts
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9. Re: What is the best possible route from Flagstaff to San Diego?

The Hwy 78 route Tet mentioned goes thru the sand dunes near Glamis. Pretty scenic if you have never seen big dunes.

West Yellowstone...
Destination Expert
for Flagstaff, West Yellowstone
Level Contributor
2,093 posts
57 reviews
10. Re: What is the best possible route from Flagstaff to San Diego?

Or, since you'll be returning to Flagstaff, consider a loop route which will return you on I-40. It will take you a little more time, but I like variety in my travels and this is what I'd choose.

Also, for fun, check out (at least the view of) the Space Age Motel in Gila Bend if passing that way. It's kitschy and fun. There's a little coffee shop, too. Can't vouch for the food, but we stopped in and purchased a soda. Staff was really nice.