Begin your plans for a fun USA road trip along I-10!
In the slide show above, you're viewing pictures of I-10 rest areas and scenery. One of the longest interstate highways in the USA, I-10 stretches from the Pacific Ocean (at Santa Monica, California) all the way to Jacksonville, Florida...on the Atlantic Ocean. On this page, you'll discover maps and driving tips about this wonderful coast-to-coast freeway which provides motorists with great year-round traveling conditions.
Interstate 10 Overview
View I-10 Maps and discover driving conditions along this popular coast-to-coast route
I-10 is a traveler's dream! Interstate 10 offers tourists---
* Great traveling weather all year round. Summers along the whole length of I-10 are hot; car air-conditioning is advised. Winters are, with the exception of occasional cold snaps, quite mild and enjoyable. Snow almost NEVER occurs along most of this route, and when it DOES...well, that's a rare event, indeed!
* The terrain along much of Interstate 10 is relatively flat. While other interstate freeways may take you through the heart of the mountains (I-70, for example, which heads through Colorado's ski country,) Interstate 10 avoids major mountain chains. Even though there are some mountainous sections of I-10, the the road grade stays less strenuous than on surrounding side roads. Towing a camper of U-Haul? This is your road! You'll pass many other folks towing boats, trailers and RV campers as you drive along I-10.
* Good traveler's services can be found throughout the entire length of the route. Even in the western USA where the population gets sparse, roadside towns with full traveler's services can be found at regular intervals. I-10 is a major east-west route for traffic in the USA. If your car breaks down, there will be other travelers you can "flag down" for help. In addition, cell phone towers have been erected along all parts of the route...INCLUDING the more sparsely-traveled areas of West Texas and New Mexico. You'll never find yourself in an area in which you can't call for help.
On this page, you may look at maps and discover general road conditions along the entire Interstate 10 route from Florida to California. (This page does NOT, however, cover current traffic or weather conditions along I-10.)
Note: In the picture above, you can see the beautiful Santa Monica beach in California. I-10 ends at the Pacific Ocean. First, you'll pass under a tunnel, unaware that any spectacular view is ahead of you. When you emerge, you'll discover a panoramic view of Santa Monica beach...and you'll no longer be on Interstate 10. Your car will transition seamlessly from I-10 onto the Pacific Coast Highway---where you can drive for MILES along the shoreline, just enjoying the beautiful views!
Interstate 10 Road Map Page -- An Overview Map of the Interstate System
Interstate 10 is the southernmost multi-state interstate freeway in the USA. And, I-10 is a very LONG freeway, as well...running from the Atlantic Ocean in Jacksonville, Florida all the way to its end at Santa Monica Beach (greater Los Angeles, California) on the Pacific!
Here are two good internet maps of the US Interstate Highway System. The first is a Google map of I-10 with the route from Jacksonville, FL to Santa Monica, Calif marked in blue.
Interstate 10 Road Map Page -- I-10 maps for the Eastern USA segment
Florida Maps and I-10 Description
Since the purpose of this page is to help you plan a trip to the Los Angeles theme parks (and other great tourist destinations of Southern California), we'll start at the "Florida" end of I-10, and head in a westerly direction (towards Calif) with the maps and road descriptions.
You'll see Interstate 10 maps of the various individual states along the route, in the order along Interstate 10 as you'd pass them heading to Los Angeles.
* Interstate 10 Florida map and highway description Interstate 10 begins at Jacksonville, Florida, and travels west through the "panhandle" section of that state. You'll pass the Florida state capital city of Tallahassee, and cities famous for their Gulf Coast beaches will be just a short side-trip away. Your trip along I-10 through Florida will take you through both flat terrain, as well as rolling hills. Much of I-10's path thru Florida is surrounded by thick pine forests.
PDF map of Florida: If you'd prefer a map that you may print out and take along with you, here's the link to a PDF official Florida highway map with I-10 (and the state's other interstates) marked in red. Or, if you prefer to see this same map in a faster-loading version, here's the official FL highway map that's not in a PDF format. (Note: to enlarge this map, select the tab for "full page view." If you'd like to see it further enlarged, you may click on the map to see greater detail.)
Alabama I-10 map and route description
* Interstate 10 Alabama map and highway description
Interstate 10 crosses through only a short segment of the state of Alabama...but in that short stretch, you'll pass by the major Alabama city of Mobile.
Traveler's Services in Mobile: Being a major city, Mobile has many restaurants, gas stations and hotels. Only a few of them, however, are accessible from I-10. More choices are available if you head northwards on I-65 into the heart of the city. If you're looking for the easiest, quickest way to eat or gas up, stay near I-10. If having a wider choice is more important to you, then take I-65 northwards...but bear in mind that you may run into traffic and face delays.
As in Florida, you'll be driving close to Gulf Coast beaches on this segment of I-10. The terrain stays mostly flat. However, one important thing to note is that you'll have a long descent into a tunnel as you descend under Mobile Bay. Once you've passed under the water, you'll have to climb upward again to reach "ground level." Traffic along I-10 through southern Alabama will often be heavier than what you experienced while passing through Florida.
Alabama interstate map: Here's an Alabama road map with Interstate freeways (including I-10) marked in red.
PDF map of Alabama: You may prefer a map which you can download and print for your future use. Here's a PDF Alabama map with I-10, I-20, I-59, I-65 and I-85 marked in pale pink---and the state welcome centers noted. You'll find Interstate 10 way down at the bottom of the map in the state's small "panhandle" section.
Mississippi road map and I-10 description
* Interstate 10 Mississippi map and highway description Interstate 10 passes through a short segment of Mississippi after leaving Alabama. The Gulf Coast area of Mississippi is a major tourist destination for folks wishing to sunbathe, swim, and play in the casinos of the Biloxi/Gulfport beach area. The I-10 segment through Mississippi remains mostly flat, just as it is in Alabama.
Mississippi road map: You may use the following link to see a highway map of Mississippi with I-10, I-20, I-55 and I-59 marked in red. Or, for more details, here is a MDOT's official Mississippi transportation map. You'll find markings for rest areas, welcome centers and traffic cameras on all of Mississippi's interstate highways. (There are so many traffic cam's on I-10, that it's hard to view the map below all the icons.) Just as with Alabama, I-10 thru Mississippi is located at the extreme southern part of the state in the "panhandle" portion.
PDF map of Mississippi: If you would like to use your home printer to make a free map copy, here's a choice of official Mississippi PDF road maps. This is a rather dull-looking page, but it leads to quite a number of PDF maps. For the full state (with all interstates, major highways and cities marked,) you'll want to select the "front of map" view. For the insets to various cities, select either the "back of map" or "insets" links. The cities of Biloxi, Gulfport and Pascagoula are shown on the "Coast" inset
Louisiana map and I-10 description
I-10 or I-12: which is best? At the town of Slidell, soon after you enter the state of Louisiana from the east, you'll face a choice: to continue on Interstate 10 towards New Orleans, or to bypass New Orleans by using the short-cut through Baton Rouge, Interstate 12. Here is a Google map of Slidell, LA so that you can see the layout of this important intersection clearly. (Note: at the same time, I-59 takes off northwards from I-10, as well. Be sure to be paying attention, or you may head off in the wrong direction!)
Staying on Interstate 10 at this point is actually LONGER, mileage-wise, than switching to I-12...and also bypasses the New Orleans traffic, as well. Therefore, using the Interstate 12 shortcut is the preferred way to travel across the state, unless you're specifically going to sight-see in New Orleans. Interstate 12 ends at the Louisiana state capital of Baton Rouge. At that point, you'll rejoin Interstate 10 seamlessly, as the freeway meanders back from the Big Easy.
Interstate 10 Road Map Page -- I-10 maps for the Western USA segment
Interstate 10 Road Map, Texas
***Interstate 10 Texas map and highway description Texas is the largest of the "lower 48" contiguous states, and Interstate 10 runs every entire, long, east-to-west mile of it! By the time you leave Texas, you may well feel that you've been driving through the Lone Star State "forever!"
Printable PDF map of Texas: If you'd prefer to take a map along with you on your trip, you'll enjoy printing up the following PDF Texas map before you leave home. This is a Dept of Transportation map...but it's not the only one of their maps you might be interested in viewing. Here's the Texas DOT map list.
Texas is where the USA's humid eastern half morphs into the country's arid western half. You'll pass through scenery and climate changes as you pass through Texas. So far on your trip westward from Jacksonville, Florida, you've been driving through beautiful greenery...often with large swaths of tall pines in view. Also, the southeastern air has been humid, especially during the summer months.
As you travel westwards through Texas, however, the climate will "dry out." The scenery will start out green, then gradually turn brown the farther west that you go. Tall trees will turn first to grasslands...and then to deserts.
As you enter Texas (near the town of Beaumont), nothing will seem to change...at FIRST. The air will still be humid, the plants will be green, and you'll actually be within easy "side trip" distance of the Texas Gulf Coast beaches at Galveston. However the further west you travel, the green scenery turns browner...and the humid air becomes quite dry.
Traffic Woes: Heading westward from Beaumont, you'll soon come to the Texas Mega-City of Houston...where traffic is ghoulish on I-10 during the morning and evening rush hours. Try to avoid passing through Houston during commuting times. Take a meal break and relax! If possible, cross the Houston metro area (which takes over an hour to accomplish, even WITHOUT traffic snarls!) during mid-day or in the evening AFTER rush hour. If you'll be spending the night in Houston, travel through the city and stay on the far edge (in order to avoid the morning rush hour traffic when you get underway again in the morning.)
Fun Houston/Galveston attractions: Despite having a hearty morning and evening rush hour, Houston is filled with fun attractions that your family will enjoy...and so is nearby Galveston. To discover fun places to go, please view our Fun Houston and Galveston Attractions page.
After leaving Houston, you won't notice it, but you'll be leaving the Gulf Coast area and traveling inland. The air will gradually get dryer and the plants browner.
San Antonio: Heading west from Houston, it's just under 200 miles until you'll reach San Antonio (a delightful city for tourists...as you can tell from the pictures of San Antonio attractions in the slide show above.) San Antonio is a wonderful place to take a break in your family's road trip...so that you may enjoy delights such as SeaWorld San Antonio, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, the Alamo, and the lovely River Walk...and more. To discover all the fun family attractions that await you here, please see our list of fun family attractions in San Antonio, Texas.
Heading west from San Antonio: As you head still further west, the air will only get drier and the plants more brown and sparse. Traffic will thin...and eventually become sparse. You'll DEFINITELY be in West Texas then!
Mountainous Hill Country: Some of the steeper parts of I-10 that you'll encounter will be in the Texas Hill Country. Since traffic is relatively sparse, you won't be in very many traffic jams behind slow trucks and RV's however. You'll have to start planning your gas and food stops more carefully from now on. Yes, you'll pass towns at least every hour...and sometimes less. But, you will NOT be able to find gas whenever you please...so plan ahead.
As you travel through West Texas, the speed limit will increase to 75 MPH as you leave the populated areas of the state. There are two things you'll want to note, however. In Texas, the speed limit often drops by 5-10 MPH at night. Also, except in the major cities, most Texans don't exceed the speed limit...and those drivers who DO speed usually don't go more than 5 MPH over the posted limit. Some Texans actually even go so far as to get into the "fast lane" and drive AT the speed limit to keep other motorists from speeding through their state. If you're a speeder, you'll "stick out like a sore thumb," as they say. (Save money---avoid a traffic ticket!) You may get pulled over for going as little as 6 miles over the speed limit.
As you near El Paso, Texas, you'll drive close to Mexico...and, in fact, you'll be looking at Mexican mountains as you drive along. You'll be stopped and someone will peek into your car as you near El Paso; don't worry...it's just the immigration officials doing their job at the Texas immigration checkpoint near Sierra Blanca.
El Paso doesn't have the horrible rush hour of larger cities...but the El Paso metro area is surprisingly wide. Plan on taking up to an hour to pass through metro El Paso, even when traffic isn't congested. The city of El Paso has spread out so much that you'll still be passing suburbs as you leave the state of Texas! Also, note that people RARELY speed in El Paso. Driving AT OR UNDER the speed limit is the norm there.
Hungry? El Paso has most of the major chain restaurants. You may not have been able to eat at your favorite restaurant or fast food chain since you passed San Antonio. El Paso will probably have just what you want; there are many restaurants here within glancing distance of I-10. And, if you need to make purchases, you'll find two major malls (and numerous shopping centers) directly to the side of the freeway, as well. In addition, most major hotel and motel chains have locations in El Paso, too.
Interstate 10 Road Map, New Mexico
In the slides above, you can see pictures of Southern New Mexico attractions. The very high-quality Farming & Ranching museum, plus Old Town Mesilla are both located near I-10 in Las Cruces. The Carlsbad Caverns National Park, as well as White Sands National Monument, both require a side trip from the Interstate.
* Interstate 10 New Mexico highway description
I-10 through southern New Mexico is, for the most part, a sparsely populated area where you'll find good driving conditions and a speed limit of 75 MPH. Towns pop up about every 45-60 minutes (at freeway speeds.) At each of these towns---Las Cruces, Deming and Lordsburg---you'll find complete travel services, including gas, mechanics, restaurants, fast food and motels/hotels in a range of price categories. Both Las Cruces and Deming have large Walmart stores directly to the side of I-10 where you can re-stock your supplies without getting lost.
Las Cruces: Upon entering New Mexico from Texas, you'll drive for only a short while before reaching one of New Mexico's largest cities, Las Cruces. Las Cruces, in many ways, functions together with El Paso, Texas to create a single metropolitan area. In fact, you'll find a rush-hour traffic pattern going in both directions between Las Cruces and El Paso.
Sight-seeing in Las Cruces: Southern New Mexico has some interesting places to stop for a break. There's a brand-new farming museum, the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum, which is a top-notch, "Smithsonian quality" facility. You'll find a plethora of exhibits, including displays and activities geared towards family members of all different ages. Another fun spot is the charming Old Town Mesilla, the original Spanish city center, complete with a shady central plaza. The area is now an arts and crafts district, similar to downtown Santa Fe and Old Town Albuquerque. (In the photo to your right, you can see an interesting Spanish-style court yard in Old Mesilla.) For still more ideas about family fun in Southern New Mexico, including side-trips from I-10, please visit our Fun New Mexico Attractions page.
After leaving Las Cruces, you'll be asked to stop at an immigration checkpoint not far west of town. Most of the time, however, you won't need to worry about being stuck in a long line. Usually, you'll pass through the New Mexico check point without much of a wait.
The rest of New Mexico's Interstate 10 freeway is "smooth sailing." The terrain isn't flat, but it isn't mountainous, either. Rolling hills with long, slow rises are the norm. The speed limit returns to 75 MPH in New Mexico, after passing through Las Cruces. However, you'll be asked to lower your speed when passing through towns...or when going by the road-work crews. (Road workers are inevitably laboring SOMEWHERE on I-10 in New Mexico at all times, it seems!)
Towns are sparse, but seem to be spaced just perfectly for being road trip rest stops. You'll just have to think carefully, because if you choose to pass a town without grabbing a drink or filling up, you won't come to another for nearly an hour. (But, if you've driven along I-10 or I-20 through West Texas to get to this point, you're already used to carefully planning your stops by now!)
Back road to Phoenix: At the town of Lordsburg, New Mexico, you'll have a choice to make---will you continue ahead to Phoenix on Interstate 10 via Tucson? Or, will you take the "back road" to Phoenix via the countryside? Personally, I like both routes. Interstate 10 has higher speed limits; but the back road is a bit shorter. In effect, then, the time it takes to get to Phoenix is about the same no matter which road you choose. However, there are stretches along I-10 in Arizona undergoing major highway projects. You'll avoid the roadwork by taking the back road through Safford, AZ. The back road is more mountainous in spots; RV's may not wish to maneuver the extra hills.
New Mexico PDF Map: If you'd prefer to print out a map of New Mexico that you can take along on your trip with you, here's a link to a detailed PDF map of New Mexico, including details of Interstate 10, I-25 and I-40. There are other PDF maps of New Mexico that you may wish to see. Here's a link to the New Mexico DOT map list.
Interstate 10 Road Map, Arizona
In the slide show above, you're viewing pictures of Southern Arizona attractions along I-10 in Tucson and Phoenix. This area is home to rugged Western scenery, Native American historical sites, and fun water parks, zoos & family fun centers. (Unfortunately, though, the state's most popular tourist attraction, the Grand Canyon, is in Northern Arizona. It's about a 5 hour drive from Phoenix, if you are interested in making a side trip.) You may be interested in viewing our Phoenix Family Attractions page to find more fun things to do when visiting Arizona's largest metropolitan area.
* Interstate 10 Arizona map and highway description As you leave New Mexico and enter Arizona along Interstate 10, you'll pass through some mountains which feature interesting rock formations. You'll also pass a side road along which you can take a side-trip to the Old West town of Tombstone.
As you enter the greater Tucson area, you'll start to hit some traffic. One reason is that Interstate 10 is the ONLY major route through town. The nice folks of Tucson pride themselves on the fact that Tucson has retained its "small town atmosphere" despite its growth...unlike "big, bad Phoenix." Tucson's a nice place, but in my opinion, it lacks enough roadways for the amount of traffic that goes through the city.
The second problem causing traffic through Tucson is that Interstate 10 always seems to be under construction at one point or another.
Even once you've passed through the city of Tucson itself, your traffic problems won't be over. There's generally heavy traffic between Arizona's two largest cities, Tucson and Phoenix. Basically, Interstate 10 between these 2 cities is always bustling. There's only a slight middle-of-the-day decrease in traffic...and rush hour is horrendous between these two cities. (How can people even THINK of commuting such a distance? But they must, because there's DEFINITELY a "rush hour traffic" pattern between these two cities.)
Unless you go between these Tucson and Phoenix between dark and dawn, you'll be in moderately heavy traffic. It won't slow you down too much. The speed limit is 75 MPH, and these road-weary commuters drive as fast as they can, even when they're driving bumper to bumper. You'll find it more relaxing if you can travel between Tucson and Phoenix at an hour when fewer cars are on the road.
Arizona has extremely hot weather during several months of the year. If you're traveling in the summer, you should note that the areas along I-10 between Tucson. AZ and Palm Springs, California, have the hottest summer temperatures of any region in the United States. (The infamous Death Valley is part of this general region!) For this reason, it is both unwise and illegal to leave pets in the car unattended in Arizona. Not only pets, but young children, as well, have perished while sitting alone in a hot car awaiting the driver to return. Take precautions!
Road construction on I-10 in West Phoenix has ended! One very happy thing to celebrate if you'll be driving through Phoenix soon is the END of a several-year's-long construction project on I-10 through the city's western suburbs of Buckeye, Goodyear and Avondale. Interstate 10 is wider than ever through this section of town...and it's very helpful to both visitors and residents of this area which grew so quickly during the real estate boom.
PDF Printable Arizona map: If you prefer, here's the link to an Arizona printable road map, which shows all of the state's Interstates and state highways. (It's on Page 5 of the Arizona Map Book.)
Which route into California is best: I-8 or I-10?
As you can tell by studying this map, you'll have a choice of two different routes into Southern California. You may stay on I-10, and enter the Los Angeles metro area through Palm Springs. Or, you may take the short Interstate 8, which begins at Casa Grande, Arizona (midway between Tucson and Phoenix.) I-8 heads into San Diego. Which route is best? Actually, they're both good roads...and which one you choose depends on your own personal preferences.
The 2 different interstates are as different as night and day. Interstate 8's traffic is sparse. Want to be alone on the road again? I-8 is your choice!
Consider, though, what will happen if you break down....with few fellow travelers passing by and limited along-the-road services. Interstate 8 is a great road, and I like traveling along it...but, it would NOT be a great place to break down!
Interstate 10, on the other hand, always has enough traffic (even through sparsely-populated desert areas) to where you never feel "all alone" on the road.
Interstate 10 Road Map, California
In the slide show above, you're viewing pictures of fun Disneyland Theme Park attractions. As you probably already know, Disneyland is California's #1 most-visited tourist attraction. It may even be one of the reasons that YOU are taking a road trip to California!
* Interstate 10 California map and description Finally---your destination looms! You're in Southern California, and 7 major theme parks---plus dozens of other fun family attractions---are near!
The last little stretch of I-10 is where you'll find the most mountainous driving that you've encountered since you left Florida. There's no way around it: Whether you choose I-8 or take I-10, you'll have to cross mountains to get to California's Pacific Coast.
Printable PDF Map of California: If you'd prefer to print out a California map instead, here's the link to a PDF map of California from California's official tourism website, www.VisitCalifornia.com; you'll find a wealth of California tourist information if you wish to check out their website.
You're in Southern California! Time to get out of the car, stretch, and prepare to enjoy the theme parks! Just one last tip: avoid arriving in either San Diego or Los Angeles during rush hour! You don't want to spoil the "big moment" of your vacation arrival with a traffic jam!