Budget Travel

Coast-to-Coast by Word of Mouth!

Allie Rose, the friendly face of the second-busiest Thacker Berry Farms stand in California.

Allie Rose suggested I try Sandy’s at Huntington Beach. She said, “You can’t leave without trying the s’more!”

Smokey's House of BBQ in Dana Point, California.

Catching a wave during golden hour in Carlsbad, California.

A Pacific view, steps off Camino del Mar (literally “Sea Road” in Spanish), an extension of California’s famed Highway 1.

Scripps Park in La Jolla, California, moments before sunset.

Sunset Cliffs, a recommendation by Scott, a local San Diegan, was a fabulous way to greet the morning.

A pyramid that houses the “official” Center of the World disc, in Felicity, California.

A plaque at the Yuma Territorial Prison, deemed a historic monument by the Arizona State Parks Board, in Yuma, Arizona.

A mural in downtown Tucson that reads, “The ideas that have lighted my way have been kindness, beauty, and truth,” by Albert Einstein.

Jose, a local filmmaker and producer in Tucson, suggested Hotel Congress.

Another of Jose's top picks. He said, “Check out Fourth Avenue,” a stretch of road not technically downtown and not quite into University of Arizona territory.

A piece of Americana no longer in service, spotted near Maricopa, Arizona.

In El Paso, Laura of Craft and Social doubles as a jewelry artist. She recently started her company, Lucky Bird, with her mother. Right, one of many margarita choices at La Posta de Mesilla, in Mesilla, New Mexico.

La Posta de Mesilla’s painted facade.

A gift shop in Mesilla, a historic town within the city of Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Hollyhocks in front of the Bean Cafe in Mesilla, New Mexico.

Motoring through New Mexico Route 28’s pecan farms, a tip from the Foreman family.

The scene at El Paso’s Craft and Social pub.

The Food Shark mobile eatery is usually found on San Antonio and Abbot streets in Marfa, Texas.

“Marfalafels,” a whimsically named vegetarian treat at Food Shark.

Big Bend Brewery’s picturesque surroundings in Alpine, Texas.

Laura, of Craft and Social in El Paso, recommended I take a trip to Big Bend Brewing Co. A flight is only $5!

The historic Pearl in San Antonio, Texas.

Texas pride at Tiny Finch, at the Pearl in San Antonio.

More Texas pride: a group of girlfriends visiting Austin for the first time, posing by a mural at the the Broken Spoke.

A peacock in all its glory in Mayfield Park in Austin, Texas.

A “pit boss” and his signature smoked sausages at Smitty’s Market in Lockhart, Texas.

At James Turrell’s Skyspace, recommended by Houston local Cassie, sunset viewings are usually packed with people and require a reservation, but if you rise and shine before the sun comes up, morning “shows” are wide open.

Texas Junk Co. boot shop in Houston, where used cowboy boots start at just $30 a pair.

The Crunchy Chicken “crumble” at Local Foods, sporting provolone, buttermilk ranch, house pickles, and tomato on its pretzel bun.

A Frenchman-area find, tipped off by Nina, a Tulane alum, framed in bold colors and lush greenery, in New Orleans.

Freshly fried beignets from Morning Call Coffee Stand in New Orleans, recommended by photographer duo Morgan & Owens.

A colorful example of a “shotgun” house in New Orleans. A shotgun house is a traditional narrow residence with rooms arranged one behind the other and doors at each end of the house; some call it “railroad” style.

A classic vignette in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

A catfish and shrimp po’boy, “dressed,” at Down By the Bay Cafe in Fairhope, Alabama.

Down By the Bay Cafe, which faces Mobile Bay, in Fairhope, Alabama.

The Florida State Capitol building in Tallahassee, Florida.

Ducklings at Lake Ella in Tallahassee, Florida.

A view of the Savannah River from Holiday Inn Express Historic District, in Savannah, Georgia.

Typical beautiful architecture in Savannah.

A historic trolley tour in Savannah, Georgia.

Candying cones at Savannah’s Candy Kitchen.

Picnicking under Forsyth Park’s Spanish moss trees in the heart of Savannah, Georgia.

Volleyball matches on Folly Beach, South Carolina.

Sunny Folly Beach from the fishing pier.

A pineapple-shaped fountain in Waterfront Park in Charleston, South Carolina.

Rainbow Road in Charleston, South Carolina. Right, a self-described busker in Forsyth Park in Charleston.

Fleet Landing Bar and Restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina.

A private marina that’s worth the trespass. A solid spot for sunset-gazing in Folly Beach, South Carolina.

Our photo editor had one mission: Take an epic solo road trip from Los Angeles to Charleston...guided by travel advice from strangers. Come along for the ride!

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