We followed along for the ride with photographer friend, Sarah Kunst, as she hit the road for a cross country 10 day trip. Sarah, her man, and even pups made the most of their end of summer trip by stopping in the most wanderlust worthy locations along the way.
Below is a guide to a few of their favorites!
The Desert Botanical Gardens are a must see. You know the dreamy, towering saguaros and desert flowers you saved on Pinterest? They're all there...alongside the cutest desert critters and incredible landscaping. We could easily spend all day here!
Papago Park is another scenic area, only 10 minutes outside Downtown PHX. Its massive, otherworldly sandstone buttes make for an awesome place to explore, shoot photos, or enjoy a hike or picnic.
Before packing up and heading to our next destination, we made sure to fuel up with amazing coffee and juices from DeSoto Central Market. DeSoto is a rad market / communal space in a renovated vintage warehouse. Whether you're grabbing a drink, lunch, meeting up with friends, or doing some work -- this is the spot.
The Wigwam Motel is one of the ultimate roadtrip stops. Located on Route 66, it's tipi-shaped motel rooms and vintage-car-lined lot make it the perfect time-warp pit stop + photo op. Holbrook is also close to the Petrified Forest, Meteor Crater and Grand Canyon - so if you're visiting any of those places be sure to make the stop!
Although Holbrook is a small town, there are several gems that make it a vintage roadtrip dream. The streets are lined with murals, hand-painted signs, old neon signs, rock gardens, antique shops, old time-y gas stations and hole-in-the-wall restaurants to check out.
White Sands, NM
Watching the sun set below the dunes was amazing. The colors of the sand, sky, and shadows of the San Andres Mountains in the distance all change as the position of the sun does. Because of it's breathtaking views, we had to come back the next morning. We arrived when the park opened and got to experience it in a different light (literally). As the sun rose higher, the contrast of bright white sands against the bold blue sky was perfect.
As we headed south towards Texas, we felt as if we had just been somewhere in between the moon and the Sahara Desert. This place stole our hearts – it is, hands down, a place everyone should see and experience!
Prada Marfa (actually in Valentine, TX) is another must see. It's pretty awesome and unexpected to see a replica of a luxurious store, with product, right on US-90. Like much of Marfa, this site is bizarrely artistic and is a dramatic juxtaposition to the barren high desert landscape.
Donald Judd's Chinati Foundation is another spot where we could spend a whole day. This contemporary art museum is situated on over 300 acres of lands and includes large-scale instillations, sculptures, and outdoor concrete works by some of the most renowned Modern, Contemporary, Minimalistic, and Neo-Dada artists.
Other more outdoors-y and photo-worthy spots in Marfa include El Cosmico Hotel + Campground and Balmorhea State Park.
Located only 20 minutes east of Marfa, we stopped in this quaint, artsy town and stayed in the cutest Airbnbs (one was an art gallery, one was a bottle shop and they had both been converted). Alpine is more mountainous / forest-esque compared to the desert areas we had been exploring.
We checked out The Saddle Club, which had killer cocktails and great food with contemporary / sleek western decor and a cactus-filled patio.
In the morning, we walked over to Plaine Coffee for our caffeine fix -- so good. Sweet Pea Cafe (a converted Air Stream Trailer, serving healthy food made with all local ingredients) was just steps away from our Airbnb.
A few of our favorites in the South Congress area are: Hotel San Jose, Uncommon Objects and Continental Club.
East Austin favorites include: Farewell Books, Contigo, Friends & Neighbors, and Flat Track Coffee.
If you have a dog (or just love dogs), The Yard Bar is a go-to. Cocktails and puppies? Yes please.
Torchy's Tacos & JuiceLand (all over Austin) really can't be beat.
New Orleans, LA
Neither of us had ever been to NOLA, but we fell in love with it pretty quickly.
Our Airbnb was on a colorful street in the Lower Garden District and featured an iconic wrap around balcony. We were sold on that alone.
The culture, food, and architecture are truly unique. The mix of French, African, Spanish and southern influences is refreshing, exciting, colorful and delicious. Jazz music fills the streets and parks most of the day. The Marginy, French Quarter, and Garden Districts are all worth exploring -- by foot or bike. You'll find countless bars, restaurants, shopping, museums, lust-worthy homes (+ plants, haha).
If you need a break, Café Du Monde is a must. We indulged in coffees and beignets...we're itching to go back already!
Photos by Sarah Kunst + Adam Cantiello