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Top Southwest EV Road Trips

Top Road Trips for Electric Vehicles Southwest
Sarah Mattie
Sarah MattieUpdated June 29, 2022
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The Southwestern United States is known for its beautiful hiking trails, historic towns, exciting big cities, and gorgeous desert landscapes. You can find a bit of everything there.

California to Arizona Road Trip for EVs

The drive from Tucson, AZ to Santa Barbara, CA, is full of natural beauty and fun things to do. You can stop almost anywhere along the way and be within a stone's throw of a hiking area, amusement park, quaint town, or massive city. Read on for a route that can take you from the desert to the beach, and vice versa, in an EV.1. TucsonTucson Electric Power88 E Broadway Blvd.Tucson, AZ 85701 This spot is, appropriately, outside of the Tucson Electric Power company. But, this isn't just an office building area. If you head a bit south, you hit the Children's Museum Tucson, Arizona Theatre Company, and Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson. 2. Avondale, AZAvondale Civic Center Library11350 Civic Center Dr.Avondale, AZ 85323 The Avondale Parks and Recreation Department holds events throughout the year within close proximity to this charging location. Camelback Ranch Stadium, which hosts spring training games for the LA Dodgers and Chicago White Sox, is about six miles away.  3. Quartzsite, AZLove's760 S Quartzsite Blvd.Quartzsite, AZ 85346 Love's stops are typically near very few attractions, but this one is an exception. You can find Hi Jolly's Tomb, the Quartzsite Historical Society, and several campgrounds nearby, to name a few choices. 4. Cathedral City, CAPlaza Rio Vista67800 Vista ChinoCathedral City, CA 92234This quick stop spot is between the Mt. San Jacinto State Park and Joshua Tree National Park. If you're on this trip to enjoy the great outdoors, this is a great place to recharge before heading out! 5. Los Angeles, CALos Angeles Zoo5333 Zoo Dr.Los Angeles, CAThe Los Angeles Zoo has animals from all over the world, and your visit and ticket could help them in their conservation efforts. Not to mention, you’ll be in the middle of Griffith Park, which features more than 4,200 acres of natural space for hiking, biking, and taking in the city views. The Greek Theater, an outdoor music venue, is also located just a few miles away. 6. Santa Barbara, CADowntown Parking1221 Anacapa St.Santa Barbara, CA 93101 This downtown charging spot puts you close to just about anywhere in the city. Expect to spend a few days in Santa Barbara to experience it all, including the nearby Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Leadbetter Beach, and the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.

Route 66 Road Trip for EVs

In reality, this EV road trip through the Southwest is largely on Highway 40, not Route 66. The parts of Route 66 that are still open are usually frontage roads traveling alongside the highway or they go through towns as regular roads.However, driving down Highway 40 can still give you the basic idea of "getting your kicks on Route 66." Traditionally, the highway went from Los Angeles to Chicago, but we're just giving you a southern taste—Flagstaff, AZ to Tulsa, OK.While we’ve plotted this out from west to east, you can certainly drive this from east to west! 1. Flagstaff, AZLowell Observatory1400 W. Mars Hill Rd.Flagstaff, AZ 86001The Lowell Observatory offers daytime exhibits and adds evening stargazing depending on the time you're there. You can look through telescopes and learn about our relationship with space. If you’re traveling in the winter, you can head a few miles north to Arizona Snowbowl, a popular snow-sports destination located on Arizona’s highest mountain peak.  2. Petrified, AZPainted Desert Visitor Center1 Park Rd. Petrified Forest National Park, AZ 86028Though you're probably here to enjoy the Petrified Forest, the Painted Desert Visitor Center doesn't disappoint. It has exhibits, a bookstore, a demonstration space, a restaurant, and more! You can literally and mentally recharge here before and after your long outdoor trip. 3. Albuquerque, NMABQ Biopark Zoo903 10th St. SWAlbuquerque, NM 87102 This zoo is nearly a century old and has animals from around the world. It runs along the Rio Grande, too, so it's not just the animals you get to enjoy viewing.4. Tumacari, NMLove's1900 S. Mountain Rd.Tucumcari, NM 88401This charging spot is located just about 10 minutes from the New Mexico Route 66 Museum. You’ll also be near the Mesalands Dinosaur Museum and Natural Sciences Laboratory, where you can see dinosaur skeletons and participate in hands-on activities.  5. Erick, OKLove's901 N Sheb Wooley Ave.Erick, OK 73645 Erick is a small town. However, if you do want to see something unique, consider heading to the Sandhill Curiosity Shop, which is just about a mile from this charging station. 6. Edmond, OKEdmond Downtown16 E. 1st St.Edmond, OK 73034 If you want to spend some time in Edmond, the Edmond Historical Society & Museum isn't too far from this charging station. Once you’re charged up, you can head about seven miles east to Storybook Forest and live some of the most iconic scenes from classic childhood fairytales. Spring Creek Swim Beach is also in this area if you’re looking to cool down with a dip. 7. Tulsa, OKGathering Place2650 S. John Williams Way Tulsa, OK 74114The Gathering Place is a massive riverfront park in Tulsa. It has a bit of everything, from playgrounds to commissioned art to food. No matter who is on your trip, this park will have something for them.

Road Trip Through the Southwest in Your EV

The magic of the American Southwest can only be experienced–not always explainable. If you’re looking for a road trip to take you outside the everyday grind and put you back in touch with nature, these EV-friendly routes should do the trick.Plus, how cool would it be to drive along historic Route 66 and get a feel for how people traveled almost 100 years ago? We’ve come a long way, going from Model Ts to EVs.  If you’re looking for more ways to get the most out of your car, auto loan refinancing may be for you. By refinancing, you can potentially get a loan with better rates and/or terms compared to your original car loan.  If you’re curious, you can compare auto loan refinance rates (without affecting your credit) with Lantern by SoFi. Ready for more adventures on the open road? Check out our guides for top EV road trips in other parts of the country:

About the Author

Sarah Mattie

Sarah Mattie

Sarah Mattie is a researcher and writer with an education background. She's passionate about teaching others about financial issues and has written extensively for a variety of degree sites and financial institutions. Her writing covers credit cards, lending products, and paying for college, among other economic topics.
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