Photo by Kim Grant

Southwest destinations


Around New Mexico

Around Utah

Bryce Canyon National Park

Capitol Reef National Park

Grand Canyon National Park, Flagstaff and Williams

Las Vegas

Moab, Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park




Salt Lake City, Park City and Wasatch

Santa Fe




Zion National Park


Some of the nation’s most iconic landscapes, including the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley, can be found in the Southwest — which consists of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Nevada. But dotting the rugged terrain, you’ll find dynamic cities, including culture-rich Santa Fe, glitzy and glamorous Las Vegas, and Phoenix with its more than 200 scenic golf courses.

The Southwest: Arizona

The Grand Canyon, golf, and more

Arizona is one of the most diverse states in the nation with vast stretches of saguaro cacti near its southern border, ponderosa pine forests in its mountainous regions, and rugged lakes throughout. For many visitors, the main draw is the Grand Canyon, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, but Sedona offers equally stunning landscapes. History buffs enjoy exploring mining historic mining towns like Tombstone, Bisbee and Jerome while outdoor enthusiasts have plenty of opportunity to hike, cycle, boat, and golf the state’s more than 400 courses. In Phoenix, discover Native American culture, catch a Cactus League baseball game during the spring, or lounge at a resort pool. Tucson’s exciting food scene recently earned it the designation UNESCO City of Gastronomy.

The Southwest: New Mexico

Discover the Land of Enchantment

From art, history and culture to the adventure of space tourism (coming soon to Spaceport America), New Mexico has something for everyone. In the north, Chaco Culture National Historical Park or Bandelier National Monument offer a fascinating look at what life was like for the Ancient Puebloans. Santa Fe is the perfect escape for art aficionados who flock to its galleries and foodies who can sample New Mexican specialties like adovada. About an hour south, the state’s largest city, Albuquerque, boasts more than 20 breweries and 16 museums, including the International Balloon Museum and the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History. Further south, relive the Old West on the Billy the Kid Trail  or search for answers to all your UFO questions in Roswell.

The Southwest: Utah

Scenic wonders and outdoor adventures

Active vacationers will find plenty to keep them busy in Utah. The state has five national parks, including Bryce Canyon and Zion, and plenty of opportunities to hike, cycle, mountain bike, kayak, rock climb, fish, and more during the summer. In the winter, skiers enjoy an average of 500 annual inches at Utah’s 13 ski areas. For those who don’t want to exert so much energy, jeep rides and four-wheel adventure await near Moab, and the Jurassic period comes to life at Dinosaur National Monument. Urban experiences in Salt Lake City include Historic Temple Square and the Natural History Museum of Utah.

The Southwest: Nevada

Glitz city to  desert sand

The flashy casinos and hotels on the strip dominate Las Vegas‘ skyline. Even visitors who don’t enjoy gambling find plenty to do watching top-name entertainers in the shows, visiting the lion habitat at the MGM Grand, or browsing the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. Death Valley is a two-hour drive from the city. There’s skiing in the winter on the slopes that rim Lake Tahoe, a popular place for water sports in the summertime. The state has 57 peaks stretching 11,000 feet or more above sea level, so the Ruby Mountains and other ranges attract nature lovers.

When To Go

How Much Time To Spend

There’s so much to see and do in the Southwest that you can’t possibly cram it all into one trip. Instead, pick one or two bucket list destinations, such as the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park, and build a trip around them, filling in with other attractions in the area.

High and Low Season

In cities with mild winters, such Phoenix or Tucson, expect to pay more for hotels during January, February, March, and to a lesser extent April. When temperatures hit triple digits in these cities, room rates nosedive, and you’ll find deals at restaurants, attractions, and tours.

To an extent, it’s the exact opposite in higher altitude cities and the national parks. Summer is the high season in these areas, and winter the low season.

Events and Holidays

National Holidays

January (1st): New Year’s Day
January (third Monday):  Martin Luther King Jr. Day
February (third Monday):  Presidents Day
May (last Monday):  Memorial Day
July (4th):  Independence Day
September (first Monday):  Labor Day
October (second Monday):  Columbus Day
(not the same as Native American Day, which is only celebrated officially in two states, on September 25th)
November (11th):  Veterans Day
November (fourth Thursday):  Thanksgiving Day
December (25th):  Christmas

Time Zone

To check the local time in, click here.

Daylight Savings Time (DST) happens in the spring (on the second Sunday morning of March at 2 a.m.). It’s when clocks are advanced one hour so there is more daylight later into the evening. In the fall (on the first Sunday morning in November at 2 a.m.), clocks shift back one hour to standard time. The entire U.S. (except Hawaii and most of Arizona) participates in this ritual of ‘springing forward’ and ‘falling back.’

NOTE: Some Native American tribes also follow daylight savings time, even though they are located in Arizona, which can get confusing if you are coming from elsewhere in the state. So, that tour you booked in Monument Valley may actually start an hour earlier than you expect. Confirm the local time when making reservations or booking a tour.

What it Costs

Abstract Pricing at a Glance

Prices often fluctuate dynamically depending on capacity, seasonality and deals. We don’t want to lead you astray by quoting exact prices that quickly become wrong. To give you a rough idea for budgetary planning purposes, though, we have indicated general price ranges for all points of interest.

Price ranges are quoted in $US.

See & Do
N/A => Not applicable
$ => Tickets less than $10 per person
$$ => Tickets $11-25 per person
$$$ => Tickets $26 per person

$ => Rooms less than $100 for a double
$$ => Rooms $200 for a double
$$$ => Rooms $300 for a double

$ => $1-15 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)
$ => $16-40 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)
$$$ => $41 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)

N/A => Not applicable

$ => Tickets less than $10 per person
$$ => Tickets $11-25 per person
$$ => Tickets $26 per person