National Parks

This guide features the stunning national parks in the American Southwest, from the awe-inspiring depths of the Grand Canyon, to the fascinating ruins of cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde.

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Grand Canyon and Northern Arizona

Defined by the magnificent spectacle of the Grand Canyon with its multicolored mesas, cliffs, and pinnacles stretching for hundreds of miles, this region has many smaller gems too. Discover natural marvels such as Sunset Crater, Meteor Crater, and the Petrified Forest. Beat the heat in the cool waters of Lake Havasu or Oak Creek Canyon. Explore historic buildings and art galleries in Jerome and Flagstaff and the New Age energy of Sedona with its stunning red rock vistas.

Best for Spectacular canyon views

Home to Grand Canyon National Park and Sedona

Experience Hiking along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon

Go To: Grand Canyon and Northern Arizona i


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t The Colorado River at Horseshoe Bend near Page in Northern Arizona


Phoenix and Southern Arizona

From living legacies of the Old West to world-class spas and golf courses, Southern Arizona has a great variety of things to see and do. In Phoenix and Tucson, enjoy superb Southwestern cuisine and fascinating music and art museums. The cities are surrounded by the splendor of the Sonoran Desert, with its giant, multiarmed saguaro cacti. Visit old Spanish missions, the historic mining towns of Bisbee and Tombstone, the art colony at Tubac, wineries and more.

Best for Desert beauty and Old West atmosphere

Home to Phoenix and Tuscan

Experience A horseback ride through the Sonoran Desert

Go To: Phoenix and Southern Arizona i


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t Saguaro cactus in Tonto National Forest near Phoenix


Southern Utah

A host of state and national parks sprawl across Southern Utah. Keep your camera at hand, ready to capture one stunning vista after another, from the red stone arcs of Arches National Park and the fascinating hoodoos of Bryce Canyon to the dramatic view of the Colorado River and Canyonlands National Park from Dead Horse Point. Relax with a boat trip on Lake Powell, or in laid-back towns such as Moab, which offer jeep trips, mountain biking, and other activities in the region’s fabulous landscapes.

Best for National parks and scenic views

Home to Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, Zion, and Arches national parks; Lake Powell and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Experience Watching the sunset over Delicate Arch in Arches National Park

Go To: Southern Utah i


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t The Virgin River flowing through Zion National Park


The Four Corners

The scenic junction of the states of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico contains the largest concentration of Native American heritage in the USA. This ranges from the ancient cliff dwellings and great houses of the Ancestral Puebloans at Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon, and other key sites to the tribal lands and monuments of today’s Navajo and Hopi communities. For stunning vistas, drive among the towering buttes of Monument Valley or along Colorado’s breathtaking San Juan Skyway.

Best for Native American heritage and Rocky Mountain scenery

Home to Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, and Mesa Verde National Park

Experience Riding the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad for spectacular mountain views

Go To: The Four Corners i


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t The red rocks of Monument Valley


Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico

With its beautiful historic buildings, world-class art galleries and museums, and superb restaurants serving New Mexican cuisine, Santa Fe is the region’s key draw. But Northern New Mexico offers much more to explore, from the peaceful Santuario de Chimayó church to the historic town and art colony of Taos. Visit Native American pueblos, explore ancient cliff dwellings at Puye and Bandelier National Monument, or take a scenic mountain drive along the Enchanted Circle forest scenic byway.

Best for Southwestern art, architecture, and cuisine

Home to Santa Fe and Taos

Experience A river rafting trip down the Rio Grande

Go To: Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico i


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t Dancers at the annual Santa Fe Fiesta in fall


Albuquerque and Southern New Mexico

Southern New Mexico is a land of contrasts, ranging from Acoma Pueblo, the nation’s oldest settlement, to busy Albuquerque, the state’s largest city. Sights are scattered in this vast region. Take to the road to see the amazing dunes at White Sands National Monument, the wondrous caves at Carlsbad Caverns, and the remote Gila Cliff Dwellings. Soak up legends of the Old West at the historic towns of Lincoln, Ruidoso, Mesilla, and Silver City.

Best for Historic towns and villages, and natural wonders

Home to Albuquerque and Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Experience Soaring in a balloon over Albuquerque, the hot-air ballooning capital of the world

Go To: Albuquerque and Southern New Mexico i


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t Glistening gypsum dune in White Sands National Monument


Las Vegas

There’s no place like Las Vegas – a glittering oasis dedicated to entertainment. Explore the amazing casino-hotels with their magical themed architecture, restaurants, and attractions. Take in the shows, which range from the remarkable Cirque du Soleil to top musical artists and comedians. And venture beyond the Strip to discover the fascinating Mob Museum with stories of the city’s gangsters, the Neon Museum, and sights in the surrounding area, such as the impressive Hoover Dam and breathtaking Red Rock Canyon.

Best for Nightlife and entertainment

Home to The Strip, Bellagio fountains, and Stratosphere Tower

Experience A bird’s-eye view from the High Roller

Go To: Las Vegas i


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t The famous "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign

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