Places to Visit in the Southwest in April

Planning a trip to the US Southwest in the spring is one of the best times of year to enjoy the stunning landscapes, vibrant cities, and unique culture. There are a number of places to visit in the Southwest in April for nature lovers, history buffs, or food enthusiasts.

The Southwest USA experiences a delightful climate in April, where average temperatures typically range from a comfortable 50°F at night to around 80°F during the day. It’s a period of transition where the coolness of winter gradually gives way to the warmth of summer.

places to visit in the Southwest USA in April

The Southwest region of the United States is a popular tourist destination during the month of April. With its pleasant weather and stunning landscapes, it’s a popular spring break destination.

We’ve asked our travel friends to share their favorite US Southwest vacation ideas and places to visit in April in these states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.

The key to enjoying your Southwest USA April vacation is being prepared with the right clothing and gear for the activities you want to do! Be sure to check the weather for the location you’ll be visiting for the time you’ll be there. Grab your free spring packing list printable by clicking the image below!

Spring National Park Packing List
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Packing for an April Vacation in the US Southwest

When planning a Southwest USA road trip, ensuring you have the right supplies can make all the difference.

Here’s a quick checklist of road trip accessories to get you started:

  1. Navigation tools: A good old-fashioned map and a reliable GPS device are essential when driving through the Southwest. Remember, internet signal in remote desert areas can be spotty at best!
  2. Car essentials: Keep your car in check with a spare tire, jumper cables, and some basic tools. Also, don’t forget your driver’s license, car insurance, and registration documents.
  3. Safety equipment: A first-aid kit, sunscreen, and a flashlight are non-negotiable. In the desert, temperatures can drop drastically at night, so pack some warm clothing too.
  4. Food and water: Pack enough water and non-perishable road trip snacks and Food to last a few days. It’s better to be prepared, especially when traveling through isolated areas.
  5. Entertainment: Lastly, don’t forget some road trip games, a good book or two, and some music playlists to keep you entertained during those long drives.

Our day hike packing list for the Southwest in April includes:

It’s important to stay hydrated since the US Southwest is a dry, desert environment. Due to the dry climate, you’ll also want lip balm and lotion!

spring hiking gear
Map of Southwest in April places to visit

Map of Southwest Places to Visit in April

Here is a map of places to visit in the Southwest in April to help you plan your travel itinerary! This map indicates the various vacation spots in the region we recommend you visit in the month of April.

We recommend the GuideAlong App to hear fun behind-the-scenes stories and local tips that play automatically as you drive, based on your GPS location as you drive through the state!

Places to Visit in the Southwest in April

For this article, we’ve asked our travel friends to share their favorite places to visit in April in these Southwest states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.

If you plan to visit a US National Park in April, be sure to check if the National Park list of reservations required for entry or specific activities for the dates you’ll be visiting. 

After reading about all these fun locations to visit, you’ll find yourself ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through the American Southwest!

Antelope Canyon
Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon, Arizona in April

Antelope Canyon is a gorgeous slot canyon located in Page, Arizona. The sandstone geological natural wonder is renowned for its mesmerizing beauty, especially when you can catch the light beams streaming down the towering walls. 

This is a great stop on a southwest road trip. You do need to plan your visit ahead of time, though. You cannot go through Antelope Canyon without a tour. The canyon is on protected Navajo Nation land, so visitors must be accompanied by an authorized guide to experience the canyon. 

There are three different tour experiences to choose from: Upper Antelope Canyon, Lower Antelope Canyon, and Canyon X. 

When visiting Antelope Canyon in April, you can expect comfortable weather. With high temperatures pushing 70 degrees, spring is the perfect time because the winter cold has gone, but the stifling summer heat hasn’t set in just yet. 

April kickstarts the season where the light beams in the canyon are most prevalent, so you’ll have more opportunities to catch them this month. The best time to visit for amazing lighting for photographs is in the middle of the day. 

The warm weather and more light bring crowds in April. Be sure to book your tour through Antelope Canyon in advance. (Photo and Recommendation by Candice, Exploring The West Coast)

Bryce Canyon sunrise
Bryce Canyon sunrise

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah in April

You’ll find a variety of things to do at Bryce Canyon National Park in April like hiking, biking, scenic drives, and photography to explore the unique landscape filled with colorful hoodoos!

The weather at Bryce Canyon in April can still be unpredictable. Be prepared with rain and/or snow gear in case a storm rolls through so you can still enjoy the outdoor activities at the park. 

You’ll find the best Bryce Canyon views and photo spots along the scenic drive! start by driving to the end of the road at Rainbow Point then working your way back to the amphitheater. This way all the Bryce Canyon must see viewpoints are on the right so it’s easy to pull in and out of each parking lot.

You’ll find easy, moderate, and strenuous Bryce Canyon spring hikes to accommodate all levels of hikers! If a storm rolls through, you may find closed trails due to unsafe conditions. The trails in April may be muddy, snowy or icy so check with the visitor’s center for the most current trail conditions before setting out on any hike in April. (Photo and Recommendation by Dave & Jamie, Photo Jeepers)

Bryce Canyon Lodging & Tours

Carlsbad, California

Carlsbad, California in April

Carlsbad is a great town to visit in April! Carlsbad is on the California coast and is known for its beautiful coastline. April is a perfect time of year to visit Carlsbad. Spring has begun, and the weather is warming up. Flowers are blooming, and local produce is abundant. You will find plenty of places to visit in Carlsbad, both inland and along its coastline.  

The Flower Fields of Carlsbad are bursting with color in April. The season starts in mid-March. By April, most of the fields are blooming, and the color is spectacular. The Flower Fields of Carlsbad is a great place to capture the perfect family photo. Strawberries are the first fruit to ripen in the spring, making April the perfect time to visit the Carlsbad Strawberry Company. You can pick your own strawberries and enjoy many of the other activities, such as the sunflower maze.

Carlsbad Village is a terrific Southern California vacation spot. It’s a beautiful town close to the beach with many restaurants, coffee shops, and stores to explore. You can enjoy time sunbathing, swimming, surfing, or taking in the spectacular coastal view. (Photo and Recommendation by Rosby, Rosebee and Reya Adventures)

Carlsbad Lodging & Tours

Carlsbad Cavern National Park
Carlsbad Cavern

Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico in April

Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a must-visit stop for those vacationing in the U.S. Southwest. Located in southeastern New Mexico, the national park draws over 500,000 visitors each year for its extensive underground cave system, including the 30-mile Carlsbad Cavern which is open to the public.

You can go on a self-guided tour to explore the main cavern as well as purchase a ranger-led tour to see the cave formations in the King’s Palace.

Advanced entrance time reservations are required to enter Carlsbad Caverns. Book your online Carlsbad Caverns reservation at or by calling 877-444-6777. You’ll also need to purchase a general admission ticket upon arrival at Carlsbad Caverns.

In terms of what to wear, Carlsbad Caverns remains a constant temperature of 56°F year-round, so be sure to bring a long-sleeved shirt or jacket. For accommodations near Carlsbad Caverns National Park, you have a couple of options. You can choose the nearest town, Whites City, or drive approximately 20 miles north to stay in Carlsbad, New Mexico, which offers WAY more options.(Photo and Recommendation by Devon, Say Yes to the Trip)

Where to Stay Near Carlsbad Caverns

Southwest National Parks in April

Hiking in Cloudcroft
Hiking in Cloudcroft

Cloudcroft, New Mexico in April

Cloudcroft is a great holiday destination in the Southwest year round, but is especially beautiful in April. Ski season in New Mexico has just come to and end, and you can see beautiful flowers everywhere. Plus, it is not too hot for hiking yet. 

This small mountain town is famous for its cute town center, fabulous hiking trails and stunning views. You can find a winery, a brewery and some shops from local artists in Cloudcroft. 

Of course, you need to try a BBQ lunch at Mad Jack’s Mountain Barbeque. The restaurant is famous for its dishes, and there is a super long line outside the place every day.

Cloudcroft is famous for hiking. You’ll have some beautiful views over the Canyons and into the Tularosa Basin. You can see the White Sands National Park and the city of Alamogordo from above. Make sure to check out the Osha Trail for the best views.

If you have more time, make sure to stay in one of the cute mountain lodges for a couple of days. You’ll need at least three days to check out all the trails and the things the town has to offer. (Photo and Recommendation by Sabrina, New Mexico Insider)

Where to Stay in Cloudcroft, NM


Denver, Colorado in April

One of the best places to visit in the US Southwest in April is Denver, Colorado. Known as “Colorful Colorado,” springtime brings bright colors from the Rocky Mountains and gorgeous sunsets. The weather in April can range from sunny and shorts weather to snowy and boots weather.

For the sunny days, you can enjoy one of the many hiking areas along the front range, paddleboarding at Cherry Creek Reservoir, or camping at local campsites. For the snowy days, take advantage of the last days of ski season just west of Denver in Summit County.

Denver is a lively city full of activities during every season for outdoor enthusiasts and an eclectic food scene with its many local restaurants.

While you’re in the area, we recommend visiting the famous Red Rocks Amphitheater, amongst many family-friendly things to do in Denver. The amphitheater is an iconic outdoor music venue, bringing unique sounds of acoustics off the naturally formed red rocks. Visitors can also enjoy sightseeing and hiking in the area. (Recommendation by Tiffany. Destination Momhood)

Denver Lodging & Tours

Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, California
Moonlight Beach

Encinitas, California in April

Encinitas is a small town on the Coast of Southern California, located just North of San Diego. This area is one of many towns in Southern California that are the best places to visit in the US Southwest in April.

What makes Encinitas a good place to visit in California in April? Encinitas Street Fair happens in April and has food, rides, kids activities, live music, and beer gardens. The weather in April is perfect, with basically no rainfall, plenty of sunshine, and warm temperatures (68 F).

Hit up one of the many stunning sandy beaches like Moonlight State Park, visit a winery, a farmer’s market, or take a surf lesson. There are also opportunities for hiking close to the city, and beautiful gardens at the San Diego Botanical Gardens and the Self Realization and Meditation Gardens.

Encinitas should definitely be on your list of best places to visit in the Southwest USA in April! (Photo and Recommendation by Jessica, Next Up Adventure)

Encinitas Lodging & Tours

Grand Canyon South Rim
Grand Canyon South Rim

Grand Canyon South Rim in April

Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most visited National Parks of the United States and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The beautiful rock formations carved by the Colorado River are millions of years old!

During the April month, the Grand Canyon South Rim has pleasant weather. It is the perfect time to opt for hiking! Also, it is shoulder season, so you will have fewer crowds. The prices for the stay will be cheaper in April.

The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is most popular with tourists for a reason! There are so many viewpoints, hiking opportunities, and options for a rim-to-rim hike. April is the best time to go for outdoor adventures in the Grand Canyon’s south Rim.

You can enjoy breathtaking views of the canyon from popular viewpoints like Mather Point, Yavapai Point, and Hopi Point. Each viewpoint provides a unique perspective of the vast and awe-inspiring landscape.

The South Rim offers various hiking trails from varying miles. But the most popular hikes include the Bright Angel Trail, South Kaibab Trail, and the easier Rim Trail (0.7 miles). But make sure to check trail conditions and plan your hike accordingly.

The 22-mile-long Desert View Drive offers scenic views of the Grand Canyon. The drive to Hermits Road offers beautiful canyon views from different perspectives. It’s one of the most stunning US National Parks scenic drives!

Check the park schedule for ranger-led programs, cultural demonstrations, and events. These programs provide insight into the natural and cultural history of the Grand Canyon. (Photo and Recommendation by Mayuri, fernwehrahee Blog)

Grand Canyon Lodging & Tours

Grand Canyon Eagle Point View
Eagle Point View

Grand Canyon West Rim in April

Who would think that you could visit the Grand Canyon West Rim from Las Vegas? It’s the closest major city, only 125 miles away, and as spring starts to bloom in Nevada and Arizona, With temperatures ranging from the mid 60’s to mid 70’s Fahrenheit, April makes for a great month to visit the Grand Canyon West Rim.

This part of the Grand Canyon sits on the Hualapai Indian Reservation so is best done as a day trip from Las Vegas which brings its own unique experience. Visitors can embark on activities including taking in the breathtaking vistas, venturing on the Skywalk, a glass-bottomed bridge suspended 4,000 feet above the canyon, learning about the Hualapai tribe, enjoy lunch with a view and immerse yourself in the canyon’s geological history.

Whether you’re seeking adventure or solace, the Grand Canyon West Rim is one of the best places to visit in the US Southwest in April, promising an unparalleled experience that will leave you in awe of one of the world’s natural wonders. (Photo and Recommendation by Melanie, The World Travel Girl)

8 Day Southwest Road Trip Guide

Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada in April

A fun Northern California vacation spot can be found at Lake Tahoe. Located between the Sierra Nevada mountains in California and Nevada, April is the best of both worlds. During a good snow year, you’ll still be able to enjoy skiing or snowboarding at any of Lake Tahoe’s 15 ski resorts for the first couple weeks of the year.

But at lower elevations, the snow will have melted, giving way for springtime wildflowers and lush greenness. Even better, you’ll be able to enjoy its natural beauty without all of the crowds of summer. 

While it will be too cold to get in the lake’s famed blue water, there’s still plenty of places to take in the views of Lake Tahoe in springtime. For example, head to Emerald Bay State Park and hike along the Rubicon Trail to enjoy views of the enormous granite boulders hidden under the turquoise lake water, the snow-capped Sierra Nevadas, and beautiful pine tree forests.

Alternatively, Sand Harbor, on the Nevada side, has kayak rentals and plenty of beautiful secluded coves to explore on a warm springtime day. (Photo and Recommendation by Jessica, Uprooted Traveler)

Where To Stay Near Lake Tahoe

Las Vegas
Las Vegas

Las Vegas, Nevada in April

Springtime in Las Vegas offers a unique blend of vibrant entertainment and pleasant weather, making it an ideal destination this time of year.

As spring takes hold, the desert city experiences comfortable temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to low 80s, providing a reprieve from the scorching summer heat. Visitors can comfortably explore the iconic Las Vegas Strip by foot under clear skies, while still enjoying outdoor attractions and pools.

While the city maintains its lively atmosphere in April, the crowds are more manageable compared to the peak months. The Las Vegas shows, concerts, and events are all performing with full schedules.

It’s also a perfect time of year to explore outdoor activities just outside the city center. In nearby Red Rock Canyon, the winter’s rains lead to stunning displays of brightly colored wildflowers along its trails. Lake Mead also offers a great mini escape, with bountiful opportunities for kayaking and boating along the water. (Photo and Recommendation by Rose, Rose Campau)

Las Vegas Lodging & Tours

Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles
Griffith Observatory

Los Angeles, California in April

April in Los Angeles is a lovely time to visit because the weather isn’t too hot yet, spring flowers are in bloom, and summer crowds haven’t descended upon the city just yet.

There are many incredible things to do in Los Angeles. Don’t miss Griffith Observatory for stellar views of the city and a fantastic free science museum. Learn about the Western world at The Autry Museum of the American West where there are exhibits on Native Americans, the Western frontier, cowboys, stagecoaches, and Western art.

Theme parks in Los Angeles are always a hit including Universal Studios and CityWalk Hollywood, Disneyland and California Adventure, Knott’s Berry Farm, and even Six Flags!

During the spring, gardens in Los Angeles are especially nice including The Huntington, Descanso Gardens, LA Arboretum, and Japanese Gardens.

As far as weather, you can expect highs in the mid-70s and lows in the mid-50s with few rainy days. Although, April is known as “April Showers” in Los Angeles, so it’s best to come prepared for a little rain. (Recommendation by Alanna, Periodic Adventures)

Los Angeles Lodging & Tours

Delicate Arch
Delicate Arch

Moab, Utah in April

April is an ideal time to visit Moab, Utah, with stunning views of red rock formations, mild weather and fewer crowds. You’ll find daytime temperatures in the mid-60’s to low 80’s Fahrenheit, perfect for exploring the outdoors. Bring layers of clothes, since low temperatures are in the 40’s.

Spring hiking in Arches National Park is one of the top activities in Moab. Visit Delicate Arch at sunrise for incredible views of the arch with the snowy La Sal mountains as a backdrop. Don’t miss Balanced Rock, Double Arch, and Park Avenue.

Be sure to visit the Island in the Sky district in Canyonlands National Park to see Mesa Arch, with panoramic views of the canyons below.

For mountain bikers, head to Slickrock Bike Trail, with its sandstone terrain. Slickrock has everything from a novice practice loop to expert terrain. 4×4’ers will enjoy an adrenaline rush driving through Hell’s Revenge. For water lovers, head out on the Colorado River on a rafting, kayaking, or SUP tour.

Check out this list of 10 things to do in Moab that are off-the-beaten-path for even more fun activities! (Photo and Recommendation by Sonia, Carey On Travels)

Moab Lodging & Tours

Napa Valley vineyard
Napa Valley

Napa Valley, California in April

April in Napa Valley is when spring is in full bloom and the summer rush has yet to arrive. Napa is part of California wine country, about 50 miles north of San Francisco. You can take your own car, or rent one, to drive to this area. 

Imagine natural landscapes, green rolling hills, farm-to-table fare, luxury-to-comfort accommodations, and of course wine tasting tours. Spring brings new life to the Napa Valley. From March until May. The daytime temperatures are pleasant in April but the nights are cool.

Events in Napa in April include SIP (Songwriters Paradise) – performances from acclaimed songwriters, ‘Arts in April’ – to bring together several arts and cultural events, several shows at Uptown Theatre, and Napa Endurance Run. 

There are more than 400 beautiful wineries across Napa, Sonoma, and Calistoga. You will find slightly cheaper options in Sonoma and Calistoga than Napa. So there is something suited for everyone. Foodies will love the culinary scene, farmers’ markets selling local produce, and food & wine experiences here. (Photo and Recommendation by Shweta, Zest in a Tote)

Napa Valley Lodging & Tours

Big Lake Sand Cave Page, Arizona
Big Lake Sand Cave

Page, Arizona in April

One of the best places to visit in the Southwestern USA in April is Page, Arizona. With average highs in the low 70s and average lows in the upper 40s, the weather is perfect for all of the outdoor activities offered by a stay in Page.

Two of the most popular spots in Page are Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon. Antelope Canyon requires a tour with a Navajo guide, but it is worth the trip. The guides do a great job of helping you still get to enjoy the slot canyon even though you don’t have it to yourself.

Horseshoe Bend is an easy walk down a paved path to the viewing platform overlooking the famous view of the Colorado River. The view is great anytime, but sunset adds a little something extra to the view.

While you’re in the area, don’t miss out on the Big Lake Sand Cave behind the Shell gas station in Page. This is an easy hike to a stunning sand cave with textures and a view that will surprise you given how close it is to the gas station.

With Lake Powell and so many great hikes, April in Page is the perfect time to visit before the summer head and summer crowds arrive. (Photo and Recommendation by Christine, Live Love Run Travel)

Page Lodging & Tours

Balboa Park in San Diego
Balboa Park

San Diego, California in April

San Diego is one of the best locations in the Southwest to visit in April. The weather, the activities, the vibe…it all just makes for a perfect US spring break destination!

One of the best locations to visit in San Diego is Balboa Park. This park was built in 1868 and has 1,200 acres of green spaces, shopping malls, gardens, museums, and more!

After exploring Balboa Park, you can head to San Diego Seaport Village, where you will find fun boutique shops and charming streets. La Jolla is another exceptional place to add to your San Diego itinerary with tons of water sports activities, and you may even witness the resident sea lions and seals.

For something a little more relaxing, you can spend time at Cliff’s National Park, which is a really magical location. Then, you can finish your day at Point Loma for an incredible sunset view. Make sure to check out Smugglers Cove while you are there too!

I would recommend renting a car for your San Diego trip as the city is pretty large, and having a car will allow you to easily get from one location to the next. Temperatures during the spring usually range from 53°F to 69°F, which is perfect exploration weather!  (Photo and Recommendation by Samantha, Find Love and Travel)

San Diego Lodging & Tours

White Sands National Park
White Sands National Park

White Sands National Park, New Mexico in April

April is the best time of year to embrace the warm, sandy vibes of White Sands National Park and its endless sand dunes!  Although White Sands is miles from the nearest ocean, you can still enjoy a “beachy” escape in the middle of the desert, and April is the ideal time for several reasons.  

April is still considered the off season for White Sands National Park, and there will be fewer crowds than the busier summer months. Daytime temperatures in April top out near the upper 70’s degrees Fahrenheit, while overnight temperatures hover in the low 40’s degrees, perfect for those that want to take advantage of some backcountry camping among the dunes.  

Outdoor opportunities abound in April, such as hiking the 6 best trails in White Sands National Park, participating in ranger led programs like Sunset Strolls and Full Moon Hikes, and of course, enjoying a timeless favorite – sand sledding on the rolling sand hills! (Photo and Recommendation by Kristen, Yonderlust Ramblings)

Where to Stay Near White Sands National Park

Road Trip Packing List

Be sure to grab the Road Trip Packing List that includes items for comfort, organization, eating, and first aid to make the family vacation a success. You’ll also receive a Road Trip Itinerary to plan the day-to-day schedule of the trip! Simply click the graphic below to get your free copy!

get the free road trip planner

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