Places to Visit in the Southwest in March

With its stunning landscapes, vibrant cities, and unique culture, visiting the Southwest in the spring offers plenty of activities to make your vacation truly memorable. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or a food enthusiast, you’ll find a variety of places to visit in the Southwest in March!

The weather in the Southwest during March is mostly pleasant, offering a respite from the winter chills and yet not as intense as the summer heat. Average temperatures range from the mid-60s to high 70s degrees F, making it an ideal time for outdoor pursuits.

places to visit in the US Southwest in March

However, it’s always a smart move to pack layers, as desert temperatures can drop remarkably after sunset. Occasional rain showers may occur, but they usually don’t last too long. Remember, the weather can vary across different regions in the Southwest, so it’s advisable to check local forecasts before heading out each day.

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

The key to enjoying your Southwest USA March vacation is being prepared with the right clothing and gear for the activities you want to do! Grab your free spring packing list printable by clicking the image below!

Spring National Park Packing List
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Packing for a March Vacation in the US Southwest

If you’re planning an early spring road trip through the Southwest, you need to be prepared for unpredictable or bad weather. In some areas you’ll need to pack winter road trip supplies like a car emergency kit, windshield de-icer, snow brush + ice scraper, flashlight, etc.

We recommend outdoor winter clothing that includes insulated layers for areas that are still snowy, and for the cold mornings and evenings you’ll experience in the desert.

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!

Click the graphic below to see the gear we use and recommend for What to Bring on a Day Hike when visiting the Southwest in the spring!

spring hiking gear
map of places to go in March in the Southwest

Map of Southwest Places to Visit in March

Here is a map of March vacation spots in the Southwest 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 March.

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 March

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

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

View from the Sandia Peak Tram
View from the Sandia Peak Tram

Albuquerque, New Mexico in March

March is the month when spring flirts with Albuquerque, and the city transforms into a vibrant tapestry of colors and festivities. If you’re contemplating a getaway that blends perfect weather, cultural richness, and a touch of the unexpected, Albuquerque is your answer. Let’s unravel why March is the prime time to pack your bags and head to the heart of New Mexico. 

With temperatures hovering in the mid-60s to mid-70s, it’s a sweet spot where you can bid adieu to winter’s chill and embrace the sun without the scorch. March showers are few and far between, so you can leave that umbrella at home too!

I visited in March to celebrate a milestone birthday and the city did not disappoint. We never had any issue with spring break crowds, and the attractions weren’t sold out or full of queues. Albuquerque totally flies under the radar of those seeking an early spring respite.

For a perfect day, I recommend starting with breakfast enchiladas at Java Joe’s or a spicy omelet at Cecilia’s Cafe. Then walk it off in Old Town, popping into shops filled with local silver, blankets, hats, and chile-filled products. 

The Rattlesnake Museum will set you back $9 but it’s worth a quirky little stop. For Breaking Bad fans, The Candy Lady is perfect for unique souvenirs. For wine lovers like my sister and me, we recommend the special meal at Lescombes Winery & Bistro and a stop at Gruet’s tasting room.

While you’re heading north, take the Sandia Peak Tramway up for sunset. The kaleidoscope of colors over the last dust of winter’s snow is absolutely breathtaking. (Recommended by Tara, Tour Guide Tara)

Places to Stay in Albuquerque

Bryce Canyon hiking trail with snow
Bryce Canyon hiking trail with snow

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah in March

Yes, there will probably be snow at Bryce Canyon National Park in March, but that’s what makes it magical! The colorful hoodoos really pop against the white snow. The weather at Bryce Canyon in March is cold – average temperatures between 44 and 19 degrees Fahrenheit. Winter snow storms may create challenging travel conditions and road closures. 

The main Bryce Canyon scenic drive could be closed due to weather and road conditions, which means you’ll only be able to see the amphitheater section of the park.

But the amphitheater is the most amazing part of the park. Anywhere along the rim between Sunrise Point and Bryce Point is a good spot for Bryce Canyon sunrise photography.

With all Bryce Canyon hiking trails in March keep in mind that snow is only cleared from sidewalks and the overlooks. The snow can become muddy and slippery so you want to be extremely careful while hiking. 

You may need traction devices on some trails. And some trails may close due to bad conditions. Check with the visitor’s center for the most current trail conditions. Traction devices can be rented in Bryce Canyon City. (Recommended by Dave & Jamie, Photo Jeepers)

Bryce Canyon Lodging & Tours

Temples of the Sun and Moon in Cathedral Valley
Temple of the Sun and Moon

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah in March

Capitol Reef National Park is a great spot to visit in March, as you’ll enjoy mild temperatures and some seriously low crowds. Capitol Reef is already a lesser visited National Park in Utah, but it’s truly underrated – the rock formations are insane and there are lots of cool hikes and interesting things to see and do. 

Daily high temperatures in Capitol Reef in March are usually in the 50’s F, which makes for very pleasant hiking weather. 

Some of the best Capitol Reef National Park spring hikes include Cassidy Arch (one of the few arches in the southwest that you can actually stand on!), the Capitol Gorge Trail slot canyon, or the Hickman Bridge Trail. 

Capitol Reef has some incredible rock formations, such as the Waterpocket Fold (which you can drive along and admire the folds of the earth), and the beautiful Temple of the Sun and Moon along the Capitol Reef Cathedral Valley loop

Finally, Capitol Reef has some fascinating historic and cultural sites in the Fruita Historic District, where the first white settlers in the region lived. Here, you can visit old buildings, pick fruit in the orchards, or eat homemade pies made in the park. (Recommended by Stephanie, USA Adventurer)

Capitol Reef Lodging & Tours

Southwest National Parks in the Spring

Denver Art Museum
Denver Art Museum

Denver, Colorado in March

If you’re craving a winter getaway featuring deep powder, epic mountain views, and a great brewery scene, Denver needs to be on your bucket list.

March happens to be the snowiest month out of the year for the Mile High City, which makes for perfect Colorado skiing and snowboarding conditions in the nearby Rocky Mountain range.

Temperatures in Denver for the month of March typically range from 30-50 degrees Fahrenheit, so be sure to pack layers! If you do plan to play in the snow, make sure to bring heavy winter clothing suitable for skiing conditions. 

March is a great month to spend time exploring the abundance of museums throughout the Denver Metropolitan area. You can’t miss the western American and indigenous art collections at the Denver Art Museum (DAM). Or visit Meow Wolf for an incredibly unique, immersive experience for groups of all ages.

Denver also boasts an awesome brewery scene with Blue Moon Brewing Company and Cerebral Brewing being among my favorites. Several local companies offer craft beer tours, which are a ton of fun for couples, solo travelers, or groups! (Recommended by Sydney, Sydney Brown Travels)

Denver Lodging & Tours

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Houston, Texas in March

March is the perfect time to visit Houston, Texas! Average temperatures range from the mid-50s to the mid-70s; excellent for exploring the Museum District, walking around a park such as Hermann Park or Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park, checking out the Houston Zoo, relaxing at a winery, or visiting a farmers’ market.

March is also part of peak crawfish season, so plenty of stores and restaurants will have everything you need to enjoy your own little crawfish boil.

And, of course, when visiting the “Space City”, you can’t leave without checking out Johnson Space Center and the adjacent Space Center Houston.

The ultimate reason to visit Houston in March though, is the fact that the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo comes to town for almost 3 weeks that month. This is the largest rodeo in the world and draws more than 2 million people every year. There are many small events and displays to see before the main rodeo events start in the afternoon, and then each day closes with a huge concert from big-name artists. It’s a must-see March event! (Recommended by Mindy, Mindy on the Map)

Houston Lodging & Tours

Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park, California in March

Joshua Tree is a truly magical National Park in Southern California. From an epic national park and vintage shops to bohemian Airbnb’s and delicious food, Joshua Tree has so much to offer.

It’s beautiful all throughout the year, but March is one of the best times to visit due to the weather! The temperature in March is a comfortable 65-75 degrees, with clear skies at night that offer some amazing stargazing.

There are countless things to do in Joshua Tree National Park like Skull Rock Trail, Cholla Cactus Garden, Barker Dam Nature Trail, and Keys Ranch. If you’re into camping there’s the Jumbo Rocks campground, but be sure to reserve a camp spot in advance.

Just outside the park, you can visit the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Art Museum. It has tons of art installations that give you those post-apocalyptic, burning man vibes. If you’re into quirky boutiques, you must visit Moon Wind Trading Co and The End.

Just 20 minutes from Joshua Tree in a charming town called Pioneertown, you will find one THE BEST barbecue restaurants in Southern California – Pappy + Harriet’s. Whatever you do on your trip to Joshua Tree, don’t skip out on this gem! (Recommended by Carrie, The Daydream Drifters)

Joshua Tree National Park Lodging & Tours

8 Day Southwest Road Trip Guide

Red Rock Canyon
Red Rock Canyon

Las Vegas, Nevada in March

Our family usually prefers adventuring in the outdoors, such as exploring majestic waterfalls in Iceland, but surprisingly, we really enjoyed our time in Las Vegas! March is a fantastic time to visit Las Vegas because the weather is ideal. With a high of 72 F and a low of 39 F, it is the perfect time to walk down The Strip and see all of the sights. Our favorite stop is the fountains at the Bellagio.

There is always something exciting going on in Las Vegas. Indulge in one of the dazzling casinos, dine on delicious cuisine, or enjoy an entertaining show. After an exciting time exploring the city, make sure to relax poolside with your favorite beverage.

If the glitz and glamor of The Strip isn’t your speed, take a short drive out of the city and explore the beautiful scenery at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area or the great engineering feat of Hoover Dam. These are both perfect activities to do in March before the sweltering heat of summer comes. (Recommended by Elizabeth, Tall Adventure Fam)

Las Vegas Lodging & Tours

Delicate Arch at Arches National Park
Delicate Arch at Arches National Park

Moab, Utah in March

Moab, Utah is a great place to visit any time of year but particularly in March. In March, the temperature is ideal for all the outdoor Moab spring activities you’ll want to do like hiking, biking, and off-roading. 

Wearing layers will serve you best as it is typically a cold 35 degrees Fahrenheit in the mornings and in the low 60s by mid-day. The weather is perfect for hiking and exploring at one of the many parks in the area like Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse States Park. 

Downtown Moab has plenty of tasty restaurants and cute shops for you to visit too. The only downfall of visiting Moab in March is that you’ll likely be in good company. Moab is a popular Utah spring break destination so try visiting at the beginning of the month to avoid the crowds. (Recommended by Natalie, Always Have A Trip Planned)

Moab Lodging & Tours

Forrest Gump Road
Forrest Gump Road heading into Monument Valley

Monument Valley in Arizona/Utah in March

One of the best places to visit in the Southwest in March is Monument Valley. At the border of Utah and Arizona, this expansive region of red soil and giant sandstone buttes was first made famous by Western movies from the 1960s and 1970s.

The end of winter brings warmer temperatures to the high desert, with daily highs reaching about 60 degrees. Any winter snow has mostly melted, and hiking is comfortable before the brutal summer heat kicks in.

There’s no real boundary of Monument Valley, as it’s just a vast region of desert. It does lie almost entirely within Navajo Nation and is thus Native American land, however. The Navajos have protected some of the most spectacular rock formations in Monument Valley Tribal Park.

Any visit to Monument Valley should include a scenic drive around the loop road and a hike around the buttes in the park. Be sure to also stop by Forest Gump Point for a photo at the iconic spot in the road where Tom Hanks’ famous character stopped his 3-year long run.

Monument Valley is one of the top places to visit in Utah in March! It will be a vacation you will never forget! (Recommended by Chris, Around The World With Me)

Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Forest National Park

Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona in March

Petrified Forest National Park, tucked in the northeastern corner of Arizona, is a hidden gem that’s perfect for a springtime getaway. 

The weather is still on the cool side in March, with daily highs in the low 60s and lows in the upper 20s. As the month wears on, you’ll get to see springtime blooms burst out of the rolling desert hills. 

One of the best US National Parks to visit in the spring, Petrified Forest is perfect for beginner hikers, with some easy, yet super interesting trails to explore. For example, head to the Blue Mesa Trail, where you’ll hike under the rim of a mesa and weave your way between indigo-hued badlands.

Alternatively, if you want to see the fossilized wood that the park is named after, head to the Crystal Forest Trail, where you’ll get panoramic views of the park’s rolling green hills, covered in seemingly endless pieces of petrified wood, dating back millions of years. (Recommended by Jess, Uprooted Traveler)

Lodging & Tours Near Petrified Forest

San Fernando Cathedral
San Fernando Cathedral

San Antonio, Texas in March

San Antonio is a vibrant city in Texas with many beautiful Instagrammable places for visitors, especially in March. The weather is sunny and perfect for a weekend or family visit.  

People take self-guided tours of the beautiful cathedrals of San Antonio. The famous “San Antonio – The Saga” light show of San Fernando Cathedral makes it a must-visit place. The Alamo is another popular historic place in the city. Visit the McNay Art Museum for paintings by Picasso and O’Keeffe.

The SeaWorld San Antonio is the perfect family-friendly marine park to visit during March for shows of dolphins and other sea creatures. Places like Brackenridge Park are popular destinations for hiking and picnics. The San Antonio Botanical Garden is at its peak with blooming plants. (Recommended by Ruma, The Holiday Story)

San Antonio Lodging & Tours

Camelback Mountain
Camelback Mountain

Scottsdale, Arizona in March

Scottsdale is one of the top destinations in the U.S. Southwest to visit in March. March brings prime pool season, pleasant weather for outdoor activities like hiking and golf, the beginning of Arizona’s wildflower season, and MLB spring training in Scottsdale.

You can expect warm temperatures and low humidity in March, with average highs reaching 78°F and lows around 46°F. It’s one of the few places where you can wear a bathing suit during the day and need a light jacket during the cooler desert nights.

March is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy all the desert has to offer. Take a stroll through the Desert Botanical Garden or hike one of the popular trails nearby, such as Camelback Mountain, Pinnacle Peak, and Gateway Loop Trail. 

Not a fan of the outdoors? Don’t fret. Located right in the heart of Scottsdale, Old Town offers a variety of bars and restaurants for those wanting a lively atmosphere. P.S. You’ll likely run into groups celebrating special occasions, as Scottsdale is a popular destination for bachelor and bachelorette parties.

There are also several nearby museums, including Scottsdale’s Museum of the West and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West (UNESCO World Heritage site). All in all, Scottsdale provides a wide range of experiences for every traveler. (Recommended by Devon, Say Yes to the Trip)

Scottsdale Lodging & Tours

St. George hiking
St. George hiking

St. George, Utah in March

St. George is the often-overlooked neighbor to Zion National Park and a top early spring escape for sunshine and outdoor exploration. In almost every direction, St. George is surrounded by beautiful landscapes and unique red rock features, creating a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

Enjoy a variety of things to do in St. George like hiking, biking, off-roading, climbing, canyoneering, and more. The best part is, all these outdoor activities are accessible even in the middle of March.

Hikers will not want to miss the stunning red rocks of Snow Canyon State Park. ATV riders will enjoy exploring the red sand dunes at Sand Hollow State Park.

The Tuacahn Center of Arts boasts spectacular broadway shows at the magnificent outdoor amphitheater that’s surrounded by 1,500-foot red rock cliffs in the mouth of Padre Canyon!

And while you’re in the area, you can’t miss visiting Utah’s top national park! A visit to Zion National Park in March often means the landscape is graced with a beautiful dusting of snow that contrasts against the red rock!

March is one of the best times to visit St. George thanks to minimal crowds and rising temperatures of winter averaging a high of 68° and only 4 days of rain. (Recommended by Gabi, Nomads With A Purpose)

Where to Stay Near St. George

Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park

Tucson, Arizona in March

Tucson, Arizona, is a wonderful place to visit in March. With 340 days of sunshine, you won’t be disappointed. March’s average temperatures are high at 80 degrees and low at 43 degrees. 

The Tucson Festival of Books happens on the second weekend of March. This literary event is for book enthusiasts of all ages. Best part? Admission is completely free! Certain author events might require a small fee. And the location? The festival occurs on the picturesque University of Arizona mall, known for its pedestrian-friendly atmosphere.

Did you know that Tucson is recognized as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy? Say goodbye to generic chain restaurants and embrace this city’s unique and flavorful options. Tucson also offers the “best 23 miles of Mexican food.” Whether you’re a foodie or simply seeking a delicious experience, a trip to Tucson will satisfy your taste buds. Don’t leave Tucson without trying a Sonoran Hot Dog from El Guero Canelo!

Experience a few day trips from Tucson. In March, Phoenix is home to MLB Spring Training. Enjoy wine tastings in Sonorita or Willcox. Explore the towns of Tombstone, Bisbee, or Tubac for an authentic taste of the Old West. These unique Southwestern gems offer a glimpse into a bygone era, complete with historic architecture and local cultures.

Tucson has many opportunities for outside activities. It is home to the Saguaro National Park and the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum. There are wonderful hiking trails at Sabino Canyon and Mount Lemmon. Rent a bike and explore The Loop, 137 miles of car-free trails for cyclists, walkers, and runners to enjoy. Over 35 golf courses are in the Tucson area, making golf popular. (Recommended by Becky, Cultivate Traveling)

Tucson Lodging & Tours

CLICK TO SHOP FOR US NATIONAL PARK GUIDES & MAPS

national park guides and maps

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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