40+ US Southwest National Parks Guides, Tips, and Packing Lists
We have created a list of US Southwest National Parks guides, tips, and packing checklists to help you plan your trip.
People often ask us for US National Park vacation ideas, especially for the parks in the American Southwest, where we live.
We’ve asked our travel friends to share their guides and tips for visiting National Parks by state in the Southwest USA: Arizona, Southern California, Southern Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah.
You’ll find 40+ resources for planning the perfect US Southwest vacation to visit the National Parks in this region of the country.
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A Photo Tour of Utah National Parks
Take a visual tour through all five Utah National Parks to see the stunning landscapes you’ll see when you visit!
Southwest National Parks Guides, Tips, and Packing Lists
Here's a list of US National Parks in the Southwest by state: Arizona, Southern California, Southern Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah
Arizona National Parks
Arizona National Park Guides and Tips to plan your vacation.
The Ultimate Grand Canyon Trip-Planning Guide
Having worked at the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, I understand the most important elements that go into planning a trip there for families, hikers, or day trippers!
Things to Do Near the Grand Canyon South Rim, Desert View Watchtower & More
Seeing the Grand Canyon is something that pretty much everyone in America wants to see or SHOULD want to see! Nothing can prepare you for the majestic and awe-inspiring site. There are also lots of great things to do near the Grand Canyon South Rim your entire party will enjoy.
6 Reasons to Skip the Grand Canyon on your Next Family Road Trip
The Grand Canyon is the jewel of the American National Park system. A must-see on every family cross-country road trip. But here’s my confession: I just don’t think it’s great for families. These reasons to skip the Grand Canyon are based on our experience visiting the South Rim.
Photographing the Grand Canyon: Tips For Beginners
The Grand Canyon is so epic in proportions it can feel more daunting to photograph it. Well, have no fear. We are here to share with you some Grand Canyon photography tips for beginners.
One Day in Petrified Forest National Park: A Complete Guide
If you plan on making a pitstop at the Petrified Forest National Park (good choice!), here’s everything you need to know about having an awesome day, from where to stay to the most photogenic spots in the park.
Petrified Forest National Park: Fossils, Petroglyphs and the Painted Desert
If you’re looking for desert, beautiful landscapes, petroglyphs, fossils and Route 66, it’s all to be found in Petrified Forest National Park.
Saguaro East Vs. West Showdown: Which Side Of Saguaro Is Better?
The big question when planning a trip is which side of Saguaro National Park is better, and I’m here to help you pick a side.
75 Photos That Will Have You Planning A Trip To See Saguaro Cactus Right Now
I know you’ll want to make a trip to Arizona to see Saguaros in real life after seeing these photos because they’re amazing!
Southern California National Parks
National Park Guides and Tips to plan a vacation to the parks in Southern California.
20 Death Valley Travel Tips Guide: What to Know Before You Go
Death Valley is one of the most unique National Parks we have visited so far. With unique landscapes and some extreme conditions, you might be wondering how to prepare for your trip. In this Death Valley travel guide, I am covering 20 Death Valley travel tips to know before visiting!
An Epic Drive through Death Valley
Death Valley National Park is huge at almost 3.5 million acres, but it if you drive through Death Valley you can see the top sights easily in one day!
Day Trip to Joshua Tree: a 24 hour itinerary
A day trip to Joshua Tree National Park is very manageable from big surrounding cities and with only 24 hours, you can still see the main highlights of the park.
Joshua Tree with Kids: Hiking and Camping Guide
Joshua Tree National Park highlights, including the best hikes in Joshua Tree for families and an overview of Joshua Tree camping.
Southern Colorado National Parks
Southern Colorado National Park Guides and Tips to plan your vacation.
Plan an Epic Drive through Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
The best way to drive through Black Canyon is by travel along along the South Rim of the canyon. There are 12 scenic overlooks along the South Rim Drive, many with short trails that are easy out-and-back walks.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison: Ultimate Guide to Both Rims
This Black Canyon of the Gunnison travel guide has been written to help with planning and expectations for your visit to the park. In it, you will find all pertinent information including what to see, where to stay, suggested itineraries, and more.
How to Spend One Day in Great Sand Dunes National Park
Are you wondering how to spend the perfect one day in Great Sand Dunes National Park? Well, you’re in luck! I’m a Colorado local, and I’ve taken many trips to this park from Denver.
Great Sand Dunes National Park Camping: Tips, Campgrounds, & More!
If you’re visiting Colorado and looking for an incredibly unique camping experience, Great Sand Dunes National Park camping should be high on your list of options!
Tips for Sand Sledding in Great Sand Dunes National Park
Sand sledding at Great Sand Dunes National Park can be a ton of fun for the whole family. A few tips for sand sledding to help you get started will make this sport more fun and your sledding more effective. Here is our best advice for how to sand sled on these amazing sand dunes.
Mesa Verde And Its Spectacular Cliff Dwellings: History And How To Visit
This guide to Mesa Verde National Park includes the history and how to visit the sites in this park preserving archaeological structures.
Visiting Mesa Verde National Park with Kids
Guide to visiting Mesa Verde with kids: things to see and do. Kids will enjoy seeing the ancient dwellings and learning about the people who built them!
Nevada National Parks
Tips and guides for visiting the one National Park in Nevada.
Epic Guide to Great Basin National Park in Nevada
Epic Guide to Great Basin National Park in Nevada including things to do, Lehman Caves, camping, hiking, nearby lodging, and so much more.
8 Reasons You Need To Visit Great Basin National Park Next
Great Basin is in the literal middle of nowhere Nevada. It’s actually on the Loneliest Road in America so I mean literal middle of nowhere. It’s an alpine paradise in the middle of the desert with so many unique features that are pretty hard to beat. I would definitely say it’s an underrated national park and absolutely deserves to be on your bucket list..
New Mexico National Parks
New Mexico National Park guides and tips to plan your trip!
Carlsbad Caverns National Park: A Comprehensive Guide
In this comprehensive guide to Carlsbad Caverns NP, we will explain everything you need to know for planning your visit. This includes all pertinent information about making your reservations for the park (mandatory!), guided options, where to stay nearby, and other things to do on your visit.
Carlsbad Caverns Big Room: The Most Amazing Cave
Carlsbad Caverns Big Room is a truly enormous underground cave, full of beautiful limestone formations and underground lakes. Here's everything you need to know about visiting this cave!
9 Tips for Enjoying Sunset at White Sands National Park
When I had the chance to witness sunset at White Sands National Monument I did not pass it up…and neither should you! Here are all my tips for experiencing the sunset at White Sands.
Epic Guide to White Sands National Park in New Mexico!
Located in the South of New Mexico is a gem of nature, White Sands National Park. It is America's 62nd National Park and guaranteed to be like no other national park you've ever been to.
Texas National Parks
Guides and tips for visiting the National Parks in Texas.
Big Bend National Park: The Best Family Hiking Trails
Heading to Big Bend and looking for the best family hiking trails? We recently returned from a family hiking trip to Big Bend. I’ve put together this list of the best day hikes in Big Bend (all kid friendly hiking trails).
How to Spend an Epic Week in Big Bend National Park
Guadalupe Mountains National Park: The ULTIMATE Guide
This guide is a collection of the must-see destinations in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. If you are short on time, plan wisely and focus on these top sights.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park - What to See and Do
What makes this park unique is that there are very few roads to access the park’s most famous sights and viewpoints. However, with just a short walk, you can easily see some pretty impressive sights, making it good for all ages.
Boondocking in Guadalupe Mountains National Park
All about boondocking in Guadalupe Mountains National Park since there is no nearby “gateway town” to base yourself in when visting this park in Texas.
Utah National Parks
Resources to help you plan a trip to visit the Utah National Parks.
Arches National Park Scenic Drive: 13 Points of Interest
This guide details the 13 points of interest along the scenic drive in Arches and tips for things to see, do and photograph at each stop.
The Best Hikes in Arches National Park
Arches National Park has some of the best hikes, given that most are fairly easy and short with a high reward, i.e. great views at the end. Here are all of the trails we did and can, therefore, recommend.
Canyonlands in One Day - Don't Miss this Underrated National Park!
Canyonlands in an utterly massive National Park with distinct, sprawling districts. Of all the Utah Mighty 5, I think Canyonlands is the hardest to see in just one day. However, it’s really easy to see the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands in one day! If you’re in the Moab area, you absolutely have to budget at least one day to visit Canyonlands National Park.
Visit Needles Canyonlands National Park
Use this jam-packed guide to help you get ready to take a vacation to Needles Canyonlands: what to pack, where to stay, things to do and more!
Arches vs Canyonlands: Which National Park is Best? Itinerary for Two Parks in One Day
Many visitors don’t have time for both, so we’ll help you decide between Canyonlands vs Arches based on your interests. Arches and Canyonlands are both pretty amazing but they offer fairly different National Park experiences. To decide which is better between the two you’ll need to identify your travel style and goals while visiting Arches or Canyonlands.
Bryce Canyon National Park - Hiking through Hoodoos, Wonderful Views
Guide to visiting Bryce Canyon detailing the hiking trails and overlooks in the park. There's something to see and do for all interests and age levels.
One Day in Bryce Canyon National Park: Everything You Need to Know
If you are short on time, this guide has everything from where to stay, where to watch sunset, and of course, where to hike, to make the most of your one day in Bryce Canyon National Park.
What to do in Capitol Reef National Park in One Day
Are you wondering what to do in Capitol Reef National Park in one day? Find out everything you need to know – including where to stay and dine! – in this complete guide.
24 Amazing Things to do at Capitol Reef
Capitol Reef is my favorite Utah National park. I mean there are fewer crowds, homemade pie, pick-your-own orchards, epic hikes, beautiful views and short drive times. Capitol Reef has something for everyone including history buffs and adventure addicts.
What to do in Zion National Park: Best Activities and Hikes
Zion National Park has lots of dramatic scenery filled with rainbow-colored sharp peaks and deep twisting canyons. The Virgin River carves its way through the park and was one of the highlights of our Zion National Park activities. No matter the physical ability of your group, everyone will find a way to explore Zion National Park.
How to Plan Your Epic Three-Day Zion Adventure
Best known for its incredible canyons, Zion is one of the world’s most popular places for canyoneering and offers other activities like hiking, camping, backpacking, climbing and more. Here's our suggested 3-day itinerary for Zion.
Best Time to Visit Utah National Parks
Determining the best time to visit Utah National Parks depends on what you want to see and do. We’ve got everything you need to know to help you decide WHEN to visit the amazing national parks in Utah.
Plan a US National Park Vacation
- National Parks by State
- US National Parks Pass
- US National Park Packing List
- US National Parks to Visit With Kids
- Best National Parks to Visit by Month
- 63 Fun Facts about US National Parks