The American Southwest is a spectacular region full of incredible natural sights to behold. From the towering sandstone cliffs of Monument Valley to the awe-inspiring views of the Grand Canyon, the region offers many photogenic locations.
If you’re looking for US travel ideas during the summer, be sure to add the Southwest to your list. We’ve put together a great list of ideas for summer vacations in the Southwest USA.
You’ll see amazing landscapes and history with these US Southwest vacation ideas! Summer isn’t the most ideal time of year for outdoor activities in Arizona, New Mexico, Southern Utah and Southern Colorado due to the heat.
But if you need to plan your vacation at this time, you’ll find quite a few ideas of things to do in the summer in the US Southwest.
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Best Times to Visit the US Southwest
This article is all about visiting the Southwest in the spring. But we always recommend you research is what it’s like visiting specific destination at various times during the year to decide when it’s the best time for YOU to go!
- Best Time to Visit Arizona
- Best Time to Visit Colorado
- Best Time to Visit Nevada
- Best Time to Visit New Mexico
- Best Time to Visit Utah
- Best Time to Visit Utah National Parks
Spring and fall are the most popular times for because the temperatures are best for outdoor activities, but they are also the most crowded times as well.
We prefer winter Southwest vacations to avoid the crowds and heat. Yes, some locations will be cold with possible rain and snow storms occurring any time, but we pack for the weather and know we need to be flexible!
USA AUDIO TOURS (GuideAlong)
“Download the app to your phone – no cell or wifi service needed. Based on your GPS location, the app takes you on a guided tour of the area and points out all the interesting features and stops. It’s like having a guide in the car with you.”
Activities To Do in the American Southwest
Check out all the activities, tours, and things to photograph in the US Southwest.
Road Trips in the Southwest USA
If you’re looking for the best way to explore the states in the Southwest, we recommend planning a road trip!
- American Southwest Road Trip Guide
- Southwest USA Road Trip
- Route 66 Roadside Attractions
- Utah National Park Road Trip Itinerary
Scenic Drives in the American Southwest
You’ll find beautiful scenic drives at various National Parks and other locations in the US Southwest.
- Arches National Park Scenic Drive
- Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive
- Canyonlands Island in the Sky Scenic Drive
- Capitol Reef Scenic Drive
- Zion National Park Scenic Drives
- Best Stops Along Scenic Byway 12
US Southwest Hiking Trails
Hiking in the Southwest is the best way to really see the spectacular landscapes up close!
- Arches National Park Hiking Trails
- Bryce Canyon Hikes
- Canyonlands Hikes
- Capitol Reef Hikes
- Zion National Park Hikes
- Sedona, Arizona Hiking Trails
Photographing the American Southwest
The states in the US Southwest feature landscapes with arches, balanced rocks, hoodoos, and river-carved canyons that provide stunning photographic opportunities.
- Arches National Park Photography
- Bryce Canyon Photo Spots
- Canyonlands National Park Photography
- Capitol Reef National Park Photography
- Zion National Park Photography
- Guide to Moab, Utah Photography
- Guide to Kanab, Utah Photography
Ideas for Summer Vacations in the Southwest
For this article, we’re sharing information about visiting these five Southwest US states in the spring: Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. We’ll highlight things you can do at US Southwest National Parks in the summer as well!
Arizona Summer Vacation Ideas
When visiting Arizona you’ll see desert spires, river canyons, and mazes of red rock formations. Here are a list of places to visit and things to do in the summer in Arizona.
Arizona Summer Tours
- Antelope Canyon Tours
- Grand Canyon Tours: Helicopter Tours, Grand Canyon Railway
- Sedona Tours: Jeep and ATV Tours, E-bike Tours
Colorado Summer Vacation Ideas
You’ll enjoy learning about the native history of this region in the southern part of Colorado. Here are a list of places to visit and things to do in the summer in Colorado.
- Mesa Verde in the Summer
- Great Sand Dune National Park
- Black Canyon of the Gunnison
- Garden of the Gods
Colorado Summer Tours
- Colorado Tours: Jeep Tours, Zipline Tours
Nevada Summer Vacation Ideas
The summer months in southern Nevada are stifling, especially for outdoor activities. There are plenty of things to do in Nevada in the summer if you plan them during the cooler morning and evenings:
Nevada Summer Tours
- Nevada Tours: Jeep and ATV Tours, Helicopter Tours, Hoover Dam Tour
New Mexico Summer Vacation Ideas
Summer time in New Mexico is HOT, but there are plenty of things to do in New Mexico during the cooler times of day:
- White Sands National Park
- Carlsbad Caverns National Park
- Chaco Culture National Historical Park
- Bandelier National Monument
- Petroglyph National Monument
- Southern New Mexico Road Trip
New Mexico Summer Tours
Utah Summer Vacation Ideas
The Southern Utah landscape is full of arches, hoodoos, balanced rocks, and red rock canyons! There are plenty of places to visit and things to do in Southern Utah in the summer:
- Utah National Parks in the Summer
- List of Utah State Parks
- Arches National Park in the Summer
- Bryce Canyon National Park in the Summer
- Canyonlands National Park in the Summer
- Capitol Reef National Park in the Summer
- Zion National Park in the Summer
- Moab in the Summer
Utah Summer Tours
- Arches National Park Tours
- Bryce Canyon National Park Tours
- Canyonlands National Park Tours
- Capitol Reef National Park Tours
- Zion National Park Tours
- Moab Tours
Use these travel guides, itineraries, and tour ideas to plan the perfect itinerary to explore the area!