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There are a million different summer vacation ideas which makes it so hard to decide where to go!

But we’d like to suggest these ideas for summer vacations in the southwest.

You’ll see amazing landscapes and history on a road trip through the Southwest USA.

Use this guide to plan a fabulous summer vacation visiting the American southwest:

  • What states are considered in the southwest?
  • Summer vacation ideas in the American southwest
  • Map of summer vacation destinations in the southwest
  • 9 fun summer vacation destinations in the southwest US

Places to Visit in the Summer in the Southwest

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What states are considered in the Southwest?

The states that are considered Southwest are:

  • Montana
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Wyoming
  • Utah
  • Colorado
  • New Mexico
  • Arizona
  • Texas
  • Oklahoma
  • Arkansas
  • Louisiana 
travel planning made easy

Summer Vacations In The Southwest

There are so many great places to go on summer vacations in the southwest.

Here’s a few great Southwest US road trip ideas that allow you to see so many fantastic sites, National Parks and other great places throughout the southwest. 

Southwest USA Road Trip: 55 Itineraries and Activities

Utah National Parks in the Summer

Map of Summer Vacation Destinations in the Southwest

Map of summer vacation destinations in the southwest

9 Favorite Summer Vacations in the Southwest

Arches National Park

If you haven’t been to Arches National Park then you have to plan to go there very soon. 

Turret Arch Utah National Park in the spring

At Arches, you will be in awe of the magnificent monuments and scenery you will see as you drive and hike around the park.

While visiting you will want to take advantage of the amazing Arches hikes that vary in length and skill level. A must-do hike is Devil’s garden trail for sure. 

Arches is definitely a photographers dream. So if you love photography be sure you don’t miss the best places to take pictures at Arches

We have a massive travel guide to Arches to help you plan your visit as well!

Arches is the perfect destination to add to your summer vacation in the southwest. 

Where to Stay Near Arches:

→ Places to stay near Arches National Park in Moab

  • Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Moab – we enjoyed our stay and highly recommend this hotel due to its location close to Arches.
  • Purple Sage – our all-time favorite place to stay in Moab – walking distance to shopping, full kitchen, and only 8 units so you don’t feel lost in a large hotel.  → Book the Purple Sage via Airbnb
  • Red Cliffs Lodge – rooms up to 6 people – located 17 miles from Moab, this lodge is known for its beautiful location, winery and activities like horseback riding, fishing and more!
  • Vacation Rentals – we really like rentals with a kitchen, washer and dryer and amenities like a swimming pool and hot tub.
National Park Planner free download

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon is one of the most epic places to visit in the southwest in the summer. Once you arrive here you will realize you are not really visiting a canyon, but are visiting the most amazing carved amphitheaters that showcase the most colorful formations. 

Bryce Canyon sunrise in the summer.

There is plenty of hiking, ranger-led programs, backpacking, horseback riding, star gazing, and more.  If you want to experience the best hike at Bryce Canyon then Navajo Loop Queen’s Garden trail is a must! 

Not only that but the Bryce Canyon picture-perfect photo spots you won’t want to miss. 

To start planning your trip to Bryce Canyon, be sure to check out our ultimate guide to visiting Bryce Canyon to make sure you don’t miss a thing. 

Where to Stay near Bryce Canyon:

Carlsbad Caverns 

If you are wanting an exciting adventure in New Mexico, Carlsbad Canyon National Park is the place for you. 

With over 100 caves to explore you won’t be disappointed. At Carlsbad Caverns, you can do a self-guided tour, a ranger guided tour, or even an audio tour while you are visiting. 

There are several trails and even a bat flight program you won’t want to miss. 

Where to Stay Near Carlsbad Caverns

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods is one of those places that once you go, you will want to go back every time you visit Colorado. 

Located in Colorado Springs, Colorado you will find this majestic land where the sky is the limit. You can explore by car, jeep, segway, horseback, bike and foot and see all that Garden of the Gods has to offer. 

It is the perfect place to visit with kids because Garden of the Gods makes it so easy and fun for kids to explore.

There is no wonder why Garden of the Gods is one of the highly ranked parks to see in the United States. 

Plan your trip to Garden of the Gods

Lodging & Tours Near Garden of the Gods

Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is perfect to visit during the summer months. 

Located in Northern Arizona there is so much to see and do. The most popular place to visit at the Grand Canyon is the South Rim followed by Grand Canyon West. 

View of Grand Canyon national park in the summer.

The North Rim is a hidden beauty, but not visited by as many people because it is only open May 15th through October 15th. 

So if you are wanting to see the North Rim be sure to visit in the summer months. 

There are so many things to do at North Rim such as hiking, scenic drives, biking, and lots of trails to go on. 

Not only that, but there are several lodging places as well as campsites you can stay at while visiting the Grand Canyon. 

Grand Canyon Lodging & Tours

Lake Powell

Lake Powell is located in both Arizona and Utah and is absolutely perfectly breathtaking. 

Lake Powell in about 200 miles with 1900 miles of shores. There are over 90 canyons that you can visit by boat or kayak. 

The views are absolutely incredible which you can see from Glen Canyon Bridge. 

The best way to see Lake Powell and all its beauty is by boat. 

Lodging & Tours in Page, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona

If you are looking for a summer vacation in the southwest to relax, check Sedona, Arizona. 

If you are looking for the most beautiful landscape with red rocks all around this is the place. 

Photographers far and wide swarm to Sedona, Arizona to photograph the beautiful landscape seen here. 

While in Sedona they make it easy to relax, explore various canyons, hike, mountain bike, and more. 

Sedona is free of humidity making it the perfect escape from the summer heat that you are used to during summer throughout the country.  

Arizona Road Trip

Lodging & Tours in Sedona, Arizona

Yellowstone

It is no surprise that Yellowstone is one of the most beautiful summer vacation destinations in the southwest. 

Grand Prismatic at Yellowstone

Millions of people visit Yellowstone each summer to see the beauty that it has to offer.

Don’t let this scare you though because you will not feel like there are millions of people visiting with you because there is so much to explore and see at Yellowstone in the summer. 

We have so many tips on planning the perfect Yellowstone vacation to make sure that your trip is the most memorable vacations you take.

Places to stay in West Yellowstone that we recommend:

Holiday Inn, West Yellowstone

ClubHouse Inn, West Yellowstone

Kelly Inn, West Yellowstone

→ CHECK OUT more West Yellowstone hotels!

Places to stay in Gardiner that we recommend:

Yellowstone Gateway Inn, Gardiner – full kitchen and comfy bed, one of our favorite places to stay!

Park Hotel Yellowstone, Gardiner – charming place to stay and loved by guests!

Absaroka Lodge, Gardiner – beautiful location with river views!

→ CHECK OUT more Gardiner hotels!

Places to stay in Cooke City or Silver Gate that we recommend:

Sunny Log Home on the Creek, Silver Gate (VRBO) – the most AMAZING location with an awesome fireplace and comfy bed!

High Country Motel and Cabins – local owners who love what they do, and make you feel so welcome!

Zion National Park

Zion National Park is a must-see destination. Zion National Park during the summer is the perfect time to visit.

Zion National Park in the summer

While visiting Zion you can embark on beautiful hikes in Zion as well as see some really epic places within the park. 

If you are planning to visit Zion National Park be sure to garb this planning guide to help you prepare for your trip so you won’t miss a thing. 

Where to Stay Near Zion

You definitely want to stay in Springdale which borders the entrance to Zion. Here are a few of our favorite places to stay close to Zion:

  • Holiday Inn Express – our favorite place to stay with an outdoor pool and amenities you’d find in a high end hotel
  • Zion Lodge – we haven’t had a chance to stay here yet, but you can’t go wrong staying right IN the park!
  • Under Canvas Zion – if you want to experience a less crowded part of Zion, this is the place! It’s in the Kolob section of the park.
  • Vacation Rentals in Springdale – you’ll want to stay in Springdale so you’re close to the park entrance and can walk to shopping and restaurants. 

Summer Vacation Ideas

Southwest USA Vacation Ideas

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Summer Vacation Ideas in the Southwest
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