9 Summer Vacations in the Southwest You Don’t Want to Miss

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.

9 southwest usa summer vacation ideas

You’ll see amazing landscapes and history with these US Southwest vacation ideas!

Use this guide to plan a fabulous summer vacation visiting the American southwest with things to do, what to pack and where to stay!

summer national park packing list optin
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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 

Map of Summer Vacation Destinations in the Southwest

Use this map of summer vacation destinations in the Southwest to plan your trip!

Map of summer vacation destinations in the southwest

9 Favorite Summer Vacations in the Southwest

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

Here are 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. 

Turret Arch Utah National Park in the spring

Arches National Park in the Summer

Planning an Arches National Park summer vacation means hot temperatures so we recommend hitting the park early to avoid the heat and crowds.

Leave the park when it gets hot to enjoy time at the pool at your hotel during the day. You can then re-enter the park in the early evening when the temperatures begin to cool down. Definitely stay after the sun sets to enjoy a star-filled sky!

While visiting you will want to take advantage of the amazing Arches National Park hiking trails that vary in length and skill level.

Driving along the Arches National Park scenic drive in your air-conditioned car is another way to beat the heat of the day!

take jaw-dropping photos at Arches & Canyonlands

Arches is definitely a photographers dream. So check out the amazing Arches National Park photography spots and our Arches & Canyonlands Itinerary and Photography Guide with tips and best times to take pictures at each point of interest

Where to Stay Near Arches National Park

Bryce Canyon sunrise in the summer.

Bryce Canyon National Park in the Summer

Bryce Canyon National Park in the summer is one of the most epic places to visit in the southwest. You soon realize it’s not really a canyon, but it’s the most amazing carved amphitheaters that showcase the most colorful formations. 

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

Definitely explore the Bryce Canyon scenic drive! All the Bryce Canyon views are amazing photo spots you won’t want to miss. 

Where to Stay Near Bryce Canyon

Carlsbad Caverns in the Summer 

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 in the Summer

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 North Rim

Grand Canyon North Rim in the Summer

The Grand Canyon North Rim 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. 

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 Grand Canyon 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 in the Summer

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 in the Summer

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

Photographers far and wide swarm to Sedona, Arizona to photograph the beautiful red rock 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

Grand Prismatic at Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park in the Summer

It is no surprise that a Yellowstone summer vacation would be on this list! Millions of people visit Yellowstone each summer to see the beauty that it has to offer.

Don’t let this scare you though. The park is so big you won’t feel like there are millions of people visiting with you.

One of our favorite things to do is photograph the Yellowstone waterfalls and explore the beautiful Yellowstone scenic drives.

Check out all these Yellowstone vacation tips to help you plan your daily itinerary!

Places to stay in West Yellowstone

Places to stay in Gardiner

Places to stay in Cooke City or Silver Gate

plan your dream vacation to yellowstone

Where To Go For Summer Vacation in the USA

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