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 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!
Some of the links on this site are affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, we may earn a small commission – at no extra cost to you! Read the full Disclosure Policy.
What States are Considered in the Southwest?
The states that are considered Southwest are:
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- New Mexico
Map of Summer Vacation Destinations in the Southwest
Use this map of summer vacation destinations in the Southwest to plan your trip!
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.
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!
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
- Where to Stay Near Arches National Park
- Places to Stay Near Arches National Park
- Hotels Near Arches National Park
- Arches National Park Camping
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!
Where to Stay Near Bryce Canyon
- Bryce Canyon Places to Stay
- Bryce Canyon Hotels
- Bryce Canyon National Park Camping
- Bryce Canyon National Park RV Vacation
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.
Lodging & Tours Near Garden of the Gods
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.
Lodging & Tours in Sedona, Arizona
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.
Check out all these Yellowstone vacation tips to help you plan your daily itinerary!
Places to stay in West Yellowstone
- Holiday Inn, West Yellowstone
- ClubHouse Inn, West Yellowstone
- Kelly Inn, West Yellowstone
- West Yellowstone hotels!
Places to stay in Gardiner
- 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!
- Gardiner hotels!
Places to stay in Cooke City or Silver Gate
- 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!
- Rent an RV – have it dropped off at your vacation destination!