If you’re looking for US travel ideas during the winter, add the Southwest to your list.
You can find something for everyone when you plan a winter vacation in the Southwest USA.
The US Southwest is a region filled with stunning landscapes and cultural attractions to explore and photograph.
During the winter, the temperatures are more moderate for hiking in Arizona or New Mexico. You can embrace winter cold and snowshoe around the trails in Bryce Canyon in Utah!
You’ll find so many ideas of things to do in the Southwest USA, the hard part will be deciding what NOT to add to your bucket list!
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Southwest USA Packing List
When you are visiting the US Southwest it is important to be prepared. This includes wearing the proper clothes and shoes to be comfortable for the climate and the terrain.
→ CHECK OUT: National park packing lists for spring, summer, fall, and winter!
- Merrell Moab hiking shoes or Oboz hiking shoes
- Darn Tough hiking socks
- Water – carry a hydration pack or a refillable water bottle in your backpack
- Healthy food that’s portable and filling!
- Columbia fleece jacket
- Wicking, quick-drying clothing
- Lip balm with UV protection
- Sun protection – sunscreen (even in the winter) and a sunhat
- UV sunglasses are good for summer and winter
- Travel hand sanitizer
- Flashlight or headlamp
- Southwest USA travel guides and maps
- First aid kit
- Insect repellent
- Camera gear – DOWNLOAD the free checklist!
Best Times to Visit the US Southwest
One of the first things you need to research is what it’s like visiting these locations at various times during the year to decide when it’s the best time 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 visiting the Southwest because the temperatures are best for outdoor activities, but they are the most crowded times as well. Summer is HOT in the Southwest. It’s not our favorite time to visit.
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 (GyPSy Guide)
“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 Southwest USA
Check out all the activities, tours, and things to photograph in the US Southwest.
Road Trips in the Southwest
If you’re looking for the best way to explore the states in the Southwest, we recommend a US Southwest 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 Southwest
You’ll find beautiful scenic drives at various National Parks and other locations in the Southwest USA.
- 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
Hiking in the Southwest
Hiking is one of the best ways to experience the US Southwest, and 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
Southwest USA Photography
The American Southwest is a landscape photographer’s dream! The arches, balanced rocks, hoodoos, and river-carved canyons 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 Photography
- Guide to Kanab Photography
Ideas To Plan A Winter Vacation in the Southwest USA
For this article, we’re sharing information about visiting these five Southwest US states: Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.
Arizona Winter Vacation Ideas
Winter is the perfect time hike along the desert spires, river canyons, and mazes of red rock formations in Arizona… without the heat! Here are a list of places to visit and things to do in the winter in Arizona.
- Grand Canyon in the Winter
- Antelope Canyon in the Winter
- Horseshoe Bend in the Winter
- Monument Valley in the Winter
- Sedona, Arizona in the Winter
Arizona Winter Tours
- Antelope Canyon Tours
- Grand Canyon Tours: Helicopter Tours, Grand Canyon Railway
- Sedona Tours: Jeep and ATV Tours, E-bike Tours
Colorado Winter Vacation Ideas
The southern part of Colorado is a wonderful place to explore the native history of this region. Here are a list of places to visit and things to do in the winter in Colorado.
- Mesa Verde National Park in the Winter
- The Great Sand Dunes in the Winter
- Black Canyon of the Gunnison in the Winter
- Garden of the Gods in the Winter
- Winter Getaways in Colorado
- Colorado Tours: Jeep Tours, Zipline Tours
Nevada Winter Vacation Ideas
The winter season in southern Nevada is just about perfect for outdoor activities. There are plenty of things to do in Nevada during the winter months:
- Grand Canyon West Rim in the Winter
- Valley of Fire State Park in the Winter
- Hoover Dam
- Red Rock Canyon in the Winter
- Las Vegas in the Winter
- Nevada Tours: Jeep and ATV Tours, Helicopter Tours, Hoover Dam Tour
New Mexico Winter Vacation Ideas
You can’t beat New Mexico during the winter months to enjoy outdoor activities. There are plenty of things to do in New Mexico in the winter:
- White Sands National Park in the Winter
- Carlsbad Caverns National Park in the Winter
- Chaco Culture National Historical Park
- Bandelier National Monument Hike
- Petroglyph National Monument
- Southern New Mexico Road Trip
New Mexico Tours
Southern Utah Winter Vacation Ideas
The contrast of white snow against the red rock landscape in Southern Utah in the winter is stunning! There are plenty of places to visit and things to do in Southern Utah during the winter months:
- Utah in the Winter
- Arches National Park in the Winter
- Bryce Canyon in the Winter
- Canyonlands National Park in the Winter
- Capitol Reef National Park in the Winter
- Zion National Park in the Winter
- List of Utah State Parks
- Moab in the Winter
Use these travel guides, itineraries, and tour ideas to plan the perfect itinerary to explore the area!