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Southwest U.S.

Welcome to the Ultimate Southwest United States Travel Guide!

This region consists of these states: Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.

The Southwest United States is known for arid deserts, red rock landscapes, rugged mountains, the Alamo, and natural wonders like the Grand Canyon, Big Bend, and Monument Valley.

Whatever kind of adventure you want to have in the Southwest, this guide has everything you need for planning a trip!

Ready to plan your trip? Then here’s your ultimate Southwest United States travel guide!
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Know Before You Go

Towns and gas stations can be few and far between in some parts of the Southwest. So make sure you always have enough gas to get where you’re going.

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Top Cities to Visit

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Apache Junction, Arizona

Galveston, Texas

Roswell, New Mexico

San Antonio, Texas

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Sedona, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Waco, Texas

Best Time To Visit

Autumn

Fall is a fantastic season to visit the Southwest because the temperatures have cooled off, but the days are still long and sunny. The foliage will be changing colors – the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is spectacular. Plus, prices and tourist numbers will be decreasing from the peak summer season.

You’ll want layers for the mornings and evenings, and in late-October and November, you’ll need warmer layers for the whole day.

Route 66 is particularly lovely during Fall because you won’t risk inclement weather or encounter as many tourists as the rest of the year.

Winter

In Winter, you can choose between snow or no snow in the Southwest. For snow sports, you’ll want to stay at Taos Ski Valley, Angel Fire Resort. Arizona’s Sunrise Resort, or the Arizona Snowbowl.

But if you want to escape the snow, then many of the southern parks and cities will have relatively mild temperatures in the mid-40sºF (around 7ºC) during the day. You’ll want warm layers, especially in the mornings and evenings.

Winter is the low travel season for the Southwest. So prices and tourist numbers will be at some of their lowest. The exceptions to this are the ski resorts and around Christmas and New Year’s.

Some National Parks will have trail or road closures, so make sure you check in advance whether a trek or drive is open.

Spring

The warm pleasant days and refreshingly cool nights make Spring an excellent time to visit. Wildflowers will be blooming, especially Texas bluebonnets. And this is the start of the rodeo season!

All roads and trails will re-open, and as long as you avoid the peak Spring Break weeks from mid-March to early April, the crowds and prices will still be relatively low.

You’ll still want warm layers for the mornings and evenings and in the higher elevations.

Summer

Summer days are sunny and have the perfect daytime weather in the mid-70s to low-80s°F (24-28°C), and the nights are warm enough to camp out under the stars.

But be aware that, like most places in the U.S., summer is the peak travel season because of school breaks, so crowds and prices will be at their highest. Route 66 is particularly crowded this time of year.

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The Most Scenic Drives

Enchanted Circle in New Mexico

Grand Canyon Loop

Kayenta-Monument Valley Scenic Road in Arizona

Red Rock Route in Arizona

Red Rock Scenic Byway in Arizona

Route 66

The High Road between Santa Fe and Taos in New Mexico

Willow City Loop in Texas

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Best National & State Parks to Visit

Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico

Big Bend National Park, Texas

Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

Glass Mountains State Park, Oklahoma

Grand Canyon

Monument Valley, Arizona

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

White Sands National Park, New Mexico

My Must-Have Guide Books

Must-Do Excursions

See Montezuma Castle National Monument in Arizona

Paddle on Lake Powell in Arizona

Visit the Grand Canyon

Drive Route 66

Visit Taos Pueblo in New Mexico

Lounge on South Padre Island in Texas

Visit the South Padre Island in Oklahoma

Swim in Turner Falls in Oklahoma

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Shop My Travel Essentials

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Local Foods To Try

Albondigas de Pollo

Arizona Cheese Crisp

Cactus Fries

Chile Relleno

Enchilada Casserole

Green Chile Cheeseburger

Huevos Rancheros

King Ranch Chicken

Pozole

Sopapillas

Stuffed Peppers

Tamale Pie

Have you been to this region? Comment below with anything you’d add to this Southwest United States travel guide!
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This travel guide is not a sponsored post, and, as always, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely my own. Some of the links in this guide are affiliate links, and, at no cost to you, I may earn a small commission.

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