Endless roads in an endless desert, remote towns, scenes out of an old western movie and one Grand Canyon. A trip to the American Southwest is a unique and unforgettable experience
A visit to the American Southwest was on our minds for quite some time. What can be better than hopping in your car and driving through some of the best desert scenery in the world. We traveled here during April, on the backside of a corporate gathering in Las Vegas, which made for a perfect and certainly the most fun base for exploring this part of the US.
Our trip would take us from the city that has artificially created some of the world’s best man-made sights to places where the only creator is nature. We planned to visit Monument Valley and Grand Canyon, both in Arizona. In between, we’d catch a glimpse of Navajo country and drive on the legendary Route 66.
From roads that are as straight as the eye can see to friendly small towns – this trip was a dream come true. There’s lots to see out here and you won’t be able to do it all but planning is essential to make the most of your Southwest USA travels.
What’s Included in this Southwest USA Travel Itinerary?
- Part 1: Las Vegas Strip, casinos, resorts, shopping & Cirque du Soleil [Skip To Page]
- Part 2: Scenic drive to Monument Valley, Glen Canyon Dam, Monument Valley tour & Flagstaff [Skip To Page]
- Part 3: Grand Canyon, Desert Drive & sunset in Grand Canyon [Skip To Page]
- Part 4: Route 66 & return to Las Vegas [Skip To Page]
Tips for Southwest USA Travel:
- Don’t leave home without the Rough Guide To Southwest USA! It’s got loads of photos, national park & small town info that, together with this guide, will be your best friend on this epic road trip. Also visiting Las Vegas? Grab the pocket guide as well.
- Even if it’s warm in Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, and Monument Valley can be chilly, especially after sunset. So be sure to check the weather reports and bring layers.
- Speaking of sunset, be sure to check out the sunset times for Grand Canyon and Monument Valley as these times will affect what you can do on a given day. Sunsets are one of the highlights of any Southwest USA travel holiday so be sure to experience one.
- Having a car is the ultimate freedom in the US and it’s highly recommended to explore this region with a car. Renting one is easy and inexpensive if you book in advance.
- On that note, many car rental companies have branches within the Vegas mega-resorts. It’s very convenient to rent from these locations but there will be a fee associated with this convenience.
- You really don’t want to get lost in the desert and while scenes like in the movie Breakdown will likely not happen, have a good roadmap with you. Grab one when you stop for some snacks at the gas station.
- Driving and stopping in small towns, diners and old gas stations are part of the fun. Don’t rush and leave enough time to enjoy the wide-open road.
- Vegas is for a long time more than just a gambling town. There are world-renowned shows on stage every night (music, magic, circus and more). Be sure to book in advance to guarantee availability but if you are a last-minute kind of person, check out Tix4Vegas. They sell discounted tickets to tonight’s shows if there are any left unsold. They also have a few physical locations and there’s one just outside the Fashion Mall on the Strip. For skip-the-line tickets to experiences in and around Las Vegas (including Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon), have a look here. If you’re planning on doing quite a bit of sightseeing, consider purchasing the Las Vegas Explorer Pass.
- The major hotels on the Vegas Strip (Las Vegas Boulevard) are considered resorts and as resorts, a 12% resort tax will be added to your bill.
- There are some beautiful and super convenient accommodation options both in Monument Valley and inside Grand Canyon. They are outlined further in the post. Be sure to book early to ensure you have a good spot as these places are the ones to fully book first.
Our Southwest USA Travel Route:
Click on the map to open in Google Maps