You’ve heard of the Pacific Coast Highway, the road trip from Miami to Key West along highway one, and Route 66. But there are so many other adventures to be had in the USA. Here’s a few drives you may be less familiar with. For those of you touring via camper or RV, GoRVing.com provides excellent information on where to camp in all 50 states.
*Go RVing is a proud sponsor of Samantha Brown’s Places to Love, but opinions are all my own.*
Road Tripping the Best of the Southwest
Check a bunch of National Parks and lands off your bucket list with this epic road trip that starts and ends in Phoenix. The National Park Foundation is a great resource for finding places to set up your RV in or nearby the parks—just remember that holidays and weekends tend to book up well in advance!
First stop? The Grand Canyon— via I-17 through Flagstaff. Depending on your timeline, you can spend a night or two in beautiful Sedona. Get your palm read, hike one of the area’s famed vortexes, drink local wines and soak up that desert sunshine. If you dream of venturing below the rim, allot a few days for hiking or camping at the Grand Canyon. It’s recommended you don’t trek to the bottom and back up again in one day, so either bring your light weight camping gear or just plan for roundtrip day hikes.
The Grand Canyon’s North Rim only operates seasonally (May 15 – Oct. 1), so if the timing is right and you don’t mind the 4-hour detour, it’s a great way to experience the canyon without the busloads of tourists with selfie sticks. Otherwise, head east on US-160 to Mesa Verde National Park in southern Colorado.
This incredible park offers a look into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home from AD 600 to 1300. Today, the park protects nearly 5,000 known archeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings. These sites are some of the most notable and best preserved in the United States—it will blow your mind!
About two-and-a-half hours east (via Durango, CO), you’ll find the Great Pagosa Spring. The Springs Resort and Spa is a great place to experience natural hot mineral water pools—23 to be exact. It’s a great stop for couples or families—and there’s an adults-only terrace in case your idea of relaxing doesn’t include getting splashed by cannon balls.
Next, it’s onto one of my favorite cities: Santa Fe! I love Santa Fe not only for its desert beauty, but the vibrant Native American culture and a wonderful art scene. It’s also home to one of my favorite hikes, the Aspen Vista Trail. The walk is fairly moderate, but the views are anything but.
From there, head to Albuquerque, where you’ll hop on historic Route 66 all the way back to Flagstaff. You’ll find loads of iconic sites along the way, including El Rancho Hotel and Winslow, Arizona (any Eagles fans out there?). The National Park Association offers a thorough list of Route 66 sites. From there, it’s back to Phoenix.
What are your favorite road trip stops in the southwest? Share in the comments!
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