With its sprawling deserts and iconic rock formations, the American Southwest is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the entire country. From bustling Las Vegas to quiet, natural Sedona, the Southwest is home to plenty of variety. Though there is much to see in this region (plus our neighbor country to the south, Mexico), we’ve chosen our top five favorite spots for a weekend road trip to get you exploring!
Source: Callaghan Vineyards
Wine in Arizona? It sounds a little unlikely, but this burgeoning wine region is quickly becoming a fantastic spot for a weekend trip in the Southwest. You can find some great wines here but without the high prices and crowds you’d face in more traveled U.S. wine regions. There are several different producers in the area, but Dos Cabezas WineWorks is a major highlight and must-visit spot. In addition to a great tasting room, there’s a house just next door to stay at, complete with a pool and just steps away from your next glass of wine.
Other highlights include Kief-Joshua Vineyards, another fabulous winery that offers tastings, tours, and a wine 101 class to help you make sure you’re getting the most of your wine tasting experience. Just a few doors down, Callaghan Vineyards has produced wines since 1990, and has been served at the White House on multiple occasions!
Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico
Source: Come to Rocky Point
You’ll need to cross the U.S. border to head to this coastal spot that’s often referred to as “Arizona’s beach,” but you’ll be happy you made the trip to escape the desert heat. This once quiet area has been transformed into a major Mexican beach destination, and it’s far easier to reach than many other coastal spots in Mexico. Rent a house on the water for the weekend or post up in one of the many resorts that have cropped up in recent years.
The Sonoran Sky Resort as well as the Las Palomas Resort are two options right on the beach that make for the perfect beach spot. Aside from the beach, there are also options to partake in eco-tours, boating, and dinner cruises. Just be sure you have a passport!
Source: Michael Wilson
Sedona is an otherworldly town with beautiful natural landscapes at every turn. There are a number of fantastic trails that take you through some of the most famous rock formations in the area so be sure to pack your hiking boots. Cathedral Rock is among the most renowned, and though a hike all the way up can be strenuous, the views are completely breathtaking. The Chapel of the Holy Cross, a church built right into the rocks of Sedona, is another unique must-visit.
The scenery has (unsurprisingly) inspired artists, and as result there’s a great art scene to experience as well. There are a number of galleries throughout Sedona, and if you’re able to plan your trip around the first Friday of the month, you’ll get the opportunity to head to many gallery opening events. The Sedona Gallery Association even provides a free trolley on first Fridays so you can gallery hop with ease.
Taos, New Mexico
Source: Pop Sugar
Taos is a beautiful and historic spot in the northern part of New Mexico. Your first stop here should be the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Taos Pueblo. The pueblos are still inhabited by Native Americans, and are one of the oldest communities in the country to be continuously inhabited. (Tip: Just be sure to check on visiting hours as there are some restrictions.) From there, head to the Harwood Museum of Art for a beautiful showcase with an emphasis on local New Mexican art.
While here, treat yourself to a stay at El Monte Sagrado Taos Spa and Resort for a weekend of pampering. The Living Spa is an award winning spa and it infuses the local New Mexican culture into its decor and treatments making for a truly unique (and relaxing!) experience.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Source: Easy to Book
Those dwelling in the Southwest are lucky enough to be an easy drive away from the lights of Las Vegas. There are, of course, a countless number of great resorts and hotels in the area, but The Cosmopolitan and The Mirage are two that consistently top the list. The great thing about Vegas is that you can still have a good time even if the “typical” Vegas experience isn’t for you. There are many fantastic restaurants (including several Michelin star rated establishments), so you can eat your way through the city and enjoy every moment.
Other options include the city’s infamous pool parties. and there’s always a great show or concert happening as well so be sure to check listings well in advance. But if you want to get away from the bustle of the city for a day, Red Rock Canyon is a beautiful hiking and rock climbing spot just a few miles outside the city.