This is a guest post by Dale Cooper.
Staycations & One-Tank Trips: The Southwestern United States
The southwestern United States, where the Rocky Mountains slope down from Colorado and Utah into Mexico, is often overlooked as a vacation spot. Many people associate the Southwest with desert and desolation, which is unfortunate because the desert isn’t the whole story. Arizona and New Mexico are also home to national forests, cultural centers, beautiful rock formations and epic landscapes. If you live in the Southwest region, you don’t have to travel far for a memorable “staycation” (a vacation close to home). Some of the best views in the country are right in your backyard.
New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment
If you live in or near New Mexico, you’re probably already aware of its status as an underrated travel destination. Santa Fe and Albuquerque, two of New Mexico’s largest cities, are full of history and culture. And outside of the city limits are dozens of beautiful parks, forests, national monuments and land formations. Here are just a few:
- Wheeler Peak: If you enjoy hiking and mounting climbing, you have to visit Wheeler Peak, New Mexico’s tallest mountain. Standing at more than 13,000 feet, Wheeler Peak can be accessed by the nearby Taos Ski Valley. Since the climbing area around the mountain is relatively avalanche-free, the peak can be summited in the summer or winter.
- Aztec Ruins National Monument: This is a great place to show your family a piece of the region’s history. Ancient structures at the park date back to the 11th and 13th centuries. The name “Aztec Ruins” is actually a misnomer given to the site by European settlers. The village was actually built by the Anasazi, a local tribe of Native Americans, but the original name stuck.
- White Sands National Monument: No New Mexico staycation is complete without a visit to the snow-like dunes at White Sands National Monument. The sand is made up of gypsum crystals, which gives the landscape its uncanny white appearance.
Arizona, the Grand Canyon State
Arizona is a great place to plan your vacation in the Southwest. With urban centers such as Tucson and Phoenix, and iconic sites such as the Grand Canyon, Arizona residents will find plenty to do on a weekend staycation.
- Grand Canyon: One of the most famous destinations for a vacation in the Southwest is the Grand Canyon, and for good reason. Formed over millions of years by the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon stretches for 277 miles and is more than a mile deep in some places. The views from the ridge of the Grand Canyon are breathtaking; it’s no wonder the Grand Canyon is considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
- Colorado River: Kayaking, canoeing or rafting down the Colorado River is one of the best ways to take in the scenery. Sites such as Black Canyon offer boat rentals, and are a memorable place to spend your vacation in the Southwest.
Before heading out on your southwestern staycation adventure, make sure your vehicle is covered by auto insurance. Reading auto insurance reviews and comparing several online car insurance quotes before choosing a provider will help ensure you get the coverage you need at an affordable price.