En español | From the desert to the mountains to the Gulf waters, this region offers something for everyone.
Glenwood Springs, Colo.
When the snow melts, fun in the sun heats up at many Southwest ski resorts. Glenwood Springs, a historic hot springs resort in the Rockies between Aspen and Vail, is one of the more unusual and wallet-friendly. Bathe away aches in what’s billed as the world’s largest hot springs pool at Glenwood Hot Springs Resort (marking its 125th anniversary this year) or in one of the many springs around town. Go caving, fly-fish for trout in an ice-cold stream, enjoy massages and other spa treatments, and hike to crystal-clear Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon. You can stay at the resort, chain hotels or cozier places like the Best Kept Secret B&B. Note that an especially tasty time to visit is during the 120-year-old Strawberry Days Festival, the third weekend in June.
Grand Canyon Railway, Arizona
Avoid traffic tie-ups and sold-out lodgings by arriving at the Grand Canyon’s South Rim by train. Restored vintage cars leave in the morning from Williams, Ariz., about 30 miles west of Flagstaff, and return in the late afternoon. The trip takes two hours and 15 minutes each way. Onboard, photograph prairie and ponderosa pine, and expect the unexpected from performers in Wild West gear. Stay overnight in Williams at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, or leave your car there if you’ve scored a canyon booking. The train is suited for those with disabilities, offering power lifts at depots and ADA-compliant lavatories. Adults-only cars can be booked. If you have more time in Williams, explore a stretch of iconic Route 66 or drive through the Bearizona Wildlife Park.
Monument Valley, Arizona/Utah
Want an unforgettable getaway? Visit the sensational sandstone formations of Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. On the border of Utah and Arizona, the otherworldly red-rock buttes, towers and arches stand up to 1,000 feet tall and have been the backdrop for countless Hollywood films. Snap close-ups from the 17-mile unpaved road through the valley, stopping to hike the scenic four-mile Wildcat Trail loop if you’re game, or see it with a Native American guide (Navajo Spirit Tours) who can explain the sacred significance of the formations. Monument Valley Safari also hosts visits to a traditional Navajo home (hogan). You can stay at the View, the only hotel in the park, or at one of the inexpensive hotels just outside it.
Cinnamon Shore, Texas
The decade-old planned community of Cinnamon Shore on the Gulf Coast of Texas — about 40 minutes east of Corpus Christi — evokes idyllic small-town America, with cute pastel houses, a Great Lawn for gatherings, outdoor movies and the toasting of s’mores over a fire pit, plus a dune-fronted beach. With lots of short-term home rentals, it’s an ideal spot for a multigenerational getaway: Visitors rent bikes, lap up locally beloved lobster-curry-coconut Mermaid Soup at Lisabella’s Bistro and Bar, take yoga classes on Cinnamon Shore Beach, or kayak. The grandkids can get lessons in sculpting sandcastles on the beach.
Art and history buffs, pack your bags. Taos, about 70 miles northeast of Santa Fe (you'd fly into Albuquerque), is home to the must-see Taos Pueblo, where multistoried Native American adobe homes have been continuously inhabited for 1,000 years. Outdoors lovers head about 30 miles north to Wild Rivers Recreation Area, with its 800-foot Río Grande gorge, hiking trails and scenic overlooks. In downtown Taos, visit the Harwood Museum of Art and galleries on the plaza, and tour the house where frontier legend Kit Carson lived. Stay in one of Taos’ many inviting B&Bs with Southwest flavor, and don’t miss biting into tamales, enchiladas and chiles rellenos with red or green sauce. Suds lovers, don’t leave town without trying Taos Green Chile Beer at Eske’s Brew Pub.