I have really been into desert aesthetic recently and wanted to put together a list of ten places I would love to see this year, all in the southwest of course. The ten places I put on this list include cities, national parks, and monuments to get a variety of experiences in desert.
Hopefully I can get to at least half of them before 2018 🙂
1. White Sands National Monument (New Mexico)
Probably the most picturesque place on the list and if you told me this was in the US I might think you were lying. The pasty white sand in New Mexico looks like it’s straight out of a dream. Definitely need to wander here some day!
For a complete guide on White Sands, check out Gringa Journey’s blog post here.
2. Saguaro National Park (Arizona)
I keep talking about this place and it’s for a reason, if you love cacti (like me) Saguaro is the perfect place to check out. The cacti here are some of the largest in the country, with some being up to 40ft. tall..now I can’t even imagine that.
3. Lake Mead (Nevada)
Lake Mead strikes me as the perfect place for a family weekend; the lake is huge and there are countless things to do here. I grew up in Minnesota, so I know the power of a great lake to hangout at.
I’ve driven right past Lake Mead twice and the surrounding mountains and rock formations are incredibly striking. This place catches my eye and I know one of these days I’ll finally get down there.
Don’t miss these 5 things at Lake Mead here.
4. Antelope Canyon (Utah)
I cannot tell you how ecstatic I will be when I finally get to see Antelope Canyon with my own eyes! This place is like anything I’ve seen in photos before and the slots look contorted and mystical (if that makes sense); I can’t miss this one.
5. Valley of Fire State Park (Nevada)
I love the wave designs embedded in the rocks at Valley of Fire State Park. And as a bonus this place is in Nevada, our home state (for the time being). This park is just outside of Las Vegas and will be a short weekend trip for Michael and I one day. I would advise to go before or after summer due to the extreme temperatures here, but if you’re going through Vegas it’s definitely worth stopping for.
Here’s 9 things you must see if you decide to check out Valley of Fire.
6. Angels Landing, Zion National Park (Utah)
Every time I see a photo at Angels Landing I get incredibly jealous because I love a good view, and I haven’t been able to get to Zion before. The hike to this spot from what I’ve seen online is treacherous and has some pretty steep cliffs on the trail, which gives me even more of a reason to go and see if I can hike it!
Xpat Matt did a whole post on hiking Angel’s Landing that you can read here.
7. Meteor Crater (Arizona)
Not a lot of people know about this spot in Winslow, Arizona but it’s right at the top of my list. And who wouldn’t want to see a meteor crater? If you’re into space like me, then you know how cool something like this really is.
8. Monument Valley (Arizona)
The most striking on the list- Monument Valley immediately makes me think about the Navajo nation and how they survived in such an extreme environment. I would be humbled to see such a sacred place like this and feel the presence that the land brings.
Below is a photo of a stunning sunset at Monument Valley.
9. Sedona (Arizona)
Sedona seems like the perfect weekend getaway for the hiker trying to get away from society. There’s something unique about Sedona that draws me in and wants me to explore this place.
10. Grand Canyon (Arizona)
I put the Grand Canyon on my list because surprisingly I’ve never been there! I hear about the vastness this amazing place holds and cannot wait till I’m able to experience it. Hopefully I can check it off this year with my national parks pass!
Spring is coming in full force and that means it’s adventure time. Get out and explore somewhere new near you today. And if you’ve been lucky enough to explore any of the places on this list, leave a comment below sharing part of your experience, I would love to hear about it.