When southwestern states come to mind, you might imagine cowboys riding through the desert, old-timey saloons, and tumbleweeds crossing your path in the hot, dry wind. Luxury resorts, zip line excursions, culinary hot spots, and artsy tours will change your perception of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. Each state offers exciting entertainment and opportunities to get outside. Your toughest decision will be choosing between bright lights or starry nights.

Arizona

Urban chic: Tucson

  • Foodies will love sampling southwest flavors in this UNESCO City of Gastronomy featuring 23 miles of Mexican food
  • Take a streetcar tour from the University of Arizona to Tucson’s downtown scene to study architecture and art
  • You can hope off the Streetcar on Fourth Ave., and dance the night away at IBT’s, one of Tucson’s best dance clubs. If you’re lucky, you might even get to see a drag show.

Outdoor adventure: Flagstaff

  • Soar through the trees on a zip line, conquer obstacles, and test your limits at Flagstaff Extreme with your partner or the whole family.
  • Hikers and mountain bikers will love the challenge of Bear Jaw Trail’s steep incline or Weatherford Trail’s 22-mile round-trip.

New Mexico

Urban chic: Taos

  • Take a guided tour of this trending LGBTQ-friendly destination. History, heritage, and culture will come to life as you explore Taos Pueblo or New Mexico’s backroads.
  • Let your stress melt away while relaxing in mineral hot springs and savoring a massage or spa treatment at Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs and Spa.

Outdoor adventure: Albuquerque

  • See miles and miles of natural wonders from high above during a hot air balloon ride, or attend the annual Balloon Fiesta in October.
  • Sandia Peak is perfect for skiing or snowboarding when snow blankets the picturesque mountain. Hikes and mountain bikes in warm months are a fun option, too!

Colorado

Urban chic: Grand Junction

  • Mild weather makes a weekend of shopping and sidewalk dining downtown even more enjoyable. Sample wines from one of the 20 local wineries in Grand Valley.
  • Art lovers: inspire your inner Frida Kahlo with a walk along Main Street. More than 100 pieces of art make up one of the largest outdoor sculpture collections in the nation.

Outdoor adventure: Durango

  • Paddle your way to fun! Beginners and experienced water sports enthusiasts will love rafting and kayaking adventures on the Colorado River.
  • Feel like a cowboy and see the best of southwestern Colorado’s wilderness on horseback. Take a multi-day pack trip to see the most beautiful scenic vistas.

Utah

Urban chic: Salt Lake City

  • Sports lovers can catch a soccer, basketball, or hockey game in the state’s capital.
  • Art, music, culture, and more—there are festivals for every interest taking place year-round. Recommended event: family-friendly Living Traditions Festival in May
  • Look forward to a fun night of chatting, drinking on a patio, or maybe playing some pool the Sun Trapp.

Outdoor adventure: Bryce Canyon National Park

  • Get ready for next-level camping under the stars in this certified Dark Sky Park. Bring your binoculars to see 200,000 stars. It’s a great place to get romantic with a loved one.
  • Take a scenic drive and stop for selfies at each viewpoint. Feeling active? Get off the road with a hike or backpacking trip among the colorful rock formations.

Whether you prefer to be pampered or rough it under the stars, there’s a great getaway for your next solo, partnered, or family vacation in the Four Corners region.

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