Six Must-See Travel Spots in the Western United States
Having lived in the Western United States my whole life, I have found the example of the European traveler to be quite informative. I believe that when Europeans travel to the United States they actually see more of the country than we residents do.
Vacationing at Lake Powell (which is located on the Utah/Arizona border) for the past 40 years, I have had an opportunity to visit with many European tourists. I discovered some of their basic itineraries and found them very impressive. I thought I would share with you some of their favorite travel spots in hopes that you might like to join them this summer.
1) The Grand Canyon and Monument Valley
The Grand Canyon is a gift that must be seen to be appreciated. Its immense size is overwhelming. The Canyon is 277 river miles long, up to 18 miles wide and a mile deep. The color and geological formations are breathtaking.
Whether you see the canyon by vehicle, shuttle, on foot, or bicycle, your trip will be enhanced if you pick up a little publication called "The Guide." This free newspaper is available at all the entrance stations and visitor centers throughout the park. It contains the best maps, a listing of ranger activities and special programs, articles of interest about the park, and a list of all available services. This can make your trip to the "Canyon" much more enjoyable.
The South Rim of the canyon is much more developed than the North Rim, and so accommodations must be booked well in advance. You may either choose to stay in the lodge located there or stay in the developed campground. There are also many restaurants available in the park itself ranging from formal dining to fast food. Seven miles south of the park is Tusayan, Arizona the nearest city that offers accommodations and other services.
The North Rim is more than 200 miles away from the South Rim by car or a strenuous 21 mile, two to three day crossing by hike. There is no public transportation to the North Rim other than the Trans Canyon Shuttle. Services are limited on the North Rim.
The Grand Canyon is a backpacker and hiker paradise. Exploring the inner canyon may be done by mule rides which are available. These are booked well over a year in advance, so start planning early. River Running is also an ultimate adventure that is offered in the Grand Canyon. The Colorado River can be experienced by paddle rafts, motorized rafts, and dories. There are several Canyon Expedition tours available, book early also.
The Grand Canyon at Sunset
Grand Canyon Tours
Grand Canyon Skywalk
Grand Canyon Skywalk
- Grand Canyon Skywalk
Commissioned by the Hualapai Indian tribe, it was unveiled March 20, 2007, and opened to the general public on March 28, 2007.
- The Official Site of the Grand Canyon Skywalk
Just like an eagle can fly into the Grand Canyon, my vision was to enable visitors to walk the path of the eagle, and become surrounded by the canyon while standing at the edge of the glass bridge.
- Monument Valley, Arizona and Utah Travel & Vacation Guide
Monument Valley is an area of freestanding sandstone rock forms that rise majestically from the desert floor.
- Monument Valley
Monument Valley provides perhaps the most enduring and definitive images of the American West. The isolated red mesas and buttes surrounded by empty, sandy desert have been filmed and photographed countless times.
- Photographs of Monument Valley, Utah and Arizona
2) Lake Powell and Surrounding Areas
Lake Powell is the second largest man-make lake in the United States. It's 186 miles long and has 1,960 miles of shoreline, which is longer than the entire west coast of the continental United States. There are over 96 major canyons to explore, which require some sort of water craft. Its tributaries include the Escalante and San Juan Rivers, which converge onto the Colorado River making Lake Powell a water expressway. Home of the Glen Canyon Dam and the Rainbow Bridge Monument, Lake Powell is a boaters paradise.
Lake Powell Favorites
Houseboats Are a Great Way to See the Lake
- Lake Powell Houseboat Rental and Boating Vacations
Utah Outventures offers Lake Powell Houseboat Rentals, Houseboating Vacations, Watercraft, PWC, and Jetski Rentals, Custom Tours, Services and Maps,..
Antelope Slot Canyon
Hiking Famous Slot canyons
Located just adjacent to the Lake are the famous Antelope Canyon and Escalante Canyon. These are a hikers paradise offering many unique and awesome views seen nowhere else in the world.
Antelope Canyon Tours
- Visit Antelope Canyon w/ Antelope Slot Canyon Tours by Chief Tsosie
Antelope Slot Canyon Tours by Chief Tsosie is located in Page Arizona, right next to the great Lake Powell, and in the center of the Grand Circle. Navajo owned and operated by Chief Tsosie, you'll enjoy our personal tour of Antelope Canyon.
- Hiking Escalante River: Hiking Canyons of the Escalante
Hiking the Escalante Canyons is a sublime pleasure. Miles of unspoiled wilderness, canyons with trickling streams of exceptional beauty, and other-worldly quiet make the Canyons of the Escalante a hiker's dream destination.
- Canyoneering Escalante Utah Professional Guide Service Backpacking
We are entering our ninth year as Escalante’s first locally based professional guide service. Our commitment is to safely guide our guests beyond the more accessible places.
Water Sports Are Extreme Fun on Lake Powell
Lake Powell offers the opportunity for the ultimate wake board or water skiing experience. The small canyons are perfect for personal watercraft adventures. Tubing and swimming are perfect with water temperatures in the mid 70's in the summer months. World class fishing is also available on Lake Powell. There is really something for everybody to experience.
Hiking Zion National Park
- Zion National Park, Utah
Hiking the Zion Narrows, the Ultimate Slot Canyon
3) Zion National Park
Zion National Park is Utah's oldest national park, filled with world famous slot canyons cut by the power of rushing water and wind.
The Virgin River has been the water source that has created the majestic scenery found in Zion Canyon. The canyon walls are hundreds of feet high while at times only an arm span wide.
Hiking is at its peak in this river cut corridor of canyon walls. There is hiking available for all levels of hikers, each offering a view that is unmatched anywhere in the world.
Zion National Park
4) St. George, Utah
Known as "Utah's Dixie", St. George serves as a major gateway to Zion National Park. It has a temperate climate, with a very mild winter, making it one of Utah's top travel destinations. Located directly off of Interstate 15 it is right on the way from Zion to Las Vegas, making it the perfect stop over before continuing on the rest of the trip.
While in St. George there are many attractions for all types of visitors. Whether you love to golf or just relax and shop it offers a wide variety of adventures. There are several different museums if you would like to spend the day indoors in an educational atmosphere. Two of the top in the area are the Dinosaur Discovery at Johnson Farm and The Rosenbruch Wildlife Museum.
Another attraction that is available is the Tuacahn Amphitheatre, which offers world class entertainment in a 2,000 seat outdoor amphitheatre surrounded by red rock cliffs and man made waterways. Combined with the Tuacahn Center for the Arts, a charter High School, it is one of the most magnificent art and educational facilities in the world.
The nearby red cliffs offer adventures in mountain biking, ATV riding, and other outdoor experiences. Historical tours are offered giving the visitor a flare for the history of the surrounding areas.
There is so much to do in St. George, you might want to spend an extra night just to take it all in.
Experience St. George
- St George City
St. George, with its year-round warm weather, excellent golf courses, and proximity to Zion National Park, has become one of Utah's top destinations.
- Area Activities in St. George
Golf, ATV Riding, Hiking, Mountain Biking, Softball, Jeep Tours, Watersports, Horseback Riding, Aerial Tours, Museums, Aquatic Center, Fun Centers, Historic Tours
Museums to Visit in the St. George Area
- St. George Art Museum and Store
- Daughters of the Utah Pioneers
- St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm
- Rosenbruch Wildlife Museum
- Washington City Museum and Monument Plaza
- Hurricane Valley Heritage Park Museum and the Bradshaw House Museum
- Silver Reef Gallery and Museum
- Robert N. and Peggy Sears Art Gallery-Museum at DSC's Eccles Fine Arts Center
- Pipe Spring National Monument/Kaibab Paiute Tribe Museum
- Zion Human History Museum
Johnson's Farm, Dinosaur Tracks
Dinosaur Tracks in St. George, Utah.
- Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Adventures
The St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm offers some of the oldest and best-preserved tracks in the world. The tracks were discovered on the farm in February, 2000, and have become quite an attraction.
- Johnson Farm Dinosaur Discovery Site
People from every state and over 84 nations have come to share the excitement of the historic discovery made by Dr. Sheldon Johnson in February of 2000.
Stop in for a Bite While You Visit St. George
Have you ever tasted something that you will remember forever? Well, I certainly have. It was at the Bear Paw Caf in St. George, Utah, of all places! I bet you will never guess in a million years what it was?
Historical St. George
- Brigham Young Winter Home
Brigham Young, as the locals say, was St. George's first snowbird. As Young aged and began suffering from arthritis, he found that St. George's warm, dry and snowless winters eased his discomfort. The original portion of his home was begun in 1869.
- Seven Wives Inn in St. George, Utah
Seven Wives Inn consists of two neighboring pioneer homes in St. George’s historical district. Edwin G. Wooley, who build the larger house in 1873, hid polygamists in the attic via a secret door, after polygamy was outlawed in 1882.
Utah offers a variety of trails for mountain biking. Diverse terrain and scenery make Utah a perfect biking destination.
Broadway in the Desert
- Welcome to Tuacahn High School for the Performing Arts
The mission of Tuacahn High School for the Performing Arts is to create an unparalleled environment where students can maximize their potential academically and artistically.
5) Las Vegas
If you want entertainment Las Vegas is the place to go. Hotels, casinos, night clubs, restaurants, shopping, and many other attractions await you in Las Vegas.
So remember, "Viva Las Vegas!"
Gambling, Gaming, and Slots
Hotels and Casinos
- Las Vegas Hotels and Casinos
This site is dedicated to giving you all of the information necessary for you to plan your trip to Las Vegas without having to wonder what is available for you when in Vegas.
- Las Vegas Tourism, Official Site
Magnificent Grandeur! Our Las Vegas Casino Hotels provide accommodations for Kings, Celebrities, World Leaders, You, and your Family! Enjoy the highest level of customer service, luxurious room accommodations, entertainment, dining, and casino action
- Las Vegas Hotels
Our guide to Vegas hotels will help you find the hottest deals whether you're looking for luxury Las Vegas resorts, or a cheap stay. Hotels in Las Vegas offer an option for every vacationer.
- Bellagio Hotel
Contentment and opulence are the hallmarks of your Bellagio luxury hotel experience. A retreat unto themselves, the 3,933 Guest Rooms and Suites are an extension of our AAA Five Diamond Award-winning Las Vegas hotel.
- Luxor Hotel
Luxor accommodations are visually stunning and contemporarily appointed with modern amenities.
- MGM Grand Hotel & Casino
MGM Grand Hotel & Casino offers reservations for hotel rooms and suites to meet every Guest’s need.
- Wynn Casino Resort
Once again, only one casino resort in the world has been awarded the awards the Wynn has. An ultimate experience in Las Vegas.
- Harrah's Casino & Hotel
The easiest way to keep abreast of the latest promotions offered by Harrah's Entertainment!
- Las Vegas Online Entertainment Guide
Las Vegas Online Entertainment Guide has been providing Las Vegas information to the online community since 1991 via dial up lines and has been here on the Internet since 1995. Between our sites, we have over 5000 pages of information.
- Official Las Vegas Tourism Web Site
Welcome to the official Las Vegas Tourism Web Site brought to you by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
Two Great Restaurants to Stop at While on Your Way from Vegas to Los Angeles
- Barstow California Steak House, Idle Spurs
Believe it or not, in the middle of seemingly nowhere, Idle Spurs in Barstow, California appears. What is Idle Spurs? Idle Spurs is the best darn steakhouse in Barstow that is for sure!
- Peggy Sue's 50's Diner in Yermo California
Located off the I-15 in route from Los Angeles to Las Vegas is a big pink juke box surrounded by large metal dinosaurs and a metal king kong too. That's right, it is Peggy Sue's 50's Diner in Yermo, California.
6) Disneyland and the West Coast
Where else would you go once you have seen all the beauty this trip has to offer? Yes, you would go "to Disneyland!"
Truly the "happiest place on earth," Disneyland is still the choice of most vacationers. With the opening of Disneyland, Paris and Disneyworld, in Florida, you would think that Anaheim California wouldn't have the same draw, but I guess everyone still must see the "original" for themselves.
Disneyland Touring Plan
- Disneyland Touring Plan
What's a good Disneyland Touring Plan for adults and older kids? Here are some ideas you can try!
Links for Disneyland
- Disneyland Resort
Come live out Disney Dreams, wishes big and small, Year of a Million Dreams.
- Disneyland Reviews
Theme park insider, get all the facts about Disneyland and surrounding attractions.
Learn everything you ever wanted to know about Disney.
- Disneyland History
One day Walt Disney had a vision. It was a vision of a place where children and parents could have fun together. The more Walt dreamed of a "magical park," the more imaginative and elaborate it became.
Only in Anaheim, The California Adventure
One thing that none of the other Disney theme parks don't have is the California Adventure. This 55 acre park was an expansion of the original Disneyland theme park. It consists of five areas: Sunshine Plaza, Hollywood Pictures Backlot, The Golden State, A Bug's Land and Paradise Pier. This park opened in February 2001.
"To all who believe in the power of dreams... welcome. Here we pay tribute to the dreamers of the past... The native people, explorers, immigrants, aviators, entrepreneurs and entertainers who built the Golden State. And we salute a new generation of dreamers who are creating the wonders of tomorrow ... From the silver screen to the computer screen ... From the fertile farmlands to the far reaches of space. Disney's California Adventure celebrates the richness and the diversity of California ... Its land, its people, its spirit and, above all, the dreams that it continues to inspire."
-Michael Eisner, February 8, 2001
- Disney's California Adventure Park
Immerse yourself in a magical festival of shows, parades and attractions celebrating California's storied past and exciting future.
- Disney's California Adventure reviews
Toy Story Midway Mania, a new interactive dark ride, will debut underneath Screamin' in 2008. A high-speed auto ride themed to Pixar's 'Cars' might come the year after that.
Matterhorn, Disneyland California
- Anaheim Hotels: Anaheim Hotel Reviews and Prices
Deals on Anaheim Hotels with Trip Advisor. Get the truth, then go.
- Discount Hotels In Anaheim
Find discount hotels in Anaheim, California.
- Disneyland: Howard Johnson Anaheim
Everyone’s all ears about the award winning Howard Johnson across from the Disneyland Resort. Howard Johnson Anaheim earned the 2006 Howard Johnson brand "Hotel of the Year" award.
- Anaheim Marriott
Explore the Anaheim Marriott, located in the heart of the exciting Anaheim Resort sizzling with attractions and entertainment. The hotel is walking distance to Downtown Disney® District.
Sunny Southern California Beaches
A stay at the nearby Southern California Beaches, would be a welcome rest after such an eventful trip.
Nearby beaches include, Long Beach, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Seal Beach, and Dana Point or Laguna Beach.
- Southern California Beaches Vacation Guide
This travel guide includes information on Southern California beaches, vacation rentals, hotels, camping, and lots of fun things to see and do along the sunny Southern California coast.
- Southern California Coast: Best Beaches
If you are planning on taking a vacation to southern california and need to find the perfect california vacation rentals, consider our travel site. We have the finest selection of Southern California vacation rentals around.
- Southern California Beaches
Southern California Beaches, California's warmest beaches, offer fantastic fun all year long. Surfboards, sand, sunshine and swimming are the ingredients for a wonderful vacation at the sunniest beaches and best weather on the California Coast.
So take it from my European traveling friends, go and see the Western United States. it will be the trip of a lifetime.