Plan a Trip to Sedona, Arizona This Summer

149376451Located in the heart of Arizona, Sedona is a magnificently beautiful desert town. This vibrant arts community is ripe with sightseeing adventures that are perfect for a summer getaway.

  1. Red Rock State Park

Just like its name implies, this park is full of beautiful red rocks, which are part of a 286-acre natural preserve. Tourists can hike these rocks and check out the vibrant wildflowers, panoramic vistas and unique birds. Hikes are available both during the day and at night.

  1. Slide Rock State Park

This park used to be an orchard and now has the fast-flowing channel, Oak Creek, running through it. The creek is perfect for both wading and swimming, as well as for other water activities. Oak Creek is the perfect way to cool off on a hot day while taking in breathtaking views all around you.

  1. Cathedral Rock

The famous landmark is located inside the Coconino National Forest in Yavapai County. At an elevation of 4,921 feet, this rock is perfect for brave hikers who love scenic views. Cathedral rock has been photographed frequently for its majestic beauty.

  1. Stargazing

Since Sedona has almost no light pollution, it is ideal for stargazing. The desert valley is free from dense and towering trees, making the stars more visible in the night sky. In fact, stargazing was named the “Best Thing to Do in Sedona.” Astronomers lead stargazers on tours through this breathtaking valley.

  1. Off-Road Jeep Tours

For rugged, fast-paced tours, choose an off-road Jeep tour. From this vantage point, you’ll be able to see canyons, trails, scenic rims, mines and a ghost town. A Jeep’s open structure can make you feel connected to the landscape while being able to traverse it quickly.

  1. Arts

Check out Sedona’s strong arts scene and pick up a piece of handcrafted jewelry or wall art from an independent artist.

  1. Spas

Sedona has many spas available to tourists who want to relax and get pampered. Since Sedona is such a peaceful place in and of itself, it’s the perfect getaway for a spa retreat.

Please don’t forget to hit the Like and Follow buttons for future posts!

Tour the Beautiful Monument Valley

529253159The Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is an expansive and majestic valley in Arizona and Utah, situated inside the Navajo Nation. The naturally formed sandstone towers stand 400 to 1,000 feet tall. The valley is an impressive 91,696 acres and extends into Utah. This historic location is often featured in print and film, including postcards and advertisements.

History

This valley was originally a basin, but over a process of millions of years, sediment formed and was pushed up from pressure below. This sediment formed a plateau, and over the next 50 million years, water and wind eroded the land. What remains are the majestic towers, including the Mitten Buttes and the Merrick Butte. The Monument Valley has been a popular shooting location for films, particularly old Westerns, such as those for which John Wayne became famous.

Tourist Activities

Off US 163 and north of Kayenta is a visitor center where you can book tours, eat in the Navajo restaurant, and peruse the gift shop. Navajo residents who work as tour operators lead Jeep tours inside the park. If you would rather drive yourself, you can follow the 17-mile road that takes between 30 minutes and one hour to traverse. There are also hiking tours, which can be up to several days in length, many of which also incorporate horseback riding. One mile from the visitor center are local vendors who sell arts and crafts, souvenirs, and Navajo food.

Lodging and Accommodations

Camping is available inside the park at the Mitten View Campground. Visitors can also stay in the View Hotel, which has a great view of the Mitten Buttes. In order to ensure lodging, you’ll want to book your room in advance. Options outside the park include hotels and camping in Page, which is three hours away, and Kayenta, one hour away.

How to Get There

Monument Valley is near the southeast corner of Utah, along the Utah/Arizona border. Find the entrance slightly east of Highway 163. There is a five-dollar fee to use the park, and specific tourist activities are dependent upon the time of year.

Follow our American Southwest Magazine Blog for everything related to the United States Southwest.

Bear Safety Guide For Camping In The Southwest United States

465289189

When camping in southwestern parts of the nation, it is important to keep bear safety in mind. The most common species in this region is the black bear. It inhabits many wooded areas and may live near rivers in arid locales. These tips can help you stay safe:

1. This large brown or black animal usually comes in contact with humans when convenient food sources are located nearby. It normally avoids humans unless it becomes familiar with them. To prevent this, cooperate with fellow campers to eliminate any food sources.

2. If you camp with pets, do not leave cat or dog food outside where wild animals can find it. Make sure the bears cannot easily access water bowls or bags full of trash. Avoid camping near any fruit-bearing trees or gardens that could attract a hungry bear.

3. Black bears climb well, so a fence must measure six feet or taller to deter them. Some fences provide surfaces they can easily grip. Outdoor lights usually will not prevent this animal from entering a camping area.

4. When you see a distant bear, change direction to avoid it. Never run away from this animal or it will chase you. If it comes in contact with you, do your best to behave calmly and back up at a slow pace.

5. It is rare for a black bear to act aggressively. If one attacks you, use any weapons you have available. Pepper sprays or stones may prove helpful. As soon as possible, contact the local authorities for emergency assistance.

6. If you feel the need to shoot a bear, remember this is only legal in some situations. Arizona permits it when bears endanger humans, farm animals are killed or gun owners obtain the appropriate hunting license. Do not use a firearm near someone else’s home unless it is absolutely necessary.

Basically, it is wise to avoid providing any convenient sources of food or water on your campsite. A carefully selected camping location can also enhance bear safety. Remember to exercise extreme caution and try to avoid direct contact.

Follow American Southwest Magazine for more helpful information on outdoor activities in the southwestern U.S.

Schedule a Park City Rafting and Kayaking Trip Today

185837139

If you are looking for some of the best Park City Utah rafting, look no further than the scenic Weber River. Exciting half day rafting trips are offered by All Seasons Adventures, who have been offering trips since 2001.

One of the advantages of rafting on the Weber is its convenience – the company’s launch site is just under an hour’s drive from Park City. Another advantage is that the 8 mile stretch of river offers views of some of the area’s most stunning scenery, including an area of the river known as the Rock Garden. Here, centuries of weathering has produced a series of balanced rocks, arches and caves, all formed out of the distinctive orange and red sandstone. Other attractions along the river, which was once the bottom of an ancient inland sea, include one of the state’s most unusual rock formations, the Devil’s Slide.

Even if you aren’t an expert, this Park City Utah rafting trip is ideal, as it includes some more difficult passages mixed with slower stretches, which allow you to catch your breath and enjoy the scenery. Of course, safety is the main concern of All Seasons Adventures, and all rafting participants are given a safety talk and demonstration, and fitted with a personal flotation device. Children aged over 4 who are able to swim are welcome on one of these rafting adventures.

The company offers two Park City rafting trips each day, one in the morning and one departing in the afternoon, making it easy to fit in with your schedule. You can drive yourself to the raft launch site, or the company will pick you up and take you there. Rafting trips typically last between 4 to 5 hours, with about half of that time actually spent rafting on the river. All that exercise and fresh air may make you hungry, and All Seasons provides a healthy lunch at the end of the trip. While not as well known as other Southwest rivers, the Weber offers some spectacular rafting, with scenery to match.

Follow us for more on everything you can do in our American Southwest.

Games You Can Play On A Long Road Trip In The Car

imsis268-029

Although modern cars have all manner of entertainment gizmos like DVD players, a long trip can get boring quickly. One way of reducing boredom on such a journey is by playing games with other passengers. Here are some fun games you can play on a long road trip in the car:

License Plates

License Plates involves calling out license plate letters of passing cars in alphabetical order. The first person to call out the letter “Z” wins. Take note you can vary the way you play this game with others. For instance, you can ask players to call out numbers, letters in doubles, or out¬-of-state license plates. In general, you can tweak this game to be as exciting as possible.

Count

This game involves counting objects or people that passengers can spot along the way. These objects could be specific vehicle models, animals such as cows, cyclists, or telephone masts. Nevertheless, players should be in a car with excellent visibility.

I Spy

I spy involves one person giving others a clue to an object that is visible outside. For example, “I spy something that starts with the letter F”. The acceptable norm is to give a clue about an object that will be visible to players for several minutes, not an object that whizzes by in a few seconds.

Name the tune

Name the Tune involves humming/whistling/singing a part of a mystery song. You could also play a snippet of a song stored in your smartphone or tablet. It is up to the other players to name the tune of that particular song. Take note this could be the tune of a popular song, TV show/series theme, or movie soundtrack.

Slug Bug

Players simply keep track of Volkswagen Beetle cars (bug) seen on the road. The person who spots a bug first gets a reward such as tapping the nearest passenger. The original game involved slapping/hitting another passenger but this can get out of hand easily.

A long road trip does not have to be boring. You can make it entertaining by playing road trip games such as Name the Tune, License Plates, I Spy, Slug Bug, and Count with others.

Follow us  for more articles on everything Southwest.

What You Need In A Car Emergency Kit

483119307

When driving, you should always be prepared for roadside emergencies. Keep a well stocked car emergency kit to be ready for those unexpected events. Be prepared for a flat tire, a dead battery and being stranded along the road in the cold of winter or the heat of summer.

The best stocked car emergency kit will have all of these elements included in it.
1. Extra fuses for lights and other electronic components which may blow a fuse and stop working.
2. Blanket just in case it’s cold and the car won’t start allowing you to turn on the heat.
3. Flashlight with fresh batteries so you can see what you’re doing in the dark.
4. Tools to us for making repairs like a set of screwdrivers, vise grips, pliers and an adjustable wrench.
5. Roadside flares to alert other drivers to your location along the side of the road.
6. First-aid kit to attend to wounds you may have suffered while fixing your car.
7. Gloves to protect your hands as you do the necessary work on your car.
8.  At least two quarts of oil
9. Jumper cables for a battery charge.
10. One gallon of antifreeze
11. Brake fluid
12. Tire inflator
13. Tire pressure gauge
14. Rags and a funnel for pouring fluids in the proper places.
15. Quick fix tools including a duct tape and paper towels.
17. Washer fluid in a spray bottle
18. Ice scraper to clear your windshields in the cold.
19. AAA or roadside emergency card
20. Triangle reflectors and flares to make your car more visible to passersby.
21.   Pocketknife for cutting.
22. Bottled water to rehydrate.
23. Granola or energy bars to eat if you’re stranded a long time and can’t get to a food stop.

Keep everything in one easy to access location, like in a small plastic tub placed securely in your trunk.  Some optional things you could add to your kit include a good book in your favorite genre or fully charged Kindle, a pillow, a beach chair and a tasty treat.

Follow us for more articles on everything Southwest.

Plants And Animals You Will Likely Encounter When Traveling To Utah

535402849

Utah is home to many different habitats, including wetlands, forest, and deserts. There are many different plants and animals that live in each of these habitats. In order to survive, these plants and animals must adapt differently to their environments. American Southwest Magazine offers useful and fun information about the different habitats, plants, and animals in Utah.

DesertBanner

Desert Habitat

Most people who have traveled to Utah have come across a very large, hot and dry area that probably made their drive seem very long. Desert habitats are extremely hot. In Utah, for example, a high temperature of 117 degrees Fahrenheit was recorded in the southern part of the state. However, nights in the deserts are cool. Because of these extreme temperature fluctuations, plants and animals have to adapt and change how they live.

Some of the desert plants and animals in Utah include:
• King birds
• Leopard lizards
• Jack rabbits
• Big brown bats
• Spadefoot toads
• Tarantulas
• Agave plants
• Cactus
• Desert sand verbena
• Ironwood trees
• Mesquite trees

ForestBanner

Forest Habitat

Forests cover one third of Utah and have many different plants and animals. The temperate forests of Utah go through all four seasons and the plants and wildlife all have to adapt to survive the challenging weather throughout the year.

Some of the most common forest plants and animals in Utah include:
• Black bears
• Garter snakes
• Honey bees
• Red fox
• Three toed woodpeckers
• Mole
• Quaking aspen trees, which can grow to heights of 40 to 50 feet.
• Blue spruce trees
• Gamble oak trees
• Cottonwood trees
• Currant bush
• Chokecherry trees

WetlandsBanner

Wetlands

Wetlands are habitats saturated with water, which flows from another source, for part of the year. There are seven different types of wetlands, also canned Riparian zones, in Utah. They include mud flats, shrub swamps, wetland, salt marsh, forest wetland, aquatic plant bed, wet meadows, and bog. However, they all have a few characteristics which are the same.

Some of the most common plants and animals in Utah’s wetlands include:
• American beaver
• Tiger salamander
• Mallard duck
• American bullfrog
• Water scorpion
• Tiger trout
• Cattails
• Duckweed
• Arrow grass
• Baltic rush
• Stream orchid
• Southern maidenhair fern

These are the most common plants and animals you will likely encounter when traveling to Utah.

Follow us for more articles on everything southwest.

Sites To See When Traveling To Arizona

475081367The state of Arizona has dozens of natural attractions that both local and foreign tourists will find breathtaking. These attractions are like no other in the world. The following are the top 4 Arizona sights to see.

179413812

The Grand Canyon

Snaking through the Grand Canyon is the Colorado River, which carved this magnificent landscape. The Grand Canyon is one of the biggest attractions in North America. In the afternoon sun, the walls of the canyon emit different types of colors. You will notice hues of red, orange and yellow among others. To get the most spectacular view and take great photos, you way want to consider taking a helicopter ride over the canyon or hiking down the canyon.

 476083107

Glen Canyon

The area around Glen Canyon is home to one of the largest man-made lakes in the United States, Lake Powell. Glen Canyon is a beautiful site with desert landscape, blue water and dramatic stonewalls. Construction of the Glen Canyon dam was completed in 1964, and that led to the formation of Lake Powell. Tourists can use the town of Page as their base for exploration activities. Visitors can walk through the narrow canyon for the best experience.

55843579

Monument Valley

Monument Valley stretches across the Navajo Tribal Park, which falls between Arizona and Utah. The valley has breathtaking sand dunes, dramatic buttes and jugged rock formations that give the area an impressive Wild West landscape. The area is great for photography tours, but visitors can also take guided tours or drive themselves across the valley.

134936694

Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam is an architectural masterpiece and an engineering marvel. Completed in the year 1935, the dam crosses Colorado River and links the states of Arizona and Nevada. Rising 726 feet high, the dam is 110 miles long. Hoover Dam has the capacity to hold two year’s flow of Colorado River.

Art Deco Horizontal Bar11

Other Arizona sights to see include: Sedona, Jerome, Havasu Falls, Canyon de Chelly, Bisbee, Lake Mead, Petrified Forest National Park, Saguaro National Park, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Tumacacori National Historic Park and Antelope Canyon.

Follow Us For More Articles on Everything Southwest.

Proven Traveling Advice From The Well Traveled

137585203Millions of people from all around the globe put in hard work around the clock and can’t wait to take their vacations. If you’re planning on traveling, this year on your vacation or for any other reasons, read up on some great travel tips you can use on your next trip.

Packing light is key to making your travels as easy and free of stress as possible. Bring one carry on bag that includes everything you need, not necessarily everything you want. If traveling to cold weather, bring smaller clothes to create layers rather than big, space-consuming coats and sweaters. Your smart packing will pay off when you are happily carrying one bag around on vacation instead of lugging around multiple bags.

Set a budget for your travel expedition ahead of your departure. It is so easy to overspend when you are in the middle of a vacation high and you aren’t thinking about the realities or consequences of the money you are spending. Determining a budget ahead of time and sticking to it will ensure that you can afford to take future vacations.

179303379When traveling to a new city, try your best to look as if you belong there: Never let anyone see that you are lost. Checking your map in the middle of the sidewalk is a sure-fire giveaway, as is asking for directions. Remember, new arrivals are good targets for pickpockets and muggers.

Make sure you plan out your traveling ahead of time by checking the weather. You don’t want to travel on a vacation to somewhere where the weather is not favorable. Choosing what season to explore a city is crucial to taking in the true experience that particular city has to offer.

No matter where you’re traveling, make sure to wear sunscreen. Even if the sun isn’t shining, your exposed skin is still subject to the sun’s harmful rays. Wearing 15+ SPF sunscreen will ensure that you don’t get a painful sunburn and that your trip can be fun without the pain.

If you are planning on going swimming at all during your trip, bring two different swimsuits. This way, when one of them is wet, you can let it in the bathroom to dry and you will have to fresh one to put on for whatever water activities you have scheduled for the day.

Avoid locking yourself into a rigid schedule when traveling with the kids to a theme park vacation. Keep in mind that the real point is to have fun not endure a marathon as you race from one ride or attraction to the next. Go over the itinerary with the kids the week before the trip and let each pick one or two specific activities they really want to do. Focus your day on making those dreams come true and integrate other activities as time allows. A mid-day break with a return to your hotel for rest and a swim in the pool can provide an opportunity for some enjoyable family downtime.

No matter where you’re planning on traveling to, you need some great tips to use once you get there. You just never know what kind of troubles you’ll encounter on the drive, on the plane, at the hotel, or at any other stop along your journey. Use the tips above to help you out when traveling.

Proven Advice That Will Enhance Your Trip

151656798Your adventures with travel don’t have to be the horror stories that so many people you know have probably told you. Most people are able to get to their destination, experience their trip and come home without so much as a single negative event. This article will give you more ideas of how you can make sure that this is the way it goes for you as well.

Consider your food allergies, if you have them, when you are traveling to foreign countries. You need to know the language’s food related words, particularly if you have bad reactions to foods. Doing this, you can tell restaurants what foods you can’t eat or at least be able to tell medical professionals what’s wrong.

Take a good book with you to read when traveling. If you always have something interesting to do, you will be less likely to get frustrated or bored during layovers and other time delays that are beyond your control. Buy a new title that you have been wanting to read so that you have something to look forward to.

If you’re worried about travelling alone, especially if you’re a female, you should consider taking some self-defense classes before you go. This way you can learn basic ways to get away from a mugger or rapist in the event that you need to. Most areas have a few schools that teach self-defense at reasonable rates.

When traveling in another country, be sure to clean your hands and under your fingernails often. Try not to touch your face, especially your eyes and mouth ,to prevent any bacteria or germs from getting in. This is especially important if you’re visiting a less developed country to avoid getting sick.

Don’t forget to look up the time zones for where you will be traveling to and staying. Many people don’t realize that there is a significant time difference that will not only play a role in your sleep schedule, but also in your communication efforts to those still at home.

Plan far in advance when booking flights around holidays. Normally you can find the best deal by waiting until the last second to buy a ticket. However, around the holidays airlines know that they will be busy so they start increasing the price early as people panic and decide to buy tickets. If you absolutely want to travel during the holiday season you should purchase your tickets as soon as possible.

If you’re traveling on a tight schedule, give yourself the advantage of learning the layout of an unfamiliar airport by using your smartphone to download a free application designed to assist travelers. FLYsmart gives you all the information you need on a specific airport, from locating the restroom to checking arrival and departure times.

Making sure that your trip goes off without a hitch and that you have a wonderful time, regardless of if your trip is for business or travel is the point of this article. If you implement what you read here you should have a nice, calm, uneventful trip next time you leave town.