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.

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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.

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Best Places In Nevada To Visit

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In 1964, Nevada became the 36th state to join the union. Even though it is the seventh largest state in area, it remains sparsely populated due to its sometimes, harsh environment. Despite that, visitors will find many fascinating places to explore. Here are some of the best places in Nevada to visit.

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Las Vegas

Gambling is legal in Nevada and no place takes advantage of that quite like Las Vegas. Fondly known as Sin City, millions of people flock to Las Vegas every year to indulge in games of chance, dine in world famous restaurants and enjoy the vibrant nightlife. Known as an adult playground, the city has plenty of entertainment options suitable for young visitors, as well. Some of the most popular attractions include the Shark Reef aquarium, the Secret Garden at the Mirage and the dancing fountains at the Bellagio.

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Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is a huge expanse of water straddling the border between Nevada and California. Boating, water skiing, swimming and mountain biking are among the many activities that attract visitors during the hot summer months. During the winter, it is a popular place for winter sport enthusiasts with numerous ski resorts featuring runs suitable for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels.

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Ghost Towns

If you feel like scaring up a specter or two, you will not want to miss the opportunity to visit one of the state’s many ghost towns. Many of the buildings in Rhyolite, on US 95 in the Bullfrog Hills, are still standing. Ruins include the Bottle House and the old railroad depot. The Goldwell Open Air Museum sits near the south entrance to town and contains numerous unique sculptures. Admission to the museum is free. Metropolis is on I-80 outside of Wells. This town is smaller than Rhyolite and many of its buildings are now in ruins. Visitors here can explore an old bank/hotel, a schoolhouse and the cemetery.

Whether you like to gamble, ski, or explore locations steeped in the history of the wild, wild west, Nevada has plenty of interesting places to visit.

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Ghost Towns In Utah That You Can Visit For Yourself

We have all heard stories about historical museums, historical mansions, and even historical towns. We here at American Southwest are aware that many people find historical areas and even ghost towns to be quite interesting. Here is an overview of some of the most amazing ghost towns in Utah, some which you might want to visit in order to see for yourself.

Frisco

This once bustling little town was known for residents that mined for a living and who visited saloons, brothels and even gambling halls. After a massive cave-in that occurred in 1885, the town was eventually abandoned. Now, all that exists are multiple mining structures that are still relatively intact.

Grafton

Although it was abandoned in the early 1900’s, the town of Grafton is well-known for being one of the most preserved ghost towns in existence. It is so preserved and beautiful that several movies have been filmed in Grafton. Massive flooding caused those who lived in this town to vacate the area. Flooding occurred once in 1862, but years later some residents returned to attempt to live in the area. However, massive flooding occurred again in the early 1900’s, when a majority of the town relocated for good.

Widtsoe

Most of this town was destroyed in the 1930’s due to drought conditions which made farming impossible. The area had previously thrived, and farming was how a majority of the townspeople made their living. However, once the drought set in, not much could be salvaged. One especially interesting thing about this ghost town is the fact that a solitary schoolhouse still exists. Many visitors find this to be fascinating, since it is one of the few building that remains in Widtsoe.

So as you can see, all the stories about aren’t merely myths. These stories exist because there are entire towns that have been abandoned for years. If you find ghost towns interesting, then you might want to visit some of the ghost towns in Utah, which you might find to be more thrilling than any adventure you’ve ever experienced before. Follow us for more adventures in the American Southwest.

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

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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.

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Plants And Animals You Will Likely Encounter When Traveling To Utah

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

Travel Around The World To See All You Can

453660979Traveling is something that you want to always have as much information on as you can, you want to always know better ways to travel so you can save money and time. This article is to serve as a place where you can gain a lot of tips and insight onto how to travel better in the future.

When you travel, it’s important to stop for the cheese as well as the big-time monuments. What that means is this: Go to Mt. Rushmore, sure. But first, you need to stop at the Jolly Green Giant Statue in Minnesota and get your picture taken. You need to actually go see the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD, and Wall Drug. These places are kitschy, and that’s exactly why they’re essential. America is both a place of great beauty and great silliness, and both should be celebrated by the traveler.

462103297 When you sign up for your passport, make sure you fill in the emergency information. You should always prepare for the worst and the unexpected. Should something happen to you while in a foreign country, it is important to have this sort of information available to contact friends, family, or loved ones.

When selecting a location to travel to, there is no better source of information than a fellow traveler. Other travelers with similar needs and plans, can tell you what destinations are must-sees and what areas you should try to avoid. No guidebook can replace the first-hand experience of another person or family.

The tips and advice you just learned is a great place to start when thinking about better ways you can go about traveling. When you’re actually out traveling then all you want to worry about is having fun, so be on the look out for more traveling tips that can relieve your stress when thinking about traveling.