8 Best Small Towns In The Southwest U.S. To Visit In Summer 2023
BY: Maria Valencia
The American Southwest is a must-visit destination for those looking for a unique and memorable travel experience. This region is home to some of the most breathtaking natural wonders in the United States, including the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and Zion National Park. California’s diverse landscape offers everything from beach towns to towering forests, while Nevada is home to the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas. Utah’s stunning red rock formations, Colorado’s majestic mountains, Arizona’s awe-inspiring desert landscapes, and New Mexico’s rich history and culture all make the Southwest a truly exceptional destination.
The region is also known for its vibrant food scene, outdoor activities, and welcoming locals. Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or a mix of both, the American Southwest has something for everyone.
Springdale is your entry point if you’re traveling to Zion National Park from the west or south. For hungry trekkers, this small village in the Southwest, which is located at the entrance to Zion Canyon, serves quick meals. Grab a patio table at your preferred restaurant after a tiresome day in the park and enjoy the sunset over the red-rock canyon cliffs.
Silver City, New Mexico
The community of Silver City in the Southwest is a reliable base for a variety of experiences, as it sits at 6,000 feet above sea level and near the Gila National Forest. Stroll through the charming downtown and visit art galleries and restaurants such as Adobe Springs Cafe or Jalisco Cafe.
Virginia City, Nevada
Henry Comstock discovered the first silver in the United States in 1859 on property he shared in Nevada’s Virginia Range. Virginia City became a thriving mining town as a result of the silver rush. Today, the town is well aware of its past. A ride on the Virginia and Truckee Railroad and visits to mining sites or buildings like the wooden Fourth Ward School Museum, built in 1876, are like stepping into a real-life history book.
Pink sunsets, also known as “pink moments,” are not uncommon in Ojai, as the light of the setting sun is reflected in the Topatopa Mountains, which serve as a dramatic backdrop. Ojai Avenue is a great place to shop and dine. Tipple and Ramble offers the most beautiful patio for wine and cheese tasting.
Anyone who enjoys the smoldering beauty of the red sandstone mountains or seeks quick access to amazing state and national parks will find paradise in this area of eastern Utah. Explore the art galleries, quirky stores, and even microbreweries in town before strapping in for hikes at nearby Arches National Park (10 minutes away), Canyonlands (30 minutes away), and Dead Horse Point State (40 minutes away).
Taos, New Mexico
Taos is a high desert town with breathtaking views, a rich Native American heritage, and a thriving community in Taos Pueblo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has been inhabited for more than 1,000 years. Taos is located on the edge of the scenic Sangre de Cristo Mountains. After visiting the pueblo, take a hot air balloon ride over the landscape or go swimming at the neighboring Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs.
The main attraction of this Alpine town is that there are no chain restaurants, lakes or ski resorts here. Come here to relax among towering pines and cedars and explore the nearby hiking trails. Sip a beer at the Idyllwild Brewpub, relive your youth over a slice of pizza at the unassuming Idyllwild Pizza Company, or stock up on groceries and treats at the Idyllwild Village Market.
Joshua Tree, California
Hiking the Boy Scout Trail or Barker Dam in the national park is a real treat, but so is strolling through town, which has a quaint and unspent Western feel. Visit Natural Sisters Cafe for sandwiches and snacks, Joshua Tree Coffee Company for coffee and Pie for the People, or Sam’s Indian Food and Pizza for dinner.
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