The US West has always had a romantic appeal for travelers who grew up on stories and films of cowboys, outlaws, and the untamed wilderness. Of course, there is much more diversity to the west now, ranging from the traditional desert cities to wealthy seaside communities, and even tropical paradises further out in Hawaii.
With so much to choose from, where should you go to explore all the varying yet equally authentic sides of the American West? The below list of cities should give you a good starting point!
Albuquerque, New Mexico
New Mexico conjures up images of deserts, Navajo, and adobe communities; Albuquerque is a prime example, steeped deep in the history and culture of the desert. Explore 18th century Old Town Albuquerque and visit the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center to get a sense of the area’s heritage. Then ride the Sandia Peak Tramway for dramatic mountain views from above. Albuquerque is a perfect place to take the family, and best of all, Albuquerque hotels are surprisingly affordable!
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Visit perhaps the most famous natural US landmark at the Grand Canyon in Arizona, and take in the breathtaking sight of this grandiose, majestic display of beauty. Book one of the many hotels in the Grand Canyon so you can spend days exploring the area by foot, bike, helicopter, or even on the back of a donkey! Tours can take you all the way down to the Colorado River, or you can choose to view the canyon from above by taking a stroll on the intimidating glass-bottomed Skywalk!
For a completely different side of the west, make the trip out to the tropical big island of Hawaii to experience true, laid back island living. Enjoy the white sand beaches, slower pace of life, and natural beauty of the big island. If you’re in a more adventurous mood, hike up to the top of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. The luxury hotels in Waikoloa will pamper you at the end of a long day of hiking and swimming; the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa probably gives you the best value for your money.
Marina Del Rey, California
The upscale seaside neighborhood of Marina Del Rey, just half an hour from central Los Angeles, is a great destination for those who enjoy boating, top restaurants and shopping. Shop and eat at picturesque Fisherman’s Village, or lay out on the local beach to enjoy the oceanfront side of the American West. Marina Del Rey hotels range from boutique to luxury, so travelers of all budgets can book a vacation here.
Reno is the second casino capital of Nevada after flashy Las Vegas. However, Reno offers plenty of family activities as well, with festivals happening throughout the year and plenty of parks and museums to explore. Visit the National Automobile Museum or stroll through Idlewild Park on a sunny day with the kids. Reno hotels are perfect for budget travelers, with plenty of amenities such as pools and 24/7 room service for very low prices! A stay at hotels like the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino will give you an experience the whole family can enjoy.
Photo by Ardent Camper.