The best desert getaways in the US for redrock lovers

By Stef Zisovska
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Giant Marbles in Joshua Tree National Park - Author: Brocken Inaglory - CC BY-SA 3.0
 
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If you’re the type of person who hates the rain but wants to get away from the city, a trip to one of America’s desert towns could be just the thing you’re looking for. Across the country there are plenty of urban oases where you can take a break from the rain and cold of your home city.

Desert vacations can be an absolute winner if you know where to go and what to do. The range of outdoor activities available in desert country will make your holiday an unforgettable one.

Sedona, Arizona

Cathedral Rock, Sedona, Arizona – Author: Tomas Castelazo – CC BY-SA 3.0

Sedona is about a 2 hour ride from Phoenix, and it’s known for its amazing redstone rock formations and the pine trees that surround them. Sedona offers excellent hiking, biking, and horseback riding opportunities. For the spiritually inclined, there are several centers catering for those who want to pamper their mind, body and soul. Summers are hot here, around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, but the rest of the year Sedona is a perfect traveling destination with a dry and mild climate.

Joshua Tree National Park, California

Joshua Tree National Park: North Horror Rock at Hall of Horrors area at Sheep Pass – Author: Jarek Tuszyńsk – CC BY-SA 3.0

A two and a half hour ride out of Los Angeles you’ll find the Joshua Tree National Park, named after the tree species that fills the park. It’s a large desert park that attracts campers of all ages, but the most frequent visitors are the rock climbers who love the park because of the great bouldering in the area. Skull Rock and the Arch Rock are the most visited climbing points. Also, there are various campgrounds in the park where you can spend many stunning nights stargazing.

Moab, Utah

Fisher Towers, Moab, Utah at sunset – Author: Surfsupusa – CC BY 3.0

Set just south of the breathtaking Arches National Park, Moab is a perfect place for all outdoor enthusiasts who prefer to spend their time being active. People usually come to Moab for a day trip, though some stay longer so they can explore the geological wonders of the area. If you’re a mountain biker, then this is the place to be.

Moab offers the most challenging and exciting biking trails you can imagine. But if you prefer water sports, well, you can raft down the Colorado River and satisfy your adrenaline needs that way. Moab has the biggest number of visitors between March and October, and for those of you who don’t like tents, there are many attractive places to stay over night.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

The Inn at Loretto, a Pueblo Revival style building near the Plaza in Santa Fe – Author: JuliusR – CC BY-SA 3.0

Santa Fe is a small city in a great location between the mountains and the desert. Outdoor activity addicts can find much more on offer here than just hiking and biking. Santa Fe is also a famous art center that combines American Indian, Southwestern, and Latino cultures. Here you can find arts and crafts for any taste, and visit museums such as the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. The architecture of this charming city will make your stay a unique experience, one that only the adobe style can give.

Big Bend National Park, Texas

Watching the sun set behind the hills from Boquillas Canyon – Author: Archbob – CC BY-SA 3.0

The park contains the entire Chisos Mountain range and a large part of Chihuahuan Desert. Between the park and the Mexican border, the Rio Grande river offers spectacular kayaking conditions. For all the hiking enthusiasts there are many trails to try, such as the Chimneys Trail, the Marufo Vega trail, a loop route that passes through scenic canyons on the way to and from the Rio Grande. There’s also the South Rim trail that goes around the mountains of the Chisos, and the Outer Mountain Loop trail in the Chisos that descends into the desert, joins up with the Dodson Trail, and then goes back to the Chisos Basin.

This selection of desert getaways will satisfy your needs for a redrock vacation far from the big city. September is a perfect month for a trip in the desert. Good luck!

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