The Southwest's 6 Most Beautiful Natural Playgrounds

In terms of sheer natural drama, it’s hard to top the landscapes of the Southwest United States. Its hallmark attraction has long been the Grand Canyon, and while that natural wonder shouldn’t be missed, there are other sites that are just as sure to take your breath away. Whether you visit just one Southwest state or make a multi-destination trip of it, these are places that should rank high on your list of things to see.Mohave Point [Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona]

The region abounds with state and national parks, monuments and other officially designated sights, but these unique destinations stand out among the many great choices in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

Arizona

West Thumb [Monument Valley, Utah]

Monument Valley | When you think of the great red rock formations of the Southwest, you probably picture Monument Valley.

Its Mitten and Merrick Buttes are the iconic backdrop of western movies and art, and seeing them in person is truly awe-inspiring. The area is a Navajo Tribal Park and is best explored with a local Navajo tour guide who can offer insight and access to landmarks off the beaten path.

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Gina Czupka

Gina’s first solo trip abroad, at age 16, changed her life. Since then, travel has been her passion and it’s her mission to convince others that they really can make travel a part of their lives. These days, she seeks out destinations where she can indulge her taste for adventure and shop for additions to her textile collection. Some of her favorite experiences from recent trips have included eating bun cha in Hanoi and feeding hyenas in Ethiopia.

Gina’s Favorite Travel Tip: When traveling abroad, learn enough of the language to be polite (hello, thank you, goodbye) and to shop and haggle (numbers and colors).

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