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  • Las Vegas skyline
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    Las Vegas, Nevada: Good Times in Sin City

  • Bryce Canyon
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    Bryce Canyon National Park: Crimson Spires and Starry Nights in Utah

  • Moab, Utah
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    Moab, Utah: A River Runs Through It

  • Canyon Lands
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    Canyonlands to Monument Valley, Utah: Parks, Parks and More Parks

  • Antelope Canyon
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    Page and Lake Powell, Arizona: Natural Wonders

Horseshoe Bend in Arizona
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National Parks & Beyond: Canyons, Mesas and Hoodoos

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  • Suggested Time:
    1-2 weeks

Towering Cliffs, Breathtaking Canyons and Glittering Waters in the Heart of the American West

You’ll want both Elvis Presley and Willie Nelson on your playlist for this western road trip. Dip into the decadence of Las Vegas, Nevada, then trace a route through Utah’s eye-popping scenery, national park-hopping across a landscape of spire-like hoodoos and natural arches. After a week behind the wheel, relax on a Lake Powell houseboat before a sojourn among the monumental red cliffs and canyons of Zion National Park.

Las Vegas skyline
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Las Vegas, Nevada: Good Times in Sin City

Exiting your plane, you’ll notice a chorus of beeps and whistles. Las Vegas’ 200,000 slot machines are everywhere, from the airport to the hospital. The biggest concentration is on The Strip, the 6-kilometer boulevard lined with so much neon, it’s the brightest thing visible from outer space. This is action central, home to most of the name-brand casinos and attractions. Walk its length to get your bearings, past a colossal statue of Julius Caesar, a re-creation of the New York City skyline and a faux Eiffel Tower. When you’ve worked up an appetite, load up your plate at one of the city’s mammoth buffets. Or go upscale: Celebrity chefs from Gordon Ramsey to José Andrés have outposts in Vegas.

Want a thrill? Head to the 12-story-high Slotzilla zip line to soar above Fremont Street’s bars. Want to chill? Kick back at your hotel pool and sip a drink served in a coconut. There’s upscale shopping at the Forum Shops at Caesars and Via Bellagio, bargains at nearby outlets and 3,716 square meters of shot glasses and T-shirts at the Bonanza Gift Shop, the world’s largest souvenir store. Vegas comes into its own after sunset, when the partying begins in earnest at casinos and nightclubs, and concerts are headlined by music legends. Things are slower paced at Valley of Fire State Park, less than an hour from the city. Nevada’s oldest state park boasts petroglyphs drawn by American Indians and sightings of bobcats and coyotes.

421 km
4 hours by car
Bryce Canyon
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Bryce Canyon National Park: Crimson Spires and Starry Nights in Utah

Stash your glad rags and lace up your hiking boots — things get wild as you travel into national park territory. Your first stop is Bryce Canyon National Park, famous for its hoodoos, those rocky red and pink spires that extend to the horizon. The park’s 30-kilometer scenic byway provides a good overview. Once situated in a lodge or cabin you can use the park’s shuttle service for getting around. Use it to visit Sunset Point, where you can take the requisite selfie in front of the hoodoo called Thor’s Hammer. There’s also Sunrise Point, the start of a switchback hike into a narrow slot canyon. Join a ranger-led trek to Bryce Amphitheater or visit it on horseback. At night, astronomy rangers will point out the Milky Way.

403 km
4.5 hours by car