Jump in your car and explore the incredible natural landscapes the American Southwest has to offer. With one week to spend, get away from it all with visits to Joshua Tree and Death Valley National Parks. Admire expansive views of the Grand Canyon and the unique Antelope Canyon. Hike your way through the incomparable Zion National Park and enjoy the sunset in Bryce Canyon. Reinvigorate your traveling spirit by taking advantage of these week-long trips close to home. These trips are designed from Los Angeles and Las Vegas but can be adapted to other starting points within the area as well.
  Trip Style Activity Level Crowd Factor Total Driving
Joshua Tree, Death Valley, and Red Rock Canyon Hiking, Nature & Outdoors High Sparse  1100 miles
Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon Hiking, Nature & Outdoors Moderate High  1350 miles
California's Central Coast Beach, Nature, Small Towns Moderate Moderate - High  750 miles
American Southwest National Parks Nature & Outdoors, Hiking High Moderate - High  800 miles

Itinerary #1: Joshua Tree, Death Valley, and Red Rock Canyon

Escape the city and reconnect with nature while exploring the incredible arid landscapes unique to California. This stunning loop takes you first to Joshua Tree, where you will discover the desert flora and scenic hiking of this incredible national park. Travel back in time with a stay in the Old West-style Pioneertown to complete your experience.

From there, you'll continue on to explore the sandy dunes of Mojave National Preserve before arriving in Death Valley National Park. This area's otherworldly landscapes are unlike any others. From badlands to salt flats, take in this spectacular scenery up close and admire stunning sunrises across the horizon. Finish off your trip admiring the colorful rock formations of the aptly named Red Rock Canyon and a couple of nights amongst the bright lights of Las Vegas before heading home.

Highlights: Hiking, Nature & Outdoors | Suggested Duration:  6 - 8 Days | Total Driving: 1100 miles

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Rock formations in Joshua Tree National Park

Itinerary #2: Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon 

On this classic road trip, you'll visit an array of must-see places in the Southwest. Start off heading to Las Vegas, although known for its bright lights and nightlife, it's just a short drive away from the beautiful Red Rock Canyon. Spend the day hiking through the park and exploring its unique colors.

From there, continue on to the Grand Canyon, one of the most frequented national parks. Its scenic hikes and incomparable lookout points make for a remarkable and memorable experience. Round out your trip with a visit to Page, Arizona, home to the picturesque Antelope Canyon, whose wavy walls will leave you mesmerized. Stop by Horseshoe Bend for an incredible lookout before finishing off your trip back in Vegas. 

Highlights: Hiking, Nature & Outdoors | Suggested Duration:  6 - 8 Days | Total Driving: 1350 miles

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Views of Grand Canyon National Park

Itinerary #3: California's Central Coast

Journey up the scenic Pacific Coast Highway and take in all that California's coastline has to offer on this 6-day road trip. Set out from Los Angeles and first make your way to sunny Santa Barbara to enjoy an afternoon amidst its laidback atmosphere. Continue on up the coast and spend the day riding ATV's in Pismo Beach and admiring the incredible architecture of Hearst Castle before stopping in San Luis Obispo.

From here, drive up the coast and pass through picturesque Big Sur, stopping for hikes and admiring its breathtaking lookout points before reaching the quaint seaside city of Monterey. On your way back down towards Los Angeles, stop in Paso Robles for wine tasting, and discover the charming small towns of Solvang and Los Olivos bordering the beach city of Santa Barbara. 

Highlights: Beach, Nature, Small Towns | Suggested Duration:  6 - 8 Days | Total Driving: 750 miles

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Pismo Beach in San Luis Obispo

Itinerary #4: American Southwest National Parks 

Make your way through some of America's most scenic national parks on this 8-day road trip from Las Vegas. Journey first to the Grand Canyon and admire its sweeping views and incomparable hikes. From there, continue on to Page, Arizona to visit the fascinating and picturesque canyon walls of Antelope Canyon.

Spend a day hiking through the unique geological formations in Bryce Canyon National Park before continuing on your way to the stunning Zion National Park. Traverse gorges and admire sweeping views in this stunning park before making your way back to Las Vegas. This road trip takes you through the best of the best. 

Highlights: Hiking, Nature & Outdoors | Suggested Duration:  8 - 10 Days | Total Driving: 800 miles

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Zion National Park

More California Trips

Looking for more ways to explore all of what California has to offer? Check out some of these top itineraries for ideas: 

Map

Map of One Week in the US Southwest: Desert Road Trips, National Parks, and California Coastline
Map of One Week in the US Southwest: Desert Road Trips, National Parks, and California Coastline