Winter in the Southwest: Sun in Desert

14 Days

Starting in: Las Vegas, Nevada

Ending in: San Diego, California

Total driving distance approximately 1,248 miles


Glittering Las Vegas, the “City that Never Sleeps” is the gateway to spending some warm winter days in the Southwest. First stop visit the majestic Grand Canyon! Then continue to Sedona, where red sandstone formations appear to glow in brilliant orange and red when illuminated by the rising or setting sun. Further south Phoenix is the anchor of the Phoenix metropolitan area, also known as the Valley of the Sun. One of the biggest attractions of the Phoenix area is golf, with over 200 golf courses. Visit Tombstone, a historic city founded in 1877 by prospector Ed Schieffelin and best known as the site of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Back to Tucson, which anchors the Arizona Sun Corridor and is known for its mild winters. Then it’s on to San Diego on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, called “the birthplace of California”.  The city is known for its mild year-round climate, natural deep-water harbor, and extensive beaches, and has one of the top-ten best climates in the United States. Tourist attractions include Balboa Park, Belmont amusement park, San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and SeaWorld San Diego. San Diego’s Spanish and Mexican heritage is reflected in many historic sites across the city, such as Mission San Diego de Alcalá and Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

Trip Higlights

  • Las Vegas
  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Tombstone
  • Sedona
  • Phoenix
  • San Diego


Welcome to the City of Sin, the Entertainment Capital of the World. Located in the Mojave Desert of Southern Nevada the city features many mega-hotel/casino complexes decorated with lavish care and attention to detail creating a fantasy-like environment.

Overnight: Hilton Garden Vacations on the Strip, Las Vegas, Nevada (2 nights). Resort Fee of approx. $28 per night to be paid directly

The casinos often have names and themes that evoke romance, mystery, and exotic destinations. Visit the many glittering casinos, take in a show, or just spend the day relaxing by the pool.  Whatever your pleasure, Vegas has something for you.

Crossing famous Hoover Dam, located 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas on U.S. Highway 93, you'll enter Arizona and are on your way to the Grand Canyon National Park. One of the most spectacular examples of erosion anywhere in the world, Grand Canyon is unmatched in the incomparable vistas it offers to visitors on the rim. Grand Canyon National Park is a World Heritage Site. This is a place of wonder.  Take an optional helicopter flight out over the canyon for an experience of a lifetime. The Canyon is an overwhelming experience, and nothing can prepare a visitor for the sight.

Overnight:  Maswick North Lodge, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

The colorful collection of buttes, pinnacles, mesas and canyons surrounding Sedona is famous the world around for its red rock vistas.  Known for its beauty and serene setting amidst the beautiful Red Rocks, the town is famous for its vibrant arts community with nearly 100 art galleries and events. Sedona is an outstanding place to experience "new-age" counterculture Americana.

Overnight: Poco Diablo Resort, Sedona, Arizona (2 nights)

Day 5 :

Today take an hour's walk from near the school by the junction of the Upper Red Rock Loop Road and the highway 89. The trail leads up to one of the finest panoramic views you will ever see. An optional jeep tour will take you out into nature to experience the wonder of this area first-hand.

America’s sixth-largest city still has real cowboys and rugged mountains and the kind of cactus most people see only in cartoons.   At an elevation of 1100 ft (335 m), it is situated in the biologically unique Sonoran Desert. While in town, visit the Desert Botanical Garden, the Heard Museum or the Phoenix Art Museum.  The city also has plenty of hiking trails, golf courses, and shopping —and of course plenty of sunshine!

Overnight: Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort, Phoenix, Arizona (2 nights)

Day 7 :

Visit more of Phoenix or check out the surrounding area.
Scottsdale: With its dining, shopping and nightlife, Scottsdale offers everything you'd expect from a premier vacation destination, plus something delightfully unexpected - the stirring beauty of the Sonoran Desert.
Scottsdale’s lush desert landscape offers nearly endless opportunities for outdoor adventure. Watch the sunrise from the gondola of a hot air balloon. Explore rolling mountain foothills on a hike in Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Or unleash your inner cowboy and saddle-up for a Western-style horseback ride. Just make sure your cell phone is fully charged so you can capture the desert’s breathtaking scenery and technicolor sunsets.
Mesa: Look forward to cultivating and celebrating creativity, filling your closet, and soaking up the sun in Arizona's third-largest city. Add a day tour to explore Mesa's Fresh Foodie scene.

Tombstone, "The Town Too Tough To Die" was founded in 1877 as a mining camp. There were seven years of gold, silver, and total lawlessness to follow, climaxing in the famous shoot-out between Wyatt Earp and the Clanton gang at The O.K. Corral. Today, you can still hear the echoes of gunfire through the streets, but it's gunfire from re-enactments. Tombstone is proud of its Old West history, even if it's in a way not the wild and dangerous town it used to be.

Overnight: The Tombstone Grand Hotel, Tombstone, Arizona (Complimentary Continental Breakfast)

Only a short drive from Tombstone you will arrive in Tucson, the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the United States - Native peoples farmed this valley 3,000 years ago. Situated in the biologically diverse Sonoran Desert At an elevation of 2,400 feet, it has slightly cooler temperatures than its desert cousin, Phoenix. To get a perspective of the area's history and for a real South-Western sight visit the Mission San Xavier del Bac - standing since the 1700s. Pure white and pristine against a hot desert backdrop, and still heady inside its elaborately colored and muraled interior from centuries of supplication, the Mission San Xavier del Bac was finished in 1797 when Arizona was still New Spain. Or explore Tucson by foot.  The area just northwest of Old Town Artisans is where Tucson's elite built their homes in the late 1800s.

Overnight: Hotel Tucson City Center, Tucson, Arizona (2 nights)

Day 10 :

Visit the Arizona- Sonora Desert Museum - give yourself time to soak in the Southwest splendor and if time is all you have, the Museum is also on the fringes of Saguaro National Park, home to the world's largest forests of Saguaro cacti. A little further drive take you to  Kartchner Caverns State Park, opened in 1999, and one of Arizona's newest wonders. Kartchner Caverns is a stunning limestone cave system considered one of the top ten in the world. Discovered in 1974 by explorers Randy Tufts and Gary Tenen, and not revealed until 1988, the opportunity existed to preserve the caverns in near-pristine condition.

Half-way between Tucson and Yuma, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument was created to protect its namesake, the organ pipe cactus, the monument being the largest concentration of the plant in the United States. It is located in the extreme southern portion of Arizona, the visitor's center being less than 10 miles from the Mexican border. Yuma's geography shaped the Southwest. Because this was the safest spot to cross the Colorado River, all roads led to Yuma for travelers from Spanish explorers to Okies fleeing the Dust Bowl.  Today Yuma is a vibrant multicultural community that celebrates its rich heritage, surrounded by wide-open spaces and pristine desert scenery - all with a river running through it.

Overnight: Holiday Inn Yuma, Yuma, Arizona

With friendly locals, 70 miles of beautiful coastline, world-class attractions like SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo and a laid-back vibe all its own, California's playground is perfect for the young and young at heart.  

Overnight: Bahia Resort, San Diego, California (2 nights)

Day 13 :

Visit the Gaslamp District, Little Italy, Balboa Park, Coronado or Cabrillo Park and National Monument where visitors can stand on a piece of history. In September of 1542, Juan Cabrillo and his crew landed at San Diego Bay. This was the first time a European expedition had set foot on the United States' west coast. Cabrillo National Monument memorializes this moment. The park also offers gorgeous views of San Diego’s harbor and skyline. Migrating whales can be spotted in winter. San Diego is also a museum lover's dream. Travelers can walk with the dinosaurs at the San Diego Natural History Museum, or soar into space at the San Diego Air & Space Museum in Balboa Park, catch a wave at the California Surf Museum in Oceanside or reclaim childhood at The New Children's Museum in Downtown. With so much to do, two days almost isn’t enough.

Day 14 :
Tour Ends

Trip Includes

  • 13 hotel nights at published hotels (or similar), local hotel taxes and resort fees (except where mentioned), travel tips, maps, and brochures. Complimentary Breakfast subject to change at the hotel’s discretion.

Trip Excludes

  • Rental car, gas, parking fees, porterage, flights, airport transfers, meals, unless otherwise specified in the tour description, park & attractions entrance fees, unless otherwise specified in the tour description, ferry charges, travel insurance.

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Trip Info