Too much rain, need sun and fun
December 27, 2007 2:01 PM   Subscribe

Mid-February one-week vacation in the southwest U.S. Daughter will be turning five and we want to focus on awe-inspiring natural areas (accessible to non-hiking inclined girl) and sunshine. Ideas?

We hope to fly in to a city where we will not have to drive too far to get to natural areas. If possible, would like to hit a ghost town for fun (or a Western set).
posted by strangeleftydoublethink to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Carlsbad caverns and the white sands in New Mexico.
posted by hjo3 at 2:06 PM on December 27, 2007

Woops, pasted the wrong link for white sands -- here's what I meant to link.
posted by hjo3 at 2:07 PM on December 27, 2007

Near Phoenix Arizona: Ghost towns - Rawhide or Goldfield Ghost Town near the Superstition Mountains. The Superstition Mountains themselves are quite breathtaking and even seem ominous at times. I know you mentioned a non-hiking inclined five year old, but it's worth mentioning just in case - the Petroglyph trail near Gold Canyon (quite close to Goldfield Ghost Town and the Superstition Mountains) is a beautiful walk with the prize at the end being actual Petroglyphs on the rock walls.
posted by Sassyfras at 2:11 PM on December 27, 2007

Take the kiddo to the Grand Canyon. Depending on your approach, you can check out the new skywalk.
posted by Atreides at 2:25 PM on December 27, 2007

Flying into Albuquerque you'd be within an hour or two of several amazing areas, but hiking abounds.

Flying into El Paso will get you southern New Mexico.

Flying into Phoenix I would recommend heading north to Sedona.
posted by FlamingBore at 2:55 PM on December 27, 2007

It doesn't get much more awe inspiring than the Grand Canyon. There are also a few natural arches around, and it's worth seeing at least one.

I also enjoy the Canyon De Cheyelles, although it's a bit out of the way. The Grand Canyon is too big to grasp; the Canyon de Cheyelles is just really really large.

In general though, you should be aware that the American southwest is miles and miles of relentless boring punctuated by occasional sites of ineffable beauty. Be prepared to spend a lot of time in the car no matter where you go.
posted by tkolar at 5:34 PM on December 27, 2007

I proposed in Canyon de Chelley over thanksgiving break. It's really really cool. If you're going there via the Grand Canyon, you can also head over to Page, and Antelope Canyon, which is hands-down the coolest thing I've ever seen.

You could also put tentative plans on Zion National Park, which has a decent chance of being pretty temperate in February.

If you'd like to be further west, Joshua Tree and Death Valley are both pretty reasonable, temperature-wise, all winter (too damn hot in the summer)
posted by notsnot at 6:52 PM on December 27, 2007

If the ghost town can wait til a summer trip, fly into Reno and head to Bodie, California, between Reno and Yosemite (much closer to Yosemite). There's the awesome Mono Lake nearby, right at the entrance to Yosemite.
posted by notsnot at 7:02 PM on December 27, 2007

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