Flexible 2 Week Road Trip Itinerary for the American Southwest
Updated: Dec 13, 2020
Planning a road trip through the American Southwest? The Southwest is a haven, with a romantic blend of big city culture, national parks, and stunning natural landscapes.
The best way to explore this beauty is to take a road trip. In this post, I've handpicked some of the best stops on a 14 day Southwest road trip, with tips on what to see/do/eat/stay.
This road trip takes you from Arizona to New Mexico and on to Utah. Naturally, you'll visit the Grand Canyon along the way. If you have more than 14 days to road trip, I also suggest some beautiful day trips from the Grand Canyon and other places.
I suggest starting the trip in either Tucson or Phoenix. You can use these cities as a launchpad, destination, or both. Both cities provide a fantastic introduction to the scenery and overall laid back attitude of Southwest USA. I've written a two week Southwest itinerary with lots of options for extending legs. You easily customize it or make it shorter or longer, depending on your own interests or schedule.
American Southwest Road Trip Highlights & Travel Guide
Day 1-2: Start Your Road Trip in Phoenix or Tucson
Choose between Phoenix or Tucson to get your trip off to a fantastic start. Both cities are cool in their own right. Phoenix is definitely easier to fly into. I'm partial to Tucson because my mom lives there.
Choose Phoenix if you like the big city. Phoenix is loaded with cultural/artistic/historic venues and landmarks, and a hip downtown. In terms of its foodie scene, Phoenix has dozens of ethnic restaurants and James Beard award-winning eateries from hole in the wall to luxe.
Chose Tucson if you prefer smaller cities with a slower pace and rich cultural heritage. Tucson is beautiful, has amazing views, rugged mountains, ample outdoor adventure options, and some of the best southwest food in the country.
Tuscon is also a designated UNESCO World City of Gastronomy. The town is a mini mecca for the arts -- with regional museums, art venues, and its own ballet, symphony, opera and theater companies.
Things To Do and See in Phoenix
If you're starting in Phoenix, here are some of my favorite Phoenix experiences:
1. Head to Roosevelt Row
Roosevelt Row is Phoenix's art district. This artsy area is a mix of indie shops, restaurants, and art galleries. Fancy galleries like Modified Arts and Eye Lounge share the area with street artists, pop up shops, and festivals. Dozens of murals dot the buildings.
2. Hit The Hive
Located in the fabulous Coronadao neighborhood, the Hive is a collective that combines visual arts, performing arts, and indie businesses. You'll find coffee shops, art studios, boutiques, and galleries.The Bees Knees is one of the best retro vintage shops you'll ever find.
3. Hike in Papago Park
The lush and verdant Papago Park is a hiking and biking dream. It's got winding trails for every level of experience and all sorts of geological formations. For the full park experience, take the 2.3 mile Double Butte Loop. And don't miss the iconic Hole in the Rock on the park's east side.