Summer in the Southwest for many means sweltering triple-degree temperatures, cranking down the air
conditioning and literally sweating throughout the next several months. While most Southwest natives or visitors remain indoors, there are several amazing spots to escape the heat and enjoy gorgeous scenery at the same time. If you’re burning up this summer and in search of creative ways to cool down, discover the Southwest’s cooler side with these four destinations.
While Bryce Canyon’s high desert is an all-consuming visual oasis where water is precious, there are numerous ways to cool down with plenty of spots to enjoy your favorite water activities. From world class fishing in high alpine lakes to waterfalls and white-water rapids, Bryce Canyon has a little of bit of something for everyone. Refresh your spirit at Inspiration Point where you get to see the complete view of Bryce Amphitheater elevated at 8,000 ft. high. Explore Mossy Cave Trail, which is a hidden spot that features a waterfall found in the park. Discover the colors, shapes and incredible hoodoo views at Bryce Canyon National Park. This full day tour of Bryce Canyon includes views of the Virgin River Gorge, the Grand Staircase National Monument, the magical hoodoos of Bryce Canyon, and a made-to- order lunch.
The Grand Canyon draws in over five million tourists each year and is one of the “Seven Natural Wonders of the World.” While this magnanimous site may not seem like the ideal place to cool off in the heat of summer, temperatures in the Grand Canyon are typically 25-30°F cooler than in Phoenix and there are a plethora of ways to wind down and beat the heat. Hidden within a 35-mile radius, under control of the local Havasupai tribe, lies the stunning crystal blue waters of Havasupai Falls. Experience the stunning views from the North and South Rims and soak in the cool breeze as you stare into the depths of the Canyon. Explore the famous 30-mile section of road that winds east along the rim of the canyon, showcasing the best rim views and history along the way. You’ll forget all about the heat of summer once you plan your escape to the stunning Grand Canyon.
Lake Mead & Hoover Dam
Craving a place with year-round activities including boating, water skiing, canoeing, kayaking and scuba diving? Lake Mead National Recreation Area is 40 minutes southeast of Las Vegas and offers a myriad of water recreation opportunities. Formed by the Hoover Dam, which is one of America’s Seven Modern Civil Engineering Wonders, Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the United States. Five marinas offer access to Lake Mead (and Lake Mohave formed by Davis Dam, below Hoover), with plenty of year-round water activities to ensure you leave the heat behind you and cool off with new adventures on the open water.
Lake Powell & Rainbow Bridge
It’s hard to say whether Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is better known for its waters or for its spectacular red rock shoreline and canyons. Either way, you will definitely find a way to beat the summer heat here. Enjoy everything from boating, to swimming, to fishing and backcountry hiking. Enjoy a guided boat trip to Rainbow Bridge, tour Glen Canyon Dam, rent a houseboat or just relax and enjoy the scenery. Surrounded by miles of inhospitable desert, water shimmers in the sun. The towering sandstone walls of Glen Canyon cradle this vast reservoir, the second largest man-made lake in the country behind Lake Mead. This incredible body of jewel colored water stretches for 186 miles from northern Arizona into Utah.
Lake Powell has 1,960 miles of shoreline, more than the entire West Coast of the continental United States. The lake’s main body extends though Glen Canyon and has filled 96 side canyons, which means countless nooks and crannies to be explored by boat. Enjoy cruising 50 miles of unique Lake Powell shoreline to Rainbow Bridge National Monument, one of the largest known natural bridges in the world. The bridge extends 290′ into the sky and 275′ across Bridge Canyon. Beat the heat and cool off with the power of wind and water in this remarkable landscape.