One of the great features in the southwestern United States is that it really has something for everyone. One late November, I booked a stylish / 5 star spa hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona. There was a wide range of options available from lounging to hiking. Coming from the East Coast, I was surprised that the desert at that time of year was not always warm. The outdoor patios had heat lamps that made them comfortable even after sunset to sit outside for dinner.
Apparently, I wasn't the only person thinking about the scorching sun and cowboys in sight. I booked a full day trip to the Grand Canyon. When my pickup truck arrived, the snow had started to fall. One of our small group, a woman from Europe, wears "desert" clothes, lightweight clothes and street shoes, hanging down to the gift shop. Returned to admire the view of Canyon decorated with layers of sweatshirts, a baseball cap only provides a slight improvement of the cold temperature!
Another surprise: As a child, I joined my classmates pleading "home on the run … where a buffalo wanders." This was a myth more than reality because it is clear that there is not only an "American buffalo" "Bison".
Additional day trip options from the Scottsdale area include a major colony of artists, Sedona, ranging from 20th-century Frank Lloyd Wright architecture to its stunning landscape of red rocks. Apache Trail is an option for hiking with the nearby Goldfield Ghost Town, which eventually ends at the Roosevelt Dam.
In any case, it was a pleasant trip that I recommend. The only drawback? When traveling, I prefer to be within walking distance of a variety of attractions.
A very different but equally good trip with Christmas in Santa Fe, New Mexico. There was plenty of snow which was very seasonal but the best was the historic town itself. There were many restaurants, shops and local landmarks, such as St. Francis Cathedral Cathedral. The latter was recently built in the late 1800's, but it serves a 400-year-old parish. Native Americans offered jewelry and other goods, the most popular ones being turquoise necklaces, silver earrings and even belt buckles. (Earlier in November, Santa hosted the Indian SWAIA market for Indians.)
Daily Santa Fe trips include:
• Turquoise Trail
• Bandelier National Monument with 70 miles of hiking trails
• Georgia O'Keefe Hom
• Pecos National Park
• To change speed, Las Vegas is also within range.
Taos plus its views on the road is famous for its fairly difficult ski slopes. Although the therapeutic intermediate skater, I carried my sleds to Santa Fe anticipating a day's ski trip in Taos. Unfortunately even though I arrive just in time for almost daily snowfall, my trip coincided with Christmas Week. As a result, all the minibus services I contacted were not available. The locals encouraged me to rent a car for an unusual mountain tour alone during heavy snowfall. One creative solution was to ride to the mountain and hope to find a solution when you return. I rejected the possibility of being stuck overnight in search of accommodation while spending a day enjoying the area around Santa Fe.
I found all year round good options for both Arizona and New Mexico for individual travelers. However, for side trips to the national parks check in advance to close the winter.