The Best Vacation Spots in the West

For the best in the west, hop in the car or take to the skies to get to one or more of these vacation spots in the United States.

Best Places to Travel 

This list is divided into the best places to travel as a couple, as a family, or even as a single person. However, don’t let those labels limit you! Any of these destinations offer a variety of attractions that cater to travelers of all ages.

Vacation Spots for Couples

Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or just some time to reconnect with your partner, there are seemingly endless destinations from which to choose in the western United States. Here are some recommendations for vacations to take, offering a variety of experiences.

Emerald Cove, Arizona

Tucked into the Colorado River you’ll find Emerald Cove. It’s popular for kayaking and swimming and makes a great adventure for couples. It’s only accessible by boat, so its emerald green waters offer up a reward for anyone who paddles their way to the Cove.

Winter Park, Colorado

Ski the slopes or hike the hills in Winter Park, Colorado. It’s also home to delicious dining, snowcat tours, and Colorado’s longest Alpine Slide. You can take in the beautiful Colorado scenery on a gondola ride, or ride e-bikes through the mountains. Every season of the year, this resort town offers luxury and leisure.

Lake McDonald, Montana

Located in Glacier National Park, Lake McDonald is a pristine vacation destination for couples. You can camp, hike, and enjoy water activities at Lake McDonald. Get away from it all by taking a guided tour, or learning about the glaciers at one of three visitor centers.

Tonopah, Nevada

Found along the road between Las Vegas and Reno nightlife is Tonopah. It’s the halfway point between the two gambling cities, and couldn’t be more different. Without the glare of neon or city lights, Tonopah is known for stargazing. It’s also home to historic mining ghost towns. Slow down and explore this unincorporated area of Nevada with a loved one.

Waco, Texas

Waco is famous for more than Chip and Jo’s Magnolia Market at the Silos. Lovers’ Leap is a vantage point over the Bosque River in Cameron Park. Also in Waco is the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame, the Dr. Pepper Museum, and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. Its attractions cater to a wide range of interests and make a great spot for a couple’s trip.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming/Idaho/Montana

Found in Yellowstone National Park is the Grand Prismatic Spring (Wyoming). It is the largest hot spring in the US, even if Old Faithful is the most famous. Grand Prismatic is named for its array of colors, caused by bacteria living in the hot spring. Yellowstone is also famous for its wildlife, historic tours, museums, and paleontological sites. You can also fish, attend a rodeo, and enjoy water recreation. Year-round, Yellowstone is fun for any couple who likes to spend time outside.

Vacation Spots for Families

The next time you brainstorm family vacation ideas, consider adding one of the following to your bucket list.

La Jolla, California

This beachside town in Southern California is popular with families. The city not only boasts a beautiful coastline but great dining options as well. Explore La Jolla’s Underwater Park, Kellog Park, or Ellen Browning Scripps Park. during the summer, you can stroll the Open Aire farmers’ market and enjoy a number of beaches, including La Jolla Cove Beach, La Jolla Shores Beach, and Children’s Pool Beach.

Anaheim, California

What childhood would be complete without a visit to Disneyland in Anaheim? Perhaps the best part about a Disney vacation is how conveniently a travel agent can arrange all the details for you. In addition to Disneyland, Anaheim is also home to family-friendly experiences such as an Angels baseball game, or an Anaheim Ducks hockey game. Orange County also features beaches, hiking, and museums.

Coeur D’Alene, Idaho

Live your best lake life in Coeur D’Alene. This spot in Northwest Idaho is ideal for boating, kayaking, swimming, and fishing. To complement its numerous lakes (55 within driving distance!), there’s also Seven Stars Alpaca Ranch, boutiques on Main Street, and the 15-mile long Hiawatha bike tunnel. 

Grand Canyon, Arizona

Another staple of everyone’s childhood should be a road trip to the Grand canyon. In the Northwest corner of Arizona, you’ll find 277 miles of National Park land. You can explore the canyon on your own or via guided tours. There are options to hike, become a junior ranger, raft the river, or camp around the Grand Canyon.

Lincoln City, Oregon

This city is known for beaches and kite flying. There’s also a glass art studio where you can make your own souvenir to take home, or you can try your hand at crabbing or clamming.

Lake Powell, Utah

With 1,960 miles of shoreline, Lake Powell is the second-largest man-made lake in the US. This is a popular vacation spot for families, where you can rent a houseboat and enjoy water sports surrounded by red rocks and sand. Near Powell, you can also enjoy hiking the Antelope and Escalante slot canyons.

Zion National Park, Utah

Speaking of hiking, take advantage of the National Parks passes given to fourth graders and take the family to Zion in Southern Utah. This is the state’s oldest National Park, and it features slot canyons and family-friendly trails such as Zion Narrows Riverside Walk, Zion Canyon Overlook Trail, and Emerald Pools Trail. You can camp in the area, or rent cabins at resorts like Zion Ponderosa.

San Juan Island, Washington

Ferry the family to San Juan Island to visit the Whale Museum, alpaca farm, or lavender farm off the coast of Washington. There’s also Lime Kiln State Park, art galleries, bookstores, and other cultural experiences for the whole family. 

Vacation Spots for Anyone

If you enjoy traveling solo, or with friends, the following vacation spots in the West often rank among the best.

Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles is a great vacation spot for touring old Hollywood, literally. You can tour the Hollywood sign, scout out celebrity homes on the Starline Tour, or eat your way through the city via the Hollywood Sites & Bites Food Tour. Of course, Los Angeles is also bursting with outdoor adventures, including the beach, horseback riding, parasailing with marine life, and more.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas always ranks as one of the best cities for a vacation, whether you’re traveling alone or with friends. There are countless opportunities to mingle, whether it’s at the casino, a live music venue, or an art gallery. There are resorts for any budget, ranging from Virgin Hotels ($$$) to the Sahara ($).

Sante Fe, New Mexico

If you love exploring Southwestern culture, Sante Fe is your destination. It has over 250 art galleries, and you can attend workshops to test your skills in glassblowing or making pottery. Sante Fe offers a variety of guided tours to help you learn about the area and is known to have a vivacious nightlife. 

Austin, Texas

For music lovers, Austin is the place to be. Known as the “Live Music Capital of the world,” the city also attracts foodies. Austin is also popular for outdoor excursions such as the Hill Country zip line, boating on Lake Lady Bird, and mountain biking at Rocky Hill.

No matter who you’re traveling with, this list should point you in the right direction.