‘Tis the season to celebrate the holidays with family and friends in your own unique way. While the holidays often illicit visions of snow covered banks and forests, there is truly nothing more breathtaking than a visit to the American West during this magic season. Experience everything from snow covered red rock canyons to thousands of Christmas lights that illuminate the desert landscape. Whether you’re an American West local or planning a visit, here is a list of the five best places to visit during the holidays.

Grand Canyon South Rim

The Grand Canyon is one of the most majestic natural wonders of the world, but the beauty of the Canyon, especially the South Rim shines through on a deeper level during the holiday season. Imagine a light dusting of fresh snow sprinkled on the tips of the deep red rock with the smell of pine and cool crisp desert air filling your senses. Now imagine soaking in every moment of the enchanting views of the South Rim with your loved ones during the holiday season, can you think of anything more magical?



Phoenix Light Parade

Twinkling lights, hot chocolate, friends and family – it’s the most wonderful time of the year at Zoolights! Each year the Phoenix Zoo puts up an amazing holiday display of lights called ZooLights, and it is open in the evenings for about six weeks during the holiday season, beginning late November and continuing through early January. ZooLights shines with millions of lights, a three-story-high holiday tree, lakeside music-in-motion shows and hundreds of glimmering light displays. Plus, did we mention, you’re actually walking through the Phoenix Zoo? If you’re visiting the American West this holiday season, make sure you add this event to your list!






Antelope Canyon

The holiday season can be chaotic in itself, so why not whisk yourself away to one of the most tranquil destinations in the American West? Book a tour to one of the most photographed places in America and immerse your senses in the incredible natural beauty of the canyon. Enjoy viewing the warm honey and clay colored curves illuminated by small beams of light with your loved ones – every step you take is truly a picture-perfect moment. Mix up your holiday traditions this year and create memories with your loved ones in this extraordinary American West destination.

Lake Havasu City

There aren’t many American West desert towns that boast miles of lakefront property, so that fact alone should detail why Lake Havasu City is such a special place. Located three hours (driving time) from Phoenix, two and a half hours from Las Vegas and four to five hours from Los Angeles, this desert jewel attracts over 775,000 visitors each year.  Now imagine visiting Lake Havasu City and seeing it covered in over 650,000 holiday lights strategically intertwined to create a city within a city. Light displays are programmed and choregraphed to twinkle in time with holiday music, reflecting off the lake water under a clear desert sky. Can you think of a more magical way to celebrate the holiday season?




Santa Claus, Arizona

With a name like Santa Claus, who wouldn’t want to visit this town during the holiday season? Located in the Mojave Desert among the Joshua trees and unique rock formations, there is a place honoring the man whose traditional home is the North Pole. In 1937 a family named The Talbot’s founded Santa Claus, Arizona,  as an attempt to attract buyers to the desert location. The town featured several Christmas-themed buildings and allowed local and visiting children the opportunity to meet Santa Claus at any day of the year. As you can imagine, the town’s post office became very popular in December as children and parents could receive mail postmarked with the town’s name. Who wouldn’t want to visit Santa in the middle of the desert? Add Santa Claus, Arizona to your list of American West destinations and take a step into holiday history with the charming nature of Santa Claus, Arizona.



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