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Family Vacations

Family Vacations: Southwest

Visitors to Atlanta take in the sunny side of this cosmopolitan city.
Visitors to Atlanta take in the sunny side of this cosmopolitan city.

Children are thrilled thrilled by tales of the Old West and inspired by visits to some the region's most advanced scientific locales. Plan a family vacation in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, or Nevada, and you'll have an opportunity to show your kids the Grand Canyon, old cowboy towns, or Space Center Houston. Arrive at the right time of year, and catch the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, participate in the Red Earth Native American Cultural Festival, or see the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival.

Explore the links, below, to find destinations your kids will love. We've included links to Mobil-rated family-friendly hotels and restaurants near each destination, so all you need to do is pack. Continue reading to find out more about places to take your kids in the Southwest.



Canyon de Chelly National Monument

Visit spider rock and explore a wild and varied landscape.

The Grand Canyon

Take a rafting trip along the Colorado River for an up-close view from the depths of the Grand Canyon.

Sabino Canyon

Offering hikers a uniquely lush experience in an otherwise dry area, Sabino Canyon is a fascinating landscape to explore.


Explore Native American ruins and haunting rock formations on a Jeep tour through Sedona.

Taliesin West

Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural school draws students who explore his style and tourists who gaze on his work.

Window Rock

The Navajo Nation's landmark arch brings tourist who see beauty - and mystique - in it.


Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve

Lava shaped the unearthly landscape at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve.

Hells Canyon of the Snake River

Mimicking the profile of a woodsman's saw, this mountain in central Idaho cuts an unexpected line in the landscape.

River Rafting on the Salmon River

After mid-July, River Rafting on the Salmon River gets mild enough for little kids.

Sawtooth National Forest

Winter sports like skiing are popular at the scenic Sawtooth National Forest.


The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center

Kids enjoy summer day camps at the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center.

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

See the prairie field known as Custer's Last Stand, and learn about its history.

Museum of the Rockies

Find out about the ancient history of the Rockies at this amazing look into the region's prehistoric finds.

Virginia City

Virginia City is a well-preserved gold rush town welcoming visitors to explore its history.


Las Vegas

From over-the-top themed hotels, attractions, and shopping, families can have a lively outing in Las Vegas.

Pyramid Lake

Not far from the trappings of Las Vegas, Pyramid Lake delivers a dash of solemnity in the Nevada wilderness.

Whitewater Park and Kayak Slalom Racing Course

Test your skills at Reno's Whitewater Park and Kayak Slalom Racing Course.

New Mexico

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Hot air balloons take to the sky at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

Carlsbad Caverns

Take a self-guided or ranger-led tour through the spectacular underground Carlsbad Caverns.

New Mexico Missions

With settlement of the land came the establishment of new churches and mission. These surviving structures tell the story of faith in the region.


Drawing tourist who are looking for an out-of-this-world experience, Roswell is a destination for conspiracy theorists and the curious.

Santa Fe

Museums with an eye for kids, as well as local culinary delights, top the list of what kids like about Santa Fe.

The Taos Pueblo

The oldest continuously occupied structure on the continent, dating back to A.D. 100, Taos Pueblo is an interesting look into history.


National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

Kids can be cowboys at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.

Red Earth Native American Cultural Festival

More than 100 Native American tribes attend the Red Earth Native American Cultural Festival each June.

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Remembering those who suffered and died, this memorial is a sobering look at the tragedy and a message of hope for the future.

Woody Guthrie Folk Festival

Celebrating one of America's greatest folk singers, this festival attracts acts and fans who love the genre.


AIA Sandcastle Competition

Galveston's Sandcastle Competition, hosted by the American Institute of Architects is amazing.


Explore a city alive with art, music, nightlife, politics, and charm.

Bat Watching at the Congress Avenue Bridge

The largest urban bat colony in North America lives in Austin's Congress Avenue Bridge.

Everyone's Art Car Parade and Festival

In early May, Houstonians take to the streets for Everyone's Art Car Parade and Festival.

Fiesta San Antonio

For ten days in April, more than 100 events are held throughout the city to celebrate Fiesta San Antonio.

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Cowboys covet a chance to wrastle, rope, and ride at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Lake Amistad

The Rio Grande, Devils and Pecos rivers join here, creating a source of beauty and a nature.

Padre Island National Seashore

Kids kick up the sand on 80 miles of the Padre Island National Seashore, a natural playground.

Presidio County Courthouse

This courthouse in a small town in West Texas dominates the skyline.

San Antonio

A melting pot of a city, San Antonio is host to a wide array of destinations and festivals, particularly along its river.

Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort

About 175 miles west of Houston, the Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort is high-tech water fun.

Sea World

San Antonio's Sea World combines an amusement park, water park, as well as animal attractions and live entertainment.

Space Center Houston

Interactive exhibits at Space Center Houston allow you to touch a moon rock and dock a space shuttle.

Texas Gulf Coast

Beauty, wildlife, bucolic port towns, and noteworthy beaches dot the Texas coastline.

Shake the dust of Texas off your boots, and head to the Rockies for the fresh, cool mountain air. Continue to the next page to read about planning a family vacation in the Rockies.

Visit the following links to learn about scenic drives or to get recommendations on Mobil Travel Guide's ratings on hotels, resorts, and restaurants.