With vast stretches of desert, majestic mountain ranges and the breathtaking Pacific coast, families will find the sights and activities of the southwestern United States as diverse as the region’s exceptional landscapes.
And there's no better way to explore some of the Southwest’s most amazing destinations than by car. So jump in a rental car and visit caverns, desert towns and even America’s most recognized and iconic highway, Route 66.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
- From El Paso International Airport, 120 minutes
Grab your helmet and light to do a little spelunking in one of the most popular caverns in the U.S. Drive just a few hours from El Paso and you’ll find yourself at the edge of Carlsbad Caverns National Park, which encompasses more than 46,000 acres of the Chihuahuan Desert. The landscape is composed of curiously shaped vegetation as well as oases and pools harboring unique aquatic organisms that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. From the park’s entrance gate in White City, take the scenic 7-mile drive to the visitor center, where you can access the caves. While you can take an elevator down about 750 feet to reach the cave’s largest chamber, appropriately named “the Big Room,” the 1.25 mile steep descent from the Natural Entrance is also an incredible experience. Then, depending on the time of year, stick around until dusk to see hundreds of thousands of Brazilian free-tailed bats take flight.