The idea of an extended road trip going anywhere is filled with romanticism, adventure, excitement, and sure, a little fear. After all, it's all about going off into the unknown, finding what's out there, seeing what you learn about yourself along the way.

It's not about playing it safe and taking the major highways and staying in the best hotels. It's about truly living, seeing the world you live in.

When you think of the western United States, you might instantly conjure up images of red deserts, cacti, and the shangri-la of southern California.

But, as it turns out, there is plenty to see out West that doesn't necessarily fall into all the main tourist spots that you've heard about.

Here it is: your guide to a western U.S. road trip.

Santa Fe

Let's say you start your trip in good old Santa Fe, New Mexico. Maybe you took the main roads out to this great city and are now going to take your time to explore. Well, you're in luck, because Santa Fe has plenty to offer in terms of sights and history.

For instance, you'll definitely want to make some time for the Palace of the Governors, an adobe building dating to 1610. It is the former capitol building of the state and boasts centuries of history surrounding Native Americans and Spanish settlers.

You can head over to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi for more history, or check out the Santa Fe farmers market for some good, fresh eats.

Overall, Santa Fe is a happy, beautiful city that you'll love exploring on your journey.


Our desert travels continue, because now we are heading southwest to Phoenix. This is a place where the locals will tell you to check out some houses for rent in Phoenix. People love it there not just because of the warm, dry weather, but also because of the fun things to do, see, and explore.

Phoenix is one of the largest cities in the country, so it stands to reason that you'll never be bored when you're driving around here. From the Musical Instrument Museum to the scenic Desert Botanical Garden to the lovely wineries around town, you can plan one activity-filled weekend after another here.

Don't forget to get away from it all sometimes, too, and hike the many mountain paths that surround the city. You'll get gorgeous views that you just can't see anywhere else.

Palm Springs

We'll end this particular Western road trip in the most oasis-type locale we can think of: Palm Springs, California.

This beautiful resort city in the Sonoran Desert has everything you'd want out of a desert vacation destination. There's the golf courses, the mid-twentieth century-era hotels, the shopping, the restaurants, and of course, the scenic views.

See it all from the aerial tramway that takes you up to the restaurant on the mountain. Check out the (semi) wildlife at the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens. Or simply go hiking in the desert mountains nearby.

Whatever you do, make it fun and adventurous. You may not get another chance at all this!