15. International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell (New Mexico)
As we departed from Route 66 and headed towards sights in southern New Mexico, we stopped by Roswell for a glimpse of the otherworldly at the International UFO Museum. If you’re a fan of the lore of alien encounters, the museum provides a great deal of history on the topic and the 1947 “incident” that put Roswell on the map. The truth is out there.
16. Carlsbad Caverns National Park (New Mexico)
The badass Carlsbad Caverns is definitely on my shortlist of favorite U.S. national parks. These subterranean caverns are truly massive—you can spend hours wandering from room to room, looking at the wondrous stalactite formations. It’s also nice and cool inside when you want to escape that Southwestern sun.
17. White Sands National Monument in Alamogordo (New Mexico)
White Sands National Monument had been on my bucket list for awhile, and it was well worth the wait and the drive to southern New Mexico. The patterns that the gypsum sand dunes form are eye candy for photographers. Just make sure you don’t ruin them with your own footsteps.
You can also buy plastic toboggans at the visitor center and sled down the dunes. Choose a sufficiently steep and smooth dune, or else you’ll end up with a sad video of failed sledding attempts that is just too embarrassing for public consumption.
18. Saguaro National Park in Tucson (Arizona)
Continuing on Interstate 10 into Arizona, a stop at Saguaro National Park and its towering namesake cacti is in order when you reach the Tucson area. Particularly lovely during a serene Southwestern sunset.
19. Matt’s Big Breakfast in Phoenix (Arizona)
Matt’s Big Breakfast is my favorite place to eat in Phoenix, and, frankly, one of my favorite breakfasts anywhere. My order: the Belgian waffle and thick-cut bacon, combined with a glass of their fresh-squeezed OJ. Simple and sublime.
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