Budget Travel

Vacation Secrets of the American Southwest

What road-tripper could say no to a teepee-style room at the iconic Wigwam Motel, off Route 66 in Holbrook, Ariz., starting at just $52 (928/524-3048)?
Armanda Ortega, founder of The View Hotel in Monument Valley, employs more than 100 of her fellow Navajo (435/727-5555).
Mr. Maestas in Holbrook is adorned with Route 66 ephemera and serves tasty sopapillas and Navajo tacos (928/524-6000).
La Posada, in Winslow, was originally the last Harvey House, built in 1929 for the Santa Fe Railroad, and as the years (and locomotives!) sped by, Amelia Earhart, Harry S. Truman and Shirley Temple, all rested their heads here. Now, it is a destination in itself boasting galleries of progressive paintings and a long hallway of sculptures.
A prickly pear margarita at the James Beard nominated restaurant, Turquoise Room, at La Posada Hotel in Winslow. Prickly pear, a native plant of the region, turns up in chef John Sharpe's dressings, sauces, and as a substitute for maple syrup on breakfast pancakes.
East and West Mitten Buttes in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park (928/871-6647) are just two of the colorful rock formations you can see from The View hotel. Each of the hotel’s rooms has a private terrace so that guests can witness firsthand the shifting sunlight and shadows of this otherworldly landscape.
Author and historian Ann-Mary Lutzik and sculptor Dan Lutzik own, operate, and even live in Winslow’s Snowdrift Art Space.
To celebrate Monument Valley’s central place in many Hollywood westerns, The View serves up dishes like the half-pound John Wayne burger, not to mention green chile stew and red chile posole.
La Posada’s Turquoise Room serves locally grown foods such as piki breads with hummus, made of blue corn flour with beanstalk ash water poured over a piki stone, handmade by Joyce Saufkie of the nearby village of Second Mesa.
You’ll find unexpected roadside attractions, like playful art installations, in northern Arizona. This postcard “from Elvis” is outside Winslow.
“Twin Arrows,” is a popular roadside art installation about halfway between Winslow and Flagstaff.
Petrified Forest National Park boasts sprawling rock formations and petrified wood—look closely in certain spots, such as Newspaper Rock, for ancient petroglyphs that give you a sense of how long people have been bonding with this landscape.

Ready for an easy adventure? Head to these stunning southwestern landscapes, where people and the environment have been coexisting (and creating unique lodgings, meals, and public art) for centuries. Welcome to Arizona’s Navajo country, as shot by our intrepid photo editor!

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