January 3, 2023

Top Things to Do in the Southwest USA as a Healthcare Traveler

Sunset in the Sonoran Desert near Phoenix, Arizona

The Southwest USA offers healthcare travelers diverse landscapes, cultures, and cuisines to explore. From the Gulf Coast to the desert to wide-open plains, there are unbelievably beautiful national parks, several big cities, and delicious foods to satisfy your appetite. So, if you find yourself taking an assignment in the area or even if you’re just taking a Southwest USA road trip on the way to your destination, here are the can’t-miss things to do in the region.

Things to do in Texas


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Keep Austin Weird in the Capital of Texas

The arts are at the core of this Texas city. Austin proudly boasts the title Live Music Capital of the World®, and it welcomes any tune. More than 250 music venues dot the city, and there are festivals for every genre.

For food, there’s no shortage of Tex-Mex, barbecue, or food trucks. After you’ve filled your belly, take a stroll on Austin’s streets to find picture-perfect public art, like the ‘You’re My Butter Half’ mural. While you’re in town, catch a game – you have options from college football to major league soccer to hockey and basketball.

Tour the River Walk in San Antonio

The San Antonio River Walk is an excellent spot for shopping, eating, and people-watching. Parts of it are even open 24/7, which means night-shifters don’t have to miss the fun. For a mix of shopping and culture, visit the Historic Market Square, one of the largest Mexican markets outside of the country; Traders Village, which has more than 1,000 vendors; or Hemisfair, an urban parks district focused on cultural sustainability.

Enjoy Nature at Big Bend National Park

Big Bend is one of the many national parks in the Southwest USA that healthcare travelers should consider exploring. It’s home to the entire Chisos mountain range, parts of the Chihuahuan Desert, and the Rio Grande River. Go on the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive or take your adventure to the next level by floating the Rio Grande or hiking the Santa Elena Canyon Trail. With the least light pollution of any other national park in the continental U.S., Big Bend National Park also offers a perfect excuse for an overnight stay to gaze up at the Milky Way. 

Things to do in Arizona


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Take a Hike at the Grand Canyon

Another one of the extraordinary national parks in the Southwest USA is the Grand Canyon and it offers experiences for all skill levels. The South Rim is open all year and is the most visited part of the park, but the East Canyon is home to the beautiful Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon. The West Canyon has the Skywalk Glass Bridge that extends over the edge of the canyon, and the North Rim, which closes for the winter, offers plenty of hiking opportunities. For a different view of this national park, take the Grand Canyon Railway or raft the Colorado River that cuts through the landscape. 

Have Fun in the Big City in Phoenix

Phoenix, Arizona’s capital city, is a great spot to watch the desert come to life. See Arizona’s capital city from above by hiking Camelback Mountain or catch some scenic views on the Hole-in-the-Rock Trail. Dive into the area’s culture at the Heard Museum, featuring Native American art, history, and tradition, or the Musical Instrument Museum. Take Insta-worthy pictures on Roosevelt Row, while touring the Desert Botanical Garden, or when seeing Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural masterpiece, the Taliesin West. 

Experience All Four Seasons in Flagstaff

Arizonians flock to Flagstaff if they want a taste of all four seasons. Mild temperatures in the warmer months, beautiful foliage in the fall, and an average of 108 inches of snow a year draw in travelers. Experience Flagstaff outdoors by rock climbing or bouldering, visiting an array of nearby national monuments (like the nearby Sunset Crater Volcano, Montezuma Castle, Walnut Canyon, or Wupatki National Monuments), or enjoying winter sports.

Things to do in New Mexico


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Sled the Dunes at White Sands National Park

The White Sands National Park, located in New Mexico’s Tularosa Basin, is one of the best places to visit in the Southwest USA. Sure, you’ll want to hop on Dunes Drive, a 45-minute roundtrip ride in the park, but the best way to experience White Sands National Park is on a sled. The National Park Service offers tips on the best sleds and techniques to use at White Sands National Park, so you get the ultimate ride. You can also explore the park’s five hiking trails. Just remember to bring plenty of water to drink and watch the heat.

Ride a Hot Air Balloon in Albuquerque

For a unique experience, visit New Mexico in the fall to see the sky fill with hundreds of hot air balloons of all shapes, sizes, and characters. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta® is held over nine days and features more than just balloons. There are also musical performances, chainsaw carvings, artisans, strolling performers, and much more.

Visit Taos Ski Valley

New Mexico isn’t just scorching sun and sand. You can also ski the Rocky Mountains in this state! The Taos Ski Valley, which offers slopes for all skill levels and gets an average snowfall of 300 inches each year, earned the No. 1 rankings for Charm and Overall Satisfaction by Ski Magazine. If snow sports aren’t your thing, you can explore Taos Ski Valley in other seasons by horse or llama – yep, we said llama – or experience its unique mix of cultures through its dining and shopping options.

We’ve highlighted a few of the best places to visit in the Southwest USA, but there is so much more to discover. Are you ready to take an assignment and see more? See the jobs we have available in the Southwest USA.