Memorial Day road trips in the Southwest 

See Sedona, the Grand Canyon and Zion

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Expect these roads to be less traveled.

AAA won’t be issuing its Memorial Day travel forecast that estimates the number of people traveling over the holiday weekend for the first time in two decades due to the coronavirus crisis. 

Tucson, Arizona skyline 

Reports suggest fewer people will be traveling this year compared to years past for what is considered the unofficial kickoff of the summer.

“Last year, 43 million Americans traveled for Memorial Day Weekend – the second-highest travel volume on record since AAA began tracking holiday travel volumes in 2000,” Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, said in a statement.  “With social distancing guidelines still in practice, this holiday weekend’s travel volume is likely to set a record low.”

MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND TRIPS IN THE NORTHEAST

But as more national parks reopen, those able to travel could consider these routes:

Scottsdale, Sedona and the Grand Canyon 

Set your sights on Scottsdale, a sunny, 20-minute drive from Phoenix and less than two hours from Tucson. Cruise down the scenic Route 179 and take in succulents and wildflowers as you embark on outdoor attractions like passing through the Casa Grande Ruins and the Desert Botanical Garden, a 140-acre botanical garden within Papago Park, and Camelback Mountain in Echo Canyon Park halfway between Scottsdale and the Phoenix Mountains Preserve, Travel & Leisure recommends. Continue on Highway 179, also called the Red Rock Scenic Byway, to Sedona.

SAFE WAYS TO RESUME TRAVEL DURING CORONAVIRUS 

And with fewer crowds, now might be as good a time as ever to see the Grand Canyon, one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

Zion National Park in Utah 

You’ll have to socially distance at this nature preserve in southwest Utah, but it’ll be worth it. Gawk at the red and pink sandstone cliffs and explore the wilderness of Zion’s plethora of plants and animals. Access will be granted in a phased approach, so be sure to check with the National Parks Service for updates.

Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park in south-central Utah will allow more recreational access along its State Route 24 and Scenic Drive, park officials announced earlier this week. Travelers can reserve a campsite spot in the heart of Redrock county on the U.S. recreation website.

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