Trips that won’t break your car or your budget

Instead of sitting around Utah County during the holidays, take a trip to warmer climes.

Within a day’s drive are destinations as varied as the deserts of Arizona, the gleaming lights of casinos on the Las Vegas Strip or the many sights to take in down in southern California.

Phoenix and Tucson really shine during late fall and winter. It’s practically the only time to go outside without dripping in sweat. And one can immediately stand out by wearing shorts in 80-degree weather when locals break out their long sleeves.

If money is tight (and it will be as hotels charge their highest rates during the cooler months), hiking is a great option, and destination isn’t a problem. Camelback Mountain and Squaw Peak (since renamed Piestewa Peak) are in the heart of Utah Valley.

Or take a drive up to the Red Rocks of Sedona or the Grand Canyon. Sedona is less than two hours away from downtown Phoenix and the Grand Canyon is about 100 miles past that.
For those who want some risk, try Las Vegas. It’s less than six hours from Provo, and there are plenty of things to do besides gambling. Catch a show (Spamalot is still playing at the Wynn).
Hoover Dam is less than an hour away from downtown Vegas, and it’s a nice break from the lights of the strip.

If family fun is what you are looking for, southern California seems to be your best bet. Disneyland will still be crowded, but at least the weather will be mild. Six Flags Magic Mountain is also a blast for those who aren’t traveling with kids.

Hollywood is a nice stop for first-time visitors. It isn’t the nicest neighborhood in the world, but the "kitschiness" factor means the trip is well worth it.

Taking one of these trips is a chance to get out of the cold. Any chance to get constant sunlight is well worth the cost, and you won’t go broke hitting up any of these vacation destinations.

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