23 Best Southwest Airlines Destinations to Visit in 2024

girl on southwest airlines flight

With Southwest Airlines celebrating its 50th anniversary, it’s high time I wrote this post on the best Southwest Airlines destinations to visit this year! I’ve been flying Southwest all my life, and now as a travel blogger, I fly them more than ever.

Also, starting in 2019, I became a Southwest Storyteller.

What’s a Southwest Storyteller?

I’m glad you asked!

In a nutshell, in 2019, Southwest held an Instagram contest with Southwest e-passes (ie. a number of comped Southwest Airlines flights) for the winners. Thousands entered, including myself, by posting a travel photo with a caption detailing our favorite Southwest travel moment.

After elimination rounds and a bit more work to move on in the contest, I got first place in the contest. And I was floored! Here was my favorite airline in the world, and they chose me to win first place! And what’s more, they gave me the opportunity to be an official Southwest Storyteller.

As a Southwest Storyteller, I have been able to continue my partnership with Southwest Airlines by promoting Southwest on my social media channels. And as such, I’ve been flying Southwest to a bunch of places I had never really explored before.

Now I’ve compiled a list of my favorite places I’ve visited that Southwest Airlines flies to, with my top 3 suggestions for things to do in the area.

Without further ado, here is my list of the 22 best Southwest Airlines destinations in 2023!

1. Oahu, HI

I shamelessly will always have Hawaii coming first on any list of favorites! So, it’s no surprise that Oahu comes first on this list of best Southwest Airlines Destinations to visit! When Southwest Airlines opened up this flight route in 2019, my husband, Harrison, and I booked flights to Hawaii the day they were announced. Since then, we’ve been back to Hawaii four or five times now!

With the most relaxing vibes, floral scents wafting on the breeze, and its Aloha spirit, Hawaii is truly a tropical gem. Its landscape is beyond stunning, too. Picture towering ridges, blue waters, volcanoes, and palm trees, contrasted with Waikiki, the biggest Hawaiian city, situated right on the coast.

Check out the best photo spots in Oahu here!

Top Things to Do in Oahu

  • Shop and dine in Waikiki
  • Hike up Diamond Head
  • Visit food trucks on the North Shore

See my list of the top 50 things to do in Oahu here!

2. Charleston, SC

After visiting Charleston this year, it quickly rose up the ranks of my favorite cities in the United States to visit. This coastal town is an absolute dream for anyone looking for some Southern hospitality. With a colorful downtown and plenty of nature activities, it’s one of the best Southwest Airlines destinations to visit in the South.

It’s also one of the prettiest! You can see my list of the prettiest photo spots in Charleston here.

Top Things to Do in Charleston

3. Los Cabos, Mexico

Los Cabos is on Mexico’s west coast, just south of California. With a mix of rocky terrain, the Baja desert, and deep blue waters, Cabo is a luxury destination worth visiting in Mexico!

Whether you’re looking for an all-inclusive resort to relax at or are looking for adventure, you can find it here!

Top Things to Do in Los Cabos

  • Do a boat tour to the famous Cabo San Lucas arch
  • Sign up for a tour to visit the incredible waterfall in Fox Canyon (Canyon del Zorro)
  • Dine at Flora Farms (make a reservation ahead of time)

Check out my full list of 50 things to do in Cabo here!

4. Seattle, WA

I have made it a personal goal to visit the Pacific Northwest once a summer because of how stunning this part of the US is! With epic mountains, hikes, and cities, this destination is perfect for every adventurer out there!

Usually, when we head to Seattle, we make it a point to hit up the surrounding areas. Don’t get me wrong, the city itself is fantastic. But there is simply so much stunning nature around Seattle! Whether you visit Snoqualamie Falls, explore the only rainforest in the continental United States, or visit Mount Rainier, this area is amazing. I’d recommend visiting this location anytime in the summer, otherwise you might have tricky weather.

Top Things to Do in Seattle

  • See incredible city views from Kerry Park
  • Explore Mount Rainier National Park
  • Day trip to the charming Bavarian town of Leavenworth, WA

5. San Diego, CA

Having gone to college in Los Angeles, I thought I had a good idea of what Southern California had to offer. Little did I know, I was completely wrong! Enter into the picture: San Diego. San Diego is a coastal city with a great mix of beaches, dining & shopping, and great nature spots. (Check out the most Instagrammable places in San Diego here!)

It’s a huge area that encompasses both a booming downtown area and charming small towns within it. There are also gorgeous small towns a short drive away, like Balboa Island.

That being said, there’s something for everyone in San Diego, which makes it one of the best Southwest Airlines destinations to visit!

Top Things to Do in San Diego

  • Head to Cordiano Winery for dinner and wine tasting with a remarkable view
  • Explore all that Balboa Park has to offer
  • Do a hike at Torrey Pines

6. Savannah, GA

Forsyth Park fountain Savannah

For relaxed, Southern vibes in a walkable town, visit Savannah, Georgia.

You’ll be awed by its dreamy Spanish moss-draped live oak trees, its 22 city squares (aka charming parks), and adorable 1-square-mile downtown. (See just how adorable on this post of the most Instagrammable places in Savannah).

Whether you’re visiting River Street (don’t forget to stop at River Street Sweets!), are trying Lowcountry cuisine as you’re walking around town, or are heading to the beach in Hilton Head or Tybee Island, you’ll love this sleepy southern gem.

Top Things to Do in Savannah

  • Explore all the shops (The Paris Market is my favorite) and cafes on Broughton Street
  • Day trip to Tybee Island for some beach time
  • Visit Wormsloe Plantation Historic Site and the Bonaventure Cemetery

7. Liberia, Costa Rica

Southwest flies into two different cities in Costa Rica. And while you can find stunning nature spots all over Costa Rica, I’m partial to the beauty around Liberia. You’ve got waterfalls, a treetop canopy bridge, beaches, sloth sanctuaries, volcanoes, and more!

So, brush off your Spanish, and add Liberia to your next travel plans!

Top Things to Do in Liberia

  • Visit La Fortuna Waterfall
  • Enjoy the hot springs and the Arenal Volcano in La Fortuna
  • Relax on one of the beaches in Guanacaste

8. Panama City Beach, FL

As I write this, I’m on a Southwest flight to Panama City Beach! But I’ve been here three other times, and each time has been incredible. Panama City Beach, while a great destination in itself, is located next to one of my favorite areas of Florida: Seaside and “30A”. In fact, my husband’s family has been visiting Rosemary Beach (the part of 30A that is closest to Panama City Beach) for a few years now. And after joining the family vacation last summer, we’ve made it our regular summer spot.

Picture charming coastal architecture and adorable seaside towns. Then add Caribbean-blue turquoise waters and powdery white sand. And voila, you’ve got this area of the Florida Panhandle!

Top Things to Do in Panama City Beach

  • Shop and dine in Rosemary Beach or Seaside along Highway 30A
  • Do a dolphin boat tour or jet ski tour that stops in Shell Island
  • Explore nearby state parks, such as Conservation Park, St. Andrews State Park, and Camp Helen State Park.

9. New Orleans, LA

Bourbon Street New Orleans

If New Orleans isn’t on your travel bucket list, it’s time to add it. This unique city is unlike any other in the United States! With its unmistakable culture, love for festivals and events (which should be starting up again after a long period of nothing during the pandemic), and specialty cuisine, New Orleans is simply like no other.

We stayed in The Chloe hotel, which I highly recommend because of its charming decor and incredible food. It was just a short drive away from the French Quarter, which is one of the popular parts of NOLA. Since the French Quarter really does feel like Paris, New Orleans is one of the best Southwest Airlines destinations to visit if you’re looking for European vibes stateside.

It’s a stunning place; check out the best photo spots in NOLA here!

Top Things to Do in New Orleans

  • Explore the French Quarter (this can take multiple days!)
  • Shop and dine on Magazine Street (don’t forget to try crawfish, gumbo, and jumbalaya!)
  • Get beignets at Cafe du Monde or Cafe Beignet

10. Aruba

Aruba offers one of the best mixes of beach and adventure in the Caribbean. Most people visiting Aruba choose to stay in a resort on the beach where they can relax and enjoy the sunshine. But know that there are some great things to do if you are looking for a desert adventure.

Top Things to Do in Aruba

  • Do a jeep tour around the island
  • See the flamingoes on Renaissance Island
  • Explore Arikok National Park

See 20 great things to do in Aruba here!

11. Miami, FL

When we visited Miami in January, we weren’t sure what to expect. It had always had a “party” reputation in my mind, which doesn’t exactly match our interests. But we were blown away by Miami! Yes, you can definitely find a party scene if you’re looking for it, but by no means is that all Miami offers. It’s also such a pretty place with cute shops and fun Art Deco vibes.

You’ll find gardens, state parks, the nearby Everglades, fun shops, delicious restaurants, and cool museums. One of our favorite museums was the Frost Science Museum, which has a giant aquarium that will blow you away. If you’re looking for a bit of a road trip, you can drive down to the Florida Keys from Miami as well. Here are some other great things to do in Miami:

Top Things to Do in Miami

  • See the gardens at Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
  • Visit the Cape Florida lighthouse on Bill Baggs State Park
  • Shop and dine on Ocean Drive

12. San Juan, Puerto Rico

If you’re looking for an international travel destination without the headache of pulling out your passport, there’s no better place to visit than Puerto Rico.

It’s the only place that Southwest flies to in the Caribbean where you don’t need a passport since it is a US territory.

And trust me when I say there is so much to do in Puerto Rico. You can explore the only tropical rainforest in the US, find spectacular waterfalls, visit the beautiful historical town of Old San Juan, see a bioluminescent bay, enjoy pristine beaches, drive around the island, and so much more.

Top Things to Do in San Juan

  • Visit Castillo San Felipe del Morro (save your ticket; it’ll also get you into Castillo de San Cristobal)
  • Walk around the charming cobblestone streets of Old San Juan
  • Day trip to El Yunque National Forest

If you’re just looking to explore San Juan, check out this post!

But if you’re looking to explore the whole island, this post is for you!

13. Maui, HI

I’m just going to add one more Hawaiian island to this list even though Southwest flies to almost all of them. I couldn’t list them all here, or it would be a very Hawaii-centric post! But you can read this article to see which Hawaiian Island is best for you!

That being said, I chose Maui as the other Hawaiian island on this list because it is less touristy than Oahu, is easier to drive around than the Big Island, and has more lodgings than Kauai and Lanai.

It also happens to be my favorite Hawaiian island! I recommend booking a hotel in Wailea, Lahaina, or Paia (or a combo of all three if you want!). From there, you can venture out and explore the rest of the island. While I’ve just been listing my top three recommendations for each city on this list, you can check out 60 unforgettable things to do in Maui here.

Top Things to Do in Maui

  • Drive the Road to Hana (this will take a full day)
  • Drive to the summit of Haleakala
  • Relax at Makena Beach State Park

14. Portland, OR

cooks chasm bridge

Portland is a funky city with easy access to the most beautiful parts of Oregon. Whether you want to go wine tasting in the Willamette Valley, road trip to the striking Oregon coast, or explore the nature immediately surrounding Portland, you can do it all!

Top Things to Do in Portland

  • Go wine tasting in the Willamette Valley
  • Chase waterfalls (Multnomah Falls is particularly stunning!)
  • Day trip to explore the beaches on the Oregon coast

If you’re considering a road trip from Portland to Seattle, check out this ultimate Pacific Northwest road trip itinerary!

15. Albuquerque, NM

Albuquerque is one of the best Southwest Airlines destinations to visit if you want to experience the southwest. With close proximity to Santa Fe, the Santa Ana Pueblo, and more unique towns, Albuquerque is an awesome destination year-round.

If you’re up for a road trip, White Sands National Park is one of the coolest and most unique parks in the US! Picture white sand dunes as far as the eye can see- then picture yourself sledding down them! That is White Sands in a nutshell, but you can learn much more about it here.

Top Things to Do in Albuquerque

  • Go on a hot air balloon over the Rio Grande
  • Visit art galleries in Santa Fe
  • Ride the Sandia Peak Tramway

16. Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix, Arizona is another great southwest destination. When you’ve explored Phoenix, Scottsdale is just a short drive away! You’ll find beautiful deserts, great hikes, small town vibes in Scottsdale, and more in this area.

It’s also incredibly beautiful, see what I mean on this post!

Top Things to Do in Phoenix

  • Explore the Desert Botanical Garden
  • Hike around Lost Dutchman State Park
  • Visit Old Town Scottsdale

Check out the 50 best things to do in Phoenix and Scottsdale here!

17. Salt Lake City, UT

One thing that I love about Salt Lake City is that it is a great destination year-round. In the winter, you can hit the slopes in Park City. In the summer, those same areas become lush and green, and it’s not too hot to go hiking. Come fall, the trees put on an incredible display!! We got the shot above as we were driving from Big Cottonwood Canyon to Park City. And for more adventure, you can visit the Great Salt Lake to see the salt flats or go chase waterfalls near Provo.

You can also spend so much time exploring downtown as well! The city is beautiful, and you can see the most photo-worthy spots here!

Top Things to Do in Salt Lake City

  • Go skiing in the winter
  • Go hiking in the summer
  • Drive to the Great Salt Lake

18. Las Vegas, NV

Valley of Fire Mouse Tank Road

When you think of Vegas, you probably immediately think of the Vegas Strip. And while the Vegas Strip isn’t my cup of tea, it definitely appeals to a lot of people! But the reason I personally still consider Las Vegas as one of the best Southwest Airlines destinations to visit is actually because of the neat parks and points of interest around it.

You can day trip to the Grand Canyon, see the Hoover Dam, take photos at the Seven Magic Mountains art installation, and my all-time favorite: visit Valley of Fire State Park.

Valley of Fire feels more like a national park to me! You’re constantly surrounded by the coolest rocky mountains and hills and there are so many neat hikes to do. Just keep in mind that if you’re visiting in the summer, hiking can be dangerous after morning once it’s too hot. So plan your Las Vegas trip accordingly.

Top Things to Do in Las Vegas

19. Austin, TX

360 bridge lookout in Austin, TX

As the state capital of Texas, Austin has so much to offer. You’ll find fun hippie/yogi vibes here, great water holes and views, and fantastic food.

Austin is right next to the Texas Hill Country, too, which is one of my favorite parts of Texas! It’s a stunning area between Austin and San Antonio where you’ll find charming small towns, a ton of caverns, and unique water holes like Krause Spring and Jacob’s Well.

Top Things to Do in Austin

20. Nassau, Bahamas

Good news! Southwest Airlines is resuming its flights to Nassau on 10/7/21! With the clearest blue waters and thousands of cays (little islands), the Bahamas is one of the best tropical Southwest Airlines destinations to visit. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to see marine life, go snorkeling, and so much more!

Top Things to Do in the Bahamas

  • Stay at and see the Marine Habitat at Atlantis
  • Swim with nurse sharks at Compass Cay
  • See the swimming pigs at Staniel Cay

21. Bozeman, MT

morning glory pool yosemite

As soon as Southwest announced flights to Bozeman in 2021, we booked them! We’d been wanting to explore Yellowstone for so long!

Bozeman is about 1.5 hours away from the park, along an incredibly scenic drive. In fact, the whole city of Bozeman and this area of Montana are scenic. Whether you’re looking for a mountain getaway, a break from the heat in other parts of the country (we were relieved to escape the Dallas heat!), or access to one of the largest national parks in the continental US, Bozeman is for you!

It’s by far one of the best Southwest Airlines destinations for adventure and beauty! We spent five full days in Yellowstone and fell in love with the unique landscape here. Check this post for things you should know before visiting Yellowstone this year.

Top Things to Do in the Bozeman Area

  • Explore Yellowstone National Park
  • Shop and dine in Bozeman’s charming downtown
  • Go hiking and chase waterfalls in Hyalite Canyon

22. Kauai, HI

Looking for adventure coupled with insane natural beauty? Kauai is one of the best Southwest destinations to visit in 2023 for that!

You’ll want to rent a car at Lihue Airport if you’re going to see this tiny but adventure-packed island in its entirety! Even though the island is one of the smaller Hawaiian islands, it can take over an hour to reach the north side from the airport, and over an hour to reach the westernmost part.

Kauai is by far one of the best Southwest Airlines destinations for a combination of rugged nature and tropical vibes! Coming from Dallas, it did take almost a whole day to get to Kauai, and certainly a whole day to get back home (with the time change). So I’d recommend spending at least four full days on the island to make the travel time worth it. We visited for our babymoon and it was beyond epic. See our Kauai itinerary here!

Top Things to Do in Kauai

  • Waimea Canyon State Park (and Kokee State Park; they’re connected)
  • Relax at Hanalei Bay (visit in the morning for fewer crowds and dreamy lighting!)
  • Hike to Queen’s Bath (this is our favorite spot on the whole island!)

23. North Lake Tahoe, NV

Last but certainly not least, flying into Reno to visit North Lake Tahoe is one of the best Southwest destinations to visit in 2023, regardless of the time of year. The lake is about an hour away from the airport but the drive is really beautiful and the crystal-clear lake is worth it!

If you’re visiting in the winter, this area is great for skiing and other winter sports. But even if you’re not a skier (or are pregnant when you visit, like I was!!), there is still plenty to do here like hiking, scenic driving, and simply relaxing at your resort. (We loved our stay at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe… they’ve got beachfront access and a heated pool!)

Come summertime, you’ll love getting out on the crystal clear lake. Kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding on Lake Tahoe are experiences like no other.

Check out my list of the best things to do in North Lake Tahoe in each season here!

TLDR; The scenery in North Lake Tahoe is spectacular and it’s worth visiting in any season!

Top Things to Do in North Lake Tahoe

  • Explore Sand Harbor
  • Do the Monkey Rock Hike
  • Get out on the water in the warmer months
  • Go skiing during ski season

In conclusion…

pu'u o'kila lookout

There are so many awesome Southwest destinations to fly to! And with its international destinations, you can take Southwest to some cool pockets of the Caribbean and Central America, too!

So, which place are you most excited to visit?

And here are some more posts you may find helpful:

Safe travels!


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About the author
Picture of Jasmine Alley

Jasmine Alley

I'm a Dallas-based, full-time travel blogger with a serious case of wanderlust! Through my website and Instagram, I hope to help others plan picture-perfect trips to the most beautiful places in the world! When I travel, I like to emphasize nature, hidden gems, and unique places.
Picture of Jasmine Alley

Jasmine Alley

I'm a Dallas-based, full-time travel blogger with a serious case of wanderlust! Through my website and Instagram, I hope to help others plan picture-perfect trips to the most beautiful places in the world! When I travel, I like to emphasize nature, hidden gems, and unique places.
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