If you’re on Instagram, which almost everyone is now, chances are you’ve seen pictures of Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and the Grand Canyon. These are some of the most beautiful places in the United States, and they all happen to be within a couple of hours’ drive from each other in Arizona! We did this road trip all in one day, but to actually make the most of it, and get to appreciate how beautiful all of these places are I would recommend 3 or 4 days in for this Arizona road trip itinerary.
Luckily Phoenix is an American Airlines and Southwest hub, so it should be pretty easy to find either direct or one-stop flights from anywhere in the United States. We were able to get a rental car there for less than $200 for a week or about $33/day. Phoenix is in the lower third of the state, so all of our destinations were to the north. You can either do this trip from point to point spending each night in a new place, stay in one location the entire time and convert the trip into day trips in Arizona rather than a road trip through Arizona. We actually stayed in Sedona the whole time, but I’ll cover that in a separate post.
Page is at the tippy top of Arizona near Utah, so it is kind of a hike from Phoenix – about four and a half hours. Although Page is a small town, there is quite a bit to do there. I’d recommend making your reservations at Dixie Ellis Lower Antelope Canyon Tours, which cost about $30 per person for an hour-long tour. Your guides know all of the angles and where the light leaks into the canyon, so they will ensure you get some amazing photos, and I guarantee that you will be blown away by the beauty of the canyon. The next stop is just 4.5 miles away on Highway 89 – Horseshoe Bend.
Horseshoe bend is one of the most recognizable stops on any Arizona road trip itinerary. Because of its popularity be prepared for the crowds. If you can, I would try to get there as the sun was coming up or just before it goes down to have any shot at avoiding the masses. There aren’t any signs stating how far the bend was from the parking area, but make sure you have water. Especially if you are visiting Horseshoe Bend during the hot summer months. The walk took us about 15-20 minutes, and it was so worth it. The pictures you see on Instagram don’t do it any justice. You need to see this in person to fully appreciate its true beauty.
If you’re looking for a place to cool off after hiking two of Arizona’s most beautiful sites- head over to Lake Powell and rent a boat or a kayak! Antelope Point Marina offers hourly, daily, and weekly rentals of powerboats and kayaks. To get a different perspective of Lake Powell and Horseshoe bend check out this 30-minute flight over this beautiful part of the United States.
While Page doesn’t have any luxury resorts, there are some pretty amazing looking Airbnbs including whole house, apartment, and glamping options like this huge tent on Navajoland. Houseboats are also very popular on Lake Powell. I’d love to stay on a houseboat for a couple of days, but we didn’t have enough time on this Arizona itinerary. You can see reviews for all of the hotels and even book them using TripAdvisor.
With just one exit on I-17 if you blinked while driving down the highway you may miss Sedona. If Sedona isn’t on your ultimate Arizona road trip itinerary, you would definitely regret it. Sedona is home to some of Arizona’s best hiking trails, amazing red rock scenery, and has been a place for spiritual journeys for thousands of years. I can confirm that the energy in Sedona is different than anywhere else I’ve visited, and everyone is super friendly. I’ll talk more about Sedona in detail in another post since we actually stayed in Sedona for most of our week in Arizona.
Again there are some excellent Airbnb options in Sedona with direct access to hiking trails. There are two hotels that stood out when I was looking for a place to stay, and the locals told us that these two hotels are indeed the best in town. We stayed at L’auberge de Sedona. It has beautiful Creekside or mountain view cottages and is also home to two of the best restaurants in Sedona. The other option that everyone raved about was the Enchantment Resort, which is built within the red rocks of Boynton Canyon its accommodations look top-notch.
The drive from Sedona to Grand Canyon National Park is a beautifully scenic one that is just about 2 hours. As always I’d recommend leaving early, before sunrise to enjoy fewer crowds, less traffic, and for me most importantly the best light for your photos. You could spend days exploring the expansive Natural Wonder of the World, but unfortunately, we only had time to spend a couple of hours in Grand Canyon National park, and we wished we could have stayed longer!
We entered at the South Rim gate because it is a more direct way in and has the easiest access when driving from Sedona to the Grand Canyon. This entrance also gives you the most direct access to many of the popular viewpoints in the park including Desert View Watchtower, Grandview Point, and Hermit’s Rest. Grand Canyon Village is also along this route, so this is your best bet to find accommodations within the park if you don’t plan on camping.
The Yavapai Lodge is right in the heart of the park and Grand Canyon Village. Yavapai is ideal for families because it is less than $150/night and some of the rooms have bunk beds! Another option in Grand Canyon Village is the historic El Tovar Hotel. A bit pricier rooms range from $200-$350 per night for the only available night in August, with the premium price comes a premium product. The rooms were all renovated in 2005, and the dining options are getting rebooted beginning in January 2018. However, if I were to stay in the Grand Canyon National Park overnight the hotel I would choose is The Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon. About 8 miles south of Grand Canyon village the Grand looks beautifully updated, and the dining options look like they belong in Arizona! Book using this link and save up to 25%!
The final day of this ultimate Arizona road trip itinerary takes you back to Phoenix, where you can spend the day exploring the city or driving over to Scottsdale for some high-end shopping! The airport is one of the easiest when it comes to security and has been undergoing renovations over the past year or so. There is plenty of great restaurants, and it is very convenient to downtown, which is why it is number 1 on my rating of best airports in America!
I made a video detailing our adventures in Arizona, so be sure to check that out here! Be sure you like our facebook page and follow me on Instagram where I share part of my journey every day! I am trying to be more active on Pinterest for travel inspiration, and tips so give me a follow there too!