Best US RoadTrips: Arizona!
Living in California makes so many great locations accessible. Arizona was one of them and I always wanted to see Grand Canyon. But I saw that there are much more miraculous locations in addition to Grand Canyon. I can tell you that Arizona is by far one of the best US road trip destinations! Anyway I’ll tell you all one by one, let’s start our road trip!
Right before starting, I’ll do a shoutout to my 4 other partners in crime for this roadtrip, who made the moments, pictures and videos even more memorable.
You may be disappointed but we started our roadtrip from Phoenix. We decided to fly from San Francisco to save more time. That costs us 140$ roundtrip on Southwest. So you guys can definitely skip this part and make a longer trip with a car to save a lot of money. For the backpackers I’d also recommend to take the Flix Bus to Vegas for 20-25$ and start your Arizona trip from the northern part.
Anyway once we made it to Phoenix, we decided to go to south (which wasn’t planned) and made it to Tuscon. That was a right decision to see some wild west inspired villages full of cactuses. All those villages were more like touristic areas and whether free or dirt cheap. We finished the day with the sunset in Saguaro National Park, which has the best spots to watch the sunset in Tuscon.
Okay that was a simple one, but let’s move on to the real good stuff. I’d like to save my favorite to the last but for this post can’t do such a thing, since our first actual spot became my favorite. We drove to Sedona, the first place you should go to see red rock formations and giant mountains. Let’s start with must go locations, so those of you skimmers can read the bullets.
- Devil’s Bridge
- Doe Mountain
- Mesa Airport (Watch the sunset here)
- Cathedral Roco
- Fay Canyon
- Chimney Rock
And yes, you need at least 2-3 days to see all those if you want to hike to top and have some stunning views. You can also see all of these in 1-2 hours from the car with short breaks, but they are all worthy of your time. If you go during winter like us, some of the hiking trails will be covered with snow or ice. Some of us indeed scared a lot to keep hiking, but of course for the sake of photography I kept going to get the cover shot of this post.
Last words about Sedona goes to our AIRBNB which pushed the limits of excellence! That was one of the most amazing cabin who has stunning view in front of its balcony. It made our cheap breakfast look fancy with its wide outdoor view! 115$ price per night, excellent place for groups of 5 or more people. So hope you read this someday Matteo, your cabin deserved this shoutout!
Moving on to our next destination, we drove 2 hours from Sedona to Grand Canyon. That Canyon was huge…But we traveled during winter season so most of the trails were closed, yet we benefited unlimited free entrances to the National Park since it was off-season.
Let’s jump straight into point, I’m a sunset lover and Grand Canyon offered my the best sunset and the sunrise moment that I had in my life. It redefined the word stunning for me. We woke up at 5 to catch a sunset in Grand Canyon. I never felt happier for waking up that early. Let me show you how it looked like, so you make sure that you set that alarm for good!
Be sure that sunset was as good as this sunrise, so you can drive whether to Yavapai Point or Mather Point to watch both sunset and sunrise which is quite close to the visitor center. Enough chitchat I guess let’s list all the viewpoints, so grab your pen or just take a screenshot lol. Here are the all the stops we visited during our Grand Canyon visit:
- Yavapai Point
- Mather Point
- Yaki Point
- Hopi Point
- Desert View Watchtower
- South Kaibab Trail (includes a short walk)
If you visit during winter like us, most of the trails might be closed, so some of the views will look similar just from different angles.
One of our unique experiences in Grand Canyon was staying in a RV and getting a taste of the Van life. Check out Sage Valley Mobile Home Park which is 30 minute distance from Grand Canyon. It is great for budget travelers and also a unique experience. Since we were 5 of us, a total of 195$ for 2 nights was quite affordable for us.
That sick cover picture on the top of this post was from Page. That’s all I want to say to describe how awesome was that place. Page was a small town, but Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend that we have visited were amazing. We stayed in Hyatt Lake Powell which might be the cheapest Hyatt hotel that I’ve seen so far. And still, the service, breakfast and the room was awesome.
After trying exhausting experiences in Sedona and Grand Canyon, we relaxed in a more luxury experience in Page but still for a good price of 235$ for 2 nights. (Again we were a group of 5 so it makes it affordable). Let’s talk about the Page experience. Of course we went there to see Antelope Canyon. So I’ll start with a WARNING:
IT IS NOT ALLOWED TO VISIT ANTELOPE WITHOUT BOOKING A TOUR!!
We found that out on the very exact moment we made it to the hotel. Most of the time I’m against booking tours and exploring ourselves to have the most fun. But this time they left me no choice. So we booked an available tour for the Upper Antelope Canyon. If you have limited time go with Upper Antelope since you have more photographable spots and options. Book a photography tour if you want to capture all those beautiful light beams inside the canyon and take more time to enjoy with a professional guide. You have to have a DSLR and tripod to join those tours though.
Another warning about to light beams, they are totally natural phenomenons and you have to visit during summer season (between 10am-12pm) to see those amazing lightings. Even that we didn’t see them, our pictures were quite satisfactory, so I wouldn’t see this as a biggest world problem.
This week-long experience in Arizona was my best trip and vacation in United States, and it sets the bar so high for me for the future trips. As an outdoor traveler and photographer, I found almost everything I looked for in Arizona. So definitely I would recommend you to do the same route with us. Sedona, Grand Canyon and Page are MUST VISIT locations in Arizona to get the most out of your time in there. ENJOY the cactus views, endless highway, red rocks, stunning sunsets and giant canyons in Arizona and hope to see you in next post!
Westcoast literally offer all the best US road trip destinations, to hear more about all of them, stay tuned and follow @thebookoftraveling on Instagram!
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