We reached the of the end of the year to realize that we had enough mileage for a round-trip airline ticket. So we we packed our bags, along with our nine year-old, and flew to Arizona for a few days of exploration. Here are some great places to visit as a family in just a few days time. Fly into Phoenix, Arizona, stay the night, and then make your way two hours North to Sedona. Travel during the day so you can see everything- The drive is beautiful!
We loved scenic Sedona, its red rocks, and it many hiking trails. Cathedral Rock Trail is a wonderful place for everyone in the family to hike. It’s only 0.7 miles in length, with an easy climb up an open slick rock. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes!
If you’re sure footed, try out Doe Mountain Trail, a 1.5 mile heavily trafficked loop trail that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village – if you’re looking for a place to roam and take in the location fare. Consider visiting Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village, an outdoor market featuring art galleries, craft shops, cobblestone paths & decorative arches. It’s the heart and soul of Sedona. Make sure to stop by The Chai Spot, locted on the upper levels, and try the Rose Chai Tea for me.
*Recommend places to eat in Sedona: Bella Vita Ristorante and Creekside Sedona.
The Grand Canyon, Arizona
After spending a day or two in Sedona, make the 2.5 hour drive north to The Grand Canyon. You can visit the Grand Canyon over and over again and be amazed each time. There is so much to be seen! Enjoy it as by family. Every Kid in a Park is a program run by the United States National Park Service in which fourth graders in the country receive free admission to National Parks. Click the link for more information. When you enter the park, be sure to head over to the Visitor’s Center so your little one can become a Junior Ranger. It’s both free for the entire family. Please note- it cost $30 per vehicle for a week long pass to enter.
Inside the Grand Canyon, you’ll find a number of historic sites to visit. From the South Rim, our favorite locations are: The Watchtower, Grand Canyon Village, Yaki Point, and Pipe Creek Vista. As you can see from the snow, the Grand Canyon becomes a winter wonderland from December thru February. Don’t let it deter you. We loved the Grand Canyon much better during the colder months over the blazing hot summer sun. Dress warmly, and be prepared for shorter daylight hours. After visiting the The Grand Canyon National Park. Don’t leave Arizona yet.
**Recommend Lodging: Best Western Premier Hotel. The hotel accommodations are modest, but it has a bowling alley and an arcade in the basement. This is great for children who are not tired after a day of hiking, and who still want something to do when the sunsets. Not much is open near in the Grand Canyon after 9pm.
Drive another two hours to the most northern city in Arizona. Page, Arizona is home to the majestic Antelope Canyon. Antelope Canyon was formed by erosion created by to flash-flooding. Rainwater runs into the extensive basin above the slot canyon sections, picking up speed and sand as it rushes into the narrow passageways.
Over time the passageways eroded away, deepening the corridors and smoothing hard edges to form characteristic “flowing” shapes. What’s leftover are two stunning canyons that beg to be see, but not without an escort. Antelope Canyons are located on Navajo land and you must book at tour to see them. We recommend Antelope Canyon Tours.
Glen Canyon– https://www.nps.gov/glca/index.htm is a natural canyon mostly in southeastern and south-central Utah. A small part of the lower end of Glen Canyon extends into the northern Arizona. It’s free to be seen.
Horseshoe Bend, is a must see! Horseshoe Bend is a horseshoe-shaped incised meander of the Colorado River located near the town of Page, Arizona, United States. Horseshoe Bend is located 5 miles downstream from the Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, about 4 miles southwest of Page. It can be seen from a steep overlook. To access the overlook, all visitors will be required to pay to park in a designated parking lot near a newly built entrance station. The fee will cost $10 for passenger vehicles, $5 for motorcycles, and between $35 and $140 for commercial buses, depending on passenger capacity.
**Recommended Places to eat: State 48 Tavern.
Keep your eyes on airline tickets. When the price is right, snatch them up for a visit to Arizona. You won’t regret it, especially if you can visit during the winter. It’s truly a wonderland!