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Arizona, Utah and Nevada 

An epic trip on planes, trains, automobiles, bicycles and gondolas!

  • 10 days

  • 7 cities

  • 8+ time zone changes 

  • Over 5,000 miles traveled (about 4,000 miles by plane and about 1,000 miles by car) 

  • Elevation changes from about 40 feet above sea level in Florida to about 8,000 feet above sea level in the canyons.


Trip tip - Make sure you buy an annual National Park Pass (it’s $80 for a yearly family pass that is good for four people) before you go – saves a lot of entry fees and waiting in lines! Click here to find out how to purchase from National Park Service. 

Destination 1 - Phoenix, AZ

  • We flew from Jacksonville, FL, to Phoenix, AZ (via Houston).

  • We picked up the rental car at the airport and spent the night in Phoenix at The Camby Autograph Collection. The hotel is in the Biltmore section of Phoenix, close to the airport (about 20 minutes) - decent size rooms and very clean. The hotel has a bar and restaurant, but Biltmore Fashion Park is across the street and provides more dining options. We ate at Zinburger per my son's request. Service was excellent and the food was delicious. We walked around after dinner and there were the typical shops and some great local shops.

Note: Our daughter did not travel with us as she had a school drama festival, hence the "flat head" in some pictures. 

Bathroom decor
Cool light in hotel room
View from hotel room
Breakfast with "flat" KellyAnne

Destination 2 - Sedona, AZ - 2 hour drive without stops (one-night stay) 

  • The next day we hit the road and headed to Sedona for a one-night stay at the Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock. The resort was friendly, but the room could have been more impressive for the price. We did have a two-queen-bedroom suite, so it was spacious, but for the price, the room could have been maintained a little better. The resort was beautiful - it had an outside patio with firepits, blankets and s'mores. It was a drive from downtown Sedona which was fine because it wasn't the busy season, but I recommend staying closer to town and within walking distance of the great shops and dining. Traffic can get backed up and a 15-minute trip could turn into an hour. 

  • On the way from Phoenix to Sedona, we stopped at Rock Springs (we had to try the pies) and at Montezuma's Castle (we were grateful there was no revenge). The scenery is beautiful and makes you appreciate the beauty of nature.

  • We booked a Pink Jeep Tour of the energy vortexes in Sedona and visited the Chapel of the Holy Cross. Highly recommend the Pink Jeep Tour. They had an easy online booking and their customer service was very helpful, especially when I initially booked the wrong dates. The ride is bumpy, but the scenery made it worthwhile. The Chapel was amazing simply because the church is built into the side of a mountain. It is another vortex site as well. 

  • We ate at The Cowboy Club in downtown Sedona and the steak was delicious. The portions were large and the wait staff was friendly. It was the off-season, so there wasn't a wait, but there usually is a significant wait time and they do not take reservations. The history of the place is interesting and many a famous face has dined at this local favorite.

Rock Springs Cafe
Montezuma Castle
Courthouse Butte
Pink Jeep Tour
S'mores and hot chocolate
Cowboy Cafe

Destination 3 - Williams, AZ - 1.5 hour drive without stops (two-night stay)

  • We packed up and headed to Williams for a two-night stay. Williams is the last holdout of route 66 and the gateway to the Grand Canyon. While we were there, the rest of the country switched to Daylight Savings Time, but Arizona doesn't follow DTS - this is important for later in the trip. 

  • We stayed at the Grand Canyon Railway Railway & Hotel and it was by far the biggest room of the trip. The hotel was older but spotless and had that old-time charm. The hotel can be booked with a hotel stay or a train ride to the Grand Canyon. 

  • On the first day, we did some sightseeing in Williams and even went through Bearizona (I'll let you Google that one). The town had some cute shops with local artists' work, authentic cattle heads and lots of Americana memorabilia. My favorite restaurant was the Pine County Restaurant and we ate there for dinner and breakfast.

  • On the second day, we took the Grand Canyon Railway to the canyon (side note – Williams was on the verge of becoming a ghost town after the new highway system bypassed route 66, but the Railway opening saved it). Travel by train was great as we got to see the country and relax for a couple of hours (each way). We even experienced a train robbery on the way back from the canyon. Those cowboys had their act together! The Canyon was so beautiful that it looked fake. We didn't do any hiking as we are not big hikers and even the easy trails were icy. We walked the paved path along the canyon rim and took in the beauty of it all. We did not do a tour (there were plenty offered) because I wasn't sure if we would have time. We were at the canyon for 3 hours and if I did it again, I would book the tour to the bottom of the canyon. 

  • The next day we packed up and headed to Page, AZ.

Too close for me
Grand Canyon Railway Train
Family photo

Destination 4 - Page, AZ - 3 hour drive without stops (two-night stay)

  • On the way to Page, we stopped in Flagstaff to visit the Lowell Observatoryhome of the telescope used to discover Pluto. It was daytime, so we got to look directly at the Sun and Venus through impressive telescopes.

  • Then we hit the road again and continued to Page for a two-night stay at the Hyatt Place Page. It was a brand new hotel and clean! The rooms are all suites, so we had plenty of room. The hotel also has laundry facilities (that were clean, too) and we took advantage of the facilities. 

  • This is where all the time zone fun started. Remember, AZ doesn't do DTS. 

  • We saw:

    • Horseshoe Bend – Breathtaking. Part of Lake Powell, where the Colorado River takes a horseshoe bend around the rocks. The pictures don't do it justice.

    • Glen Canyon Dam is the hydroelectric power source for the region. We couldn't tour the power station because it was closed. The dam is in AZ, but so close to UT that our cell phones picked up the UT cell phone towers and because UT does do DTS, we gained an hour despite being in a state that doesn't use DTS.

    • Antelope Canyon – Time zone changed again because the canyon is in the Navajo Nation, which does follow daylight savings time. However, they are in AZ, which doesn't. Navajo Nation still had Covid restrictions in place, so our tour group was small, which made the slot canyon less crowded and was almost like a "private tour." Again, the pictures don't do the canyon justice. We booked through Adventurous Antelope Canyon Tours

    • Lone Rock at Lake Powell (which was in UT, so there was a time change again). Water levels in Lake Powell are historically low. So a "rock" that is supposed to be surrounded by water is surrounded by desert sands. This is also a real problem for the Glen Canyon Dam – if water levels drop much further, the dam can't produce power.

  • Back to our hotel in Page (another time zone change). ​​Long story short - we had no idea if we were on time for anything for two days.

Horseshoe Bend
Antelope Canyon
Ocean Wave
Lone Rock Beach
Glen Canyon Dam
Solar charging station

Destination 5 - Zion National Park, UT - 2.5 hour drive without stops (two-night stay)

  • On the road again to Zion National Park for a two-night stay at Cliffrose Lodge in Springdale, UT. We could walk to the park from our hotel - and we did. No shuttle buses were running because it was the off-season and the parking was extremely limited. Zion is the most visited national park yet has the least parking. The park officially opens at 8 am; however, you can enter earlier if you have a hiking permit. We couldn't even drive to The Narrows because parking was closed. 

  • The drive on the Mt. Carmel Scenic Highway was amazing and terrifying at the same time. So many switchbacks, tunnels and RVs. It was beautiful scenery, but I don't think we will drive that road again.

  • We walked the trails in Zion, took road bikes, explored Springdale and had some great food. The Bit and Spur had a cool vibe and yummy queso.

  • The hotel had a spa and I took full advantage and then sipped some tea overlooking the Virgin River. 

Deer from the balcony
The Watchman
Vincent by the river
The Watchman
View from the tunnel

Destination 6 - Las Vegas, NV - 3 hour drive without stops (one-night stay)

  • We headed out early for the 4-hour drive to Vegas for a one-night stay before we headed home.

  • We stopped at Hoover Dam and lucky for us, and the tours just resumed the week we were there (they were closed for two years from the pandemic). We toured the turbines, which were just as impressive as I remembered (I visited Hoover Dam when I was 10). The dam provides power to parts of California, Nevada and Arizona. Lake Mead was so low that some of the boat launches were closed. 

  • We stayed at the Paris hotel and had a view of the Bellagio dancing water. The hotel was gorgeous, but the rooms needed an overhaul. The hotel is almost 25 years old the rooms need some TLC. We ate at Mon Ami Gabi Bistro and it was delicious.

  • We only had one night in Vegas (with a 12-year-old), so we did another Pink Jeep tour and saw many famous sites. The High Roller was my favorite, with a view 550 feet above the city. 

  • It was an early night, so that we could catch our early morning flight. 

Freemont Street
Hoover Dam
Turbine Room
Flat KellyAnne
View from the High Roller
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