The day after Christmas, Alan and I decided we needed to go on a road trip before the year was over. I’ve been wanting to visit Antelope Canyon for some time, so we decided to go for it. We booked the hotels and just a couple of days later we packed up our car and headed for the desert (Kennedy came along, too)! It’s about a 9 hour drive from LA to Page so we listened to the entire Serial podcast (we were addicted and on the edge of our seats) so it made the drive a breeze. Our first stop was Page so we could check out Antelope Canyon and then headed down to the Grand Canyon. We made our way through Flagstaff and finished off the trip in Scottsdale for a spa retreat. Arizona has some bizarre, yet amazing sites and some crazy road signs to guide the way. Here’s the Ultimate Arizona Road Trip Itinerary including highlights and recommendations!
The Ultimate Arizona Road Trip Itinerary
Page – Antelope Canyon
Antelope Canyon brought us to Page, but the snow made it worth the trip. This area of Arizona rarely gets snow, so it was a big deal (even at the Grand Canyon). There was a beautiful blanket of snow covering the canyon. Our tour guide gave us access to Owl Canyon and Rattlesnake Canyon. They are the only tour company that gives access to these canyons and I highly recommend it. While Antelope beautiful, it gets a lot of tourists even on the coldest day of the year. On the other hand, Owl and Rattlesnake Canyons limit the number of tours so Alan and I were the first people to step foot in the Canyons on the first day of the day and the first snow in a long time. Because it’s so remote, you can actually hear the silence. It’s absolutely beautiful and a feast for all the senses!
During the summer months, Page is a tourist destination because of Lake Powell. Although it was covered in snow, Alan and I visited Powell Dam for amazing views of the Colorado River. Did I mention that it was freezing, yet beautiful?
As we drove into Arizona, there was a storm coming and it blanketed the northern part of the state in snow. When we arrived to the Grand Canyon, we were welcomed with a winter wonderland. Not only is the Grand Canyon awesome, but it was remarkable with the snow. We visited the South Rim and stopped at every point to soak in the views. After seeing the Grand Canyon, I am convinced the word awesome was created to describe this place. I was in awe all the way through. We’re definitely going to visit the Grand Canyon in the springtime so we can hike down the canyon and enjoy the view without the -12 degree windchill.
I wanted to stop in Scottsdale for a selfish reason: spa time! I haven’t been to spa in ages and have been yearning for some alone time to get pampered and I figured Scottsdale is the perfect place for that. We stayed at the Firesky Resort (a Kimpton Hotel which is dog friendly) which has a wonderful space. I splurged on a 4 hour treatment and I highly recommend it to start the year off. I think Alan agreed to this pitstop since there are some architectural gems in the Phoenix area that he wanted to visit again. We visited Cosanti Foundation which makes these beautiful bells. Side note: Cosanti was the home and studio of Paolo Soleri who was an eccentric and visionary architect who spent his life building a utopian society just outside of Phoenix! He studied under Frank Lloyd Wright as a young architect. The other stop was Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West which is the original desert ranch house. It’s a remarkable property that would make any vintage home lover squeal in excitement.
The drive home from Phoenix is rather boring. Instead of just driving straight home, Alan and I moseyed home making stops at vintage stores in the outskirts of Phoenix (OMG it’s filled with so many goodies). I’ve always heard about Quartzsite City which is a tiny little town in Arizona near the California border which triples in size during the winter as snowbirds bring their RVs and hang out until warmer weather comes back to the mid-west. In January, these snowbirds host a swap meet which is filled with bizarre and cool finds. I bought a couple of these vintage coke crates for pennies.
I have to be honest that I was never the road trip type of girl – unless in Europe, but this trip totally changed my mind about exploring more of the United States on the open road. Where should we travel to next?