After an amazing two-day roller coaster in Las Vegas, we decided to rent a car to go explore the stunning wonders of Arizona. But not just any car – since in Vegas you can rent really nice cars at competitive prices, we decided to ‘go big’ and rent a Mustang convertible. 🙂 Now, as for our itinerary… There are lots of amazing national parks, canyons and natural monuments relatively near Las Vegas – there is the Death Valley National Park, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Valley of Fire State Park, Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park, Antelope Canyon, Lake Powell, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Great Basin National Park, Monument Valley, Joshua Tree National Park, Zion National Park, Slide Rock State Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon National Park and many many more. After realizing that it would take us years if not a whole lifetime to visit all of these marvels, we finally picked our destinations.
Our three-day Arizona’s natural wonders road trip itinerary
After waking up in Vegas we rented a car and drove through Las Vegas Strip, past its many attractions, including the New York-New York hotel and casino, the Luxor hotel and casino, and the Mandalay Bay resort and casino and finally into the desert. We had a short stop at Hoover Dam, the famous construction in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River on the border between the states of Nevada and Arizona and then continued our adventurous ride to Page, Arizona.
First, we drove to Antelope Canyon, which is located less than 8 miles from Page, the city, where we had spent the night. We were mesmerized by the beauty of the slot canyon, by all its shapes and colors. Antelope Canyon is a paradise for photographers, but taking good photos does require some skills and a good camera. The experience was amazing.
Our next stop was the Horseshoe Bend, the famous horseshoe-shaped bend of the Colorado River. The viewpoint is accessible by a short (3/4 mile) hike and it’s free of charge. There is a 1000-foot (300m) drop between the lookout area and the river itself and the view is stunning. Afterwards, we drove for two hours and finally reached our last destination for the day – Monument Valley. The region is world-renowned for its many sandstone buttes of distinctive red color. We waited until sunset to see the valley’s most beautiful colors and it was nothing short of magical.
On our last day, we drove to the Grand Canyon. The canyon has four rims – South Rim, North Rim, East Rim and West Rim. We visited the latter and it was amazing. We took a bus tour, which took us to an old Indian village and to some other attractions. When we finally reached the edge of the canyon, we took a short hike, during which we enjoyed the beautiful sights and changing colors. At the end of the day, we witnessed another wonderful sunset, which highlighted the wonderful shades of the canyon. It was the perfect ending to a perfect trip. After that, we returned to Vegas.
• Horseshoe Bend Scenic View Point is free of charge and there are lots of parking possibilities.
• A guided Antelope Canyon tour (1 hour) costs 48 USD (41 EUR) for adults and 28 USD (24 EUR) for children 0-12 years old. You also have to pay an additional charge of 8 USD (6,7 EUR) per person to enter Navajo Parks and Recreation (it is free for children 0-7 years old). Professional photography tours (2 hours) cost 120 USD (102 EUR) + 8 USD (6,7 EUR) Navajo Parks and Recreation fee.
• To enter Monument Valley you have to pay a general admission fee of 10 USD (8,5 EUR) per person (free for children 0-9 years old) and 20 USD (17 EUR) per vehicle with up to 4 people.
• Admission to Grand Canyon National Park is valid for seven days and includes both the North and South Rim. Admission fee for a vehicle and all its passengers costs 30 USD (25 EUR), a motorcycle permit costs 25 USD (21 EUR) and a permit for individuals entering by foot, bicycle, park shuttle bus, Grand Canyon Railway or a private rafting trip costs 15 USD (13 EUR) per person; children 0-15 years old are admitted free of charge.
• A private room for two in Page, Arizona (near Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and Lake Powell) for example costs around 70 USD (60 EUR).
• Food prices in the state of Arizona vary greatly depending on the exact location. Expect to pay at least double or triple the price in close proximity to the main attractions.
Where to stay
You can find great accommodation options on Booking. Make sure to search for private rooms popular for romance. 😉 On Airbnb you can rent furnished apartments – those are usually cheaper than most hotels and they offer you the real ‘Wild West’ experience.
Best time to go
The best time to visit Arizona’s natural wonders is during the spring (March to May) or fall (September to November) when the temperatures are most pleasant, the number of tourists decreases and the number of lodging possibilities increases. During the winter some of these parks or parts of them may be closed.
♥ Top romantic experience and adventure
Wow, this is a tough one! The USA is known for its many unparalleled natural wonders and the ones we were able to visit truly are breathtaking. We could never pick the one we liked the most, but after a lot of thought, we were able to decide on our top romantic experience and adventure. Antelope Canyon is insanely romantic, even more so if you take a private tour (we imagine, we didn’t actually get to try it). The right time of day, the right lighting, the beautiful shapes and colors and just the two of you chasing each other through the narrow corridors… Aww! 🙂 As for the top adventure, we’d pick the Grand Canyon, mainly because of its size, diverse sights, and endless hiking, rafting, cycling, horseback riding, and rock climbing possibilities. You can also take a scenic drive, a helicopter tour or go skydiving. Here the sky is the limit, quite literally. 😉
Have you already been to Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley or the Grand Canyon? We invite you to share your top romantic experience and top adventure in the comment section below. 😉
Next stop: sunny Miami! 😉