I have enjoyed lurking here and reading all of the wonderful trip reports for a long time. Now that I have finally gotten to do a little traveling I am going to (hopefully) help others by writing my own about eloping to Vegas with a SW honeymoon.
My (now) husband B and I are both 29 and live in New York. We always knew that we would elope as a wedding did not appeal to either of us. What better excuse to travel! The hardest part was deciding where to go. There are so many places on our list.
We finally decided to go the traditional route and head for Vegas. While we were out there it only made sense to visit some of the beautiful National Parks that are also on our list. We scraped together every last drop of our vacation time and bought tickets in and out of Vegas for a 10 day trip about a month before we left.
With some help from the Fodorites (thanks) we settled on the following itinerary:
Day 1: Fly to Vegas and get hitched
Day 2: Drive to hoover dam and Grand Canyon
Day 3: Drive to Arches NP with a stop at Monument Valley
Day 4: Arches NP/Canyonlands NP/maybe dead horse state park
Day 5: Morning at Arches and drive to Goblin Valley State park in time for the sunset
Day 6: Bryce Canyon NP
Day 7: Zion NP
Day 8: Zion in the morning and head back to Vegas
Day 9: Vegas
Day 10: Vegas and fly home on the red eye
We booked a rental car with Alamo and The Signature at MGM Grand for our 3 nights in Vegas. We like to camp and planned to camp at all of the parks. I thought we would just get a campsite when we got to each place but was advised (thanks again!) that the sites in the parks would fill up quickly so decided to book as much as possible.
I used recreation.gov (no reservation fee) to book sites at Mather Campground (grand canyon) and Watchman campground (Zion). Arches and Bryce campgrounds were already full. Since we would be at Arches for 2 nights and would probably arrive late, we decided to book outside of the park. We booked at Riverside Oasis which turned out to be a great decision. I used reserve america ($8 reservation fee) to book the night at Goblin Valley. We left the night at Bryce up to chance since it wasn't very far from Goblin Valley and we would probably arrive early. This turned out to be another great decision but not in the way we anticipated.
I ordered a streetwise map for LV and an atlas/gazeteer for Utah and Arizona. Since we were flying, we could not take much. We managed to get our tent back in its sack for the first time since we bought it and smooshed our sleeping bag sacks as small as they would go. This, a flashlight, hiking boots and a hatchet went in 1 checked duffel bag. It was below the size and weight requirements, but not by much.
We also looked up a few restaurants and the info on getting married in LV and we were ready to go.
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