Is this a realistic trip? (Arizona, Utah)

Old Mar 3rd, 2012, 07:48 AM
  #1  
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Is this a realistic trip? (Arizona, Utah)

We are planning our vacation for July 2012. The plan is to:
Day 1 Fly to Vegas from Boston
Day 2 drive to Zion National Park stay the night
Day 3 Zion National Park
Day 4 Drive to Bryce stay the night
Day 5 Drive to Page stay the night
Day 6 Page Arizona
Day 7 Drive to Grand Canyon stay the night
Day 8 Drive to Sedona stay the night
Day 9 Sedona
Day 10 Drive to Phoenix to fly home

There are 2 adults and 3 kids (17, 14, 12). Hoping to see many of the beautiful places out there. This is our first trip to these places and we may not get back there for a long time. I know it's a lot but we can rest when we get home, LOL
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Old Mar 3rd, 2012, 07:55 AM
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This is very doable--no long days of driving.

What jumps out at me is that you are spending only one night at the Grand Canyon. My choice would be to spend two nights at the Grand Canyon and one night less someplace else--Sedona, for instance.

Now is the time to book rooms at the national parks. At the Grand Canyon, book a room on the "rim," if you can.

HTTY
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Old Mar 3rd, 2012, 08:13 AM
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Overall it's a nice plan.

You have 2 nights in Zion, Page and Sedona, one night for Bryce and one for south rim of GC ... some, like happytrailstoyou (above) might suggest less time in Sedona (or Page), it just depends on what activities you have planned in each place. For example if you are doing a flatwater float trip on the Colorado or a long tour on Lake Powell then 2 nights is right for Page (assuming you're hitting the usual places like Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend etc). If you're not doing something like the float trip or LP tour then one night is probably enough at Page.

Also, if there are things you want to do in Sedona, like Slide Rock state park and/or the backcountry Jeep tours or visiting Indian ruins outside town, then 2 nights is OK for Sedona too.

If you aren't planning on much hiking or a mule ride in the GC then you can do it with one night, just make sure you are out on the overlooks at sunrise and sunset to see the canyon at its best. Same with Bryce.

So overall, a well-planned itinerary, assuming you have enough 'activities' planned for Page and Sedona to warrant two nights at each.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2012, 08:17 AM
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You might also want to check into the one way drop off fees for your rental car. Many Fodorites report they are astronomical when you pick up in one state and return in another.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2012, 08:37 AM
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Sounds perfect to me. Some people like Grand Canyon more. I do think it has the best "wow" for the first view. However, I think that Zion and Bryce have more to do for the average person. Although, hiking down into the canyon or rafting it certainly is awesome. The longer you can stay at any of them and the more you do the more you appreciate them.

As others have said, if you aren't doing much hiking at Bryce or Zion, then one night might be enough. There is a lot to do at each spot. Even a horse ride at the rim of the GC, Zion, or Bryce would be another option. Even a helicopter tour at Page or the South Rim of the Grand Canyon would be a cool option. They do GC helicopter tours from Page too(I am pretty sure anyway).

Are you staying North Rim or South Rim at the GC? You might even consider both.

Do check the cost of the drop fee for the car. It may or may not be higher.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2012, 09:05 AM
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It is only 4.6 hours from Sedona back to the LAS airport plus whatever time you want to spend at Hoover Dam. (275 miles).
Fly home from Vegas and avoid the drop off fee.
How early does you flight get into LAS? Early enough to get to Zion with some daylight left?
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Old Mar 3rd, 2012, 09:07 AM
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I was a little concerned with the one night in G.C. also but we are not doing the mule ride or any major hiking there. We plan on leaving Page early arrive in G.C. - do the IMAX, take a helicopter ride and go check in at hotel (hopefully we will get one in the park). Possibly do the angel trail then or the next morning...we can leave there in the afternoon and drive to Sedona. We do plan on the float trip in Page so I thought 2 days would be better and in Zion we would like to hike the narrows (is that too much for kids?) and in Sedona we do want to do the Jeep tour so wanted 2 days there as well. There is a possibility to add on one night but I think the airfares were more expensive flying out of Phoenix on Sunday. As far as the car rental, I'm hoping I can find a deal. I can't believe how expensive it is. But I really did not want to drive all the way back to Vegas at the end of the trip. I think it will be a little bit too much. So the extra money is worth it to me (within reason of course, LOL) Thanks for all the input. Would love to hear any suggestions from others who have done this trip. Hotel suggestions? Restaurants? etc.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2012, 09:12 AM
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We are staying on the South Rim. Our flight into Vegas will arrive around 12:30 but I do want to stay there that one night just so we can experience it a little and then leave first thing in the morning to go to Zion (stopping at Hoover Dam possibly on the way). I think we will do a short horseback riding tour in Bryce (there's one for 1-1/2 hours) So much to see and do!! I keep changing my mind, hahaha
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Old Mar 3rd, 2012, 09:25 AM
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Hoover Dam is not on the way to Zion, completely in the opposite direction. You would pass over it on the way to/from the Grand Canyon from Vegas - another reason to think about flying roundtrip from Vegas instead of flying home from Phoenix. Going back to Vegas is only going to add a few hours of driving compared to Phoenix.

If you haven't already booked your flights, you may want to check into airfare to/from Phoenix and the price of a car rental from there. There is usually a drop-off fee but not always. Someone posted about a trip from Phoenix to Vegas (or vice versa, can't remember now) a month of so ago. I checked the actual price of a one-way rental just out of curiousity and found the one-way was actually cheaper than a roundtrip from either city. That isn't very common but you do need to check that out - price out airfare and rentals from either city as one ways or roundtrips for your actual dates just to see what's out there.

As for your itinerary, it looks fine to me. The Grand Canyon has a lot of viewpoints but you can only look at them so many times before it loses some of its impact. So if you aren't doing much hiking there, one night is perfectly ok.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2012, 10:37 AM
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angel trail. Do you mean Bright Angel in Grand Canyon or Angels Landing in Zion?

The Narrows-anyone can do it. I would rent proper equipment from Zion Adventure Company. Do check to make sure the water isn't up to much and there isn't any rain chances. You do not want to be in a slot canyon with a flash flood or a threat of rain.

You aren't talking much more of a drive to Vegas than to Phoenix. Break the trip up with a stop at Hooever Dam. You wouldn't do Hoover Dam on the way to Zion. You would do it on the way back from the GC.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2012, 11:06 AM
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I suggested Hoover Dam on your way back from Sedona to Las Vegas. The zipline at the Fremont Street Experience would interest the kids as well as the light show above the zipline.
For hungry kids it is hard to beat the buffet at the Golden Nugget. Get there before 3PM after your flight to get a better price. The 62 lb. gold nugget is impressive.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2012, 01:03 PM
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We'll have to skip the Hoover Dam - got confused on the location. I need to make firm reservations for everything but I'm quite sure we will fly into Vegas and out of Phoenix. Hoping to book Thunderbird Lodge in G.C., Desert Pearl Inn in Zion, Ruby's Inn at Bryce. Any suggestions in Page, Sedona and Vegas? Thanks!!!
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Old Mar 3rd, 2012, 01:14 PM
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If you started early in the morning of day 2 you could see Hoover Dam and head north on the west side of Lake Meade and see Valley of Fire State Park and get back to I-15 within about 3 hours. Check the map.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2012, 01:47 PM
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I suggest staying "in park"-Zion Lodge, Bryce Lodge.

BEFORE YOU MAKE YOUR AIRLINE RESERVATIONS CHECK THE DROP FEES ON THE CAR FIRST-UNLESS MONEY IS NO OBJECT.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2012, 02:45 PM
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You actually have more time than you think so I would start planning for it that way.

At first glance you don't have enough time in Zion.

But Day 4 swhould be mostly spent in Zion. Maybe on the way out the East Exit you can hike Canyon Overlook.

No need to leave more than 3 hours before sunset. Then you'll get to Bryce and see the sunset from Sunset Point. The next day you can get up very early if you want and watch the sunrise from bryce Point. Then after a byite for breakfast you can go down into the hoodoos. Maybe Navajo Loop going down and Queens Garden back up.

Then you can leave for Page in mid-afternoon.

For Sedona the beauty is not the town but the surrounding red rocks. So research that a bit.

Maybe Boynton Canyon Vista. Very short and extremely scenic. Maybe a Pink Jeep ride to Broken Arrow trail. Or just hike around the Bell Rock area.
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Old Mar 8th, 2012, 10:03 AM
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Overall your plan looks very comprehensive and well-paced. The only thing that raised alarm bells for me was your plan to fly into Las Vegas and out of Phoenix. This typically means paying a hefty dropoff charge since major cities tend to be so spread out in this part of the country and logistics of getting rental cars back to their bases tend to be somewhat costly.

Also, getting lodging inside the park is going to be difficult, even this far out, so start working on that NOW. Visit www.grandcanyonlodges.com or call 888-297-2757. If unable to find lodging inside the park, Tusayan (aka "Grand Canyon Village South") is your next best option. After that, Williams or Flagstaff. Video that attempts to put Grand Canyon lodging in "whole picture" perspective ->: http://bit.ly/wyyyhx
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Old Mar 10th, 2012, 06:29 PM
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GCarbone- you mentioned the expense of car rental. Our last booking was made through expedia and we had an amazing deal from DOLLAR for a car for a week out of the Phoenix airport. That and Hotwire might help you find a good rate. We booked ahead and saved lots.
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Old Mar 10th, 2012, 08:53 PM
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Did anyone mention Glen Canyon dam in Page? It is easier and cheaper to take a tour there, it is just as big (a little shorter but a little wider)
In Page the Marriott, the Days Inn, the Quality Inn. Some of the older motels still have life like bashful Bob's or Lulu's.
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Old Apr 9th, 2012, 09:11 AM
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I'm doing a similar trip in June 2012, so can let you know how it goes! We are fyling from London to Vegas, for two nights, then Zion Park (2 nights), Bryce (1), Capitol Reef (1), Moab (2), Monument Valley (2), Flagstaff, and then Phoenix to fly home.

I drove from South Rim GC to Vegas last year in a day, took about 4 hours, and we stopped at Hoover Dam. As a few people suggest, might be worth it to avoid the one-way fee's.
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Old Apr 9th, 2012, 11:06 AM
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jvb, For me, one night would be enough at Monument Valley.
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