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_travel_bug_ Jun 13th, 2006 11:04 AM

sedona and grand canyon advice
hi fellow travellers,

looking for advice on a sedona and grand canyon family vacation. i am planning a trip this labor day. we are a party of 2 adults, 2 seniors and 2 kids (3 months and 3 years) we'll fly into phoenix from boston area. thinking 3 days in the area apart from flying days. we'll have limited time for sightseeing as we need frequent breaks as we have an infant with us (hikes are pretty much out of question)

proposed timeline:

Day 1: fly into phoenix, drive to sedona

Day 2: early am hot air balloon ride for 2 adults, rest of the day for sedona sightseeing.

Day 3: start for GC at 10 ish, spend afternoon and evening on the canyon rim at lookout points, stay in a hotel near the canyon.

Day 4: spend morning on the canyon rim, drive to phoenix, take stops on the way, maybe jerrome.

Day 5: fly out of phoenix.


1. is staying overnight at GC enough time to see the park sights?
2. if i have another day to add to my vacation time, how you suggest to change the timeline
3. i hate staying at 3 places within 5 days, but can't think of a common base from where i can visit sedona and GC without driving a lot each day, which becomes hard with 2 kids.

-thnx, tbg

_travel_bug_ Jun 13th, 2006 11:13 AM

if you know condo places you liked in either sedona or GC, could youplease let me know


kaudrey Jun 13th, 2006 12:07 PM


Sounds good to me. Since you are not going to hike, you can tour around GC in the time you have.

If you have another day, I'd spend it in Sedona.

On the drive back to Phoenix, also consider stopping at Montezuma's Castle - cool cliff dwellings.

Don't know any condos, but in Sedona I'd suggest the Sky Ranch Lodge, and I'd suggest staying in the GC itself.


TheWeasel Jun 13th, 2006 12:13 PM

"1. is staying overnight at GC enough time to see the park sights?"

Absolutely yes, if you're not doing any hiking.

The only change I would make is to do the GC first, and then drive down 89A to Sedona. The drive is more scenic going south.

Malesherbes Jun 13th, 2006 12:18 PM

We stayed at the Hyatt in Sedona. It's part of their vacation club time share, not the hotel group, but rooms can be rented just like a hotel room too. We had a two bedroom unit...lovely with fireplace in living room, dining table that accommodated 6 adults in a dining alcove, granite counters in the kitchen, full sized stove, frig, and dishwasher etc. It slept the 6 of us easily, with one couple on the sleeper sofa in the living room. Kitchen is well enough equipped that I even made Thanksgiving dinner! With an infant, condo is perfect.

I'm not sure you could find any such thing at the Grand Canyon. As someone else suggested, if at all possible, stay in one of the canyon hotels. Although it might already be too late to book for Labor Day, Bright Angel cabins have adjoining cabins, which, if you could get them, would be nice for your group.

_travel_bug_ Jun 13th, 2006 01:27 PM

thanks for all the suggestions so far.

my default condo choice for gand canyon is a 2bed suite at holiday inn at grand canyon ($200+)

If i find something else, i'll consult with you guys

Regarding sedona acco, looking at skyranch and kokopell isuites

Having second thots about making flagstaff the base for both sedona and gc and avoing frequent packing and unpacking, but that wud probably mean forgoing hot air baloon in sedona

USNR Jun 13th, 2006 04:22 PM

Just a couple points. First, being from Boston, you might want to factor in the altitude changes you will encounter. Phoenix is no problem, but Sedona is 4,500 ft. and the Grand Canyon is around 7,000 ft. Take it easy.

Second, you come from a damp climate. Arizona's air is very dry. Remember to drink plenty of water. Especially for the kids. Drink before you get thirsty. Dehydration can become a problem is you neglect to drink your water. Buy bottles at any market and drink, drink, drink.

Therefore, eat lightly because of the altitude. Drink water. And you will have a fine time.

elnap29 Jun 13th, 2006 09:46 PM

The drive from Phoenix to Sedona is no more than 2 hours, maybe less. Driving time from Phoenix to Flagstaff is also about 2 hours. Many people do use Flagstaff as a base - lodging is cheaper.
You don't need a lot of time in Grand Canyon, so 1 night is fine.
Sedona is a very relaxing place and you might like spending 2 or more nights there. I would definitely combine the Jerome visit with the Sedona portion.

Flagstaff is only 30 min. from Sedona, so if you decide to stay there, it is quite doable.

We like SkyRanch Lodge. The view is great, you can get a kitchen, and it is quiet, above town and traffic. Kokopelli is newer, on the highway, standard issue motel, not far from grocery store and some restaurants. It is not in the main part of town.

Holiday Inn is not in Grand Canyon. It is outside the park. Keep checking - maybe you can get a place inside the park within walking distance (or shuttle) of the rim. There are often cancellations.

emd Jun 14th, 2006 05:35 AM

You could do the hot air balloon ride in Sedona if you stay in Flagstaff. But as you've figured out, it means getting up very very early and driving from Flag to Sedona on 89A, a beautiful but twisting and elevated two lane hwy that goes through Oak Creek Canyon. I don't like to do this in the dark, and I believe that getting to Sedona in time for the ride that a.m. (I think when I called they said we'd be starting out at 5 a.m.?) would mean you are driving 89A in the dark, which is going to take you longer than the 30 min. it might take during the day (although it always takes us about 45 min., as we just can't drive very fast while hugging the sides of the cliffs or being on the side where the huge drops into the canyon are right next to you).

If you were willing to get up very early that morning you could do the balloon ride, but you'd perhaps be whipped by mid-afternoon and want to go back to Flag to rest. Not a bad idea, as Sedona will most likely be hot in mid-afternoon, and Flag is much cooler (we have needed sweatshirts in July at night in Flag).

BTW, if you end up doing that, Flag has a nice museum, the Museum of Northern Arizona, that makes for a nice few hrs. indoors later in the day.

emd Jun 14th, 2006 05:41 AM

and of course Flag also has outdoor activities of its own to offer, and Lowell Observatory where Pluto was discovered. I think a late afternoon and evening in Flag is a great idea after the warmth of Sedona. You'd miss the sunset in Sedona, but you'll be seeing the sunset at the GC.

sunbabe Jun 14th, 2006 06:53 AM

We did this trip last summer. Depending on your arrival time in Phoenix, I would drive to the Grand Canyon first and spend the night at the rim. Purchase your park tickets ahead of time so you don't have to sit in line at the park entrance. We stayed at the Yavapai and it was definitely adequate. There is a market right next door to the lodge, so you can buy water and other supplies. The shuttle will be extremely helpful to you with a baby and toddler. One night at the Grand Canyon will be sufficient since you won't be doing any major hiking. Drive through Oak Creek Canyon on the way to Sedona--beautiful. Sedona will be relaxing after spending time at the Grand Canyon and your drive to the Phoenix airport will be shorter than if you were coming from the GC.

Have fun!

skinnyeb Jun 14th, 2006 11:04 AM

Beware of drive times on I-17 around labor day. If you are driving north to flag or sedona on friday of labor day weekend, you could likely hit traffic jams going up. Same goes coming down the mountain on Monday. But if you're doing 5 days, I imagine you probably aren't doing a fri-mon. Just keep in mind when planning out your days, especially if you fly out on monday.

PS: Go red sox, used to live in Bellingham!

lopossofare Jun 14th, 2006 11:18 AM

If you can afford it, stay in Sedona. Flagstaff is just a town, with no real charm. You can drive to the south rim of GC in 2 hours from Sedona, as previously noted, and it's a neat trip.

If you intend to go through Jerome, allow plenty of time. We drove from Sedona to Phoenix by way of Jerome and stopped in Prescott. Downtown Prescott is very nice... much nicer than Flagstaff. The drive is tortuous, but with incredible views, and I don't think you will ever forget Jerome and that road. If you're squeemish about driving mountain highways, you may want to rethink that one.

Without hiking in GC you can still see everything. All the neat lookout points are close to parking, and the path along the canyon is paved if you have strollers.

Sedona is awesome - go down the back roads!

gcmaven Jun 15th, 2006 12:16 PM

Don't we just wish that there were condos at GC! You have to work here to live here, and there isn't sufficient housing for all of the employees. People are in trailers converted to dorms for 6, 8 people, converted storage sheds, 1950's travel trailers, etc. And if you tried to rent out your room, you'd be fired and kicked out of the park faster than you could pack!

To operate a business in a nat'l park, you have to get a concessions contract with the federal govt. The official lodging concessionaire at the south rim is Xanterra. You can book rooms at But you won't find rooms that accommodate 6 people. You'd need to rooms, but we don't offer connecting rooms. We would try to keep your rooms as close together as possible.

For Sedona, here's another vote for Sky Ranch lodge.

Malesherbes Jun 15th, 2006 12:27 PM

That's odd! We had connecting cabins at Bright Angel.

gcmaven Jun 15th, 2006 12:39 PM

Malesherbes: some connections were lost to renovations a while back. But at most of our lodges, even if there are rooms that connect, they don't necessarily connect to the same room type (in other words, a "standard queen" room might connect to a "deluxe king"). So if you've reserved two of the same rooms, there are no pairs that connect. The other issue is that even if there are 2 that connect, if one is already occupied by someone with a 3 night stay who arrived yesterday, the connection isn't available today. So that's why we don't offer them. But when the front desk staff assigns the rooms, if you reserved two, they'll do their best to put you there if it exists!

Malesherbes Jun 15th, 2006 04:31 PM

Our two were not the same type room, I do recall that, but there were two sleeping areas appropriate for us and our grown children to share comfortably. One became the gathering area when we were all up and inside. Rare. LOL Inside meant asleep!

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