July, under the weight of relentless heat, we set off to explore the beautiful, red washed state of Arizona. Armed with a rough sense of set plans, a jeep and dance party car tunes, we trapezed through this ruby state in a roar.
And for those of you who are new to Arizona, let me introduce to her.
She is this fierce natural beauty, unwavering in her allure of an unpolished elegance, a pristine wild. Her lands kissed and coated by the sun, she is this tanned skinned flirty tomboy. Her soft dusty skin and sultry, messy hair fall to the gravity of her soulful, piercing eyes. The constant exposure to earth’s elements have long scarred her lands. These are her freckles upon her nose, her beauty marks. There is no question of if to embrace her imperfections. Simply, they are uniquely hers and adored in full.
Her lands are as dramatic, mountainous and ragged as they are barren, desolate and quiet. Her winds ravage as they do lull, her rains drown as they do drizzle. She is a force of multiple earthy extremes which makes for her striking, ever evolving theater. Her lands look through you as if to absorb you, simultaneously reflecting your purpose and challenging it. Her lands inspire you to carve your own path but pull you to follow and learn from hers first.
She is this quirky new soul Chuck Taylor wearing Americana, running thick as thieves through her famed Route 66. Yet she also delights in extended pause, exhaling at dusk, threading herself to each new hue that the sun’s fall brings. Reds, violets, maroons until the quiet celestial fully blankets the sky. It is here where you can listen to the uninhibited echo of her old soul.
Oh Arizona, yes she is quick to flirt, but quicker to care, and slowest to collect debts and ask for anything in return.
Arizona, well, she is quite the vision.
Road Trip Itinerary
Settle in. Relax. Have some prosecco or a marg by the pool (but not toooo many because your day starts early the next morning!).
Walk around the Arts District or the historic Old Town in downtown Scottsdale.
Check out the McDowell Sonoran Preserve for some nature walks or slight adventure with its 180 miles of well-kept trails.
Other dining recommendations:
- Stay anywhere close to Downtown, Scottsdale!
- Downtown, Scottsdale gets ROWDY. El Hefe and Bottle Blonde to name a few…right there, there is a street of bars + clubs for all your dancing and drinking needs.
Day Two – Three
Rise at before sunrise and hit the road to the Grand Canyon as it will take you nearly a half day to get there! Most visitors visit the South Rim of the Grand Canyon for several reasons – more lodging nearby, more tours + tourist infrastructure, open almost year round. The North Rim is much more remote, sparse in lodging and closed for a good portion of the year but definitely extremely beautiful.
- Exploring + Hiking the South Rim
- Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim
- South Rim’s Hermit Road
- Sunset at Mojave along Hermit’s Road
If you have extra time!
- Havasupai Falls – 10 mile hikes EACH way to one of the Grand Canyon’s most beautiful gems
- The Skywalk (in West Grand Canyon)
Depending on how much you want to explore the Grand Canyon, the morning of you day four may be spent driving to Page, Arizona – a little town with not too much to do but packs a punch in natural wonders. You’ll stay the night here to maximize your time!
- Lower Antelope Canyon & Upper Antelope Canyon
- Rainbow Bridge
- Vermilion Cliffs National Monument
- Lake Powell
- Horseshoe Bend - a must see!
Note the difference between the two: Upper is MUCH more crowded and a bit more expensive, but does provide the famous google image light beam photos. Most expensive photo ever sold at $6.5 million was of the Upper Canyon. Both are stunning, just slightly different. I prefer Lower Canyon because it is a longer tour into the canyon, allowing for more time overall to experience the place.
Tip: Get here early! 7AM early. Sun is not devastatingly hot and crowds are way more bearable. Though if optimizing for the light beams, 1PM may be best.
You must book a tour or you cannot see these– Ken’s Tours is highly recommended.
Day Five and Six
Spend these two days Sedona, my favorite of Arizona’s cities. It feels like a retreat. Red rock formations encircle you, vineyards and wineries somehow call this place home, and tranquility is found at its finest.
- Devil’s Bridge Trail (an iconic hike)
- West Fork Hike (about 6 miles round trip! Cliffs, waters, beauty)
- More hiking recommendations : http://www.lauberge.com/blog/nature/our-picks-the-10-best-sedona-hikes/
- Red Rock State Park
- Wine Tasting in the Verde Valley Wine Trail
- Slide Rock State Park
- Yoga + Spa Retreats
- Attraction: Chapel of the Holy Cross
- Pink Jeep Tours
Hey, you deserve ittttt. Sit poolside & sip pretty. Pack your bags or don’t, because forever could easily be a thing here!
Be well, love in full.