I’ve been wanting to do a Southwest road trip for a while and I was finally able to do it. It took a lot of researching, planning and asking friends for recommendations.
We determined that the best starting point for us was Las Vegas. Our adventure began on Friday morning and ended Tuesday night – 4 full days. We had enough time to visit all the places we wanted but if you can add 1 or 2 more days you can have to relax and maybe squeeze a few other parks along the road (Zion Park and Bryce Canyon).
As this is a road trip, you spend a lot of time in the car so it’s very important to have a good playlist, good company and enjoy the scenic views.
1st stop: Vegas Baby!
We flew Friday afternoon and the idea was to go out that night. Our flight was delayed and we ended up landing late at night, so just went to out to eat near the hotel and have a drink at the Wynn Hotel.
2nd stop: Page, Arizona
It took a 5-hours non-stop drive to get us to Page, Arizona where we had a reservation to visit Antelope Canyon.
We got there on time but due to high temperatures they park ranger closed the canyon and all tours were cancelled. If you go during summer, have in mind that this can happen so better to schedule your tour early in the morning to avoid cancellations.
We were lucky to find a space and rebooked the tour and came back the next day at 6 am. This place is just amazing; no words can describe it. We took the tour to the Lower Antelope Canyon, it takes about two hours. Two tour companies offer tours, we did it with Dixie Ellis’ Lower Antelope Canyon Tours and our guide was great (and took great pictures).
3rd stop: Horseshoe Bend
After the Antelope Canyon we drove 20 minutes to the Horseshoe Bend overlook. It’s a short hike through a sandy trail and no shade in the way. Bring water and enjoy the view of the place where the Colorado River bends in a right angle.
4th stop: Monument Valley, UT
Monument valley was a 2-hour drive from Page. We got there just in time for the sunset, and we couldn’t have asked for a better sunset. If you go earlier in the day, you can take some tours through the park. We drove back to Page and spent the night at Comfort Inn and Suites.
Page, AZ and Monument Valley, UT are on different timezone, so plan accordingly.
5th stop: Grand Canyon
The next morning we drove from Page to the Grand Canyon National Park – a beautiful scenic drive. This is a long drive but there are several places you can stop along the way.
The Grand Canyon is just unbelievable, it’s so hard to describe and no picture makes justice. We took the Hermit Road Shuttle Bus Route this route provides transportation between Grand Canyon Village and Hermits Rest with stops at nine scenic overlooks.
On our way to the hotel we found some interesting stops and got excited because we got to the famous Route 66 and had dinner at Mr D’z Route 66 Diner. You really feel you are in the 50’s, great decorations and ambience, food was great
6th stop: Joshua Tree, California
I was very much looking forward to Joshua Tree and it sure met my expectations.
It was a 2-hour drive from our hotel to Joshua tree and we headed directly to Cholla Gardens.
The gardens are beautiful and surrounded by mountains. One piece of advice: don’t get out of the trail because the cacti are known as jumping cacti because the needles all leap onto you in a cluster.
After that, we went to the Joshua National Park and to the outdoor museum “Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum”.
We stayed in the middle of the desert in the The Joshua Tree Casita. Every detail of the Casita was perfection. My favorite part was the Outdoor area! There was a lounging area and a hot tub to relax. We definitely didn’t want to leave this place.
Then a quick stop in Palm Springs, lunch at In and Out (Must Stop) and then straight to LAX.
No matter how much you plan, some things will go differently so keep room for changes and always carry some cash with you.
This was definitely one of the best trips I’ve done and would love to come back.