I went out to Arizona for my sister’s bachelorette, and we had an amazing time. I was totally blown away by the natural beauty of the state and the desert!
If you are a looking for a great place to visit for a long weekend that is inside the U.S., check out Arizona and Utah. We were there for only a week, but could have stayed for two weeks. There is so much to see, and it is a great place if you love hiking, the outdoors and majestic vistas.
We stayed at an Airbnb in Sedona, but the town is tiny enough that it doesn’t really matter where you stay. I chose our place because it was spitting distance from Bell Rock, one of the most well-known rock formations in Sedona. We climbed around it to catch this breathtaking sunset over Cathedral Rock, another amazing formation that you can hike around as well.
The second day, we hiked Soldier’s Pass, found a hidden cave not to far off the trail, and Devil’s Bridge. The trail is not always easy to identify. I recommend you download the All Trails app on your phone. You don’t need cell service for the app to work. You can preload the trails you plan to hike so that you can track if you are on the right course.
Then we drove up to the Grand Canyon from Sedona, which took about 2 hours.
We spent about 6-7 hours at the Grand Canyon, hiking into the Canyon for 3 miles and then exploring vistas along the rim. There is also a small museum that is worth visiting to read and learn more about how the Grand Canyon was formed.
We then drove up to Monument Valley on the border of Utah. The road follows the Grand Canyon and we stopped to watch the sunset, which was breathtaking.
I’m wearing Chicwish Embroidered Maxi Dress. This dress will definitely be on repeat all summer. I actually wore a lot of maxi dresses on my trip to keep my legs covered from the sun on days we weren’t hiking but driving from one location to another. This one is very well made and is lined and has great embroidery and pom details! It does run on the slightly larger size.
Overall, it was a butte-iful day! These rock formations in Monument Valley are called “butte” and they are dotted throughout the landscape, but the East and West Mittens are the most popular and famous… thanks to John Wayne’s many wild west films shot in this very location!
The dessert this year is having a super bloom thanks to the high-levels of precipitation over the winter (i.e. snow). There were so many flowers and beautiful cactus throughout the dessert. We had a Navajo guide take us around to find hidden Anasazi ruins. Their cliff-dwelling pueblos are tucked into many of the rock formations and blend into the scenery so well. There were even pictographs still visible on some of the walls.
We stayed in Page, Arizona, and explored Horseshoe Bend and slot canyons in the region. I found it fascinating that many of these world-reknown sites are just recent tourist attractions. The tribes that own the land have only recently invested in making it a tourist attraction – driven in part because the local coal mines have shuttered. To see Horseshoe Bend is only $10 per car that drives up. We booked a slightly more expensive tour ($98 per adult) that let us get a private view of Horseshoe Bend to avoid the crowds and also access to Secret Canyon, a small slot canyon.
We always like to try different things than the standard places so we visited Cardiac Canyon and many others. While they were awesome because we were the only ones there, Antelope Canyon was the most picturesque. If you are limited in time, then I’d recommend just doing Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. Upper Antelope Canyon is better during the morning. At 10:30 am, there is a spot in the Upper Antelope Canyon that gets a beautiful sunbeam. We booked last minute (as in we walked up on the day and decided to take the tour). We got really lucky though and there were very few crowds so we got a spot with ease and did both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon back-to-back.
The photos above are from Lower Antelope Canyon. It’s pretty deep and can get dark in some places so bring a camera that works well in low-lighting.
Upper Antelope Canyon is shorter, but can be even lower-lighting than Lower Canyon. Especially if you go in the afternoon (like we did), be prepared for poor lighting conditions. They charge extra if you want to book the photographers tour, which allows you to bring your tripod and go slower to take photos you want rather than being in a larger group and moving faster.