How do I make the most of my vacation days? This is a question I ask myself all too often. There are so many places I want to see, but there are a limited amount of days I have OOO. So as Joel and I floated the idea of taking a trip to Arizona around, we eventually came to the decision to start our trip in Sedona, pass through The Grand Canyon, and finish with a few days in Las Vegas. And just like that our own little five day road trip in the southwest was born.
DAY 1 & 2: SEDONA
We left Chicago first thing Saturday morning and landed in Phoenix just before noon. Before we could take off on the two hour drive to Sedona it was time to pick up our rental car. One important thing to call out is that this trip involved picking up a rental car in Phoenix and dropping the car off in Las Vegas. Since we were dropping the car off at a different location the rental was basically double the price. We went back and forth on if spending nearly $450 on a rental car was worth it, and decided it was. It allowed us to see so much more, and let take the adventure on our own terms.
The drive from Phoenix to Sedona is a beautiful one. There is no shortage of mountains, cacti and gorgeous dessert greenery.There is even an opportunity or two to ejoy some In-N-Out along the way:)
STAY: Our airbnb was everything I dreamed of. I mean just check out the view from our deck(pictured above). Our airbnb was a casita located on a horse ranch. Our little casita was cozy, and made the perfect place to relax after a day full of hiking. Check out our exact airbnb here!
THINGS TO DO: Enjoy the great outdoors. We hiked Devil’s Bridge and it was just lovely. Instead of following the typical trail we hiked the Mescal trail first which I cannot recommend enough! Check out this blog post for all the details.
EAT: For full transparency we were so tired both nights that were in Sedona that we ordered take out. BUT we did have lunch at one spot that you cannot miss, Indian Gardens. Enjoy breakfast or lunch at Indian Gardens on their gorgeous patio. Each seat on the patio comes with a blanket, so you can cozy up outside year round.
DAY 3: GRAND CANYON AND HOOVER DAM
The morning of day three we woke up early and started the two hour drive to The Grand Canyon. Once we arrived we stopped at a handful of lookout points and took in the natural beauty. Since we were at the park in early January it was off season and we nearly had the park to ourselves. Thinking back it’s hard to put into words how awe inspiring the sheer size of the park was.
After a few hours we got back on the road and started the four hour trip to Las Vegas. This was the longest drive of the trip. We loved the drive, the surroundings we drove through were so different than what either of us had ever seen before! About halfway through the drive Joel put a ban on the words “woah” and “cool”. What can I say the southwest is pretty cool.
Just before pulling into Vegas we stopped at The Hoover Damn. You literally drive right by the dam on your way. We arrived as the sun was beginning to set and it was stunning!
DAY 4 & 5: LAS VEGAS
Adding Vegas to the end of our trip is something we did simply because we hadn’t been before. Flash forward to the road trip post Grand Canyon and we were not only excited but borderline giddy as we approached Vegas. Crusing into a bustling city after a few days in nature is a welcome change. And we are SO happy we chose to do both!
STAY: Stay at The Cosmopolitan. It is beautiful, and lively, and dare I say sexy. We magically got a room upgrade which included a bathtub with a floor to ceiling window looking at the Bellagio fountain, I mean what could be more Vegas?
THINGS TO DO: We roamed the strip at our leisure and loved taking our time to see the sights. Attending the Matt Franco Magic Show is quite possibly my favorite thing we did in Vegas. Not to mention it was rather affordable.
EAT & DRINK: I had two things to eat that I cannot sop thinking about: 1. The Cereal Milk Ice Cream topped with Corn Flakes from Milkbar(!!!!) & 2. The Fairfax Breakfast Sandwich add bacon from Eggslut(!!!!!). We also enjoyed drinks at the Vanderpump Garden & Brunch at Mon Ami Gabi(with a view of the fountain), both we’re tasty and fun.
And that is how we did it! As we approached this trip I’m not going to lie I did get nervous that we were doing too much. But the beauty in this trip is we only planned an outline. We saw amazing things and still made time to read, play domino’s, take naps, and leisurely drink our morning coffee. After all vaca is is what you make it.