Our Grand Canyon National Parks adventure

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the United States National Park service. To celebrate the big birthday, Chris and I booked a trip to one of our favorite national parks out there– the Grand Canyon. And we thought, what better way to take in the beauty of Arizona than with a good old fashioned road trip.

Being six months pregnant, we decided to take things slow. To break up the drive from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon, we booked two nights at a hotel right in the middle of the two cities–in Sedona. It’s a place that’s been on our bucket list for years but somehow always seemed to avoid. This time, we planned on taking the two days to explore all that Sedona has to offer.

Mapping out our road trip through Arizona

Mapping out our road trip through Arizona

Spoiler alert: Sedona is pretty awesome. It seems like the city is hugged by the crimson walls of the surrounding red-rock buttes. Sedona is a stunning panorama of nature in all of its glory. We arrived to our hotel late at night but awoke the next morning excited for our adventures. We didn’t have a set plan and instead just let the day unfold before us. Before we knew it, we found ourselves at the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park.

Exploring the Amitabha stupa and peace park

Things to do in Sedona, Arizona

I particularly enjoyed the Amitabha Peace Park with its prayer flags, stunning scenery, and the quiet serene that we encountered as we meandered along the trails. We also made sure to visit the Chapel of Holy Cross as well as explore downtown Sedona complete with the most beautiful Sacagawea statue I’ve ever seen.

On our last day, we heard the legends of Sedona’s energy vortexes. There are apparently four main vortexes in Sedona and a quick internet search rendered a helpful map that plotted out the location of each one. We headed to the Airport Vortex that is known to have a masculine energy. We were told to look for extra twisted juniper trees. That would mark the spot of extra energy.

tracking down Sedona's vortexes

While we weren’t skilled enough in pinpointing the vortex, we did find ourselves enchanted by the breathtaking (literally, Sedona is at a high elevation) views. A quick hike along the Sedona View trail lead us to the top of a peak that overlooked the entire town. We were told that if we wanted long enough, we’d be able to watch planes pass closely overhead. My growling belly didn’t allow us to linger too long, but the summit was one of my favorite spots in all of Sedona.

The next day, we saddled up and made our way to the Grand Canyon. As it was early February, we knew that it was going to be cold but I naively didn’t expect to encounter snow. The temperature plummeted the closer we got to the canyon and by the time we arrived, a fresh layer of powder covered the road.

Best Grand Canyon road trip

Grand Canyon sunrise

As soon as we were in the park, we bundled up and headed to one of our favorite spots–the Bright Angel trailhead. The last time we were at the Grand Canyon we hiked the 12 miles to the lookout point and back. It’s one of my dad’s favorite hikes and had I not been 6 months pregnant this time (and need cramp ons to overcome the snow), we probably would’ve hiked it again. Instead, we settled for cozying up on a bench and congratulating hikers as they reached the top.

Our first choice in hotel at the Grand Canyon was El Tovar but as we booked last minute, we ended up at the Yavapai Lodge. The recently renovated rooms were a welcome surprise and we decided that it’s a place we’ll definitely stay again. And just because we weren’t staying at El Tovar, it didn’t mean that we couldn’t enjoy a fantastic dinner at its restaurant.

The next morning we awoke bright and early and headed to meet up with a tour group to one of the places we’ve been eyeing for years.

Visiting Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon has plagued our minds since we first started seeing pictures of the gorgeous natural painted walls popping up on our Facebook feeds. It seems otherworldly and we couldn’t wait until the day that we were able to explore it for ourselves.

To get into the canyon, one needs to be accompanied by a Navajo guide. I was worried that the canyon was going to be flooded with other guests, but as it was the off season, our small group of 7 were nearly the only ones there.

How to photography antelope canyon

Our guide was incredible and more than happy to help with the settings on our phones and cameras in order to better capture the beauty of Lower Antelope Canyon. I believe we spent almost an hour wandering through the canyon, taking photos, and running our fingers along the indents in the walls.

Overall, our six day road trip through Arizona was exactly what we needed. I enjoyed traveling at our own pace and really taking the time to enjoy each and every stop. It’s crazy to think that the next time we visit the Grand Canyon, we’ll have a little one in town.

Breakdown:

Where we stayed: 

Sedona: Southwest Inn at Sedona

Grand Canyon: Yavapai Lodge

Where we ate:

Flagstaff: Mix

Grand Canyon: El Tovar Restaurant

What we did: 

Antelope Canyon Tour

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11 Comments

  1. Les Petits Pas de Juls
    March 15, 2016 at 11:55 am - Reply

    Absolutely fantastic! I’ve dreamed of getting to Antelope Canyon for years now but haven’t had the opportunity yet. Sure hope to get there soon… Meanwhile, I truly enjoy seeing your pictures and your belly grow!

    Enjoy it all!
    Happy adventuring and much love!
    Jul’
    Les Petits Pas de Juls recently posted…First Favorite in Rome: The ColiseumMy Profile

    • Captain & Clark
      March 15, 2016 at 11:19 pm - Reply

      Antelope Canyon is definitely worth a visit. We’re sure that you would LOVE it! We went with a tour group but it would be significantly cheaper to go on your own and hire your guide at the entrance of the canyon. 🙂 I think that’s what we’ll do if we ever make it back.

  2. Shannon
    March 16, 2016 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    I’ve always wanted to see Antelope Canyon! I might take a trip from San Diego soon. Also, congrats for doing all that hiking at 6 months pregnant, that’s hardcore.
    Shannon recently posted…Inspiring L.A. Restaurants to TryMy Profile

  3. Nick
    April 5, 2016 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    It’s a great spot to road trip through! I would definitely go back to the Grand Canyon to visit Antelope Canyon; hadn’t heard of it when we went last night. I also want to try and stay down at the lodge down at the bottom of the Canyon, I think its called Phantom Ranch… and if I am that close might as well make it to Zion and Bryce Canyon in Utah!
    Nick recently posted…The West Coast of the USA in 14 daysMy Profile

  4. Damian
    April 18, 2016 at 9:47 pm - Reply

    The Grand Canyon is a must see for me, right up on my bucket list. Such amazing landscapes. It looks really cool with the snow as well! Would love to see it all one day.
    Damian recently posted…The Aussies’ Favorite Places To VisitMy Profile

  5. Chris
    April 25, 2016 at 6:24 am - Reply

    Great post! We love hiking around Sedona. The pictures of Angtelop Canyon look amazing. Definitely adding that to our list of places to go.

  6. Wilson
    May 23, 2016 at 2:39 am - Reply

    Great adventure…….Nice photos

  7. Christie
    May 27, 2016 at 2:23 pm - Reply

    WOW! I haven’t made it to Grand Canyon yet, but it has always been on my list. Your photos are stunning!
    Christie recently posted…Wine tasting at Fairview – Cape Town, South AfricaMy Profile

  8. Meghan
    July 31, 2016 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    One of America’s gifts to the world …. what a stunning place to explore!
    Meghan recently posted…Where to Ski in ItalyMy Profile

  9. Deb at Headout
    August 20, 2016 at 11:18 am - Reply

    The Grand Canyon, such a breath-taking scenery all around. I have been there and plan to go again. It is a great place to explore, and the Antelope Canyon Tour is a must go. I must also congratulate you on making this journey being six months pregnant. Your pictures are stunning, and I am sure you had a lovely time.

  10. Chuck
    September 13, 2016 at 5:47 am - Reply

    There is no place in the world more beautiful then right here in America. Not only that but if you want to keep more of our money here in the states than travel to somewhere in this country that you have never been before. We have a lifetime of adventures right here in America.

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