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Arizona and Utah Itinerary

How long was your stay?

5 days

How did you travel?

As a family

Tell us why you traveled to this destination.

Since we always head east to see family for Christmas, Thanksgiving became our time to travel wherever we want (just the five of us). Initially, we took beach vacations to islands, but then we decided it was time to start exploring the different areas within the United States, more specifically the National Parks.

For this trip, we didn’t have a full week, so we decided to start with three parks that were relatively close to each other. Also, since my youngest was in fourth grade, we wanted to take advantage of the US Government’s Every Kid Outdoors (everykidoutdoors.gov) program, which provides all fourth graders and their families free access to national parks, lands, and waters for a full year! This is an amazing program—increasing access to outdoor recreation for everyone!

What was your itinerary?

Day 1 – Arrived in Las Vegas; picked up our rental car and drove about 5 hours to Zion National Park in Arizona where we stayed at Zion Park Lodge.

Day 2 & 3 – Explored Zion National Park.

Day 4 – Drove to Bryce Canyon National Park in Southern Utah; stayed at Bryce View Lodge

Day 5 – Drove to the Grand Canyon; did a slot canyon tour at Antelope Canyon; stopped at Horseshoe Bend and Lake Powell.

Give us all the details! Tell us where you went and what you did on your trip.

We flew in and out of Las Vegas and then rented a minivan for the road trip. Because it was over the Thanksgiving holiday we went to Zion National Park first (I heard that’s the most crowded over Thanksgiving weekend since it’s close to Las Vegas, so we did it first to avoid crowds).

We stayed at the Zion Park Lodge and we were lucky enough to get a last-minute dinner reservation at the lodge and had a nice meal. Zion is one of my favorite parks!

After spending two days in Zion, we moved on to Bryce Canyon National Park. We stayed at the Bryce View Lodge (it was ok), and spent a full day hiking and checking out the crazy hoodoos. Such an interesting topography!

On our way to Grand Canyon National Park, we did a slot canyon tour at Antelope Canyon (very cool) and briefly stopped at Horseshoe Bend (super crowded) and Lake Powell. It was rather touristy and crowded at Grand Canyon, but my first view of it was breathtaking. It’s not my favorite park, but its expansive canyons are a must-see!

Would you recommend this trip to a friend?

Yes

What was the highlight of your trip?

We were in complete awe of the unique beauty of each park. Since this trip was over Thanksgiving, we were especially “thankful” for the US National Park system and very appreciative of the efforts to preserve these natural spaces.

If you were to take this trip again, is there anything you would add or do differently?

In general, we like to go with the flow on road trips and really only plan the big stops ahead of time. This works most of the time, but on Thanksgiving, it can be hard to find a good meal (traditional or not) without having advance reservations. Also, hotels within the parks book fast. If you want to stay inside a park, the earlier you plan the trip, the better. Since I’m usually not that on top of it, we often stay outside the parks.

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