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First time to Arizona & Grand Canyon, need advice on route.

Singapore
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First time to Arizona & Grand Canyon, need advice on route.

We are intending to take a trip for 3 - 4 weeks in the southwest usa to nyc, this December. My husband and I are in our 30s and we have driven in USA several times and we like road trips.

Here is our route that I plan to take: LA - Arizona - Utah - Durango - Austin - Savannah - Charleston - NYC.

I have done my initial research and as I would like to book my flights from Singapore to Los Angeles very soon, I hope you can help advise me / correct me / give me some tips on our route.

We intend to fly into LA from SG and spend 3 days there

- 1st day: after the long flight, touch down and rest in hotel till dinner. We have been to LA before and we will rent a car to drive to the hotel and later out for dinner.

- 2nd day : farmers market and travelling around LA

- 3rd day : 6 flags magic mountain

From here, is where I need a little advice / information:

- 4th day: we intend to drive from LA to Grand Canyon. I have looked at google maps and the route could take up to 8 hours. As it is winter, I have also read that it is best not to drive so long hours as the sun (if there is even sun... ) sets earlier at 4-5pm.

QN: Where do you suggest that we break up the drive and stay for 1 night?

QN: Even if we travel to Flagstaff, it is 6 hours. Or do you recommend that we travel all the way from LA to Flagstaff and stay for 1 night?

- 5th day: depending on where we stay, we will leave in the morning for Grand Canyon.

QN: I am hoping to stay at the El Tovar Hotel and I was looking at the information on the websites and all the rooms do not have canyon views? is this correct? or do you recommend another hotel that we might enjoy? If i read correctly, none of the hotels have canyon views.. and El Tovar is famous because it is just on the rim itself?

QN: depending on what time we reach the hotel (whichever hotel we decide to stay), and as we will be nearing afternoon, I would like to drive to navajo national monument (this takes 3 hrs from grand canyon) and later to monument valley. That will probably take us till evening and we can come back hotel to have dinner. Is the route feasible? Or do you suggest we rest and drive nearby to take in the landscape and scenery for the 1st day?

- 6th day: set off early to see the south rim (i know the north rim is closed in winter) and drive to horseshoe bend & antelope canyon too. Is this possible in 1 day? Or do you suggest we stay 2 days in grand canyon - i can extend the plan at this stage too, since one of our main highlights of trip is to see the grand canyon.

7th day/ 8th day : I am planning to go to Durango and stay for a day but it seems pretty out of the way to drive there for a ski resort when we don't go. We have been to Whistler and really like it there for a 1 day stay. I was planning to drive to Durango and stay for 1 night after the National Monument & monument valley. (So for the 1st day in grand canyon, we will drive around depending on what time we reach the hotel instead of going out to national monument) Or do you suggest we stay around the grand canyon and explore there instead of having a day at Durango when we don't ski?

9th day: Return car at Flagstaff and fly into Austin. We would like to drive to Austin from Grand Canyon but the drive would take 16 hours and we can save time by flying. We will reach Austin and check in to hotel and explore the town.

10 &11th day: Explore Austin (we will rent a car, is this necessary in Austin? I have read that we can drive out to Hill Country?)

We originally wanted to add in New Orleans but we can plan for this another time and have more time at Arizona / Utah area in the early part of the trip.

12th day : Fly from Austin to Savannah. Again we would love to drive but the drive is 16 hours as well. So we will return the car (if we are renting) and fly into Savannah. Check into hotel and explore Savannah. We will rent a car.

13/14th day: Explore Savannah.

15th day: We will drive 2 hours from Savannah to Charleston. Spend day there.

16th day: Enjoy Charleston.

17th day: Fly from Charleston to NYC. We will cab it to hotel and spend about 4-5 days in nyc before flying home.

I know winter is not the best ideal time to do this trip but my husband can only leave town then for a month's holiday. Does our initial plan for now (i have yet to figure out hotels / car rental / domestic flights etc) look feasible?

Our main highlights for this trip are Grand Canyon, Horseshoe bend, Antelope Canyon, Austin, Savannah & NYC. Where else would you suggest that we fit in, for the Arizona section?

We like scenery, we enjoy good food and we like to drive in the USA. Unfortunately the durations for each town is too far apart to drive if we don't want to waste time staying overnight in cities for 1 night only each. So our road trip would have to be in Arizona & Savannah / Charleston areas.

Thank you so much for help

Michelle

Sedona, AZ
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1. Re: First time to Arizona & Grand Canyon, need advice on route.

None of the rooms at the GCNP have canyon views, by design. You will view the canyon from outdoors, along the rim. Add a few days at Sedona along with the GCNP. It makes a better base than Flagstaff, especially weather wise.

Ann Arbor, Michigan
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2. Re: First time to Arizona & Grand Canyon, need advice on route.

Wow, lots of information and a big itinerary to tackle... I'm going to leave the bulk of your planned itinerary for others who can give you much better advice than I can. Let's just look at the Grand Canyon portion, which looks like day 5 through 8.

Your current itinerary for these 4 days/3 nights includes the GC, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley and Durango. Not possible. HS Bend, Antelope Canyon and Monument Valley aren't daytrips from the South Rim. Monument Valley is a destination in itself and you'll want to spend a night there to actually see it. Start with "Where To Stay and What To Do at Monument Valley" under the "Top Questions" on the MV forum:

tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g57072-i3667-Monum…

To see Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon, you should consider adding a night in Page.

tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g60834-i239-Page_A…

Spend your time at the South Rim exploring the Grand Canyon. I would spend two nights in one of the lodges in the Park. Don't worry about the views from your room; you really need to be outside to see into the Canyon. The lodges close to the rim have the advantage of being just steps from the views; these are El Tovar, Bright Angel, Kachina and Thunderbird. Book directly with Xanterra at www.grandcanyonlodges.com.

Durango is over 300 miles away. What is it that you want to see there? If it's mountains, there are plenty much closer. There's even a ski slope near Flagstaff.

Edited: 17 September 2013, 22:07
Chicago
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for Pompano Beach
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3. Re: First time to Arizona & Grand Canyon, need advice on route.

I would also skip Durango and stay in northern Arizona. It will be easy to enjoy a week in N. Arizona. There are plenty of mountain views to experience without driving to and from Durango, unless you choose to fly out of Durango without a return drive to Flagstaff. The remainder of your trip should be addressed in other forums.

Singapore
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4. Re: First time to Arizona & Grand Canyon, need advice on route.

hi Redrox,

thank you for your advice - i have looked at Sedona, it takes 7 hrs to reach it from Los Angeles. This seems like a town that we can 'break up' our trip to Grand Canyon and stay here instead of at Flagstaff. I have looked briefly at Sedona on the web and it looks interesting. Lots of natural beauty and we love that. Coming from Singapore, we love it when we see lots of natural scenery and outdoors. Thank you so much. I will plan it to break up the drive from LA to GNCP at Sedona.

I am looking at Google maps, do you suggest we go by highway 10 or 40? 40 seems longer though. Any stop point along the way (which town) do you suggest we can stop for lunch from LA to Sedona? And any restaurant there.

Anything in particular we should look out for/ stop along the way to take photos ?

Thank you.

Phoenix, Arizona
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5. Re: First time to Arizona & Grand Canyon, need advice on route.

If you take I-40 from LA, you might as well just go straight to the GC. (You really aren't saving time or breaking up the drive by going to Sedona, but it's definitely a great place to add to your list.)

To go from LA to Sedona, take I-10 towards Phoenix. Then on the west side of Phoenix, take the Loop 101 freeway north, which curves around towards the east, and connects you to I-17. Head north on I-17 to Hwy 179, which will take you into Sedona.

At the GC, it doesn't matter where you stay, but do get a room inside the park. Book your room as soon as possible; it may already be sold out, but you might get lucky with a cancellation.

Also, do post this thread in the Road Trips forum.

Edited: 18 September 2013, 19:12
Singapore
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6. Re: First time to Arizona & Grand Canyon, need advice on route.

Hello Detigerfan,

Thank you for your advice - i will read up more on monument valley and decide if we wanna stay over a night there as well.

I am actually more keen on horseshoe bend and antelope canyon - do you think there are any issues driving up there in December? i will also look into spending a night at Page then.

Yes thank you i think we shall skip Durango this time - too far and honestly not much for us to do since we dont ski.

I am wondering if we shd spend the nights at El Tovar - the rooms look very dated and I have not compared prices but I dont think they come cheap. But lets see..

Thank you so much.

Phoenix, Arizona
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7. Re: First time to Arizona & Grand Canyon, need advice on route.

I missed that you're intending to fly out of Flagstaff. Those flights out of Flag usually have a connection in Phoenix, anyway, and are often more expensive as a result. Another option would be to simply drive straight from LA to the Grand Canyon, then do Page, then Monument Valley, then head down to Sedona, and from there, drive to Phoenix for your flight to Austin. It's an easy, and very pretty, drive from Sedona to Phoenix. If you do that route, make sure you come INTO Sedona from the north, via Hwy 89A, which is a gorgeous drive through Oak Creek Canyon.

Singapore
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8. Re: First time to Arizona & Grand Canyon, need advice on route.

HI CT Design,

Thank you! I got so fixated on writing down my route looking at my excel spreadsheet that i forgot i am on the grand canyon forum! Thank you, i will ask other questions along the way at other forums.

Yes not going to durango anymore. When we go on another road trip next time, can probably add it onto Montana and Wyoming which we love to go another time too!

Thank you.

Singapore
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9. Re: First time to Arizona & Grand Canyon, need advice on route.

HI Hummingbird3721, thank you!

We really need to break up 9 hours of driving somewhere - the furthest we have driven is in NZ for 9 hours too and it was really strenous on my husband.. he says he can do it again but then again he was 10 years younger on that trip... :)

i am concerned about safety and also in winter, it gets dark fast. I would like to break up the route somewhere.

i have checked on el tovar website for the days that we possibly want and there are still rooms. fingers crossed... you mean in winter it is also going to be full?

I think we might skip Monument Valley as we dont have so much time then for the other states.. so it might be LA - Sedona - Grand Canyon - Page - phoenix.. but the drive from page to Phoenix takes 4 hours plus. Then we would have to stay a night just to return the car to fly to austin..

would it be possible to fly out of page?

is it worth a trip to santa fe too, on this trip?

thank you!

Phoenix, Arizona
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10. Re: First time to Arizona & Grand Canyon, need advice on route.

I don't recommend flying out of Page. There are no commercial flights as far as I know; there may be a charter service, but those tend to be expensive. It's at least 7 hours from LA to Sedona, and 8+ hours (depending on traffic and your actual starting point) from LA to the Grand Canyon. If you really want to break up the drive times, then perhaps go from LA to Kingman and stay overnight, then go to the Grand Canyon, then Page, then Sedona. That way, you never have a drive that's too long. From Sedona, you can easily drive to the Phoenix airport for your flight, without having to stay overnight in Phoenix.

As for Santa Fe, it's a fantastic town, but you don't have time for it on this trip.