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What do you think of our final Itinerary ? Comments please!!

west sussex uk
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What do you think of our final Itinerary ? Comments please!!

Hi all.

Well it's just over a year (early July 09) before we (2 adults and 1 child aged 15) will be going on our trip, and as soon as the dates we require for the National Park Lodges are available we are going to start booking things up.

However, before we do, I'd like to show you our planned itinerary, so you can all make comments and suggestions please.

At some of the places we plan to stay we have ideas on Hotels which we might go for, but if you have any recomendations of somewhere you have stayed at that was great please let us know. As far as our budget goes for Hotel rooms, with the US Dollar at nearly two to the UK Pound we can go up to USD 150- 175 per night as long as the room sleeps 3 people. We don't want to have 2 rooms.

As well as Hotel recomendations, if you think of something we should do/see along our route please let us know! (we like the outdoors and are all pretty fit.)

OK, here goes:

Day 1:

Arrive at PHOENIX - AZ from the UK - early evening - pick up car (Recomendations for Car hire please)

Day 2:

At leisure in Phoenix/Scottsdale - we'll want a full day to rest after the flight. Recomendations for good place to unwind for 2 nights please.

Day 3:

Leave Phoenix/Scottsdale for SEDONA.

2 nights in Sedona. (Again Recomendations please - somewhere we can enjoy the Red Rock Views, pref with a pool.)

Day 5:

Leave Sedona for GC South Rim - stay 2 nights at a Lodge in the Park. (But which one!)

(Do you buy one pass that allows unlimited entry to the NPs?)

Day 7

Leave GD and drive to PAGE - via GC East Rim.

2 nights here, for Lake Powell. (Recomendations please)

Day 9

Leave Page, Drive to Monument Valley, stay one night at GOULDINGS Lodge.

DAy 10

Leave MV, and drive to MESA VARDE NP, 1 night here (Far View Lodge.)

Day 11

Leave MVNP and drive to MOAB.

3 nights in MOAB (We'd like to do White water rafting,- any recomendations of good company - we'd like as 'wild' as possible - not a flat river cruise!)plus Canyonlands Arches NP etc...

Again recomendations pleasse for a place to stay in Moab.

Day 14

Leave Moab, drive to TORREY, via Hanksville.

Stay 1 night in TORREY, ideas?

Day 15

Leave Torrey for Bryce Canyon, via Scenic Byway 12.

2 nights in Bryce Canyon. (How many options are there here of places to stay IN the Park please?)

Day 17

Leave Bryce Canyon, to ZION Canyon - 1 night here. Again would preferto stay IN the Park.

Day 18

Leave ZC for Las Vegas.

3 nights in Vegas.

Spoilt for choice here as to where to stay!! Somewhere on the strip I guess - has anyone got anywhere thatthey would NOT recomended!!

Day 21

Leave LV

Here we are undecided as to what to do - we are flying back out of Phoenix on the afternoon of Day 23, so we have two more nights - should we drive straight through to Phoenix and chill out here for 2 nights OR stop over somewhere en route? Lake Mead? Other thoughts / suggestions please!

Day 23 (pm) Fly home.

Anyway, please feel free to post your comments on the above - have we got too much driving involved? will we have time to enjoy everything?

Many thanks for all your help!!!

west sussex uk
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1. Re: What do you think of our final Itinerary ? Comments please!!

Sorry that the postseems ratherspaced out!Anyway look forward to your comments. THanks

Winston Salem...
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2. Re: What do you think of our final Itinerary ? Comments please!!

My main comment has to do with Bryce and Zion. There is only one lodging option within each park... the Bryce Canyon Lodge (motel-type rooms and cabins) and the Zion Lodge. Make your reservations for Bryce as soon as their 2009 books open because it is THE place to stay, as far as I am concerned, and it books up very quickly. If you check, and they are booked for your days, keep calling back. Just this afternoon I "caught" a cabin that had just popped back into the reservation system. Most people will tell you to stay two nights in Zion and one in Bryce. Zion is much larger and takes longer to explore. I prefer Bryce myself, but I'm probably in the minority. In Moab, I like Red Cliffs Lodge. Best Torrey lodging these days seems to be Austin's Chuckwagon. Looks like you'll have a wonderful trip.

Winston Salem...
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3. Re: What do you think of our final Itinerary ? Comments please!!

A few more comments. Yes, you can buy a National Park Pass for $80 USD that is good for all the parks. It is worth the money, particularly with all the places you're visiting. Purchase at the entrance to the first park you visit.

On your Day 14 from Moab to Torrey, you may want to take the detour to Goblin Valley State Park. Also, as you drive through Capitol Reef National Park, check out the orchards near the Visitor Center. You can pick anything that is ripe and eat it for free while you are there (a minimal charge to take fruit with you). In July that might be apricots or cherries. Also drive the scenic park road and take a short hike.

One of the best hikes you will find on Scenic Byway 12 is near Escalante to Calf Creek Falls. The pool at the base of the falls is a great place to cool off in the summer heat or to have a picnic.

If you're into hiking and would like to get away from the crowds at Bryce, consider taking the Fairyland Canyon loop, which is about 7-8 miles. Relatively few people take this trail, which is before the main amphitheatre area and visitor center. The last time I was there, I ran into about 5 people in 3 hours.

I'm happy to help if you have other specific questions about southern Utah travel. Cathy

Neenah, Wisconsin
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4. Re: What do you think of our final Itinerary ? Comments please!!

zion lodge is the only place in the park. you do NOT need to stay in the park. check in springdale (or rockville) for much more charming places right outside the park. so easy to get around with the zion shuttles from town, or you can just walk.

that is a lot of moving around. it's HOT. with 2 drivers, you can make the drive to sedona the day you arrive. it's an easy 2 hours, and much more pleasant to unwind there than phoenix, not to mention cooler. nothing really to do or see in phoenix in summer that you wont get in the other places.

rather than finding someplace else to go with those 2 nites, do yourselves a favor, and add those nites to one or 2 places you already plan to go.

i would definitely stay more than one nite in Zion. It's a large, diverse park. you dont want all the parks to blur together. give yourselves time for ranger talks and hikes in the NP's. they make it so much more meaningful.

i also think 3 nites in vegas is too much. 2 at the most. this gives you time to wander the strip and see what's neat about the casinos. you cant go into the casinos with your teen. there is a great water park there though.

i think it's always good in such a long trip to have a relaxed few days toward the end to unwind.

enjoy!

Uden, The...
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5. Re: What do you think of our final Itinerary ? Comments please!!

Hi Billy

Excellent advices already, also on the Az forum. As this will be a long post I'll split it in parts.

I will start with the last comment of Nancy's. Very good actually. Spend last days of your vacation relaxing!! Because Phoenix will be an oven, prices drop dramatically in summer so that's what I would do. Spend last days in Scottsdale at a resort before your flight home.

Cathy mentioned the National Parks Pass. It's called America the Beautiful pass, costs $ 80,-- and saves you money. Valid for a year for car and passengers in NP's and NM's and more places. Buy the pass at your first NP, in your case at the entrance of GCNP.

For carrental. Try to make your reservation at a UK travelagency. There are a lot of things to consider like insurances. It's also often cheaper to hire a car from Europe. The car will be ready in Phoenix so no discussions there. If you want to hire a 4x4 (not necessary) pay attention that they will give you one and not a 2x2 Suv. Don't hire a too small car, your luggage won't fit in the boot (trunk?). Best is a full size, but a midsize will do. A SUV has the advantage of sitting higher which is a plus. Less mpg but USA fuelprices are a bargain to us.Always check the car on dents before leaving the center.

We always hire a car by the major cies like Hertz, Alamo, Avis etc. Maybe a little more expensive but we always had a new car. Last year we drove 8200 miles with a brand new Hertz car. GMC Envoy. A suv with an On-Star system. Very handy because in case of an emergency just push one button and you'll have contact. Works everywhere. Your cell phone is not working at many places in the West. For a gps system. You don't need it but it comes in handy in cities. Will bring extra costs though and we never missed it although we had it sometimes because it was standard in luxury cars.

For hotels. 1000s of hotel. Maybe check hotels and reviews on the TA side. For staying in NP's. Personal preference. We never stay inside Yellowstone or Yosemite but always inside GCNP and Death Valley.

So for GCNP: Yes, stay inside. Bryce: Yes, best lodge inside. Ruby's Inn (and more places) just outside but make a reservation inside. Zion: Springdale will be fine. Arches and Canyonland: No inside lodging. Capitol Reef: No inside lodging.

Things to do first day. Buy a cooler (not the cheap ones, you'll get a better one around $ 15,-- to $ 20,--) and stock up a bit like groceries. Sunscreen and hats are "life"savers. For clothes. You can buy it all in the USA and it's a lot cheaper than in Europe with the dollar so low. So travel light and don't drag tons of shirts, shorts, shoes etc.

Buy a good map. Rand McNally always is our overall bible and AAA maps are excellent. You can buy maps at all pumpstations.

....to be continued

Uden, The...
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6. Re: What do you think of our final Itinerary ? Comments please!!

Back again.

It's a great route you are going to drive (no surprise-lol-). Enough time to enjoy and the trip of your life! Before I forget, I don't know an under 18 disco in Valkenburg........Nice town though.

Day 1: Arriving Phoenix. Collect luggage (easy), step outside into the furnace. The shuttle bus to the carrentalcenter (all companies) is right in front of you. Probably waiting time at the center.

Note: It will be cheaper to p/u a rental car in town instead at the a/p but not easier.

Now for your first nights stay. I would recommend Embassy Suites Phoenix North. Very easy to find (follow I17 and the Flagstaff sign) and take exit 211. No hw noices. Great pool and a free delicious hot breakfast next morning. The suites are spacious and well prices (below $ 150,--). You easily can spend another day here but that's not what I would do.

Day 2: You'll be awake early and to us always best to kill jetlag is drive next day. Not for too long and the drive to Sedona will be perfect for that. Only 2 hours but take some more time. Drive I17 north and visit Montezuma Castle for a short period before taking 179 to Sedona. You'll find stores along this route and maybe stock up here or stock up in Sedona. Plenty hotels in Sedona at all prices. We liked Sky Ranch Lodge up Airport Road and a lovely location but some distance from Uptown (restaurants, shopping). In Uptown we stayed at the Matterhorn Lodge. Not too expensive either. Before entering Sedona visit Chapel of the Holy cross off 179.

Day 3: All day Sedona. You can stay much longer if you like. Many things to do. See RedRox' post.

If you stay 2 nights you've ained a day because you didn't stay one day in Phx before but I will follow your schedule.

Day 5: 6 Lodges inside GCNP. On your way (via Flagstaff and Williams) stop at Oak Creek Canyon on 89A before Flagstaff. Maybe have a cup of coffee in Flag along R66 or in Williams. Sedona-GCNP is 2.5 hours. Spend rest of the day at the rim.

6 Lodges inside GCNP. El Tovar, Kachina, Thunderbird and Bright Angel right at the rim. Maswik and Yavapai on a short distance. Make your reservation a year in advance. El Tovar is most expensive but it's the classic lodge. Take your pick. Although it looks like a schoolbuilding we liked Kachina but ask for a room with a view. No elevators in GC villagehotels, maybe pay attention to that. Also no pools but who needs them here?

Day 7: Leave GC by it's eastentrance. Last (must) stop in Desert View. Have a drink, food and some shopping at the Cameron Trading Post in Cameron and drive to Page. Before Page you can make a sidetrip on us89A to Lees Ferry, Navajo Bridges and Marble Canyon. Not too long detour, very scenic and condorspotting.

Day 8: Page. Many hotels. Quality Inn is well priced and has best views form the balconies (ask for room with a view). Best Western Arizona Inn also has a great location but no balconies. Also good for lodging is Days Inn, HI and many others. Best is Courtyard by Marriott but also most expensive. A visit to Antelope Canyon is a must, more visits to Lake Powell,GLen Canyon Dam and Horseshoebend overlook.

Day 9: To Monument Valley. Maybe visit Navajo NM en route.Goulding's Lodge. Also a new lodge will be opened then, The View Hotel. Don't think it's a bargain.

You'll lose one hour between Page and MV because Arizona does not observe daylight saving time.

....to be continued

Uden, The...
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7. Re: What do you think of our final Itinerary ? Comments please!!

.........

Day 10: Leave Goulding's Lodge and drive up to Mexican Hat. At milemarker 13 you'll have a great photo opportunity on the MV area. Stop by "The Hat" just east of Mexican Hat. North of it is the road to Moki Dugway, Gooseneck SP and other places (ut261) As you will have limited time in Mesa Verde I suggest to continue to Bluff and Cortez only making a short side trip to 4 State Corners. Yes, a tourist trap, but being so close......

Day 11: The drive to Moab leads along the exit to Canyonlands The Needles. Will take a couple of hours to visit (a bit) but I would recommend to do it. For Moab. My suggestion is to hire a townhouse or apartment for your 3 nights. After all those hotels we always like to be on our own for a while, make our one food. Maybe try www.vrbo.com or check the Moab rentalsites. A good base for exploring the NP's, rafting, biking etc. I can give you a long list of raftingfirms but I suggest to order a good guidebook. For the area you are visiting I suggest Lonely Planet's South West USA. It's not too detailed but gives adequate info, and it covers the states you are visiting. You can order it by the website. Also many other good guidebooks so maybe google for them.

Day 14: Already mentioned. Make a sidetrip to Goblin Valley SP. In Hanskville short visit to the Rockshop.

The stretch between Hanksville and Capitol reef is a nice one, very scenic and worth a few short stops. But definitely see Capitol Reef NP and take the suggestions already been given.

Day 15/16/17: I agree with my fellow posters. Bit shorter in Bryce, bit longer in Zion. Stay Springdale. Also maybe a short detour to Coral Pink Sanddunes SP near Kanab. Kanab is a fine place and you can see Moqui Cave, Frontier Movie town and Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Take you pick. Maybe stay a day longer in this area instead Las Vegas but it's up to you of course. Another fine place to visit is Pipe Spring NM. Oasis in the desert.

Well now it's Las Vegas and back to Phx. Between Zion and Las Vegas is Valley of Fire SP (exit 75 off I15). Good for a visit. Then continue more or less along Lake Mead (north shore drive) till you hit nv167. You can drive to Las Vegas from there. Will be a nice detour.

After the long trip and the LV stay you may drive in 2 days to Phoenix or make it a 6 hours drive directly via us93 and relax for a coupleof days at one of the resorts.

Well, along post as I said before and many more things to add. If you want to know more details please let us know and we will help you.

Happy planning!

Tet

west sussex uk
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8. Re: What do you think of our final Itinerary ? Comments please!!

Well a big thanks to you all for your comments - VERY helpful, I guess the best thing is to book as soon as possible where we will stay in the NPs, and work round those dates.

Tet, some really great ideas, thanks for taking so much time to put together your posts, I'll get the Lonely Planet guide book you suggest.

I,m sure I'll be back with more questions in due course!! there seems so much to see and do. I'll look into car hire over here, I didn't realise it could be cheaper to organise here.

Re Valkenburg, we took 14 Young People aged 15 there for a football competition, and had a superb time, and we managed to get them all home safe which was the main thing! (We also found a suitable disco too!)

Neenah, Wisconsin
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9. Re: What do you think of our final Itinerary ? Comments please!!

tet14-WOW

what a great bunch of tips! im gonna save it for when we do a longer SW trip.

i second the advice for a stop at montezuma castle on the way to sedona.

Uden, The...
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10. Re: What do you think of our final Itinerary ? Comments please!!

Thanks Billy and Nancy, and so many more places to visit.....