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Hey friends! As promised, I thought I would give you a run down of all our adventures on our Arizona road trip that we took this summer. My husband and I grew up in Arizona, and our two older children were born there, but we haven’t lived there in over 8 years. Arizona still, in a lot of ways, feels like home to us and we still have family there. So we thought it would be fun to take the kids back and show them all the places that were important to my husband and I growing up.
The drive from Dallas to Arizona is about 16 hours. We stayed the night in a itty bitty little town in New Mexico called Lordsburg. I do NOT recommend staying at the Days Inn in Lordsburg. Not only was the hotel room less than clean, there were safety issues like missing outlet covers, only one working lamp in the whole room, and holes in the wall. It was a little creepy and we got out of there as soon as possible in the morning!
Luckily, we had a beautiful resort waiting for us when we arrived in the Phoenix area. We stayed at the Arizona Grand Resort which is situated in the base of South Mountain. We stayed there rather than some of the gorgeous resorts all around the Scottsdale area because this is close to where we grew up and our family and friends live near the resort.
The Phoenix Area
The Arizona Grand Resort is quite affordable and the room accommodations worked really well for our family of 5. We stayed in a suite that had two queen sized beds and a separate living room with a wet bar, fridge, eating and sitting area, and a fold out queen size bed. Our room was very close to the nice water park that is on the property. We enjoyed hanging out at the park when we weren’t visiting with friends and family.
The Best of Arizona Food (in our opinion)
We also enjoyed a lot of Mexican food (our favorite) and other great food while we stayed in the Phoenix area. Some of our favorite restaurants in the Phoenix are include:
5. Rubios (quick casual dining)
Here are the links to some of the outfits I wore on the trip:
While in Phoenix, we also got to tour around Arizona State, where my husband and I graduated college. Not sure if the kids were as excited about this excursion as we were! 😉 We also went to the Lego Land Experience at the Arizona Mills mall. The kids had a great time there.
We next headed up to the high country in Arizona. From Phoenix, it’s about an hour and a half drive to Sedona, AZ and then another half hour north to Flagstaff. On the drive up north, we stopped in Camp Verde and visited Montezuma’s Castle, which is a really amazing well-preserved Native American dwelling built in the side of a mountain. Visiting Montezuma’s Castle takes only about 30-45 minutes depending on how much time you devote to reading all the placards and taking pics. It was a really cool stop on the way up to the Arizona mountains.
When we arrived in Flagstaff, we decided to go to our favorite little 50’s diner that we’ve been coming to for 20 years, Galaxy Diner. Their milk shakes are SO good!
We stayed in Flagstaff at a Residence Inn right in the heart of the downtown area. There was an outdoor art fair going on just across the street from our hotel the weekend we were there, which was really cool. And we loved that we could walk to all the local restaurants. Flagstaff is a really nice college town and the weather in the summer time there is absolutely perfect!
We visited the Grand Canyon on a Saturday afternoon. It is about an hour and a half drive from Flagstaff to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Because it was the weekend before July 4th, it was extremely busy at the canyon. So many tourists (including us)! Yikes! I would recommend not going to the Grand Canyon on a weekend if you can avoid it.
We stopped by the Visitor Center at the south rim of the canyon first. Parking was pretty crazy, but we lucked out on a spot. At this area, there are lots of overlooks and photo ops of the canyon. You can walk a path around the rim where there is no barricade. It was so amazing! The kids were even impressed. I was crazy nervous having the kids so close to the edge however, and was sick to my stomach when I saw people going out onto very small plateaus with sheer drops down just to take pictures!
If you visit the Grand Canyon, I would recommend visiting the area where the Bright Angel Lodge and the El Tovar hotels are located first. That part of the south rim is really cool. There are tons of old buildings to tour including the hotels and tons of historical placards for you to read. There are also several restaurants at the hotels, and the views are amazing. Honestly, if you don’t have a whole day to spend at the Grand Canyon, I would choose this area to visit over the Visitor Center area that they try to filter all traffic through when you get to the park. Also, if you’re into hiking, the Bright Angel Trail starts at this point as well.
After a fun time exploring the Grand Canyon and Flagstaff, we headed back south and spent the next day in Sedona, Arizona among the gorgeous red rock. Sedona has a fun shopping and dining area that you definitely need to visit if you go. We didn’t get a chance to hike through Oak Creek Canyon or do a jeep tour this time, but that’s definitely a highlight of any visit to Sedona.
We spent the last night in Arizona in a little town south of Sedona called Jerome. Jerome is an old mining town built into the side of a mountain and is known for it’s “haunted” hotel, The Jerome Grand hotel. My oldest daughter is totally into the spooky and creepy, so this was right up her alley. My youngest, however, was not into it. We did a little self tour of the Jerome Grand and took some pictures. We also ate dinner at a fun restaurant called Haunted Hamburger. Jerome is a cute, old town with tons of history. There’s lots of interesting facts to read about the town’s history walking around the streets, as well as little stores to window shop. I would definitely recommend visiting Jerome if you ever get a chance to tour around Northern Arizona!
The last stop of our trip as we drove out of Arizona, was Meteor Crater. Meteor Crater is the most well preserved and largest crater created by a meteorite in the world! They have a really interesting museum at the location, as well as a free 30 minute guided tour, and a short movie. The kids were really blown away by how huge the crater was. They have free telescopes that you can look through with objects at the bottom of the crater that help you visualize just how massive the crater is (they said that 9 foot ball fields and two million people could fit into the crater). The whole experience can take 1-2 hours depending on how much you want to read and explore. But if you’re in the area, this experience is something that you shouldn’t miss!
We drove from the Meteor Crater until we got to Albuquerque, New Mexico were we stayed the night at a Hyatt Place hotel. It was not a crazy nice hotel, but much better than the dive we stayed in on the way there! This was a vacation that I think our kids will remember for a long time. Our usual vacations involve either Disney or the beach, so I was glad to be able to give them some experiences they’ve never had before. It was definitely educational as well as fun, and I would highly recommend touring around my home state of Arizona if you ever get the chance!
Summer Fashion Favs
Erin is passionate about decorating on a budget and loves to share tips and ideas! She believes that you don’t have to break your budget to have a stylish home that you love!! Her belief in having affordable, stylish design led her to create the My Texas House line of products.