Take a break and check out this magical, photogenic AF, Arizona vacation

and Joshua
Julie and Joshua looking epic in Arizona

Traveling companion(s): Julie and Joshua
Budget: Midrange ($1000-$5000)

Where did you go?

When we got married three years ago we promised each other we would travel somewhere new every year for as long as we could. Our first year we hiked the Appalachian Trail. Our second year we went to California. And this year we went to beautiful Arizona.

We like to mix up the terrain so we chose Arizona for the sole reason that is was different than our previously visited locations. We are both from the East coast, so neither of us have ever seen desert, let alone cacti that big!

giant-cacti

What did you do?

We landed in Phoenix and stayed there for a day, then we road tripped up through Sedona, Flagstaff, and finally ended in Page (our main destination). We even crossed the bor


der into Utah for a day.

We explored the botanical gardens in Phoenix…

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Walked barefoot at the red rocks of Sedona…

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Saw mountains in flagstaff…

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Visited the rock dwellings in Page…

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Went to the Grand Canyon…

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…where we stayed until dark and watched the sun set while we ate cookies from the famous Jacob Lake.

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>We sat on the sandy beaches of Utah and had a picnic on the rocks…

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Kayaked across Lake Powell into a mini cave where we dipped our toes into an endless abyss of blue water and fish.

We hung our feet over the 1,000 foot edge of horseshoe bend…

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And touched the smooth walls of antelope canyon…

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Where did you stay and eat?

We loved the Rainbow Room restaurant which was a round glass floor to ceiling restaurant that looked over Lake Powell at sunset/

And Big Johns BBQ was pretty cool too. It's an old gas station turned into a restaurant (you eat at picnic tables under the old gas station overhang and listen to live music — of course we hit up desert donuts as well.

Our hotel was in the middle of nowhere… I mean literally we had no phone service! You looked out the window and all you could see was desert and sky as far as your eyes could reach.

What would you have done differently?

Honestly, absolutely nothing… besides buying a lifetime supplies of prickly pair cactus cordials at the Botanical Gardens. We definitely should have gotten more of those.

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What's your best travel advice for other offbeat travelers?

Rent a car! Road trip. Go see everything you can without the restraints of a tour with guidelines. Even if it is a place that takes you hours to get there, go see it. Live as though your eyes will never scan these same skies again. You absolutely must see the Grand Canyon and Horseshoe bend.

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  1. Gorgeous pictures! Looks like a blast. I always think of going to foreign countries first so it's always nice to be reminded that there are amazing places right here in the US (that I might actually be able to afford).

    1 agrees
  2. Beautiful!! Amazing photos. Lake Powell is my favorite place ever. Staying on a houseboat there is an amazing experience too. Highly recommended. Big stars, sleeping on the roof, clean water for swimming, and tons of canyons and caves for exploring on wave runners and on foot.

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  3. Those bare feet are Level 10 commitment to the aesthetic. ­čÖé You're so much braver than me! This shoot is gorgeous and it looks like an awesome experience.

      • And cactus… There is rogue jumping cholla everywhere in the desert waiting to attack bare arms, legs, and feet.

  4. I've been a desert/mountain west dweller my whole life and it makes me so happy to see people discovering and enjoying my heart-home ecosystem for the first time. So cool! And what a wonderful trip!

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  5. although I live in the exceedingly rainy PNW now, I spent some time as a desert nomad in Arizona and southern Utah. I can't say enough good things about that part of the world! Especially in southern Utah, there are a million gorgeous places that aren't in any guidebook – just out in the middle of nowhere, to be discovered by roadtripping down all the back roads.
    Pro tip for Lake Powell: the lake is definitely best experienced from the water! Houseboats are cool, but if you don't have loads of money or time, just renting a cheap little powerboat and spending a day exploring some canyons is a hell of an experience. If you can spend the night camping out on the lake, definitely do it! I've camped a fair bit, but possibly the most memorable place I've ever camped out was on a little beach at the back of a canyon on the Lake.

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