I'm likely travelling to Arizona in September with my H and kids for his work. We have family in Scottsdale and will be staying at a resort near them and we'd like to take a road trip to Sedona and the Grand Canyon before the conference. I'm thinking we'll AirBNB if possible, I'd love to stay right in the park at the canyon but everything is pretty much booked up already so I don't think it will happen. We'll be renting a van or SUV, are used to road tripping and plan to spend most of our time in nature as opposed to cities and zoos. We prefer local restaurants and places to see over super touristy stuff.
Soooo, plan my trip. What should I see/skip?
AmyG You are the only one I can think of who lives around here.
regal - I've been to the Grand Canyon on a family vacation - we checked it out one afternoon then went back for sunrise the following morning. If you can handle the really early morning, I thought seeing the sunrise at the Canyon was awesome.
regal if you end up staying in Flagstaff I would recommend either Beaver Street Brewery or Lumberyard l. Bun Huggers is more of a bar atmosphere.
the bun huggers lounge is the bar attached to the restaurant. Bun huggers restaurant is just pretty good burgers, nothing fantastic but better than mcdonald's for sure. Never got the bar atmosphere vibe from the restaurant part, probably due to the sheer number of kids and teens there. lol.
I think there are way better restaurants in Flagstaff. Obviously it's a personal preference. The food is good, but greasy and more like bar food.
regal, So you stay in Scottsdale and when ready to head north you get to I-17 north. on way up there, stop just north of phoenix at rock springs café for pie. lol
when you get to Camp Verde, stop at Montezuma's castle for indian ruins. And/or Montezuma's well, you can get closer to actual ruins there, but they aren't built into a wall like at Montezuma's castle. montezuma's well has a little trail that leads down to the river which is cool. see that Arizona isn't just desert, there's water and rivers.
If you can't find lodging at the grand canyon, consider staying in Flagstaff or Williams. Some people LOVE to stay in Williams and take the train to the canyon for the day. On the way back the train get "robbed" by men on horseback. kids love that(or hate it lol). Flagstaff is where Northern AZ university is, there is every type of hotel there, nothing really super impressive I can recommend for hotels there but there may be some cabin type arbnbs. You can have a good hamburger at Bun Huggers. I don't think the ski lift will still be open to go up to the top of the San Francisco peaks, it runs during the summer just for funs. It's a great view. Flagstaff you'll see all the pine trees and realize even more that az has a lot of different climates.
Usually you can find a room at the cheaper lodging right in the canyon, not the fancy hotel, it fills up completely. In the canyon there is a grocery store and you can get sandwich stuff there to keep your expenses down if you stay over night in the canyon.
At the canyon, you can "hike" along the rim (the rim trail) but to get perspective, if you have time go down say the bright angel trail for 10-15 minutes. It gives a better idea of how immense the canyon actually is if you get down below the rim just a little bit. For the kids they have a Junior Ranger program which the kids love if you can get there in time.
Coming back to Scottsdale/Phoenix area, you'll end up back on I17 at Flagstaff. Although a more scenic route if you can handle turns and twists in roads along a canyon is to go from Flagstaff to Sedona on 89A. You'll see the red rocks. Stop in Sedona for ice cream at the Black Cow Café that my brother owns. there are some short day hikes you can do around Sedona, but depends on age of kids and how much time.
You can then go back to I-17 or head further down 89A to Cottonwood[where I grew up, wave to my mom], hitting Tuzigoot Indian Ruins and then you can go up to Jerome(ghost town) over Mingus Mtn to Prescott and then around to cordes junction back to i17
what were you asking again? :snicker:
I'm late to this but amyg has a lot of great info! I was born and raised in Cottonwood as well. Places I recommend are
La Fonda Mexican Food in Camp Verde, AZ (get the tacos) - there is also one in Flagstaff but I cannot confirm if it is as good as the CV one.
Any restaurant in old town Cottonwood.
Javelina Cantina in Sedona.
Wildflower Bread Company in Sedona.
Jerona in Cottonwood.
I also second Red Rock Cafe, their cinnamon rolls are heavenly.
I'm sure there is more I'm missing. I have no restaurant advice for Flagstaff or the Grand Canyon, but if you go to Williams than I highly recommend Bearizona. It's an amazing experience!