by Lynn Kim Do

7 Days Roadtrip From Arizona

I can honestly say that Arizona and Utah took me by complete surprise. I had an idea of what it would look like through images and Instagram and Pinterest...but being there, seeing it with my own eyes, experiencing it, touching it was a completely different thing. Nothing could have prepared me for what Arizona and Utah had in store for me. To be completely frank, I don't think my body and eyes DID handle it very well. The beauty was too much to take in. I'm so grateful to be able to see a part of my country that I wouldn't otherwise see living in the East Coast. Like, America had all of this? And to think that mother nature did all of this. ALL. OF. THIS. Just wow. I think it's easy to be wrapped up in your own little town or few block Brooklyn radius. But this is why I've always loved to travel. Had to travel. I love the surprise of meeting a new place for the first time. Of falling in love with it. With how generous a place can be to you, your soul, and your body. So, do yourself a favor and go to Arizona and Utah. Do your spirit a favor and just go. Do your body a favor and just go. JUST GO.

I've crafted a thorough travel guide for a road trip from Phoenix, Arizona through Scottsdale, Page, and Sedona, Arizona, along with Zion, Utah. You'll drive through Grand Canyon and even Bryce National Park. My best friend and I (2 people) did this trip within 7 days. We squeezed in A LOT. So keep in mind that you can certainly extend this trip longer which I recommend or if you're crazy like us, then GO FOR IT!

Tips & Addit. Thoughts:
- This itinerary is only possible with a car rental which we totally recommend. (~$170 total for a car we booked a week prior to arriving. You can save more by renting/booking earlier).
- For this 7 day trip, we booked a total of 4 airbnbs/stays.
- Arizona and Utah isn’t very pricey, especially by NYC standards. Our flight was ~$250 roundtrip nonstop via Delta. Airbnbs were very affordable and we spent $350 each for 7 days worth of stays.
 - Other expenses like food varied because we would go from cheap eats to fine dining but the options are all there for any budget.
- Be prepared for really hot days and very cold evenings in April/May. So pack accordingly. I wish I brought more hoodies on this trip. We weren’t met with much rain. The weather was honestly perfect.
- Also pack SPF, but you can leave the bug spray at home.
- Take some time to visit a grocery store and buy a case of water and LOTS of road snacks. You’ll thank me later.
- National parks like Zion, Bryce, and Canyon require a fee to drive in (~$25) so be prepared. I believe they take credit card and cash.
- Arizona and Utah have a time difference. They’re in different time zones so keep this in mind while traveling.
- Read on below for time sensitive bookings and reservations which would be written under the activity/restaurant.

Day 1 + 2 | Phoenix + Scottsdale, Arizona

Phoenix and Scottsdale are super close to each other. About 15 minutes from one other so many things can be condensed in a day or so. Our flight landed in Phoenix during the evening on Day 1 so we spent the night checking into our airbnb and we had a late dinner at Gallo Blanco. We topped our night off with some fun cocktails at Bitter & Twisted. On the second day, we explored Phoenix and Scottsdale extensively. We even rented Bird scooters and rode it around Old Scottsdale and to “bar hop”. Check out my recommendations below.

Things To Do:

Camelback Mountain: Hike this early in the morning to a void crowds and the HOT sun. This is a 3-4 mile hike so expect to spend at least 4 hours. The trail is not the easiest hike, I’ve heard. We decided to skip this to fit in more city and art exploration but if we had two full days, then we would’ve done this.

Desert Botanical: I am obsessed with cacti so this was heaven sent for me. It does come with a pricey entrance fee (~$25). But honestly, kinda worth it. You’ll also be in “Papago Park” already so drive and explore the area around the botanical garden.

Papago Park: It has been designated as a Phoenix Point of Pride. It includes Hunt's Tomb, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The famous Hole in the Rock is also here.

Phoenix Art Museum: Literally one of my favorite museum. I was astonished on how many amazing exhibits and contemporary collections the Phoenix Art museum has. From Turrell to the Infinity Room, I was blown away.

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art: This is in Old Town, Scottsdale. I really love the Turrell Skyspace there. They have very unique and rotating exhibits here all the time. It’s definitely worth a visit.

Explore Old Town, Scottsdale: This is where we rented Bird scooters and rode around. We ate, drank, and shopped around the cute area. Get lost here!

Taliesin West: Taliesin was on our list but, unfortunately, we didn’t have time to fit it in. It’s a beautiful structure created by architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. It is, honestly, the perfect backdrop for some dope photos.

Places to Eat & Drink:

Welcome Diner: A classic Phoenix staple for breakfast or really late night food.

The Henry: Our favorite brunch spot, by far. Super chic spot!

New Wave Market: I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS BREAKFAST SPOT. More casual than Henry’s and yet super satisfying. They have amazing bagel sandwich options and oh my god, THEIR ICE CREAM!

Gallo Blanco: Our favorite taco spot. Really great date spot, too. Get the guac and the Al Pastor tacos!

Farm & Craft: Really awesome health-conscious lunch option. If you’re vegan or have any dietary restrictions, this place is very accommodating. They also have delicious “juice” alcoholic cocktails that slightly make you feel better about all your life choices.

The Churchill: A food/shop square that has games and large sharing tables. This spot is very casual and plenty of options for anything you’re craving at the moment. Pobrecito, a cocktail bar, is super fun here too.

Bitter & Twisted: The most creative and extensive list of cocktails I’ve seen. Definitely stop in here and then there are other bars nearby that you can walk, too. Situated in downtown Phoenix.

Day 3 + 4 | Page, Arizona 

It will take roughly 4.5 hours to drive to Page. Stock up your car and be prepared for the ride! Driving in Arizona is nothing like driving in New Jersey or Los Angeles. It is the most scenic drives I’ve ever done. So take it all in. Once you arrive in Page, AZ…I have to be very honest: Page, AZ is not cute. There’s pretty much ZERO things to do in Page except two things. But these TWO things ARE very much worth the drive and the stop in this tow . Those two things are Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon. Also, it’s the perfect opportunity to do some glamping under the stars. In regards to food, well, there aren’t too many cute options either. And coffee? Well, just go to the Starbucks in town.

Things To Do:

Antelope Canyon: Did you know that Antelope Canyon is privately owned? A whole family runs the 5 establishments. It’s one of the best experiences I’ve had and a MUST DO. There are two ways you can experience Antelope Canyon — the upper level tour or the lower level. We did the lower level. I think they’re both worth doing and it depends on what you want to see. The upper level will allow you to see those famous sun pockets but the tour is shorter. The lower level is longer and the newest addition to the tour options. We really enjoyed it. I suggest booking this a month in advance! We booked with Ken's Tour.

Horseshoe Bend: This is a very easy hike and yet has the most beautiful view. They just opened the parking lot directly next to it so you no longer need to shuttle to this view. It’s $10 to park at the parking lot.

Glamping: We wanted the opportunity to do something fun and interesting with at least one of our “stays” on this trip. When I found this “glamping” opportunity, I couldn’t resist. It was definitely a moment to remember. Pack sweaters and hoodies because in the evening, it was definitely VERY cold. This is an Airbnb Eco-Friendly Glamp.

Page’s Viewpoints: If you have time to kill or want to watch a memorable sunset/sunrise. Drive around Page and look for overlooks and viewpoints. We thoroughly enjoyed the sunset at Wahweap Overlook.

Day 5 | Zion National Park, Utah
It takes about 2 hours to drive to Zion National Park or the area around there. I suggest leaving on the 4th day in the evening to check into your airbnb or hotel near Zion. This way you can wake up early and head to Zion National Park to spend the day there or just to do the Angel’s Landing hike which is what we did.

What To Do:

Angel’s Landing Hike: One of the most memorable, rewarding, insane, outrageous, etc. thing I’ve ever done. This hike is labeled “strenuous” and IT SURE IS. If you’re extremely afraid of hikes, then this is not for you. I’m slightly scared of heights and I really had to give myself pep talks all the way to the top. But honestly, do yourself a favor and just do it. Start early, like 6AM early, so that you can avoid the crowd. Crowds make it extremely difficult to hike since it’s truly a one way kinda hike.

Other Hikes in Zion: Honestly, we wished we could’ve spent more time at this national park. It’s stunning and there were so many other hikes we wanted to try but we simply didn’t have the time.

Day 6 | Road trip to Sedona, Arizona.

This will be the longest drive of the entire trip — 6 hours. We did it on the same day as Angel’s Landing Hike and were totally fine but I certainly suggest dedicating this road trip to a full day thing. Here’s what you can do (but we didn’t get to do):

Things to Do:

Bryce National Park

Grand Canyon

Day 7 | Sedona, Arizona

On the 6th day, you would have already checked into Sedona and spent the evening there. Sedona is a magical place. This views 360 degrees around you are unreal and it certainly has a crunchy vibe here if you know what I mean. All of these things can easily be done in one day or within two days if you wanted to relax more. There are many hikes in Sedona that you can do but I only listed the ones I did below. It’s also hard to find any hike entertaining after doing Angel’s Landing. If your return flight is in Phoenix, be prepared to drive 1.5-2 hours back to Phoenix from Sedona.

Things To Do:

Devil’s Bridge Trail: A easy to medium level hike. One of my favorite hikes in Sedona.

Chapel of the Holy Cross: Really stunning Cathedral that’s literally built into the rocks of Sedona.

Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park: This park really left an impression on me. It’s very peaceful and you can feel the energy of spiritual “wokeness” emitting from the grounds. I would highly suggest stopping by this park.

Sunset at Airport Mesa: It’s a beautiful viewpoint to catch the sunset.

Walk Around Sedona Shops: There are many cute shops in Sedona’s main street area. They sell crystals, rocks, jerky from all kinds of animals, and other fun souvenirs.

Places To Eat:

Creekside Coffee: One of our favorite spots for coffee and simple breakfast with the BEST VIEW. We went here two days straight.

Mariposa: Out favorite dinner splurges all trip. The view surrounding this restaurant is insane and the food is divine. Reservations a few weeks in advance is a MUST.

Elote Cafe: One of the best Mexican restaurants in town.

Dahl & Di Luca Ristorante: Italian dishes made from the Chef’s childhood.

Tamaliza Cafe: Family owned Mexican counter with the most popular tamales.

Sedonuts: If you’re having intense donuts cravings, this place is very popular.

And above all, be present. Take in everything. Breathe in the air, touch the soil and rocks, talk to the people. Eat glutinously. Climb like it's the only way to survive. Do it all.

Here is a free downloadable google doc - link here - so you can save it, print it, share it!