View Full Version : Arizona-Nevada trip - suggestions, advice?
04-28-2012, 04:51 PM
I'm in Northern NV as opposed to the Vegas area, but have been down there (and Grand Canyon). I'm not sure how far of a drive it would be to Death Valley, and if you are just wanting to go there to say you've been there; :eek: Nooooooo. I don't think I'd go anywhere only to be able to say that I've been there. First of all, I'm too lazy for that. :lol:
BTW, my mother's cousin was like that. He's been to a lot of places. Most of the time only for a few minutes and he took hundreds of crappy pictures to prove it. 70% of which were unusable because they were missing a head, etc. But he still ordered double prints and made you go through them when you came for a visit. BTW, he didn't know anything about the vast majority of the places he visited. He just went there because the name was famous. Why, he didn't care.
I would like to see the Death Valley because it sounds like an interesting place, plus the camera seems to love it.
but about 50 miles or so from Vegas is the Valley of Fire state park (http://parks.nv.gov/parks/valley-of-fire-state-park/), which is beautiful, and closeby to that is Lake Mead (http://www.nps.gov/lake/index.htm), which is also beautiful and peaceful if you are a nature/photography person. Also, further on (if you want to drive 2 1/2 to 3 hours) you can get into southern Utah's Zion National Park (http://www.nps.gov/zion/index.htm), which is gorgeous and kind of a smaller version of Yosemite. Having been to all three places (and Hoover Dam, which was already mentioned as well), I would much prefer them to anything in Las Vegas on the strip, although I can't say I've seen either of the Cirque shows (maybe I'll take a short road trip down there some week soon just to visit the shows). Thanks for all the suggestions. It looks like a trip to Death Valley is a long one, too, so maybe we'll go to any of the places you suggested instead.
Also, if you stay at a hotel off the main Vegas strip, you can get much better deals, and still only be 10-15 minutes away from the action. Yeah, that's what I was planning to do. I don't care about being on the strip, lol.
I will be going to AZ in May as well and make a 1-day road trip to the Grand Canyon, but for me, I'll be coming from Pheonix/Scottsdale. Besides Flagstaff and the outlet mall at Anthem, any other interesting stops between Scottsdale and the Grand Canyon? Sedona? :) I think you're going to be driving through there anyway. From what I've read they really recommend seeing Scottsdale and Sedona. If not even for the towns themselves, it's for the spectacular scenery around them.
The Grand Canyon is wonderful, but I'd rather invest my time in southern Utah with all the different just-as-beautiful parks: Bryce Canyons is my absolute favorite, but Zion is gorgeous too. I believe Arches isn't far....I need to go look that up. Hoover Dam is fun, and so is Lake Mead. All of southern Utah is unreal. Wish I could go back soon! My friend wants to see the Grand Canyon. I do too. If we can, we'll try going to any of the places you guys recommended in Utah. I don't have time right now to study the map, but I will later. I wish we had more time, but we only have a few days. And I already said no to going to LA. :lol: LA doesn't have any appeal for me whatsoever. I'd rather go to San Francisco, but the things I'd love to see in California the most are things like the redwood parks :swoon: , Death Valley, any park with a beautiful coastline, etc.
Dancing with the Stars show is in Vegas now. If you can't get Cirque tix, that might be a fun alternative. The only time I'd go to see a DWTS show would be if it had a lot of Tristan in it. :)
04-28-2012, 05:04 PM
Phoenix Airport has the most expensive car rental rates of any airport I've been to outside of NYC. Taxes and fees came to about 70% of the base rental charges last time I rented there -- just don't be surprised. (The car rental pickup is also a pain -- you go outside and take an airport-run huge bus to the central multi-story car rental facility about fifteen minutes from the airport, and when all the people dump out of the bus, the lines at Hertz and Avis can be kind of ugly. They managed to run out of cars the last time we were there, and there was about a two hour wait to get a car -- and you're stuck in the equivalent of a huge parking garage with absolutely nothing around.)
There is a national monument with some very cool Indian cliff dwellings very close to the freeway not far before you reach Sedona. It is easy walking, and a great introduction to cliff-dwellers on a much smaller scale than you'd see at Mesa Verde. We spent about an hour and half there and really enjoyed it. http://www.dreamsedona.com/montezuma-castle.html (There are some stairs to scramble up, but you can see a lot even without doing that if stairs are an issue.)
Do you have a pair of binoculars? I'd consider bringing them.
The Pink Jeep Tour in Sedona is fantastic. http://pinkjeeptours.com/ -- The Broken Arrow Tour will get you (in the jeep) up in areas you would never imagine a jeep could reach outside of commercials. They have some other tours that are much milder (less of the jeep climbing up rocks and jolting) but unless you've got back problems, I'd highly, highly recommend this one.
The canyon road between Sedona and Flagstaff is a gorgeous drive. Flagstaff could be pretty cool (certainly quite cool relative to Vegas) so layers would be your friend.
Have a great trip!
04-28-2012, 05:18 PM
Phoenix Airport has the most expensive car rental rates of any airport I've been to outside of NYC. Taxes and fees came to about 70% of the base rental charges last time I rented there -- just don't be surprised. (The car rental pickup is also a pain -- you go outside and take an airport-run huge bus to the central multi-story car rental facility about fifteen minutes from the airport, and when all the people dump out of the bus, the lines at Hertz and Avis can be kind of ugly. They managed to run out of cars the last time we were there, and there was about a two hour wait to get a car -- and you're stuck in the equivalent of a huge parking garage with absolutely nothing around.) :eek: Thanks for the warning. I was planning to rent a car online and just pick it up there. Online prices seemed pretty normal.
I read that in general it's much cheaper to rent a car anywhere outside the airport, but like I said the online prices didn't seem too bad. Will I have to pay some aiport tax when I get there that isn't mentioned online?
And I'm hoping if I rent it online in advance, they will have a car for me. Oh well, we'll see.
The Pink Jeep Tour in Sedona is fantastic. http://pinkjeeptours.com/ -- The Broken Arrow Tour will get you (in the jeep) up in areas you would never imagine a jeep could reach outside of commercials. They have some other tours that are much milder (less of the jeep climbing up rocks and jolting) but unless you've got back problems, I'd highly, highly recommend this one. I know about this one. I would love to see the sights, but I'm not necessarily crazy about getting jolted around the car. ;) I'll have my camera and I wouldn't want to drop it, eek.
The canyon road between Sedona and Flagstaff is a gorgeous drive. Flagstaff could be pretty cool (certainly quite cool relative to Vegas) so layers would be your friend.
Have a great trip! Thank you! :) Yeah, one reason why I didn't want to fly to Flagstaff (from Phoenix) is the scenery on the way when you're driving. But then again, it might be worth seeing it from the air, too.
04-28-2012, 05:21 PM
Just check your car rental site and make sure that the quote includes all fees and taxes -- call if you aren't sure. Since you're dropping the car in Vegas, I don't know if there are many off-airport options that work. We normally rent off-airport from one of the Enterprise local rentals, but we return it at the same place.
I bring our camera on the Pink Jeep tours and have never had a problem just keeping it zipped in my pocket until we stop to get out. They have grab bars overhead the whole way around the jeep. My B's 82 y.o. MIL has done it both years we've been there!
04-28-2012, 05:55 PM
Just check your car rental site and make sure that the quote includes all fees and taxes -- call if you aren't sure. I'll be sure to do that.
Since you're dropping the car in Vegas, I don't know if there are many off-airport options that work. Yeah. Sometimes you have to pay extra for convenience. If I had to take a cab to/from the airport, it'll probably end up being the same cost.
I bring our camera on the Pink Jeep tours and have never had a problem just keeping it zipped in my pocket until we stop to get out. I have a big DSLR camera, I don't have pockets that big. ;) Of course I could always keep it zipped up in a bag. But I would still worry about it, I guess. I know they offer quite a few tours, I'll try to pick something that will be great for the soul and as well as my camera. :lol: BTW, how much time do you have to get out of the jeep and walk around/take pictures? Probably not that much.
04-28-2012, 07:40 PM
Probably about two stops, one for fifteen minutes, the other for ten. They may have a special trip for photographers -- give them a call.
I edited in some comments about Montezuma's Castle into my original post -- we got some great photographs there. It really is a jewel of a small, easy to get to site.
04-29-2012, 02:44 AM
I have a very soft spot for Tucson; if you like hiking, it's a gorgeous place- not quite as dramatic as Grand Canyon, but the sunsets in the mountains are quite unforgettable, and Sonora desert with all the saguaros is stunning. ( Phoenix did not do much for me, nature- wise, but Tucson is unforgettable). If you are driving through and just have a little time, Tucson Arizona- Sonora Desert Museum and Sabino Canyon hikes are easily accessible and oh-so- beautiful, but there is so much more, if there is time. Between saguaros, mountains and javelinas, I am in love. Great food, as well. Lots of interesting art galleries with Southwest theme; I enjoyed De Grazia Gallery in the Sun, also in the Northern side of the city (Mexican/ Southwest/ Native American art).
I've visited Death Valley in winter; it is very interesting, but i would not say it is something to see in a hurry, it's kind of empty and vast and space age-y...
04-29-2012, 05:54 AM
Death Valley in mid-May? eek!
04-29-2012, 12:05 PM
Saguaro National Monument - Tucson Mountain Park, Sabino Canyon, Sonora Desert Museum, Lake Powell/Glen Canyon Dam (straddles the border between AZ & Utah), Monument Valley, Zion national Park, Bryce Canyon (my favorite national park in Utah - spectacular!)
04-29-2012, 06:55 PM
For proximity, I second Valley of Fire SP, especially at sunset.
Also those who suggested Zion, which is about a 3.5 hour drive from LV. (Bryce is about 5 hours and Arches would take a full day to drive to.)
Driving through Death Valley was one of the most awe-inspiring things I've ever done, but I did it in December when the 75-80 temps felt nice. :shuffle:.
If you decide to drive Death Valley, head into the mountains towards Pahrump, and go south on 372 towards Shoshone, taking Badwater Pass road into DV. (Don't take the short way in, which is route 190.) You'll go 70+ miles descending slowing into the valley... nothing for miles and miles and miles, but the road ahead winding and twisting down as if you're headed toward Oz or something. It's incredible and 100% worth it as long as you're sure you're in a reliable car. :)
If you can exit north out through Beatty NV, don't miss the ghost town of Rhyolite. Really neat... and if you exit towards Beatty at sunset, you'll see some of the richest vistas, gold/red hues on the mountains and purple/pink skies on earth.
04-29-2012, 11:01 PM
We're in Death Valley right now and the heat is tolerable, about 90 - but will climb rapidly in the weeks to come.
This place never ceases to amaze me. Zabriskie Point at twilight is one of the most memorable life experiences I've had. The landscape, colors and heat - and the sense of silence - really create the sense of another place and time. It gives me a feeling of awe and bliss, as well as one of utter insignificance as a person in relation to the vastness of life. But it is a comforting, not disturbing insignificance, if that makes any sense.
05-01-2012, 12:33 AM
The Grand Canyon is wonderful, but I'd rather invest my time in southern Utah with all the different just-as-beautiful parks: Bryce Canyons is my absolute favorite, but Zion is gorgeous too. I believe Arches isn't far....I need to go look that up. Hoover Dam is fun, and so is Lake Mead. All of southern Utah is unreal. Wish I could go back soon!
Those places are beautiful, but from what I am gathering, the OP has only a limited amount of time and she wants to see the Grand Canyon- it's the main thing. Of course the North Rim would allow opportunities to see Zion and Bryce canyon NPs, but that takes more time.
Also, having seen all the places and having been awed by it, I still believe that there is nothing like the Grand Canyon. I have been there a dozen times and the place never failed to awe me.
My recommendations, since your time is limited:
Sedona: Take a jeep tour; it's the most efficient way to see gorgeous scenery. There are quite a few tours. I would recommend the one that takes you to the top, rather than deep into the red rocks. If you have time left over, see Red Rock Crossing. It's a great area for picnic, and it gives you a great view of Cathedral rocks. In between, just go for a walk in Sedona to see the eclectic shops and restaurants.
Grand Canyon: It's possible to see them in one day. You can take the free shuttle to the west rim (many spectacular points on the way; you can get off and on the shuttle many times), all the way to Hermits rest (nice place to watch the sunset). You can see that part in a half day. I would recommend taking a bus tour for Desert Ridge (eastern portion of the GC), which covers some other points (Yavapai point among them) and covers a lot of area. This tour will take a half day. If you have the time, take a walk to El Tovar hotel, and watch the deer, and the sunrise if you happen to be nearby. It's great to see the sun come up there. Also Powell point along the west rim is a great place for watching the sunrise.
If you have reservations at one of the hotels inside the park, it is the best thing because it will save you a lot of time.
If your schedule allows it, you can take an aerial tour (small plane or helicopter) from the Grand Canyon airport.
Las Vegas: Lots of beautiful places around the city. Valley of fire is great; otherwise (closer) is the red rock canyon area. If you have the time to visit Death Valley, it is well worth your time, but it will take a full day. You may want to take a guided tour or do it on your own. I would skip the smaller (red rock) places to see Death Valley, if your schedule allows it.
I assume you know that Grand Canyon to Las Vegas is a fairly long drive (around 300 miles). I have never done that route.
Enjoy your trip!
05-01-2012, 08:38 AM
Do you or anyone else have any recommendations for where to stay in the Sedona area? We are not touristy types, but the area sounds too beautiful too miss.
What about Southern Arizona near the Mexico border? I am wondering if is going to even compare to Death Valley or Northern Arizona/Four Corners area? Nothing in the materials I've been reading has really captured me, though we have no itinerary and have about two weeks to travel between mid-Arizona and San Diego.
We're in Williams near the Grand Canyon now. Man, it's cold - but a jacuzzi fixed that just fine. Tomorrow we're off to explore and our dog finally gets some cool weather and hikes, she's just been such a great trooper as we've had a few long driving days.
05-01-2012, 01:42 PM
My recommendations, since your time is limited[...] Thank you, very much appreciated!!
I assume you know that Grand Canyon to Las Vegas is a fairly long drive (around 300 miles). I have never done that route. My friends went to Las Vegas, rented a car there and went to see Sedona, Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam. I didn't want to drive to Sedona and back, that's why I decided to fly to Phoenix and see all the stuff on the way to Las Vegas.
Do you or anyone else have any recommendations for where to stay in the Sedona area? We are not touristy types, but the area sounds too beautiful too miss. From what I've seen on the Internet there's more hotels there than the locals. ;) Everything from motels; bed&breakfast; cabins in the woods to posh hotels.
I haven't chosen my mine yet. Look Sedona up on Trip Advisor. I like to read the reviews before I go somewhere.
05-01-2012, 05:39 PM
King's Ransom is perfectly nice if you're looking for a moderately priced place not too far from downtown Sedona.
L'Auberge de Sedona is quite the upscale place per SIL, and Enchantment Resort is right up against some amazing rock formations, with real distance from neighbors.
There is also an incredible -- and not real expensive -- small lodge up on the Mesa with the Sedona airport (very close to downtown, but not walking distance) -- the views are amazing and the rooms are lovely.
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