For my 25th birthday, I decided to check off a couple of To-Do items instead of having some big party or spending my life savings on alcohol. I took a road trip from North Carolina out to Las Vegas for Electric Daisy Carnival, but the Grand Canyon was just too far away at the time. Every time I’ve been to Vegas, I have wanted to make time to see it but was always too worried about partying. So this birthday, I was determined to finally fulfill my dream.
As always, I like to maximize my trip by adding in as much stuff as I possibly can, so I started researching other places to visit. Horse Shoe Bend, and Antelope Canyon. I had seen pictures and posts about it, but for some reason always thought HSB was in Texas? When I figured out that I could hit these 3 totally different, yet so amazing sites all in one day, I got giddy with excitement and decided to plan it out. Here’s the itinerary for my mini Arizona Road Trip.
November 19th: Atlanta to Las Vegas
Flew from Atlanta to Las Vegas
Approx. flying time: 4 hours 15 minutes
Cost of flight: I had Southwest points, so a round trip for both of us was about $250! Bargain Bitch you could call me.
We decided that for us to get to the Grand Canyon the cheapest and most efficient way would be to fly to Las Vegas then drive to Arizona. Flying into any other airport was just too expensive. This way, we could see everything at our own pace without the hassle of those stupid group tours. YES, we also thought about a helicopter tour, but I didn’t want to be limited to what we could see. We got into Vegas around 11 am, got the car and headed off to the Hoover Dam.
November 19th: Hoover Dam
Drove from Las Vegas airport to Hoover Dam
Approx. driving time: 45 minutes
Cost: $10 pp
I had previously visited the Hoover Dam, but my boyfriend had never been so we made a quick pit stop on the way!
November 19th: Tusayan, Arizona
Drove from the Hoover Dam to Tusayan, Arizona
Approx. driving time: 3 hours 40 minutes
The Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn
Cost: $110 per night
I’m the kind of person who likes to go above and beyond when it comes to experiencing things. I want my memories to be completely over the top so I never forget the places I’ve been or the things I’ve seen. I made it a point to my boyfriend that the first time I saw the Grand Canyon HAD to be at sunrise.
That’s why we drove from Las Vegas to the hotel that day/night so we could wake up really early and see it. The hotel was pretty good for what we needed! Which by the time we got there, was only about 6 hours of sleep. We ate a late dinner at the hotel bar and went to sleep since tomorrow would be VERY long.
November 20th: Grand Canyon National Park (4 am)
Drove from the hotel to the Grand Canyon
Approx. driving time: 10 minutes
Watched the sunrise at Yaki Point
We got up pretty early, and with the daylights saving time in full effect AND the 3 hour time difference on the West Coast, we were totally thrown off. After grabbing all of our stuff, we loaded up the car and headed to Grand Canyon National Park. I wanted to give us some extra time in case we couldn’t find the right spot. As we pull up, we realize the sun was beginning to rise so we start panicking and running to the bus stop! A 3-minute ride and we finally arrive at the lookout point.
I took a time lapse of the sunrise and just enjoyed the view. Now that the sun was up, we could explore the rest of it. We took the bus back to the main area and walked over to Mather Point.
After leaving Mather Point, we got in the car and took the Desert View Drive up to Lower Antelope Canyon. On the way, we stopped at a bunch of lookout points to see the Grand Canyon from all angles.
Another quick pit stop to climb up the Desert View Watch Tower
November 20th: Lower Antelope Canyon (2 pm)
Drove the Desert View road around the Grand Canyon to Antelope Canyon
Approx. driving time: 2 hours (stopping along the way)
Cost: $20 pp
At last, we arrived at Lower Antelope Canyon. Now, I can’t say I was more excited about one than the other, but I knew this would be like nothing I had ever seen before. The colors and movement of the canyon that I had seen on pictures just didn’t look real. It’s literally a screensaver on your computer. Remember that Windows screen saver?? The palm trees and the ocean? And remember wishing you would end up at a place like that one day?? Well, I had seen an Antelope Canyon one before and now all of it was becoming a reality.
You can’t do the tour by yourself, so you have to go with a guide. Once we pulled in, I noticed a van full of Indians (dot not feather Indians) had just arrived as well. Since it was only us and them at the time we all had to be grouped together. Don’t start thinking I’m judging…it’s just that they had an army of small children with them, and we all know I am NOT a fan of children.
When going through all the rules, I flagged down another tour guide and told him we would pay him an extra $20 to take the tour alone. He looked back fast and was like, “Hurry, follow me!” So yeah, we got basically a private tour, just the 3 of us. You can opt for the Photography Tour or just the regular one and that’s what we did. Unless you are going to spend a couple of hours taking millions of pictures, don’t get the photography one.
No filter needed. Look at those colors.
The entire tour took about an hour. With only two of us, and the tour guide seeing it 10 times a day, we kind of whizzed through it. To be honest, I am not sure what the difference between lower and upper Antelope Canyon was…if we had more time we would have checked out both, but we wanted to move on to Horseshoe Bend and make it back to Vegas at a decent hour. Whichever you decide to go, see if there is a tour guide that will take you on a little private tour. So much better experience.
November 20th: Horseshoe Bend (3:30 pm)
Drove from Lower Antelope Canyon to Horseshoe Bend
Approx. driving time: 10-15 minutes depending on roads
A short drive takes you to another incredible landmark in Arizona. Like I said before, for some reason I thought this place was in Texas. Glad I cleared that up and didn’t miss out on it because the views are amazing. I feel like I keep going on and on about how wonderful every view is, not sure of the other adjectives I could use to describe it. The world is spectacular! Stupendous! Terrific!! It’s fucking GREAT!
On a 3/4 mile hike one way, you finally reach the edge.
After we ohhhh and aweeeeee’d over Horseshoe Bend, we started on the hike back.
I felt like a princess after seeing everything. Do you know when you just have days that go exactly as planned? Where everything not only met but exceeded your expectations?? Yeah , that was this day. My birthday was on the 17th, so by this time I was a couple of days deep into 25 years old.
Don’t worry, I am gonna make 25 my BITCH!
And on that note, I hope I somehow inspired you to get out and see the world. Don’t ever think that getting older means that you have to act old. Embrace your age and all that comes with it. Maybe being younger with less responsibilities sounds appealing at the moment, but I wouldn’t trade this age for the world! Okay…maybe for the world 🙂
November 20th: Horseshoe Bend to Las Vegas (5 pm)
Drove from Horseshoe Bend back to Las Vegas
Approx. driving time: 4 hours 30 minutes
As our one day (very long) road trip came to a close, we headed back to Las Vegas to spend the rest of my birthday weekend. Equipped with lots of alcohol, being tourists and hot air balloon rides…but that’s a whole other post in itself.
So babes…did I miss something?? What did you think of my short birthday road trip?? There is something about the desert and its beauty, I just can’t get over it!