Arizona. What a gorgeous and unexpected place! I had previously visited because my grandparents used to live in Phoenix. But I was young and didn’t get the chance to experience the incredible destinations I’ve heard about in my adulthood. When I mentioned Arizona to Cameron, his response was typical… ‘why?’ ‘what’s in Arizona?’. But our negotiations were also very typical… I book whatever I want and he has to go along with it!
I booked non-stop flights from Tampa to Phoenix on Southwest from Thursday to Thursday. With the time change, we landed in Phoenix at noon. I had left that day pretty open just in case we were delayed. Since we had a ton of daylight left, we picked up our rental and headed for the Grand Canyon! The entrance fee is $35 and can be used for 7 days. Or you can use your America the Beautiful Pass!
We knew the weather in May was going to be drastic as we travelled the state, but we didn’t realize just how much. When we arrived at the Grand Canyon, it started to snow! I’m a little bummed that I have now been to the Grand Canyon twice in my life and it snowed BOTH times, but it was still fun! Someday I’ll get a beautiful blue sky. Cameron was completely amazed at just how big the canyon really is in person. It’s a lot to take in but it’s also really relaxing to sit and gaze.
Our next stop to get some sleep was Cameron, AZ. I booked a room at the Cameron Trading Post since it would be close to Antelope Canyon (our Friday plans) and I thought it was a fun surprise for Cameron! We ate dinner at the lodge and then went right to sleep.
On Friday morning, we drove to Lower Antelope Canyon for a 9:00 AM tour. *Book your tickets in advance online! This place is packed all day everyday and you don’t want to hope for an opening* http://lowerantelope.com Whether or not you should visit Lower Antelope Canyon, Upper Antelope Canyon, or both? I have no idea. But I did love Lower! I just honestly didn’t realize there were 2 when I was booking. The guides are great and help you catch fun photo ops like this one!
After our tour, we made our way to Horseshoe Bend. It was such a perfectly beautiful day to visit! We walked around, took fun pictures, and then just sat to enjoy the spectacular view. *Parking may be an issue when you arrive but just be patient and something will open up!*
We had some time carved out that afternoon because I had left it open in case we couldn’t visit the Grand Canyon on Friday. So we booked a boat tour down in the canyon! It was so much fun being able to see it from both ends!
After our boat tour, we drove to Canyon Lodge in Seligman, AZ.
In the morning we were picked up by Pygmy Guides for our Havasu Falls hike! In order to visit Havasu Falls, you need a permit. The permits go on sale at the beginning of February and sell out in 1 day! Since we didn’t want to risk not having a permit (and have to buy all of our own gear) we opted to spend a little more and go with a guide. If you can swing it, it is completely worth it! Pygmy provided backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, air mats, meals, snacks, water, and Gatorade for 3 days. The only items that we had to carry on the 10-mile hike were the backpacks, clothes we packed, snacks, and water.
We kept a steady walking pace and stopped every two miles to have a snack and water. You’ll be amazed at how many people you see getting sick at the end of the hike so even if you feel fine, stop for breaks.
Before you get to camp, you’ll see 50 Ft Falls and Little Navajo Falls. It is so gorgeous, you won’t be able to wait! We took our shirts off and dove right in!
After we settled in at camp, we still had some time before dinner so we made our way to Havasu. I just can’t describe how incredible all of these waterfalls are! Do you remember what Cam said ‘what’s in Arizona?’ At this point in the week, he had thanked me about 100 times already for booking this trip (and it was going to continue).
The next morning, we made the slightly treacherous hike to Mooney Falls, my absolute favorite!! We saw a lot of hikers turning around and not making the descent for this one… don’t make that mistake! Go early, take your time, and don’t psych yourself out. You’ll really be missing out if you don’t spend a good chunk of time at Mooney.
When we first climbed down, we passed Mooney and kept walking a little ways to a beautiful area of smaller pools and waterfalls to play in. Cam and I were the only ones there and we had so much fun jumping off of the small falls and enjoying the magic-like blue waters.
After we spent a considerable amount of time here, we made our way back to Mooney. In my opinion, Mooney is way more gorgeous than Havasu and it’s a lot less crowded since it’s slightly more challenging to get to. I can’t stress enough that you must go!
We made our way back to camp for lunch before the one-way path to and from Mooney got too crowded. After we ate, we made our way back to 50 Ft and Little Navajo to spend the rest of the day. On our way back, we stopped by Havasu one more time and then walked back to camp through the waterway.
After our walk back, we had dinner and packed our things to get ready for our 5 AM departure the next morning.
Once we arrived back at the trailhead, our guide drove us back to Canyon Lodge to get our car. Next stop, Sedona!
We checked into our AirBNB that was just a few blocks from 89A and walked to dinner at 89Agave. We were exhausted from a long day of hiking and driving so we turned in for the night after dinner.
In the morning we woke up early and went to hike Bell Rock. It was a beautiful blue-sky day! After, we went back to change and found a grocery store to buy sandwiches and snacks for the afternoon. Then we made our way to Slide Rock State Park to enjoy the nice afternoon. The water was cold but it was fun!
That afternoon we walked around all of the shops at Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village and then went to dinner at Javelina Cantina.
In the morning, we woke up early and went to the Devil’s Bridge trailhead. This hike was easy and amazing! I definitely recommend if you are spending any time in Sedona. If you don’t go early, plan on waiting in line to walk to the bridge and take photos. This hike has exploded in popularity over the last few years.
After our hike, we packed our bags and went to breakfast. We had some extra time before we needed to be in Phoenix so we also stopped by Javelina Leap Vineyard for a tasting and tour.
Then we were Phoenix bound so that Cam could finish out the week with a round of golf. He played 18 (I drove and took pictures of wildlife) and then we found a fun brewery to have dinner and end our amazing week.
Thursday morning we were Florida bound! I highly recommend this trip if you enjoy hiking and the outdoor.
Here are some important things we packed for our Havasu hike. If you go with a guide company, like we did, you’ll only need the basics and won’t have to worry about equipment:
1. A good pair of waterproof hiking shoes and good socks (+ bandaids in case of blister).
2. A rain jacket, just in case, that can also be used as a layer at night.
3. Waterproof camera (GoPro). I left my nice Sony camera behind just to be safe, but if you’re comfortable taking it with you then do it!
4. Comfortable shirts that are lightweight and easy to layer, like Reel Legends or Free Fly.