All About Our 4-Day Family Trip to Arizona

As I mentioned back in January, Jack had a random 4-day weekend off of school with didn’t align with any holidays or anything… so we figured it would be the perfect time for a little trip. We had never been to Arizona before and the weather looked pretty great for January, so I went ahead and booked it. We had a plan and then we had what actually happened, so let’s talk all about our Arizona trip!

Day 1: Phoenix

We left home super early in the morning and flew into Phoenix, landing around 10am Phoenix time (there is a 2 hour time difference between Maryland and Arizona). Once we landed, we picked up some fancy BMW car Travis rented through Turo and made our way to the hotel to check-in. We stayed at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Phoenix Scottsdale, which was similarly priced to other hotels but also included a Happy Hour in the evening and a chef-made breakfast in the morning.

Once we were settled, we went on the hunt for food and found an In & Out Burger. We had never been and wanted something quick, so there you go. All in all, it was fine. I liked that the bread on the burger was toasted, but other than that it was just a fast-food burger with mediocre fries (#IsaidwhatIsaid).

We decided to drive over to Historic Downtown Scottsdale and spent the day exploring that area. It was that this point I because fully obsessed with the gigantic cactuses that grew everywhere. I WANT A CACTUS in my yard!

I picked up these gorgeous earrings at the The Merchantile of Scottsdale and I can’t wait to wear them:

We also checked out Shakes & Cones for a mid-afternoon snack and it was delicious. I went for a salted caramel sundae, but Jack got a cookie butter milkshake that was so amazing… and I know this because he gave up ¾ of the way through and gave it to me.

When we started to peter out, we headed back to the hotel for Happy Hour which was from 5:30pm – 7:00pm. Snacks were tortilla chips and salsa, goldfish (I guess for the kiddos…), and some absolutely delightful apple pie crumble cake. On the drinks list was stuff like Coors Light and rum to make anything you want. So it was a winner for us!

We had been awake since 3am, so we ordered a pizza to be delivered to the hotel and crashed in front of the tv for a bit before bed.

Day 2: Phoenix to Pine to Sedona

After we packed up, we enjoyed breakfast at the hotel, which was a typical continental breakfast along with a chef who would make you pancakes, omelets or any kind of eggs you’d like. We decided to take State Highway 87, which is a more scenic route to Sedona and passes through Payson, Pine and Strawberry. The views were AMAZING!

We stopped in Payson and visited the visitor center, where the nice lady gave us all sorts of information and a great lunch recommendation. We had lunch at the Delicious Café in Payson and it was indeed quite delicious! From there, we drove to Pine and stopped off at the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park ($7 per adult and $4 per kid). The Anna Mae and Pine Creek trails were closed due to ice, but we were able to hike the Gowan trail down below the bridge and also to the viewpoint above it.

It was a medium-easy hike, but very steep, so we did see some people having issues with balance getting back up the trail. The view was spectacular though!

From there, we drove to Sedona and finally caught sight of those famous red rock mountains. The views were INSANE. In one day we went from flat city with houses and cactus’s in each yard, to mountains covered in tall cactus’s, to pine tree covered mountains, to Sedona’s red rocks.

We stopped at the Tlaquepasque Arts & Shopping Center for a quick looksie before they closed and I found a couple cute things to add to my collection:

We also stopped by an adorable bakery called Sedona Cake Couture and JUST LOOK at this adorable cactus cupcake!

For dinner, we headed out to the Cowboy Club where we enjoyed steak and ribs. The place was pricey (okay, all food in Sedona is pricey), but very yummy.

We checked into our VRBO rental and the place was so freaking cute we wanted to extend our stay. The best part… the outdoor hot tub! So, of course we ended our day with a nice soak.

Day 3: Sedona to Flagstaff to ? and Back to Sedona

We woke up in Sedona and picked up some totally decadent donuts from Sedonuts. Then, we bundled up to hit the road for the Grand Canyon. Our plan was to drive through Flagstaff to the Southern Rim of the Grand Canyon… and that is what we started out doing. However, once we passed Flagstaff by an hour or so the roads were just COVERED in snow. We had a rear-wheel drive vehicle and anticipated the roads continuing to get worse as we were heading North, so we decided to turn back.

We returned to Sedona for the day, and grabbed lunch at 89 Agave Cantina. The Mexican Chopped Salad was super yummy and filling, although I still get sticker-shock at a $17 salad. We hopped in and out of a bunch of Sedona stores, as well as checked out the overlook to Snoopy Rock.

We decided to head up to the Airport Mesa Scenic Lookout, so we parked at the top ($3 per car) and did the overlook hike. It was very bumpy/rocky, so make sure you have good shoes that you don’t mind getting muddy! It was getting chilly as the sun was starting to go down, but we had some absolutely amazing views for the sunset.

For dinner, we had leftovers from the Cowboy Club and I also ran out to the Sedona Beer Company to grab a couple appetizers to split among us.

We ended the night in the hot tub again, which was heaven and worked well to warm us back up.

Day 4: Sedona to Phoenix to Home

Travis and Jack ran out to Sedonuts again to grab some treats while I got the rest of our stuff all packed up to go. We hit the road after breakfast and took the more direct route (I-17) back to Phoenix. We turned in our Turo rental car, took the shuttle to the airport and had a sit-down lunch while waiting for our plane. We ended up landing in Maryland around 11pm, so with the drive home from the airport we were all in bed by 12:30.

It was a super quick visit to Arizona, but we were able to hit a few of the ‘sweet spots’ and it enough for us to know that we need to return ASAP. In fact, we will be taking advantage of the longest Spring Break Jack has ever had from school and doing a Nevada/Utah/Arizona whirlwind trip in April!

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