Planning a Quick Family Trip to Arizona: Phoenix, Sedona & the Grand Canyon!

Photo by Anthony Melone on Unsplash

Jack has a random 4-day weekend off of school, which obviously means we need to take advantage of it and go somewhere fun! My only criteria on choosing a place was: “warmer than Maryland” and “never been there before.” So, boom… Arizona it is!

I booked our airfare, hotel, VRBO and have a vague outline of what we are doing, but I’d love some feedback if you’ve been to Arizona!

Here is our current plan:

Day 1: Fly to Phoenix. Stay in Phoenix for the day and explore.

On our plan: We will be arriving in Phoenix, picking up our rental car (booked by Travis because he cares what car we drive more than I do), and staying at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Phoenix Scottsdale that evening.

Possible things to do that day:

  • Eat. We need breakfast, lunch and dinner in the area.
  • Explore Historic Downtown Scottsdale
  • Explore Old Town
  • Hiking/Sightseeing – open to suggestions for an easy hike with beautiful views

Day 2: Drive to Sedona and explore.

On our plan: We will be checking out of our hotel after breakfast and then hitting the road for Sedona. It is about a 2 – 2.5 hour drive but it is very likely we will make stops along the way. We will be checking into our VRBO and staying there for the next 2 nights. It has a HOT TUB!!

Possible things to do that day:

  • Eat. Lunch, dinner and all the snacks.
  • Tomb Natural Bridge is said to be a good stopping point while driving. State Park entry is $7 per adult and there are hiking trails.
  • Possible hike: Devils Bridge. It is a popular trail that is said to be easy enough for most skill sets. It is 2.1 miles one way, or 4.2 miles round-trip.
  • Tlaquepasque Arts & Shopping Center is supposed to be super cool with locally owned shops.
  • Airport Mesa Viewpoint is said to be a great place to watch the sunset.

Day 3: Drive to Grand Canyon and explore

On our plan: We will be heading out to the Grand Canyon after breakfast and spending the day there. The drive takes about 2 hours each way. After a day at the Grand Canyon and the surrounding areas, we will return to our VRBO in Sedona for a second night.

Possible things to do that day:

  • Eat. Breakfast in Sedona, lunch somewhere in between, and dinner somewhere.
  • Flagstaff is about halfway between Sedona and the Grand Canyon, so it can be a great place to stop to stretch your legs and eat.
  • Only the South Rim is open in the winter due to snow. Grand Canyon permit fee is $35 per car.
  • There are various tours to take, ‘hop on and off’ buses… I need to research and could use some recommendations!

Day 4: Head back to Phoenix and come home

On our plan: We will wake up, have breakfast and pack up. Then we will drive back to Phoenix (about 3 hours), turn in our rental car, eat some lunch and hop on a plane to come home.

We have a quick stopover on our way home, and also will be getting in super late. So, I’m planning to try to just pack carry-on luggage so that if we are delayed or cancelled, we can just find a hotel and try again later.

I can’t wait! If you have any recommendations for places we shouldn’t miss – whether it be food options, hikes, stores, or views – let me know!

Like what you see? Share me with your friends!

Our Quick NYC Family Adventure

I blogged a couple weeks ago about planning an impromptu trip for New York City. It was super quick – only about 30 hours – but lots of fun!

I’m a big fan of how easy it is to jump on an Amtrak train in Maryland and end up in NYC, so we did that early on Sunday morning. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that kid tickets are half-price, so I’m certainly going to have to look into a few more trips before Jack ages out of that deal! The train was easy and quick and this time ran on schedule to both get there and back, which was wonderful.

This was both Travis and Jack’s first time on a train!

Once we arrived, we took and Uber to our hotel – the Courtyard Marriott New York Manhattan/Fifth Avenue, which was right near Bryant Park. The hotel checked our bag for us, so that we didn’t need to carry it around while we were exploring. From there, we walked around the Bryant Park Winter Village and surrounding area. We checked in to the hotel in the late afternoon, and then left Travis there when we walked over to the show.

Jack and I saw &Juliet on Broadway, which was so much fun. It is a jukebox musical, so Jack recognized most of the songs. We had amazing seats and I’m so glad that we went. Jack spent the first act with wide eyes and his mouth hanging open, which was pretty adorable. He did get a little wiggly towards the end of the second half though. But, to be honest, I was kind of ready for them to wrap it up too by that point.

Here’s a little taste:

After the show, we met up with Travis for a delicious dinner, checked out the nighttime view of Times Square and then went back to the room to snuggle up in bed while watching a movie.

On Monday, we had a yummy breakfast and then did a bunch of walking around and exploring. We made a point to go to the Nintendo store, which was so super cool.

We also walked around Rockefeller Center, tasted some food back at the Bryant Park Winter Village, checked out the Empire State Building, and everything in between. We grabbed our bags from the hotel and then Uber-ed back to the train station in the afternoon, just in time to hop on a train back home and get ready for school the next day.

It was super fun visiting NYC with the family for the holidays, but it was quite cold. I think if we make a return trip it will need to be in the spring or summer so that Travis and Jack can experience some warmer walking around weather!

Like what you see? Share me with your friends!

A Quick Family Trip to NYC

So, I didn’t MEAN to plan a family trip to NYC. But here’s what happened… there is a new musical that just came out and it looks really good. I texted my goes-to-musicals-with-me friend, and she said maybe after the holidays. However, I REALLY wanted to see it sooner than that… which turned into me having the idea to take Jack for an overnight trip to NYC to see a Broadway show.

I asked Travis if he wanted to come too, but he hates musicals and crowded cities… so he said no. But then, when I started planning the trip and Jack and I were getting excited, Travis made sad puppy dog face and it was clear he’d be left out if we went without him. So…. FAMILY TRIP!

Here are our ‘definitely happening’ things:

  • It’s a quick trip – we are going to be in NYC for about 30 hours total. (Which, randomly, is exactly how much time I spent in NYC in 2016)
  • We’re taking the Amtrak train to NYC and back. I’ve done it a bunch of times and it’s super convenient. Added bonus: kids are half-price!
  • We are staying in a hotel near Bryant Park, which is within walking distance to Bryant Park’s Winter Village, the Broadway show, Times Square and lots of stuff to do and eat.
  • Jack and I will be going to see & Juliet on Broadway! (Travis will be entertaining himself)
  • We are super excited about the Bryant Park Winter Village for shopping and eating.

Here are our ‘maybe happening’ things:

  • This will be Travis and Jack’s first time to NYC, so we may do the whole Statue of Liberty thing. There are no ‘crown’ tickets available, but we may do the ferry by the Statue of Liberty, or maybe even visit Ellis Island.
  • There are a couple stores that I think Jack will love, including the M&M’s Store and the Nintendo Store
  • We may add the American Museum of Natural History to our visit list, but it’s a pretty quick trip so we may not have time

I can’t wait!

Like what you see? Share me with your friends!