Since we finished our summer vacation last year, I’ve been thinking of where our family would go this year. Last year we spent a week in a gorgeous lakefront home in Lake Rabun, Ga., swimming, tubing, boating and hiking to waterfalls. It was wonderful and we were all in agreement that a trip to another lake house would be great. But I like to change things up a bit so I tossed around the idea of going to the beach in Destin, Fl. (which we’ve done many times), taking the kids to the Bahamas, visiting Disneyworld and Universal Studios in Orlando, or even Gatlinburg, Tn. When my husband suggested the Grand Canyon, I knew that was definitely our place this summer.
I love planning trips and got right to the task. My sweet 16-year-old daughter informed me that it’s much more fun when her cousins come with us on vacation so we extended an invite to my sister, her husband, her 21-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son. We also invited my mom and step-dad, so as of now the 10 of us are headed to Arizona for a week in July.
I always begin my planning process by choosing some accomodations. Since all the lodges at the Grand Canyon were already booked, I looked at nearby hotels. There were some hotels and they were okay but we usually prefer to stay in a modern and spacious 4 or 5 bedroom home where we can sit around to visit and talk, and cook and eat together.
I’ve been successful in the past on www.vrbo.com so I began my search there for this size home with certain amenities like a hot tub, internet, cable television and great views. There was nothing really near the Grand Canyon and there were a handful in the town of Williams which is about an hour away. Flagstaff and Sedona, both about two hours from the Grand Canyon, were options as well. Once I researched each of these cities, I quickly realized the red rock views in Sedona were just what I was looking for. Luckily, everyone in the group felt the same way so I was able to narrow down my search to that area.
I found a few available homes on that site however we chose to go with a 5 bedroom rental named “Sedona Hideaway” through Red Rock Realty in Sedona. The home is located on 2.5 acres and has views of Chimney and Lizard Head Rocks as well as Boynton Canyon. It contains walking paths along the property and features a hot tub and several outdoor patio and seating areas. The kitchen includes modern appliances and the living room has comfy leather sofas and a large screen television with surround sound.
Now that I’ve found us a place to stay I’m in the process of planning our activities. The problem is that there is so much to do and see that I’m not sure we’ll be able to fit it in. My husband, kids and I are flying into Phoenix on a Friday and staying at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort. It has a waterpark and looks like it will be fun for the kids. My sister and her family as well as my mom and stepdad have decided they are driving (21 hours!) and will meet us in Sedona on Saturday.
Sunday – I’m figuring that after two full days of driving they will be ready to relax so Sunday may just be hanging out at the house and whoever is interested can go out and about exploring. I want to tour a Hopi Indian Reservation with a guide so if no one else interested in this – may choose this day for that. If not, will do later in week.
Monday – Grand Canyon. Drive around the south rim, walk a few trails, stop to take photos, eat picnic lunch and possible dinner at El Tovar lodge if I’m able to get reservations. I’d also like to see the sunset as I’ve heard it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before so I’m in the process of finding the best spot for that – maybe Yavapai Point. I’d also like to do a half-day Colorado River float so am contemplating coming back another day to do that.
Tuesday – Sedona. Hiking at Devil’s Bridge, Doe Mountain, Fay Canyon or any other of the red rock country trails. Swimming at Slide Rock State Park where the rocks form a natural water slide! Maybe Pink Jeep tour in the afternoon or horseback riding.
Wednesday – Lake Powell. We’ve rented a 44′ pontoon boat with water slide and bathroom aboard to spend the day out on the lake. We are considering renting a powerboat and tube for a few hours to pull the kids.
Thursday – Jerome. Visit what is know as America’s largest ghost town and have lunch there. Then go on an African bush safari at Out of Africa Wildlife Park in nearby Cape Verde.
Friday – Sedona hiking and sightseeing again or back to Grand Canyon for the half-day float trip. If everyone is interested, this could be day we do Hopi Indian Reservation with tour guide.
Saturday – Head home.
Seems like a busy trip! I’m really excited though and hope to get to do most of these things.