Our week-long Arizona Itinerary includes exceptional sunsets, fascinating wildlife, beautiful red rocks, and shooting stars. Travel Tip: check the sunrise and sunset times for your destination and plan accordingly!
We woke up excited to hit the road for another big adventure. Due to an accident, there was about 20 minutes of traffic and we were already cutting it close considering we had luggage to check. Normally, we pack light and only carry-on, but because we planned on camping for 4 nights, we had a suitcase packed full of all our gear. Our luggage was tagged “Late Check-In” and we were forewarned that it might not make it. Sure enough, our suitcase with our camping gear was missing upon arrival in Phoenix. Thankfully, we were told that it would show up in a few hours on a later flight. Lesson learned: give yourself plenty of time if you plan on checking luggage, ESPECIALLY if that luggage has your house for the night in it…
We went on to get our rental car, eat some dinner, and then come back for our luggage. We rented a Jeep Cherokee from Alamo, booking through a site called AutoSlash – which actually saved us some money. The price for the Jeep was about $300 for the week, BUT because we are still under 25, we got hit with a hefty Young Renter Fee of $25 daily, which is the highest we had ever seen.
Anyway, we drove to downtown Scottsdale and ate an outdoor dinner at a nice place called Cafe Forte. We ordered Brie Cheese with apple slices, Pot Stickers, and Polenta Cakes topped with sautéed sweet sausage. Afterwards, we still had some time to kill before retrieving our luggage. Jenna wasn’t feeling great and had just come home from England the day before. She looked to see if there was an LA Fitness nearby so she could go take a hot shower. Sure enough, we were just minutes from one. While she did that, I went to a local grocery store to stock up on food and water. I try and always keep at least a gallon of water in the car along with a days worth of snacks.
We made it back to the airport, picked up our suitcase, and headed onward to set up camp at the Lost Dutchman State Park – about 40 minutes east of Phoenix. It was after 9 when we arrived and remember we went 3 hours back in time, so we were ready for bed!
We woke up around 5 am on Easter Sunday in the Lost Dutchman State Park. Excited to see the place, especially since we showed up in the dark, we got up, hopped in the car, and drove a few minutes to the trailhead.
We hiked the Treasure Loop trail. The moon slowly disappeared as the sun took over. The Saguaro Cacti and desert wildflowers were very nice to look at as we approached the large rock faces. The temperature was in the 60’s and the sky was totally clear. Unfortunately, we did not stumble upon any of the gold that is said to be buried somewhere in these mysterious Superstition Mountains.
On our way out of the park, we walked through the Goldfield Ghost Town and saw an old mill and felt some strong Wild West vibes! We continued along the Apache Trail – a scenic drive through the Superstition Mountains towards an old tiny town, Tortilla Flat. We had a nice brunch here and admired the loads of people at the nearby Canyon Lake who were out on boats, swimming, jet skiing, etc.
We then headed back towards Phoenix and Googled “Nicest homes in Phoenix” just for fun. We somehow managed to get into a gated community after telling the guard we were here for the Open House, which we knew from the sign we saw just 10 seconds earlier. He let us in and oh my were we blown away by these places. One of the houses under construction was 21,000 sq. ft. with 8 bedrooms and 16 bathrooms! What?!
We continued on to Prescott and made a spontaneous stop at the Donut Hole Shop on the outskirts of town. I got a delicious apple fritter and Jenna got a vanilla frosted with sprinkles. Thanks to our Hilton credit cards, we stayed in the Hampton Inn Prescott with hot tub, pool, and complimentary breakfast, FOR FREE!
We checked in and actually took a short power nap since we didn’t sleep great the night before. It was about an hour before sunset, so we drove over to Watson Lake and did a sweet sunset hike along the beautiful, round rocks over-looking the lake and the surrounding mountains.
We were on our way to Prescott, AZ. We ate at a delicious Tapas restaurant called the El Gato Azul. We were able to explore a really small town called Jerome. We walked around their downtown and had dessert. We wanted to do a hike so we chose Sycamore Falls Hike. We were in the mood for more dessert and got blizzards form Dairy Queen before we headed to camp somewhere.
We drove down a dirt road called “Loy Butte” for over an hour so we could really get the true experience of camping. We wanted to camp where there we no people, no disturbances, and no lights. We didn’t want any lights because we wanted to see the night sky in all its true glory.
Boy did we see the night sky and much more. Jeremy and I altogether saw 4 shooting stars! (my first time). Having the opportunity to lie under the night sky stargazing with my husband was a very special moment. It was just us and the stars. We slept pretty well that tonight. I woke up to Jeremy watching the sunrise from our tent the next day.
We rode out and took some sweet footage of where we stayed down the dirt road and used our drone. I drove and he used his drone to fly overhead. As we got closer to town, Jeremy decided he wanted to hit the bike trails so he rented a bike from “Over the Edge Bike Shop” and I went to “Sedona Massage and Yoga.” We both ended up doing what we wanted!
We sure love our donuts and found a really cool donut shop called “Sedonuts.”. We asked one of the guys who worked at the bike shop where to eat. He recommended the “Hudson.” At dinner we kept it simple and ordered a couple appetizers. We heard that the couple behind us was celebrating their 25 year wedding anniversary. We decided to surprise them by paying for their dessert that night! A couple did this for us in Switzerland for our honeymoon so we wanted to pass on the random act of kindness. We asked our server where to watch the sunset and she said Airport Mesa. We knew this was a very popular place and kind of wanted less crowds so we read about another place recommended by a local photographer that gets less traffic and it was spectacular. We hiked Baby Bell which was only about a 20 minute easy hike. The views were worth it. We stayed at the Pine Flat Campground West Site that night.
We hiked one of the most popular hikes in Sedona. It’s the Devils bridge Hike (4.2 miles round trip). This is where Jeremy decided to do a headstand out on the narrow bridge. Yikes! Afterwards we ate some Italian subs from Safeway. We drove to Flagstaff-Sycamore Canyon Falls Hike. We saw photos of this place from Instagram and couldn’t wait to see the waterfall….but it wasn’t there because there wasn’t any snow melt left! Bummer! That night we slept at Days Inn & Suites by Wyndham East Flagstaff with hot tub, pool, and complimentary breakfast.
We woke up excited to explore Flagstaff. We had several options to choose from there was a Meteor Site or the Ancient Ruins or Sunset Crater National Monument. We ended up hiking through Lava River Cave and let me tell you… it was really unique, cold, and dark. Jeremy loved it, I on the other hand was nervous and pretty scared the whole time. (claustrophobia).
We ate at lunch at Karma Sushi in Downtown Flagstaff. It was then time to drive back to Sedona. This night we stayed at Verde Valley Campground which was basically a resort. They had pools, jacuzzis, pool table, foosball, tennis, basketball, game rooms, etc. (not your typical campground). This is actually where we saw our first scorpion!
Jeremy woke up for the sunrise and I slept in. (typical) We decided to eat at Indian Falls Cafe for brunch/lunch in Sedona. It has coffee, pastries, sandwiches, and much more. Jeremy did some bouldering/rock climbing and I walked around downtown Sedona. We went into Black Cow Cafe in downtown Sedona for their famous “Prickly Pear” ice cream. (not a fan lol). We were really happy we decided to check out Cathedral Rock (very spiritual and beautiful). It is free but very crowded and super hot! Afterwards, we shared a really yummy pizza at “Pizza and Pasta Company.”
We loved Crescent Moon State Park. I was able to set up a hammock and literally just child in bwteen trees and above the water watching my husband play in the water! We saw people having picnics, playing with their dogs, skipping rocks, etc. Today was the day we had to drive back to Phoenix and stayed the night at Residence Inn by Marriott Phoenix. (complimentary breakfast). We tried watching one more sunset and boy did we get lucky! We went to Piestewa Peak Summit Trail 300. We went to Pei Wei for dinner.
This was a very sad day as it was the day we had to head home! We had to fly out 7:25 in the morning! Thankful for a fun and exciting spring break trip. Leave a comment if you have one!