Arizona – I love you!
A quick but action packed 4 day getaway to Arizona is exactly what this Midwest family needed. The sunshine and the experiences allowed us to recharge just enough to put up with this bipolar weather we are having in Illinois.
Here is what we did. But brace yourself, this is detailed and full of memories.
We took a super early flight out of O’Hare and arrived at Phoenix airport by 9am. Spent about an hour and a half getting off the plane and picking up our car rental. While we were waiting for the car, I called the hotel, Canopy by Hilton – Scottsdale Old Town, and asked what was the earliest we could check in, since it was super early, and she said “your room is ready, come on down.” I know this isn’t typical but it was worth the call.
We headed straight for the hotel, parked in front (3 hour free street parking), unloaded all of our luggage in the room, did a quick change and we were on our way to the Hole in the Rock aka Papago Park by noon. This location is right next to Phoenix Zoo and Desert Botanical Garden.
We hiked up to the Hole in the Rock and walked the mini garden paths. We hung out on the lookout point for a while, took photos and let the kids explore the stunning formation and view. This took us approximately one and a half hours.
Once we came down, we decided to drive over the the Botanical Garden and as beautiful as it was, I personally thought it was too pricey ($100 for the 4 of us). So we decided to just walk around the front of the gardens for a bit and opted to go back to Papago Park, Little Butte Loop and hike that instead. We also skipped the zoo because we typically don’t go to zoos when we travel but if this is your thing, the admission is about $125 for 4.
Our day filled up quickly and we needed food so of course, In-N-Out burger it was. It was exactly what we needed and it wasn’t the last time we chose that for dinner. Don’t judge us! 🙂
We ended our night at the hotel. We used their overnight parking garage, which is underground ($22/ day). Changed quickly and hit the pool for a few hours. Afterwards we took a short stroll through old town. But surprisingly, most of the shops close by 7pm. It was still a beautiful night for a walk.
We woke up fairly early, 7am! We had a full day planned and wanted to take advantage of every minute. Plus we were too excited for warm weather, the last thing we wanted to do was hang out in the room.
Our hotel package included a breakfast for 4, which was convenient. They gave us breakfast vouchers for $16.25 per person for each morning. The menu selection was amazing. We were all able to find something delicious each day. I can’t recommend the yogurt bowl enough. So yummy.
I also can’t recommend The Canopy enough. I stayed here a few years ago with my sister for a girls weekend and knew I would be back with the family. It’s trendy. It’s clean. The location is great. Service is wonderful. I would be back again.
After breakfast, we took a morning walk through Old Town. It is such a beautiful place. I can definely wake up here every morning.
Next was a very scenic and culturally educational drive to Goldfield Ghost Town. This historic town is right across the road from the infamous, Superstitious Mountain. Both of which have a story and are just as amazing.
Ghost town was filled with shops and historic buildings. We explored, shopped and enjoyed the views. We spent some time doing the Mine Tour which was very informative, great value and our tour guide was hilarious. Bring cash for tipping.
We skipped the zipline and train ride portion of Ghost Town because frankly, we were scared! Just kidding. It wasn’t that bad at all. We just ran out of time and had something else planned that we needed to head back sooner. But you can easily spend 4+ hours here.
After Ghost Town, we went back to the hotel and hit the pool again. We squeezed in a few hours of sunshine and pool games and it was exactly what we needed before our last adventure of the day. Keep reading – it’s worth it.
That evening we made reservations for what turned out to be the best adventure we have ever had. Guided UTV Tour through the Tonto National Forest at sunset will forever be embedded in my mind, heart and soul. We absolutely loved it.
We used a company called, Desert Monster Tours and our guide Megan was amazing. The drive from our hotel to the starting point of the tour, took about an hour. I will say, I am so glad we had an SUV because part of that drive is through the national forest and it’s not paved. HINT: Use the bathroom before you come, otherwise you will be using the forest. No joke.
The tour we booked was for 5pm, which was sunset time. I couldn’t have picked a better time, honestly.
Everything about the tour was wonderful and the views were spectacular.
I am not afraid to say it, we finished off the night at In-N-Out burger again!
The Grand Canyon day.
We started off with hotel breakfast again and hit the road by 7am. The drive was about 3.5 hours and it went by fairly fast. You get to go through spring and winter all in one drive. There were snowy areas and super blooms all throughout. Plan and accordingly. Check the weather and hiking conditions.
Once we got to the south rim entrance, we spent almost an hour in line to get in. They have different pass options but we just did a day pass, $35.
But when we were in and I got my first view of the GC, I was overwhelmed with joy. This has been on my list for most of my life and it was everything I expected and more. It is massive. It is stunning. It feels unreal at times.
We also surprised the kids and had my sister drive from Las Vegas! It was definitely a highlight of our trip.
We ended the night with Chick-Fil-A in Flagstaff, AZ and headed back to Scottsdale.
We saved the best for last. A full day of relaxation.
Started off our morning with another breakfast at the Cobre Kitchen. Took our coffee to go and went for a leisurely walk around town. It was a Saturday and they typically have a classic car show just around the corner. We checked them out and then hit the pool at 10am! We relaxed, tanned, ate and drank at their poolside bar, Outrider. It was a beautiful and sunny 80 degree day.
In the evening, we got a little dressed up and tried the Old Town Tortilla Factory just a few blocks away. Their tortillas are freshly made and were delicious. The taco platter was amazing but I would not recommend the quesadillas.
And we could not leave Scottsdale without trying their historic ice cream parlor – Sugar Bowl. The selection is extensive but the place is really old and honestly, it smells. I could use a major renovation. The ice cream is just okay but we had FOMO and had to check it off our list. Done!
We finished our night and the trip by walking all the way over to the riverwalk, did some shopping and enjoyed the lively scenery of bars, clubs, restaurants and just people watching.
Scottsdale and Arizona – you were good to us and we will definitely be back.
Until next time, a change of latitude helps the attitude!