ARIZONA FATHER-DAUGHTER ROAD TRIP (7 DAYS)
My dad and I were supposed to take this trip to Arizona last year around this time. Our flights were booked, we had decided on specific places we wanted to see and then hurricane Irma decided to change it’s course to Tampa, which is where my dad lives with the family. They were under an evacuation order so we cancelled our trip and decided we should reschedule for next year.
Now here we are! We were so excited to finally be here and do all the things we set out to do last year. I’ve decided to break down this post into days so I can show you how we went about our 7 days here. This trip is in no way a high activity trip. We took it pretty easy and hit the spots that were on our bucketlists.
Day 1: Travel day! Landed in Phoenix in the early afternoon. Rented a car from Hertz and decided to drive 2 hours to Sedona. Put the drone up for a couple of minutes on the way. Checked into our hotel around 5pm and then grabbed dinner at a Mexican spot called Tortas De Fuego (incredible guac!).
Note: The rental car area is about 20 minutes from the airport by shuttle.
Day 2: Grabbed some breakfast and headed to Cathedral Rock for a hike. This was recommended to us by one of my instagram followers and the pictures looked awesome! We got there and the hike started out pretty great then it started to get really steep. There were several people who stopped and said “Ok that’s it! I’m good here” and headed back down. There is no path or steps to climb up you’re really just moderately rock climbing and using your hands a lot to get up. We reached one of the more challenging parts of the hike and frankly I was starting to have some serious anxiety. It was at that point my dad and I looked at each other and decided to call it. We grabbed a couple of pictures and headed back to the car and made the drive to Grand Canyon Village. We checked into our hotel and were told to see the Grand Canyon during sunset. That was a no brainer! We hoped in the car and headed to the Grand Canyon Park ($35 entrance fee). We parked and took the red route shuttle to Mohave point. There are several points along the way but the bus driver highly recommended Mohave as his favourite. It did NOT disappoint! You could sit here for hours and not say a word. It’s quiet and all you can hear is the wind singing through the canyon.
Day 3: Took our time getting up, packed up the car and started the drive to Page. There were some great Grand Canyon spots along the way to stop and take pictures. Its one of the most majestic things i’ve ever seen. When we finally got into Page around 2:30pm we grabbed a quick bite to eat and then headed to Horseshoe Bend (on our bucketlist). It was SO COOL to see this in person. You’ve probably all seen the famous horseshoe bend pictures going around on instagram well what they don’t tell you is it’s a little hike to this spot. We did it in the burning sun which I would NOT recommend. Go either in the early morning or during sunset. This place gets so so so hot! Also don’t forget water!
Day 4: We started the day at Glen Canyon Dam Overlook which turned out to be such a great view! After that I lost my bananas because it was now time for our tour at Antelope Canyon! I’ve been wanting to see Antelope Canyon for years and I was finally going to see it and to experience that with my Dad, even better! We decided to go with Adventurous Antelope Canyon tours. It had come recommended by another creator. This company didn’t start off well with me, I got super annoyed with the girl at the check-in counter but once we got on the tour we had the best time! Thanks to our guide Kirk we were able to get some amazing shots of Upper Antelope Canyon and a smaller side canyon. It was INCREDIBLE and worth every penny! We opted for the photography tour which allows you a certain “VIP pass” to stay in some places longer than the regular tour, 2 minutes to be exact! If you’re looking to get great quality photos then I highly suggest this tour and bring your tripod cause you can’t go without it and you’ll be happy you didn’t. It gets really dark inside the canyon and having the stability of the tripod makes all the difference. I debated what to wear as I wanted beautiful dreamy pictures in a dress but it’s so hard to catch movement in such a dark place. Whatever you decide to wear make sure it’s bright or white. Since I forgot to bring a casual pair of shoes to shoot in we went to WalMart and picked up a pair of $6 white shoes. Perfect!
We were not allowed any backpacks, bags or fanny packs. Reason being is that the canyons can actually get quite narrow and there are up to 300 people that go in at once so you often need to pass by people.
We wrapped up Upper Antelope Canyon and still had about 15 minutes to spare so our guide took us to a small side canyon that we explored on our own. It was amazing especially for pictures and this canyon was a little shorter so allowed more light to come through. We were able to ditch the tripods and took some incredible pictures! Visiting these canyons literally made our day! We could’ve easily called it there and come home. Also please forgive the contents in my back pocket in the picture (LOL).
Photography tips: I was using my Nikon d750 with a sigma fixed 20mm lens 1.4. I turned the white balance to shade mode to give the pictures more warmth. For Upper Antelope Canyon I was using an aperture 4 and ISO 800-1000 and had the camera on a tripod the whole time for stability. I found myself going back and forth from manual to Aperture priority. You want to make sure you know your camera really well before you go in here because you have very limited time. It’s also entirely possible to take great pictures with an iPhone. I took a few and was amazed at how it turned out!
Day 5: This was our last big day for anymore activities we could handle as we planned to take our time driving back to Phoenix the next day. On our way to Sedona we stopped at Grand Canyon Village again so we could take a HELICOPTER RIDE! We booked the tour with Papillion and requested front seats. The ride is a total of 30 minutes and takes you across the Grand Canyon and back. Since we couldn’t fly the drone in the Canyon this was the next best thing, it was amazing! There’s not a lot of air circulation in the helicopter which always makes me nauseous but it was manageable, just remember to breathe!
Day 6: We took our time driving from Sedona to Phoenix, stopping along the way for any last minute scenic views. Once we got to Phoenix we spent the day catching up on work and got packing. This day was really chill but we could have easily done a short hike if we wanted. We had plenty of time to get back to Phoenix.
Day 7: Travel day back home.
I hope you guys found this helpful. If it was please leave me a comment below :)
You can follow me on instagram (@mvandersluis) for more of my adventures and photography.