Villa Family wrote:
Just got back with my family from the July 2nd - 9th Red Rocks and Painted Canyons Tour - spectacular!! Wish we were going again. A few tips:
-Pack lighter. 90% of the time you will be in shorts and a t-shirt, so no need for lots of fancy clothes for the beginning and ending receptions. A nice pair of shorts/golf shirt for men and a pair of capris and nice shirt or comfortable dress for women is perfectly fine. Make sure you bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes/sneakers. You will walk - A LOT!! Make sure you have a pair of old pants or jeans for the horseback riding into Bryce Canyon as well as a long sleeve shirt for the morning of the "floating" trip down the Colorado (our favorite)!!! If you tend to get cold in AC, make sure to have a sweater or jacket for the Motor Coach and for the restaurants. The Motor Coach is kept at a comfortable 68 degrees.
-Sedona - while the Canyon Breeze restaurant is recommended for lunch and does have good choices - it was very pricey. We went to the Black Cow Café a bit down the street (almost directly across the street from the Pink Jeep Tour Entrance) and it was great. Very small with few tables, but they have great sandwiches, hot dogs and ice cream. It is HOT in Sedona.
-Grand Canyon - the Kachina Lodge is moderate at best, but the view is unbeatable. When you arrive in the Grand Canyon, don't waste your time going to the El Tovar for dinner. While this hotel is steeped with history, you want to eat dinner and make sure to make the sunset by 7:45 pm. We ate in the Arizona room and got in and out pretty quickly. Definitely set your alarm for 4:45 am the following morning to catch the sunrise. It was the highlight for our family and the picture taking is amazing with the morning light. Sunrise for us was 5:17 am. the morning we were there. DO go to the El Tovar for breakfast - amazing!!! Order the Cinnamon Roll - don't worry about calories - you do a ton of walking.
-Lake Powell - nice location. Resort is nice - not Four Season's nice - but perfectly acceptable. It is HOT HOT HOT in Page, AZ. Very worth while to wake up to view the sunrise - it was stunning. Sunrise for us was at 5:26 am. Definitely talk a walk down to the Lake - not a big beach area, but very refreshing to swim in. The flight seeing tour over Lake Powell was great! The highlight of our trip however was going "floating" down the Colorado. Bring a long sleeve shirt for the morning as it is early and can be cool, but it quickly warms up. This was a great excursion and ranked among our favorite things for the week. Prepare for the Polar Plunge in the water - 47 degrees.
-Bryce Canyon - While the Grand Canyon is just majestic and everything you expect it to be, Bryce Canyon was equally spectacular. We loved the lodging in this National Park - mind you - it is not fancy at all, but it is so rustic and beautiful that you can't help to like it. - no TV here, which was actually really nice The 2nd floor room that we had had a screen door leading to a small porch which we left open while sleeping. It gets much cooler here at night. The Bryce Canyon Lodge was very pretty and the dinner was just delicious. Try the brownie dessert - it is enough for 10 people!!! We walked the Navajo trail all the way to the bottom of the canyon and I highly recommend this for older kids/teens. You do not want to walk to the bottom with little kids as I promise you will be carrying them back up. It took about an hour and was just amazing.
-Zion National Park - Ok, so we just loved it all, but my kids - 25, 23 and 13 (all girls) were particularly taken with Zion. There are so many trails to choose from to hike or walk and there is a bus from the Main Lodge that will get you to the trails. Definitely do the River Walk and go to see Weeping Rock. The Zion Lodge was AMAZING!! The dinner was absolutely delicious as was the breakfast the next morning. For breakfast, make sure to sit outside on the porch to eat - the surroundings are breathtaking. There is also a big green lawn area in front of the Zion Lodge with rocking chairs and benches - do linger after dinner - we ate at 6:45 pm and at dusk were able to see all the animals that come to hang out on the lawn. Kids will love it.
-Vegas - well, Vegas is Vegas! The Four Seasons is beautiful! Don't bother trying to get a seat at the Mandalay Bay pools - it was crazy. That being said, it was an oasis sitting at the Four Season's pool. The breakfast buffet in the Verandah at the Four Season's was the best breakfast hands down! The Ferris Wheel in Vegas is $23 pp - but gives you a nice view. For rides, the Four Season's has a "house car" that will do a drop off only within 3 miles of the hotel. You need to ask the Valet in the front of the hotel. Otherwise, download the Uber app - we got rides all over Vegas for much cheaper than the taxi's. It is hot - so you may not want to walk too far. Venetian and Bellagio Hotels are must see hotels while you are there if you haven't been.
-WiFi - was spotty at best throughout the week. You will get it here and there, but it will never be great.
Enjoy - was a GREAT trip and one for the record books with our family!!