Updated: Nov 25
If you haven’t been to Arizona yet, get there ASAP. It was so much fun to explore and see a spot in the US like nowhere else in the world. Here is my itinerary (and some suggestions for you) for a 7 day road trip through Arizona including the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, and so much more.
For spring break, I was able to take another epic road trip out West here in the US. The entire trip has to be one of the most amazingly epic, adventurous, and beautiful trips I’ve ever taken – it’s right up there with Peru and Zambia as most adventurous for sure. Honestly, I cannot believe I waited to see the Grand Canyon until I was 28 years old!
Arizona is so beautiful and I’m so glad we were able to take this road trip. It had been on my USA bucket list for so long. This one-week road trip in Arizona was something I worked hard to create a perfect itinerary for and I’m excited to share it with you!
One Week Arizona Road Trip
1: Las Vegas or Phoenix to Grand Canyon
2: Grand Canyon
3: Grand Canyon
6: Page – Antelope Canyon and Lake Powell
7: Page – Paria Canyon and Horseshoe Bend
8: Drive Back
Note: If you only have a week, you do have time to make the drive back on day 7 after doing activities.
Costs (per person* 3 people on this trip):
Flight from DC to Vegas: $250
Tours/Rentals/Permits: $535 (Havasu Falls alone is $300)
Total Cost: $1,613 (without Havasu Falls $1218)
My goal for this trip was to keep my spending to under $1000 per person before the trip and spending to a minimum. Without Havasu Falls, I was under $700 before the trip (including flights). You can definitely do this trip for under $1000 a person. Hotels and food can be really cheap!
We ended up spending way more than I had hoped to on Havasu Falls just because permits are really hard to get. I do not recommend trying to do Havasu Falls if you’re on a budget. Even if you do not have to use a tour group and go on your own, the permit is $300 for week days and $375 for weekends. You can read more about Havasu Falls in my post for all information you might need.
We ate out at nice places every day and spent an average of $15 a meal. You can definitely do it for much cheaper than this! However, I had a bit more to spend after getting a bonus at work! (Yes I am a teacher and get bonuses!)
There are lot of ways to make a road trip cheaper. For tips, you can read this list of 47 money saving tips for your road trip!
Day 1 Las Vegas or Phoenix to Grand Canyon
$50 for Grand Canyon West, 2 1/2 hour drive
+ 3 1/2 hours to Flagstaff
This was our longest driving day. My original plan for this trip was to fly into Phoenix and drive from there. I’ve heard such great things about it and I do look forward to exploring Phoenix and Mesa someday!
However, flights were not on my side for this one. They were over $500 for our dates. That’s more than I paid for Europe this summer and I was not about to do that. Instead, we booked a trip to Las Vegas for half the price and drove from there. The distance is the same either way. The distance that is different is the drive from the Grand Canyon to Flagstaff. That is pretty far, but is actually the closest city to the next destination – Havasu Falls.
From Vegas, you get an added bonus – Hoover Dam is on the way to the Western Rim! Each rim of the Grand Canyon has its own unique views.
Grand Canyon West Rim
There are two different view points on the Western Rim. Both were very beautiful, but I personally liked the second stop better because you got a beautiful view of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon which is not something you typically see in photos so it was unique and beautiful to see.
Pro-tip: If you drive from Phoenix or have an extra day, you can visit the South Rim Grand Canyon National Park which is $40 a car instead of $50 a person. This can be a money saver!
Day 2 – 3 Havasu Falls or Grand Canyon South Rim Hiking
$300 for week day permits, and $375 for weekend permits
3 hour drive from Flagstaff
So here is the thing about Havasu Falls…. The rules have changed since I visited. Now, you HAVE to stay for at least three nights if you are going to hike here. They have made it more difficult in hopes to cut down on the impact tourism is having there. When I went, we could go through a tour group as well. They have also stopped allowing this.
The rules are always changing for Havasu Falls, but it’s best to check their officialy Havasupai Reservation website in order to book. Also, you will have to plan 4 days of a trip for it instead.
If you can't get tickets, you can hike around Grand Canyon National Park on the Southern Rim of the Grand Canyon and still get some amazing views. Here are a few:
WARNING: There are no easy trails into or out of the Grand Canyon!
South Kaibab Trail to Skeleton Point.
Grandview Trail to Horseshoe Mesa.
Bright Angel Trail to Plateau Point.
The Hermit Trail offers hikes to Santa Maria Spring.
Grandview Trail offers hikes to Coconino Saddle.
If you decide to extend a few days… Here is an overview of Havasu Falls.
The closest major city to the start of this hike is Flagstaff. We looked in all the small town in between for places to stay but by the time we had things figured out (about a month before the trip), everything in between that we could find booked early.
We stayed in Flagstaff at the Green Tree Inn and it was just what we needed. We stayed for just $75 a night. It was definitely not a fancy place to stay but did give us a good breakfast and a comfy bed to sleep in. It has been recently remodeled and is under new management so you can expect better service than what is listed in old reviews.
We had to get up at 6:00 am and drive to get to the Havasupai Trailhead by 9 am. It’s about a 3 hour drive from Flagstaff to Havasupai and the trail itself is kind of difficult to find. If you want anymore information on how to find the trail, get permits, and prepare, make sure you check out my post about hiking Havasu Falls. I’ve got all the details listed there!
Havasu Falls was incredibly beautiful, not very budget friendly, and a very difficult hike. Lots of planning and equipment needs to be prepared in order to have a good time on this hike since you have to stay overnight and cannot day hike.
We loved seeing the falls and chose to do this instead of hiking around other parts of the Grand Canyon. You definitely need at least two days to see everything and more than that would be even better! The more time you have, the more you’ll be able to explore. You can read all my tips for hiking Havasu Falls here.
We saw four waterfalls while hiking – Havasu Falls, Mooney Falls, Little Navajo, and 50 footer. All four were impressive and different. The most difficult and also the tallest is Mooney. All were easy to see and a short hike from the camping area.
We finished our Havasu Falls hike around 4 pm and drove back to Flagstaff where we arrived around dinner time. We got Olive Garden (because bread sticks!) and went to bed early.
Day 4 Flagstaff
2 1/2 – 3 hour drive from Havasupai or Grand Canyon Southern Rim
We treated this day as a recovery day after such an intense overnight hike. We decided to check out the city and see what was going on there. Flagstaff does have lots of great hiking and so if you are still up for it after such a long hike, go for it! We wanted a day to relax. So instead, we checked out downtown Flagstaff.
We stayed again at the Green Tree Inn in another room that was just what we needed for our two day stay.
Downtown Flagstaff is a fun little town. There are lots of shops and places to eat great food. We had great coffee at Fire Creek Coffee Company, ate lunch at Tourist Home All Day Cafe, saw some fun murals near the train tracks, and shopped our way through the cute streets. My favorite meal was a delicious dinner we had at Pizzicleta with homemade burrata, delicious wine, and of course pizza.
There are some amazing Native American ruins easy to reach from Flagstaff. If you have an extra day, this is the perfect extension to your trip.
Day 5 Sedona
45 minute drive from Flagstaff
Sedona was probably my favorite city we stopped in. I thought Sedona was such a unique and beautiful city with tons to do. We did two different hikes and got some more really unique shopping done while here. This is another spot you could spend a lot more time in.
Some of the hikes in Sedona are free, others require a Red Rock Pass that you can purchase once you get to a hiking location. It costs $5 for a pass for a car.
My favorite hike was Devil’s Bridge (no pass needed) because there was a really awesome and actually pretty wide natural bridge that you could cross. The hike up was fairly strenuous and lots of people were hiking along the way. The views all along the hike were beautiful.
I would highly recommend extending your roadtrip to stay in Sedona for the night (or two). I recently got to go back for a full weekend trip to Sedona and there's plenty to do here that is worth staying for!
We also hiked Cathedral Rock and saw an awesome but different view of the city and surrounding area. We had a great time on both of these hikes and I would recommend them to anyone! Eat Mexican food while here and enjoy some shopping at Tlaquepaque while there too.
From Sedona we drove up to Page, Arizona in the evening. We stopped along the highway for some cheap eats and made it to our hotel around 8 pm.
Day 6 -7 Page
3 hours from Sedona
Page, Arizona has so much to see and do! There’s a lot of stuff to do that is off the beaten path.
We stayed at the Best Western View of Lake Powell. It really did have a beautiful view of the lake from the pool! The rooms were extremely large and very nice. I would highly recommend this hotel if you are staying in Page!
The breakfast was really great and included more than your typical continental breakfast. We got an awesome deal on this hotel using Booking.com and paid just $100 a night when it was listed on other sites for over $250. The location was also perfect. It was within 20 minutes of everything you would want to do in Page. We stayed there through the rest of our trip.
Antelope Canyon and Lake Powell
On our first day here we went to Antelope Canyon and kayaked at Lake Powell. You can actually see part of Antelope Canyon if you kayak far enough into the canyon. We used Paddle Board Lake Powell which was fine, but know you’ve got to carry your own kayak down to the lake yourself.
However, we were so tired by the time we got here that we decided just to kayak part of the way into the canyon. We did have time though to kayak the entire thing if we weren’t too tired!
For our Antelope Canyon Tour, we visited the lower section of the canyon so we could see the light beams. We were lucky to see them, but the canyon itself was so full of tourists and we used Navajo Tours to book our tour with no issues. One thing to note is that you must pay there and your entire party needs to be present in order to check in. The website online said that you need to be there 30 minutes early to check in. We found this unnecessary, but it was also not high tourist season.
Pricing – $40 for Antelope Canyon Tour, $30 for kayak rental +$25 to enter Lake Powell per car
On our second day in Page we drove to Coyote Buttes South – Vermillion Cliffs (also known as the other section of the Wave) and hiked an incredibly unique and beautiful spot. This is something that is a little more off the beaten path but worth every minute!
The permit process for this section was not too difficult and we had a lot of fun there. It took us 1 1/2 hours to get there. Page is the closest town to this area. When we arrived back in Page where we saw Horeshoe Bend which was a little underwhelming after all we had seen but worth the .25 mile hike nonetheless!
Horseshoe bend is a quick and easy stop to make in Page. It is literally right on the edge of town and there are tons of people there at all times. Pictures are a little deceiving of this spot because it makes it seem like you’re the only one there – you won’t be sadly. It was really crowded when we went but if you go early you may get lucky!
Pricing – $7 per permit for Coyote Buttes South
4 hours back to Vegas
The last day was mostly a travel day for us after a lot of hiking and traveling you need a day to recover! We drove back to Las Vegas, got our nails done, and arrived at the airport in time to relax with a meal before taking our flight back. We chose to drive back through Utah where if we had more time, we could have visited Zion National Park or other parts of the Mighty 5, but decided to save that for another trip! Honestly, visiting the Mighty 5 parks in Utah are another trip all by themselves. A road trip to Utah and Arizona can happen in the same trip though.
I mentioned this before, but you really don’t need this last day to complete the trip. We arrived back in Page by 4 pm on day 7 of our trip. With a 4 hour drive, you could make it back in no time. You could also visit Horseshoe Bend in the morning, hike at Paria Canyon, and drive back from there. Paria Canyon is between Page and Vegas.
Overall this is a jam packed trip but does allow for some chances to relax and see incredible places in Arizona! This week long road trip of Arizona will not disappoint you.