Last year we finally got together with our closest girlfriends and made an extended weekend trip to Las Vegas, Zion National Park, Lower Antelope Canyon, and Horseshoe Bend. We received a lot of responses with our post Exploring Horseshoe Bend and Lower Antelope Canyon in Arizona and Hike Through a River at The Narrows, Zion National Park and some of the questions we got asked quite often was:
Did you fly into Las Vegas or Paige, Arizona? Las Vegas.
Did you rent a car? Yes, we rented.
If you rented a car, what route did you take? Great Question! Follow our journey below.
When we began planning our trip, we decided the best place for the four of us to meet-up was in Las Vegas. The plans were to spend most of our time in Utah and Arizona and the best route was to fly into Las Vegas, rent a car, and make it into a mini road trip.
The four of us flew in from different locations and arrived in Las Vegas right before noon. We picked up our rental car and headed to the SLS Hotel. We didn't walk around the strip since our plans were to wake up early the next day for our drive to Zion National Park (Utah). We had dinner inside the hotel at Katsuya and took advantage of their Happy Hour. After dinner and drinks we headed back to our room and called it a night.
We woke up at 6am and began our three hour drive to Zion National Park. Google maps suggested that it would take about 2.5 hours, but it actually took us about 3 hours. We made a couple of quick stops (food and bathroom breaks) and didn't take the scenic route, so the drive was pretty straight forward.
When we arrived at Zion National Park, we had to park on the street since all of the lots were full. It was Labor Day Weekend and the park was pretty packed and the temperatures were in the high 90s. Despite the heat it was surprisingly cool when we began trekking the Narrows. The scenery was breathtaking and we spent the entire day here.
After our long day in Zion, we had dinner and then began our drive to our next hotel in Page, Arizona. The drive to the Hampton Inn & Suites was about a two hour drive and we arrived around 8PM. We were beat and ready for bed. We had another early morning ahead of us.
The location of our hotel was only a few miles away from Horseshoe Bend and we woke up around 5AM to catch the sunrise. After a long day at Zion National Park, it was pretty tough waking up, but we were so glad that we did. The sun rise at Horseshoe Bend was gorgeous and worth the early wake up call. Plus there are less people at sunrise compared to sunsets, so if you want to avoid the crowds and the heat we recommend coming here early.
After sunrise, we headed back to the hotel to check out and made our way to Lower Antelope Canyon. Lower Antelope Canyon was a short five mile drive from the hotel and we arrived on-time for our reserved 9AM tour. Lower Antelope Canyon was truly amazing and it is just as beautiful in person as in pictures. We couldn't believe how incredibly gorgeous it was inside the canyon.
Scenic Drive from Arizona to Las Vegas
We didn't book a second night in Page, Arizona so after our tour it was time to hit the road back to Las Vegas. However, on the way back, we decided to take the scenic route and made a few stops along the way.
Scenic Stop #1 - Historic Navajo Bridge
Our first stop was a quick one and definitely a site to see. The views of Marble Canyon and the Colorado River are spectacular and mesmerizing. The photos don't do it justice!
Scenic Stop #2 - Cliff Dwellers - Stone House
We honestly had no idea what this place was, but it was apparent that the ruins used to be living quarters. We found out that a married couple, back in the 1920s, used to live here and later turned the area into a small business. The land no longer belongs to the original owners, but a functioning hotel called the "Cliff Dwellers Lodge" sits right next to the original dwellings.
We were planning on making a third stop inside Kaibab National Forest to see the "Smokey the Bear" statue, but we somehow missed it! The remaining drive back to Las Vegas did not disappoint. We drove past gorgeous red rocks and then at one point we were surrounded by the Kaibab National Forest. This is the forest that surrounds the Grand Canyon. We thought we would get a little nap in-between taking turns driving, but we didn't want to miss out on anything and stayed awake the entire drive back to Las Vegas.
It was the last night of our girl's trip and we stayed at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. The lobby is gorgeous and there is a sparkling giant tri-level chandelier that exudes luxury. The chandelier recently completed renovations, so if you haven't visited since 2016 it's worth a visit if you are back in Las Vegas.
The Cosmopolitan staff were super friendly and even offered to upgrade us (free of charge) to a room with an amazing view of the Vegas strip. Thank you for the upgrade!!! There is always something to see and do in Vegas and we decided to skip the day gambling and walked around the city. We came across this really cool bar called Tipsy Robot where your drinks are made by a robot. The whole experience gives you a futuristic vibe from start to finish. The drinks are a little overpriced, so we only ordered one drink for fun.
Speaking of drinks and food, we did all of our dining at the Cosmopolitan. For breakfast we had the brunch buffet at The Wicked Spoon, for lunch we all ordered a yummy bowl of ramen at Momofuku and for dinner we had amazing Asian Mexican cuisine at China Poblano. China Poblano was by far our favorite. Surprisingly, our least favorite was the brunch buffet. We thought with all the options we would find a variety of yummy dishes, but a lot of it was quite bland. We've been to several buffets in Las Vegas and hands down Bacchanal Buffet is still our favorite buffet.
It's been so long since the four of us got together to make a trip out of our hometowns. Having a family and varying work schedules makes putting these trips together a bit more challenging, but so worth it. We really need to make these trips happen more often and not wait so long. Looking back on the trip, we all agreed that we enjoyed our time in Utah and Arizona more than Las Vegas. Not sure if we are getting older or if we just enjoy being out in the nature more than the big city. We still had a blast in Vegas, but if you prefer the outdoors, we definitely recommend cutting your stay in Las Vegas and adding it to Utah and Arizona instead.
WHERE WE STAYED
The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas
The perfect hotel for a Girl's Vacation! Great rooms and attentive staff.