The Ultimate LA to AZ road trip itinerary

ca to az, arizona, things to do in arizona, phoenix, scottsdale, la to arizona road trip, la road trip ideasLA to AZ

At the height of the Omnicron pandemic this past holiday, my family and I appeased our travel bug with the perfect road trip from LA to AZ.  It was so fun and well-planned out that I wanted to share all the details. Moreover, it was the safest way to travel (our fully-loaded, 2022 Chevy Traverse provided by our travel partner was super clean, and a private mode of transportation). And all our pit stops/activities minus some restaurants were outdoors! This itinerary gave us great quality time while allowing us to enjoy the most spectacular scenery!

Disclaimer, I can’t take credit for all the amazing travel planning and plotting of pit stops. My brother and husband teamed up to do all the vaca research. And now I’m sharing everything so you too can simply hop in a car and GO!

Williams, AZ

 

Barstowe, Needles and Lake Havasu are the only popular pit stops along with the RTE 66 museum to help break up the long 8 hour drive. But the ever-changing scenery had us so wow-ed (as former Manhattanites who lived in a concrete jungle), that the time passed quite quickly.  (Aand we didn’t even mind that the RTE 66 museum was unexpectedly closed during the holiday break).  The roads treated us to grand mountain views , tons of exotic tumbleweed and seemingly never-ending pastures. It felt like the wild wild west and we were enamored!

Flagstaff, AZ (Grand Canyon)

This list of viewing sites was so efficient and masterfully planned. TIP make sure to research the weather before you pack because while you might think AZ is hot or a warm destination, you’ll be surprised to find that in the winter, the high altitude spots like the Grand Canyon and Flagstaff get SNOW!! Yes, it snows in AZ!

Sedona, AZ

Next, we stopped in Sedona for the evening and happened upon the most beautiful Chipotle ever lol. Because all the other restaurants in the area seemingly had an over an hour wait, we gave up and randomly stopped into Chipotle only to find the most incredible viewing spots of the Sedona mountains. Plus there was this Instagramable moment.

Sedona is famous for its unique, red sandstone formations like Cathedral Rock, Coffeepot and Thunder Mountain.  Wineries, art galleries, spas and spiritual retreats are also huge tourist draws.  Also, if psychics, gem stores, Southwestern fashions and turquoise jewelry are your thing, you’ve come to the right place haha! It wasn’t ours but we still enjoyed window shopping and grabbing some ice cream in this Main St. bustling downtown area! If you have more time to explore Sedona, know that quirky UFO, and ghost tours are popular along with spiritual vortex tours too. I’m a curious person and may have to try these next trip!

Camp Verde, AZ (Montezuma Castle)

You won’t believe your eyes when you see this cliffside, cave house.  They call it a castle but really, it’s a five-story structure of 20 rooms that looks more like and was probably used more like an apartment.  Situated near Camp Verde about an hour south of Flagstaff, it dates back to the 12th century and was used by the Sinagua civilization.  It immediately ignited the imagination of my 8 year old daughter who had a bunch of questions for the local ranger we found on the trail.  How did they get back home? (A. They had to climb a ladder).  Were there bathrooms in there? (A. there was no plumbing and they had to throw their waste out the windows).  EW!

The short and very walkable path featured exotic trees and a pond and culminated in a visitor’s center/gift shop.  It’s a trip down history lane and we all found it very interesting and worth the short visit.  My favorite part however was checking out this miniature, creation depicting what the rooms inside were like!  You can peek into this along the outdoor pathway.

Scottsdale, AZ (Arizona Biltmore hotel)

There were limited 4 and 5 star hotel options when it came to hotels along this road trip until we got to Scottsdale where we stayed at the Waldorf Astoria – owned, Arizona Biltmore.  Its beautiful grounds and spectacular poolside featuring these huge slides, were a huge hit with the family so I thought it was worth a quick mention here. 

If you’re a fan of Frank Lloyd’s architecture, spas, and/or golf, you will LOVE this hotel.  

Historic Old Town Scottsdale, is a fun place to visit. It’s a whole VIBE!  Think Southwestern shops, restaurants jamming to live music, cowboy hats and a nightlife that didn’t even stop through the peak of Omnicron.  While we were there, we witnessed tons of bars jam-packed with maskless people in fact (so we made sure to get our glimpses from a distance and decided to eat elsewhere.  

Phoenix, AZ

Probably one of the most memorable hikes we’ve ever had was at this Papago Park.  Near the hugely popular, Desert Botanical Garden (which we decided to skip), was this “hole-in-the-rock” sandstone structure with almost comical looking undulations and large holes (created by the flow of water over millions of years). 

If we can do this hike, in our embarrassingly, inappropriate fashions and ballet shoes, you can too!  We were both unprepared for this surprise of a hike on our itinerary and also were unprepared for the glorious view! It is WORTH the trek!

Phoenix, AZ (Dobbins Lookout)

Speaking of views, also in Phoenix, is Dobbins Lookout -the highest accessible point in South Mountain Park.  It’s 710 metres up!  It faces north, features breathtaking views of downtown Phoenix to Camelback all the way to the north-east.  We enjoyed the picturesque opportunities within their stone ramada and found the views awe-inspiring.  Disregard my daughter’s unexcited face here..she just woke up from the road trip.

Where to eat in Phoenix, AZ?  Try Wrigley Mansion for a fancy dining experience (Check their website for hours of operations because they are odd and they’re closed Monday and Tuesday)

Or go to Little Miss BBQ  for a casual meal.  (But try and go earlier because they do tend to sell out of certain items!) I’m salivating remembering our BBQ dishes!

Palm Springs, CA

I could write an entire separate post on Palm Springs, CA.  But for this post, I’ll quickly mention the Cabazon outlets if you hadn’t had your fill of shopping yet and the Cabazon Dinosaurs across the way.  We just HAD to stop for a pic by this Tyrannosaurus Rex who crazily dressed as Santa for the holidays.  Note though that the other free-to-see dinosaur has a gift shop which is also a fun pit-stop for families! My daughter said it was as if the dinosaur had eaten a gift shop!

 

We hope you enjoyed this post and found it helpful or inspiring!  Everyone from nature lovers, hikers, outdoorsy travelers to family adventure seekers like us will all have something to love in AZ.  There’s simply so much to see and take in.  Next time, we’ll have to hit the other northern areas of AZ like: Havasu Falls, Monument Valley, Vermilion Cliffs and Antelope Canyon.  If you have additional questions, please leave a comment or shoot me a message! 

Click HERE for 6 stops you must see for an epic SoCal road trip

Click HERE for the wackiest Pasadena, CA pit stop

 

 

7 Top Moving Tips Plus Packing Hacks You Need To Know

Did you know that the average American moves 12 times in their lifetime…12 TIMES! Moves are extremely stressful and having just done a cross-country NYC to LA move recently, I learned a lot along the way and am here to share!  I’m hoping the 7 moving tips and helpful packing hacks below help those of you who are currently planning or preparing a move in the near future.  (If you aren’t moving but know someone else who is, please send and share this with them)!  brooklyn bridge, nyc family, nyc mom, moving tips

  1. Make (and stick) to a timeline with monthly and weekly goals.  To minimize overwhelm, break down the giant moving task into smaller, more manageable to do lists.   Create a timeline and focus on just that week’s goals.  All those little details like changing addresses with the post office (2 weeks prior), returning cable boxes, and buying extra packing tape will not be forgotten once this list and timeline are made.
  2. The prep work begins with the purge– When you have less to move, you’ll not only save money, you’ll have less overwhelm and a feeling of a fresh new start.  Even though I religiously edited down our things every season (since as a New Yorker, you’re pretty much required to do so given tight living spaces), I mercilessly edited even more months before the move.   You’d be surprised how much stuff you’ve collected along the way and need to either giveaway, toss, or SELL.  Moving requires you to take a cold hard look at your belongings and re-evaluate how much you need, or love each and every one of your items.  You’ll find that many things simply won’t fit or make sense in the new place.  Being we were moving to a warmer climate, we got rid of 80% of our winter fashions for example.  And we realized it would be more expensive to move our old couch than to simply buy a new one so always consider that.  Additionally, selling items may take a few attempts and avenues (FB marketplace, Ebay, Craiglist, eblasts to friends) and you’ll want a comfy cushion of time so you’re not forced to simply giveaway everything last minute.
  3. Start packing unused, and off-season items making sure boxes are categorized by room/category.  Bonus points if you color code your boxes/labels for each room! (Think colored tape, and/or markers).  And try to create a basic list of contents for each box either by creating a list and numbering each box, or simply listing contents on the box’s exterior.moving hacks, moving tips, packing tips, packing hacks, how to prepare a move
  4. Pack what I call your getaway bag.  That suitcase you’ll be traveling with to your destination needs to have all your essentials and most valuable items for peace of mind.  When you arrive, you’re not going to want to look through a hundred boxes to find your toothbrush, outfits, prescription meds, laptop and cell phone chargers for instance. Note, if you don’t pack it up early, it could easily and mistakenly get packed up by one of your helpers along the way.
  5. Save money on bubble wrap and padding by getting creative!  Stemware can be stored in clean socks, knives can be stored in oven mitts & empty paper towel rolls.  Picture frames can be stored in pillow cases. Paper plates can be placed between breakable plates. Basically anytime you are packing soft items like linens or clothes, look around the room to see what fragile items can go in between! Large artwork in a duvet? YES!  extra tip, pack plates vertically in boxes (like records), and they will be less likely to break!
  6. Save money on boxes.  Start collecting delivery boxes that are shipped to you (hello Amazon!) the month prior to your move.  Reuse original boxes for electronics and small appliances.  And remember that all the suitcases, hampers, bins, baskets and garbage bins around your house can be used as moving containers too! (
  7. Research, budget and plan for your moving company/moving vehicles– Research and start budgeting for your move.  Do you need help packing?  Do you need to book a vehicle?  how much will it cost to have professionals move you in/out and will it cover basic furniture setup and insurance?

moving tips, packing hacks, packing tips, how to moveThis post is sponsored by Big Deahl’s Movers. I hope you find these moving tips helpful and/or can SHARE with someone who might!

Big Deahl’s Movers offers a wide range of services including: residential moving, commercial moving, labor only, packing and pool table movers in Cucumango, California.  Be sure to check out their website for more information!

 

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