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10 Things to Know before You Start to Plan Your Arizona + Utah Road Trip

10 Things to Know before You Start to Plan Your Arizona + Utah Road Trip | CosmosMariners.com

The countdown is on for our upcoming road trip to the Western U.S., and I am so busy putting the final details on our itinerary. The majority of our trip will take place in Arizona and Utah, which have so many incredible locations that it's been hard to narrow down exactly where we need to go!

 Our original plan had been to fly in and out of Denver, Colorado, and do a quick excursion into northern Utah as part of that loop. However, when we realized that we were leaving out so many incredible sights in the neighboring states, we had to rethink that plan. We expanded our original route into the multi-state road trip that we'll actually be taking.

This trip will include a lot of firsts: Gibson's first plane ride, my first time visiting Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado, and Britton's first time in a National Park. We're so excited to finally make this trip happen, so I've been researching like crazy. Along the way, I've found out all kinds of fun facts about what these states have to offer.

If you're planning to see some of the best of what the American West has to offer on your own road trip, here's what you need to know before you start sketching out your itinerary through Arizona, Utah, and beyond.

Arizona 

10 Things to Know before You Start to Plan Your Arizona + Utah Road Trip | CosmosMariners.com
Monument Valley, Arizona
The Grand Canyon has two different areas, the North Rim and the South Rim. The former is more remote and has access to Bright Angel Point and Point Imperial, while the latter has the Grand Canyon Village, where you can stay in historic lodges and dine at the famed El Tovar.

If you want to go to the Grand Canyon, consider adding a few days in the National Park after you go to Las Vegas since it's just a few hours from Sin City. You could have an incredible mini road trip from Vegas by doing the Hoover Dam, part of Route 66, and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

10 Things to Know before You Start to Plan Your Arizona + Utah Road Trip | CosmosMariners.com
Grand Canyon
If you'd like to stay in Arizona for your entire trip, Phoenix is a great place to use as a hub. It's about three and a half hours from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon South Rim, just over two hours to Flagstaff and Wupatki National Monument, and under two hours to Tucson.

When you're traveling between Arizona and Utah, you should work out your road trip so you can include a stop in Monument Valley. It straddles the state line, and it's a part of the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. If you've ever seen a Western movie, you've seen the iconic Mittens buttes that are the focal point of the park. If you're planning to bring a picnic or stay the night in Monument Valley, you'll want to leave the wine at home, as the Tribal Park is dry.

See if you'll be one of the lucky ones to get a daily pass to the Wave inside Vermilion Cliffs National Monument.

Utah 

10 Things to Know before You Start to Plan Your Arizona + Utah Road Trip | CosmosMariners.com
Arches National Park
When you're traveling between Monument Valley and Moab, there aren't any major towns. You'll want to stock up on snacks, water, and gas before you get into the super rural areas, just in case you're a little too far for comfort when the gas tank hits empty.

Two can't-miss spots in Utah are Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. Both are just a few miles from Moab, Utah, and have dozens of hikes. There are even a few super easy ones that we'll be taking the kids on!

10 Things to Know before You Start to Plan Your Arizona + Utah Road Trip | CosmosMariners.com
Canyonlands National Park
Capitol Reef National Park is another stunning protected space that focuses on the region's red rock country. I had no idea that the word "reef" could apply to features on the land as well, but it just means any rocky barrier to travel. There aren't any oceans here, but there are some gorgeous rock towers and buttes!

All of the National Parks have a Junior Ranger program. Make sure your little travelers fill out the workbooks and do the activities to get their badge for each of the parks along your Arizona and Utah road trip. Britton's already getting excited about collecting as many as she can on our trip.

Have you done a Western U.S. road trip yet? If so, where did you visit?

10 Things to Know before You Start to Plan Your Arizona + Utah Road Trip | CosmosMariners.com

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