My parents recently have been all about national parks when it comes to vacations especially since they now have the lifetime national park pass. Since my dad teaches and has spring break early March, they wanted to go somewhere with national parks. Most places in early March are probably still pretty cold and a lot of the roads or trails may not be open yet but since Arizona is in the Southwest, we figured it would be the perfect time to visit since summer can be incredibly hot.
I’ll be honest, I thought my mom’s itinerary was pretty ambitious. We planned a 5-day trip to Arizona where we would all fly into Phoenix then rent a car a drive around. Instead of sticking to just one region of Arizona, we would be covering a lot of ground. The plan was to drive down to Tucson where we would spend one night and visit Saguaro National Park then head north to spend in a night in Flagstaff before visiting Petrified Forest National Park to the East. Then we would loop back and continue north to Page to visit Antelope Canyon, staying there two nights before driving back down to Phoenix to catch our flights home.
We pretty much drove most of Arizona from south to north. Prior to this trip, my parents had already visited Arizona on another trip so they had already been to Sedona, Page, the Grand Canyon, etc. But for me, I’ve mostly only driven through on cross-country road trips (3 times) where I briefly stopped in Phoenix for an hour (it was summer and way too hot) and stayed a night in Flagstaff just to rest. Otherwise, I had never really done anything significant in the state.
There were a few things I learned during this trip. First off, driving from southern Arizona to northern Arizona just showed how varied the state is in terms of environment, temperature and so forth. In Phoenix and Tucson, only a light jacket or windbreaker was needed and it was mostly flat with lots of cacti. Flagstaff was freezing cold and snowing. Petrified Forest National Park was chilly but not as cold as Flagstaff and was not snowing though it started to halfway through the drive back to Flagstaff. Page was colder than southern Arizona but not as cold as Flagstaff and had a lot of shorter bushier looking trees spread more far apart. Basically, it might be Arizona which is known for crazy high temps in the summer but winter is still winter. However, the sun was pretty strong still except when it was snowing in Flagstaff.
That’s basically the preview for this trip. I’ll be breaking down the actual trip by day in additional posts. Day One will be a shorter post since our day in Arizona did not really start until the afternoon.
This post is part of a series: