Every year my husband and I make an effort to take a new adventure. We are typically a beach vacation type of couple. In true Meghan and Jacob fashion, we were originally planning a cruise (pre COVID) Once those plans were out the window, we decided to aim for something mostly outdoors. Our 2021 adventure introduced us to a whole new type of trip. Active, outdoors and far away from any water, we headed out west. 6 days taking us from Las Vegas, Sedona, Grand Canyon, and back to Vegas. Enjoy all the details of our voyage!
Richmond to Las Vegas via Southwest
Hotel – The Paris – loving the elegant vibe of this hotel. We also got the room for a steal being off season in Vegas. We wanted to pick a hotel that was walking distance to anything we wanted on the strip. Like most hotels in Vegas, they have a casino downstairs and many food options. It would not be Pairs with out the Eiffel Tower! You can go up in the tower with a reservation and tickets with a great view over the strip.
Dinner night 1: Wahlburgers – The infamous Wahlberg family restaurant. A simple dinner with great drink prices before our night out. Not to mention, delicious burgers as promised. A delicious dinner for families or anyone on a budget in the expensive city of Vegas.
Dinner night 2: Buca di Pepo – Can you say unlimited pasta and wine?! Located in Bally’s hotel, this was one of my favorite meals. For $13.99 a person, Jacob and I got unlimited pasta broken into 4 different flavors. We also sprung for the all you can drink wine and beer for an additional fee. The rest of the menu was served family style, it was actually cheaper for us to have only 2 servings of the all you can eat rather than each of us getting a large plate of our own pasta. Saving money and dinking all the wine I can, check!
Valley of fire state park – About an hour outside of Las Vegas, we found this amazing state park. This park is like a rock playground for adult’s . A variety of hikes all with great views. We had such a fun day exploring. Even if you are only traveling to Vegas, this is a great day trip for anyone who enjoys being in nature.
Driving from Las Vegas to Sedona (4.5 hours)
Hotel – Cedars Resort – We drove from LAs Vegas to Sedona. We only stayed in Sedona one night. We picked a hotel right in the middle of “town” for easy access to everything. Another hotel with great views. It served as a great resting place for our stop in Sedona.
Horseback – 20 minutes outside of Sedona we enjoyed a two hour horse back tour. I certainly got in the cowgirl spirit for this adventure. I have not ridden a horse since I was a toddler, this was an eye opener for me. The horses ran up and down the rock covered hills of the western mountains. Some moments were scary for a non experienced rider like myself, but I am still so glad that we did it. When do you get the chance to ride horses like a real cowgirl?
Wine at winery 1912 – After our ride, we decided to treat ourselves to a bottle of local wine. This winery was located right in the main shopping area of Sedona. While we waited for a table we were able to pop into some of the local shops. We took advantage of a tasting and couldn’t leave without a bottle. I only tried the white wines but they were all so light and sweet without being over powering. Definitely would recommend a glass here if you are going to shop around the mall area.
Dinner in Sedona: Fiesta Mexicana – Sedona is a small little town with a lot of unique shopping and dining options. We chose Fiesta Mexicana for an authentic family owned Mexican meal. While the only cheese dip they had was an $11.99 appetizer sized dish, the quesadilla was delicious. Great service and authentic food! Oddly enough, this was one of our most expensive meals, but we had to splurge for the cheese dip after all.
Sedona to The Grand Canyon (2 hours)
Tusayan: Grand Canyon plaza– We traveled from Sedona to the Grand Canyon where we hiked the south rim trail. Traveling to the Grand Canyon in February had its challenges. The Grand Canyon obviously has many trails that lead down into the Canyon a ways. When we traveled, lots of snow and ice covered the trails making it impossible to go into the canyon more than a foot or two. For safety reasons, we walked about 5 miles total around the rim of the Canyon on a paved trail. The views were amazing! We saw very small pieces of the Colorado river down below. The park never closes either so after sun down, we drove back into the lot and had an amazing view of a clear star filled sky. A romantic touch that would have been better in the summer but still worth it if you find yourself there in the winter.
Dinner: We cook pizza and pasta – Depending where you stay, you will find there are limited dining options in town near the Grand Canyon. This place was very casual and had delicious pizza! A casual night after a long day was exactly what we needed and what we got. Note: most places close very early in off season so if you are thinking about a late dinner or dessert be sure to check the hours. We were denied a McFlurry from McDonalds after arriving at 8:00 PM.
Breakfast: Foodies – Before leaving town, we stopped at Foodies for another casual meal, delicious bagel sandwiches, scrambled eggs and excellent bacon gave us the strength for our journey back to Las Vegas.
Tusayan to Las Vegas ( 4 hours)
Hoover Dam: On our drive back to Las Vegas, we stopped at the iconic Hoover Dam. Unfortunately due to COVID they are not offering tours through the Dam. That does not mean there aren’t gorgeous views to take in.
La Quinta airport south: As a budget saver, we stayed off the strip for our last night so that the next morning we had a shuttle to the airport. For an airport hotel, I was impressed. They offer to-go breakfast and a complimentary airport shuttle.
Dinner in food court: Sabarro – When you are walking around having a few beers in Vegas, sometimes you just want a chain brand slice of cheap pizza. It hit the spot! In the food court of Bally’s we ate our delicious dinner located next to the sports bets, so Jacob was happy as well.
We left the next morning and headed back home. I am so thankful for the beauty that we got to witness on this trip even during a pandemic. I hope this play by play of our adventure will help you plan your get away. Stay tuned for part two, about staying on a budget in the expensive city of Las Vegas.