Grand Canyon Jeep Tour

BEST WAY TO SEE THE GRAND CANYON

Happy Monday! I'm slowly working my way back home to Nashville this week after 5 jam-packed weeks of travel, and I'm so excited to start sharing these adventures here on the blog! I've already posted about my time in Sedona so today I'm dishing on it's neighboring attraction (not to mention one of the most popular ones in the U.S.) the Grand Canyon.

No matter how much you know about this natural wonder, nothing can adequately prepare you for seeing it yourself. Coming here was actually what inspired this entire road trip I'm currently on. After traveling Europe for 4.5 months, I realized how many incredible places in my own country I hadn't seen (the Grand Canyon being at the top of the list). But as I started to do my research, I realized there are dozens of ways that over 5 million visitors choose to see it each year. So which option do you pick? Driving? Hiking? Mules? Helicopters? The options are overwhelming.

While mules sounded unique and helicopters sounded luxurious, I realized that personally, my main focus of seeing the Grand Canyon this first time was to be able to simply marvel at it with no distractions (although I totally would do both of those things next time I go back!) So once I decided I wouldn't have to stress falling off a donkey or be snapping selfies in a helicopter, I began to narrow my search. I was looking for a (small group) tour with a guide who could educate me and take me to the best viewpoints. And that's exactly what I found. 

 

PINK JEEP TOURS: GRAND CANYON

pink jeep tours grand canyon

Pink Jeep Tours is the longest running, and the largest off-road adventure company in the US. Based in Sedona, they also offer tours there, in Las Vegas and obviously, the Grand Canyon. Trademarked by superior customer service, environmental responsibility and a top-tier commitment to guide education and passenger safety, Pink® Adventure Group welcomes more than 300,000 guests annually to experience an adventure they will not soon forget. While they offer several tour options, we did the Grand Finale Deluxe Tour, which is a 3 hour experience that takes you to the best viewpoints along the South Rim, ending while you watch the sunset. 

pink jeep tours grand canyon
pink jeep tours grand canyon

We hopped in our open-air Jeep (don't worry, it has insulated flaps and heat for days when it's cold) and set out to chase the best views of the canyon. It happened to be an extremely cloudy day, and we were all nervous that the could cover would block any chance of a view. Luckily, this wasn't our guide's first rodeo. As he monitored the cloud motion he signaled for us to jump back in the Jeep before zooming off to the next lookout to beat the clouds. While a bright + sunny day is ideal, I was so thankful to be with someone who knew the park so well and could navigate us around to make sure we had the best views possible. Once we escaped the dense fog, I'd argue the clouds made for an even cooler moody + etherial view than you would typically get.

grand canyon tour
grand canyon arizona

Pink Jeeps was a great way to see the Canyon for the first time and I'd highly recommend it to anyone wanting a care-free experience with the best views available. 

grand canyon village arizona

SHOP THE LACE-UP BACK SWEATER I WORE THAT'S CURRENTLY ON SALE HERE.

 

I don't think you'll ever really be able to appreciate the magnitude of the Grand Canyon, which makes it easy to justify going back. Now that I've been, here are a few things I'd advise before visiting (and things I'll keep in mind before I return!)

  • Factor the weather whilst planning your trip. You should always plan on a variety of climates so if possible, have a flexible itinerary so you can swap days around if the conditions aren't optimal. 
  • Summer is the most popular season. While it offers the best weather conditions, it also means you should prepare yourself for large crowds if you choose to go then. 
  • The majority of visitors visit the South Rim (arguably the most beautiful views, more lodging options and visitor services available). The South Rim is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
  • Park entrance is $25 per private vehicle (this is included in the the price of your Pink Jeeps Tour).
  • If you're staying longer than a day, be sure to check out some other ways to see the Canyon, including: helicopter tours, camping, hiking, or mule rides

 

Have you had an amazing experience at the Grand Canyon another way that's not mentioned above? Let me know in the comments below!

I'm hopping in the car + heading to another destination now, but stay tuned for more travel guides coming to the blog soon. In the meantime, have a great week friends!

xx

Whitney

grand canyon

Sedona Travel Guide

SEDONA TRAVEL GUIDE

Happy Tuesday! I've been on somewhat of a hiatus lately (haven't posted in over 3 weeks-- eek!) If you're new around here, I'm currently in the middle of a 6 week, coast-to-coast road-trip across the US. I've been going non-stop for over a month now and am finally just getting time to sit down and play catch up on sharing some of my travels. So today, let's talk Sedona. 

Sedona is someplace I've wanted to visit for years now. Known for it's positive energy, abundance of hiking and breathtaking scenery, this Arizona town is someplace everyone can appreciate. It's proximity to Phoenix, Scottsdale, Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon makes it easy to take some day trips during your stay (although once you arrive you may not want to leave). Given my calendar and the allotted time I had with a friend who was visiting, we divided our 5 day trip between Scottsdale and Sedona (2 days in each and one day trip in between for the Grand Canyon). I honestly wish we had more time in all of these places because each exceeded my expectations significantly. 

But even given my 2 short days in Sedona, I fell in love with so much about this place. So as you you plan a trip of your own, here's what I recommend including:

 

THINGS TO DO

hilton bell rock sedona arizona

HIKING

Nestled in Red Rock Country, Sedona certainly has no shortage of beautiful hiking. Renowned for its mildness, Sedona weather means you can hike pretty much any time of the year that you visit. While rain prevented us from seeing as much of the trails as I'd hoped, you definitely need to pencil some time in your itinerary to check out as many of the trails as you can. Some of the top ones I'd recommend include: 

1. BELL ROCK

  • DIFFICULTY: Easy/short.
  • DISTANCE: Up to 4 MI. roundtrip (1-2 hours)
  • DESCRIPTION: A no-brainer, gentle hike around Sedona's famous formation. 

2. CATHEDRAL ROCK

  • DIFFICULTY: Easy/short.
  • DISTANCE: Up to 1.5 miles (30-40 minutes)
  • DESCRIPTION: A magnificent view (considered the most photographed image in AZ besides the Grand Canyon). 

3. WEST FORK

  • DIFFICULTY: Easy/longer.
  • DISTANCE: Up to 6.4 miles roundtrip (Up to 3 hours, 30 minutes)
  • DESCRIPTION: Awesome cliffs are nestled along the stream to create an oasis of tranquility + a sense of magic. 

4. BOYNTON

  • DIFFICULTY: Easy/longer.
  • DISTANCE: Up to 6.3 miles roundtrip (3 hours, 30 min).
  • DESCRIPTION: Stunning and varied. Popular (and can be crowded) but has ample parking and bathroom facilities. 

5. DEVIL'S BRIDGE

  • DIFFICULTY: Moderate/short.
  • DISTANCE: 4 or 2 miles roundtrip (2.5/ 3 or 1.5 hours).
  • DESCRIPTION: A short but hearty uphill hike boasting spectacular scenery. 

 

 

HORSEBACK RIDING AT M DIAMOND RANCH

m diamond ranch sedona arizona

Right when we got into town, we went to M Diamond Ranch for some horseback riding. This 100 year old family-run cattle ranch is located just outside of Sedona and offers an unforgettable experience whilst visiting Arizona. While they offer several trail rides (everything from 1-3 hours) we opted for the sunset option (which included a cowboy cookout on the ranch after dusk). No matter if you've ever been on a horse or not, the staff is great about walking you through the basics to ensure a safe ride, while still letting you enjoy the experience for yourself. The scenery on the trail was gorgeous, the authentic western experience was so fun to embrace and I would highly recommend it to everyone visiting. 

HILTON BELL ROCK SEDONA ARIZONA

Our Sedona experience wouldn't have been nearly as enjoyable without Hilton Sedona at Bell Rock. Nestled among the iconic Red Rock scenery in the shadow of Bell Rock, this property boasts way more than just a place to lay your head at night. With a full-functioning spa (which I took full advantage of), a heated outdoor lap pool, fitness center, and an 18-hole championship golf course you'll have no shortage of entertainment before you even leave the hotel.  And if the amenities alone aren't enough to sell you, check out these room views. 

HILTON BELL ROCK SEDONA AZ
HILTON BELL ROCK SEDONA AZ

We had breakfast at the hotel both mornings in Sedona: once to enjoy the atmosphere at The Grille at Shadow Rock and once to take advantage of room service (because why would you not seize the opportunity to eat red velvet pancakes in bed?

hilton sedona bell rock

All in all, I can't say enough great things about our experience at Hilton Sedona. If you're looking for a property that's conveniently located and luxurious while still being relaxed and down to earth, this is the spot for you.

 

 

WHERE TO EAT

 

MARIPOSA

MARIPOSA SEDONA ARIZONA

Perched on a bluff in Sedona, you'll find Mariposa: a gorgeous + sophisticated restaurant that offers panoramic views of some of the most beautiful red-rock pinnacles in the area. Chef Lisa Dahl started the eatery as a place to reflect her passion for cooking, as well as show her appreciation for Sedona's stunning scenery. It certainly does a beautiful job of both. 

mariposa sedona arizona

We went for lunch so that we could properly appreciate the views (although if you visit in the summer season, you'll be able to marvel in the early dinner hours as well). The menu was brimming with so many delicious options, we had a hard time narrowing it down. For starters, we couldn't turn down their triple queso truffle mac and cheese. Quick backstory: one of my favorite metaphors I've ever coined in regards to relationships is Easy Mac vs. mac + cheese from scratch. Some people want a quick fix and don't want to deal with the hard work required for the quality stuff, so they settle for "Easy Mac". Some of us are still rolling out the pasta from scratch while others are already eating (which can be frustrating at times). But when it's finally time to sit down and enjoy our mac and cheese, it'll be the incredibly delicious kind-- not the mediocre stuff. So now, this Mariposa triple queso truffle mac and cheese is now the kind I describe that I want in my metaphor. It's the best kind you could possibly imagine. 

mariposa triple queso truffle mac and cheese

 

The menu boasts loads of other tasty treats (of which I don't have any metaphors for- but they're still just as delicious). We loved their unique selection of specialty cocktails (we tried a few and they were all delicious). For our mains, we went the light, healthy route with the Atun Ceviche and Green Goddess salad (both were delicious). And for dessert? The Coconut Maple Flan will rock your world. No matter what you order, you're sure to fall in love with this latin-inspired cuisine that showcases quality ingredients (like organic, Arizona-grown vegetables). 

mariposa sedona arizona
mariposa sedona arizona

We also ate at Cucina Rustica, another Dahl restaurant, and loved the dreamy ambiance and delicious food.. We ran out of time, but next time I also want to check out Pisa Lisa and Dahl & DiLuca!

 

WHAT TO PACK

Effortless is the name of the game in Red Rock Country. Since so many people come here to be outdoors, the style most certainly reflects that. Save your fancy clothes for another destination and embrace your comfy, casual basics. 

DENIM JACKET

Since the weather is so temperate in Sedona, you can't go wrong with a denim jacket. Try one with a faux shearling collar like this, or a more classic look like this

CHAMBRAY

Can you tell there's a trend here? Staying true to the denim trend, be sure to pack a chambray button up that can be worn as a light layer or simply on it's own. For a bit of a dressier option, try a chambray shirtdress like this

 

BOOTS

You'll definitely want to be sure to pack a variety of boots for your time in Sedona. For hiking, be sure you have a proper hiking boot. For everything else? Try something flat, water resistant and comfortable like this or this.  

So there you have it! Hopefully this all helps you plan your own Sedona adventure. Have a Sedona recommendation I didn't include? Let me know in the comments below!

 

As always, thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for lots more U.S. travel guides that will be making their way to the blog soon. In the meantime, shop my feed from my latest adventures and favorite travel gear!

xx

Whitney

 

sedona travel guide hilton bell rock hotel

24 Hours in Seville

24 HOURS IN SEVILLE

Happy Thursday! Today I'm writing from Santa Fe, NM as I slowly make my way to the west coast. I only have about 24 hours here, but I know from past experience that you can still see and do a lot in that short period of time. So before I explore Santa Fe, let's rewind a bit to October when I spent another whirlwind 24 hours in Seville, Spain. 

seville spain

I technically wasn't even supposed to go to Seville. My friend Sarah and I were going from Amsterdam to Granada, which had us flying into Seville and then taking a train to Granada. But it wasn't until our last day in Amsterdam when we realized we were going to lose a full day to traveling that we decided to shorten our time in Granada and explore Seville while we were there. We both agree it was one of the best decisions we made on the trip. 

Seville is the capital of southern Spain's Andalusia region and according to myth, was founded 3000 years ago by the Greek god Hercules. Situated on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, this charismatic metropolis is covered in sunshine almost all year long (which means you'll want to buy a Spanish fan while visiting because it gets HOT). And while I didn't get to see and do nearly as much as it has to offer in the short time I was there, I know enough to say you want to add this gem to your list of places to visit. However long you stay, don't leave without ticking these boxes.

seville spain

GO TO A FLAMENCO SHOW

Flamenco is in Sevilla's blood. No matter which direction you walk, you'll stumble on a touristy sign for a proper Spanish flamenco show. If you want to avoid a touristy version and find something that has a bit more grit, head to the old Gypsy district of Triana to Casa Anselma for a truly authentic backroom show. Some other great options? Tablao El Arenal and Casa de la Memoria.

seville spain

GET LOST IN THE STREETS

One of my favorite things about Seville is that we had no agenda. We let ourselves get lost in the streets, wandering around anywhere that intrigued us (and pretty much ever turn did). Be sure to carve out some time to let yourself do exactly that (and be sure to look up at all the architecture when you do!)

seville spain
seville spain
seville spain

TAPAS, TAPAS, TAPAS

It's no secret that tapas are a way of life in Spain. But in Seville in particular, it seems that dinner is rarely consumed all in one place. You can start snacking as early as dusk and keep going late into the night-- so don't be afraid to try different tapas at multiple places! Some of the best options that are full of locals, great atmosphere and delicious food? 

TABERNA EL PORVENIR

PLATO PLATÓ

BODEGUITA ROMERO

CASA MORALES

seville spain
seville spain
seville spain

EMBRACE MOORISH INFLUENCE

Given it's proximity to Morocco, Seville is known for Mudéjar style (which is a hybrid of Islamic-Christian architecture). The Alcázar (a royal palace that was once a Moorish fort), the Palace of the Marquis of la Algaba and the Archaeological Museum of Seville are all wonderful places to appreciate this style of architecture. But additionally, you'll notice the intricate mosaics all around and the fragrant spices pouring out of lots of the local shops. 

seville spain

Anything you loved in Seville that I missed? Let me know in the comments below! I'm off to explore a new city with these next 24 hours: Santa Fe! Stay tuned for more to come about my time here...

xx-

Whitney

seville spain
seville spain