Best place to stay to see Grand Canyon/Monument Valley/Antelope Canyon

(15 Posts)
BettySuarez Sun 24-Mar-13 10:22:23

Planning a two week trip end of October but doing San Francisco at the beginning and Las Vegas at the end.

But for 7 days in the middle we are planning to explore Grand Canyon/Monument Valley/Antelope Canyon

Is there an ideal place to base ourselves?

We have looked at Flagstaff and Page but any other ideas?

Would like a self catered lodge/vacation rental if possible but would consider a hotel if needed (but as we will be doing San Fran and Vegas in hotels, we thought a weeks self catering would be nice)

Anyone have any tips for visiting these areas?

We have ruled out the Grand Canyon railway (too expensive for 6 of us) and also the Skywalk due to poor reviews. Mule Train looks too flipping scary smile

lljkk Sun 24-Mar-13 12:48:59

Sorry, can't recommend anywhere specific, I remember staying at s/c condos in Flagstaff decades ago, whole estate of them. I would think Flagstaff is a good base.

mummytime Sun 24-Mar-13 12:58:14

I wouldn't try it from one base! Sorry, it took us a day to drive from Monument valley area to Flagstaff. Maybe a few days in Flagstaff doing the Grand Canyon and then up to Kayenta for Monument Valley?
Also I hope you have allowed plenty of time to travel from SF to Flagstaff it is a long way.

Do take a Navajo tour of Monument Valley rather than the self-drive, it is well worth the extra money.

specialsubject Sun 24-Mar-13 15:05:51

there's no one base for all of them. I can only speak for the Grand Canyon, where Flagstaff works well as a base (and has some sights of its own).

this will take you to the south rim, which at that time of year will be more reliable anyway. And yes, the Canyon is just as jaw-dropping as you would hope. Charge up that camera!

www.nps.gov/grca for all the info. There are shuttle buses along the rim to visit lots of outlooks, so park and ride. The mule ride is an all day painful job, just do some short walks. As it is America, move more than 50m from a vehicle and you will be on your own. Remember that it takes three times as long to climb up as it does to climb down, but you can also walk on the rim and stay on the flat.

the canyon overlooks are perfectly safe with common sense. Every so often someone doesn't have common sense and the inevitable happens. If any of your party is too young for common sense they must be kept under close control at all times.

take provisions and water to save eye watering expense.

I think it is worth buying an annual pass for the parks if you are visiting three.

lljkk Sun 24-Mar-13 15:14:22

oops, I didn't realise OP wanted a single base for all 3. Agree that would be unrealistic.

loopsngeorge Mon 25-Mar-13 22:13:39

We did that trip with DS then 3 a few years ago when we lived in LA. Good plan to bin the railway - we did it so DS could see the "bandits" that hold up the train but it made a massive detour to our journey and there wasn't that much to see along the way as I remember.
Definitely stay right on the rim at the canyon - Bright Angel Lodge is lovely, I think we stayed in Maswik Lodge which was also nice. There are lots of budget hotels in a place who's name escapes me at the moment, but personally I would spend the money on being right by the canyon.
In Monument Valley we stayed at Gouldings Lodge which is really atmospheric and has a little museum to the stars of the westerns that were filmed around there. Monument Valley was one of my favourite places.
Then we stayed at the Lake Powell Resort and drove to Antelope Canyon from there which worked well. Page itself is a bit of a dusty town but again you can find lots of budget accommodation here.
Apart from the canyon hotels I think the accommodation costs were very reasonable. As the others have said there isn't really one base you can use as you will end up travelling miles. I was looking at my old notes from planning the trip and I've got a 2hr 15min travel time from the canyon to Page.
Have you checked about the weather for the Grand Canyon at that time of year? I think fog is a risk at some point in the autumn....

carlajean Tue 26-Mar-13 08:16:24

as said before, you need to stay in more than one place. don't expect anything brilliant from hotels away from the sites themselves. we had a wonderful holiday driving from Salt Lake City to Taos and distances and lack of towns meant that you stayed where you could find a place. We stayed in Richfield, Hanksville, Chinle and Kayenta, none of which were anything to write home about, and the food was hopeless, but we did get to see the sites we wanted to.
I'd recommend that you get a USA road atlas and do some forward planning. there's also a useful website called usaroadtrips.com. We're not usually into planning ahead, but it really pays off here.
re Monument Valley. we stayed at Gouldings Lodge and found it overrated. We enjoyed watching the old western in the little cinema, but it was overpriced. the food was so bad that we went to The View hotel, which is new and actually in the Valley, for breakfast. we would definitely stay at there, if we went again.
Have a great time. Also don't forget to take lots of stuff to listen to on the long journeys. American radio is terrible - Mormon or Christian evangelists, Right wing political commentators who think socialism is akin to devil worship, and awful country music.

loopsngeorge Tue 26-Mar-13 12:44:10

that's interesting about Gouldings Lodge - I should have said it was back in 2008 when we went so a long time ago now!

carlajean Tue 26-Mar-13 13:10:15

to be fair, it was back in 2010 that we went, so maybe they've upgraded

carlajean Tue 26-Mar-13 13:23:48

forgot to say that we also stayed at the hotel next to the Grand Canyon, which is fine and the big advantage is that it is near enough to get up before dawn and watch sunrise over the canyon - unmissable. due to time constraints, we only viewed it all from the top, but it was still amazing.
can I also suggest that you make time to see Chelly Canyon, south of Monument Valley. it's very interesting, you can only go in a guided tour with a native guide, but it would be worth the detour.

specialsubject Tue 26-Mar-13 13:47:38

the place name 'Tusayan' may be relevant.

BettySuarez Tue 26-Mar-13 18:55:15

Thank you so much for your tips, getting very excited now smile

We have a fortnight so plan is to stay 2/3 nights in SanFran (DH has been many times with work plus we have friends that live there so various plans etc) then a night or two in Las vegas with a one night stopover somewhere en-route.

Any thoughts on worthwhile stopover on way to Las Vegas?

Also is 2 night in LV enough? More than enough?

Then to head to Grand Canyon area. Will def look into accommodation recommendations - thank you smile and spend couple of nights there.

That leaves us approx. 5/6 nights to perhaps head south to LA (although personally, I'm not fussed) then maybe Monterray Bay for whale watching.

Flipping hell, is this too much for a fortnight?

BettySuarez Tue 26-Mar-13 18:56:43

Forgot to say, it's me and DH plus 4 teens so want to make sure they get to see and do lots x

carlajean Tue 26-Mar-13 21:52:54

have a great time. we stayed at Caucus, on the coast mid-way between sf and LA, nice place.

carlajean Tue 26-Mar-13 21:53:27

not caucus, Cayucus

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