smitten travels: 5 night road trip – southwest

perfect 5 night road trip from LA // smitten studioI recently planned a 5 night road trip for Rupert and my anniversary and it ended up being one of our all time favorite vacations, I can not recommend this route enough. We anchored the journey around a visit to Lake Powell (pictured above) but each leg of the trip had something special to see/do/experience.

perfect 5 night road trip from LA // smitten studioperfect 5 night road trip from LA // smitten studioperfect 5 night road trip from LA // smitten studioThe best part about a road trip is the total freedom of just jumping in the car and going! We had the destinations in mind but we were also able to play it by ear. If you are in or around the LA area and looking for an excursion out of the ordinary, this is it!

Get all the details of our route and loads more photos after the jump…

We started the trip with a night in Vegas, we got in late at night and took no photos other then of our $1000 winnings from the Wheel of Fortune slot machine (!!!), which totally started us off on the right foot. :) We stayed at the Aria, in a gorgeous suite which made us feel like high rollers, even though I put a self imposed gambling limit of a whole $20 on our entire stay!

perfect 5 night road trip from LA // smitten studioperfect 5 night road trip from LA // smitten studioperfect 5 night road trip from LA // smitten studioFrom Vegas we drove up through Zion National Park (second photo) and made a stop at the Coral Pink Sandunes, but a lightning storm was overhead right when we got there so we weren’t able to get out of the car and see much of the dunes (will have to return to see those pink hills!). That night we landed at the base of Lake Powell, where we stayed for two nights at Lake Powell Resort (I can’t say the accommodations were that nice, but it was super convenient staying right at the marina).

The last three photos were from our third day, when we rented a boat and spent the entire day out on the lake. We packed a cooler full of food and drinks and set out to explore. Growing up a boat day on Lake Powell was one of my favorite vacations and it proved to still be just as magical. The water was around 78 degrees, crystal clear and there are so many little finger canyons to take the boat into, I could happily spend a full week there. The Best!

perfect 5 night road trip from LA // smitten studioperfect 5 night road trip from LA // smitten studioperfect 5 night road trip from LA // smitten studioAfter Lake Powell, we headed south to Sedona and on the way, we stopped to have our minds blown by Antelope Canyon. We toured the Lower Canyon (only because we didn’t realize you had to book a tour and the Upper Canyon had a 2 hour wait. FYI :)), which was about an hour or so walk through what feels like an underground nature made cathedral. It is beyonnnnd.

Oh and sidenote: This leg of the trip you could also easily peel off to see the Grand Canyon. Rupe and I have both been there enough before so we skipped it this time around.

perfect 5 night road trip from LA // smitten studioperfect 5 night road trip from LA // smitten studioperfect 5 night road trip from LA // smitten studioperfect 5 night road trip from LA // smitten studioperfect 5 night road trip from LA // smitten studioOnce in Sedona we were ready for some solid down time and spent a good majority of the day at the hotel pool (last four photos). How could you not with that view? We stayed at the Amara Resort which had been recently renovated, with lovely design touches. The room and setting was beautiful and it is also centrally located right downtown Sedona. Win, Win.

perfect 5 night road trip from LA // smitten studioperfect 5 night road trip from LA // smitten studioperfect 5 night road trip from LA // smitten studioFrom Sedona we headed to Palm Springs for the last night. This was the only leg of driving that wasn’t the best, it is about 5 hours of a lot of straight roads and lot of desert, but we kept ourselves entertained with baby naming ideas that got ridiculously out of hand. Sagebrush Saguaro Samuel might be coming at you in February! :)

If you read this blog you know we visit Palm Springs A LOT. So we didn’t really do anything special other than more pool time. :) We stayed at the Viceroy, ate breakfast at our favorite place, Cheeky’s and stopped by the Ace for lunch where I met up with Sarah Yates and convinced her to take the same road trip (Which they did (and loved) just one week later. see hers and Lou’s photos of Lake Powell here and here).

Route Summary:

Day 1: LA -> Vegas
Day 2: Vegas -> Lake Powell (with side trips to Mount Zion National Park & Coral Pink Sandunes)
Day 3: Lake Powell Boat Day
Day 4: Lake Powell -> Sedona (with side trip to Antelope Canyon and gorgeous drive through Coconino National Forest)
Day 5: Sedona -> Palm Springs
Day 6: Palm Springs -> LA

All photos by Sarah Sherman Samuel, taken on the iPhone  (forgot the Canon at home)

To see more of Smitten Travels, check here. 

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