The Doran’s Vacation Out West

April 6, 2021

It seriously feels like a dream to be able to take my family on an incredible bucket list vacation. We were able to see so many amazing places, get so much fresh air, practice so much gratitude and really live life to the fullest.

During a crazy year, and then deciding to homeschool our children for a year, we asked out children to look up the top places in the country and pick out their bucket list places. Every time we would see a screensaver on the TV showing a beautiful place, the kids would yell and point out the places they wanted to go and see and would look it up and tell us. So when this trip opportunity came up and more than half of their bucket list places were on the itinerary, so we knew this was a MUST!

We are a family that loves adventure, we love exploring, we love seeing new places and being together, so this trip was perfect for us!

I have gotten so many messages about asking for an itinerary and giving all the fun spots, so I thought a blog would be the best place to collect all the information for you!

If you find value and end up taking the trip or seeing some of the places, would love for you to tag me on Facebook and Instagram and let me know this helped you! I cannot wait to see where you go!

So we flew into Las Vegas, Nevada, rented a car (I recommend one with four-wheel drive so you are not limited where you go) and drove over four hours to Page, Arizona.

We stayed at the Hyatt Place Page / Lake Powell, 1126 North Navajo Drive, Page, AZ 86040, which was the perfect location for our first couple days. It has a pool, outside seating with fire pits and you get to see the sun set from the patio.

There is a Walmart near by so you can pack up on some food so you aren’t obligated to eat out all the time. The Hyatt had free breakfast so we were set for that but we did get crackers, fruit, gallons of water (for our hiking days), trail mix, bread and PBJ to make sandwiches.

Day 1

We arrived in Page, Arizona, checked into our hotel and then went with our friends to Lone Rock Beach Campground, Lone Rock Road, Page, UT 86040, where we had a beach fire and dinner. The view down there is amazing and it was the perfect way to start the trip. You should be able to find a place that already has a set up of a rock lined fire pit or you can make your own.

At this point, I believe we were in Utah. Arizona does not participate in day lights savings and Utah was behind our home time on our watch and technically when you drive down to Lone Rock you start in Utah but at some point you could be in Arizona again. At this point, every time was off and switching back and forth on our phones.

Day 2

We went to Lake Powell Paddleboards and Kayaks, 836 Vista Avenue, Page, AZ 86040, (call ahead to make a reservation for this) and checked in for our day drip on kayaks. One you check in, they tell you where to go with clear instructions and you meet them at Lake Powell where they give you your kayaks and send you on your way.

We kayaked down Lake Powell and went onto the path they gave us and got to part of Antelope Canyon. Right now Antelope Canyon is closed however you can get in this entrance and hike into after you get off the kayak.

I highly recommend this. Being on Lake Powell, being on the water, lunching at the canyon and hiking back into a place that only kayakers are there… amazing. You feel like you have most of the place to yourself and so much time to explore.

Lake Powell Paddleboards and Kayaks were so great, they were there to grab our kayaks when we got back and make it super easy.

There is so much sitting space at the Hyatt that we ordered a BBQ feast including chicken, brisket and the best cornbread muffins from Big John’s Texas BBQ, 153 South Lake Powell Boulevard, Page, AZ 86040, and brought it back to the hotel and ate by the fire, watching the sunset.

Day 3

We drove to the Wire Pass Trail, House Rock Valley Road, Kanab, UT 84741, (get your day pass from recreation.gov and search “Wire Pass Day Use”) where there is a place you can park your car, go to the bathroom and get set up before you hike. This was probably one of my favorite trails and also a place you can see the slot canyons. ( I actually think I liked these slot canyons more than Antelope – so I highly recommend you coming here).

You are going to hike 5.6 miles. You want to keep going and you are going to come to an opening that is wide open, where you can hear amazing echos and get incredible pictures. This would be a great place to stop and have lunch.

Then after the opening, you want to make a right and go into the slot canyons of Buckskin Gulch. There are great places to take pictures and it is really cool to see. However, this is the longest slot canyon in the US, so you probably won’t be able to make it all the way through. So make sure you hike a bit through it and then make your way back.

When you get back to your car, make it quick and then put in your GPS Horseshoe Bend, Mile Marker 545, Highway 89, Page, AZ 86040. It is amazing to see at sunset and you will be able to make it there in time, and also not be far away from your hotel at that point. You have to pay $10 to get into Horseshoe Bend. You do not need hiking boots at this point, there is a pretty easy trail. You follow the trail and you will see people there also looking over. This is the one spot that I really had a talk with the kids about staying back and not getting close. There is only one section of rails and the rest you are on your own. You can hike around it and hike to the top of a couple rocks to see even cooler views.

If I could do this all over again, I would take some snacks, maybe a drink and sit there and watch the sunset.

Day 4

We checked out of the hotel and went on our way to Mount Carmel, Utah right outside of Zion Nation Park. On the way there, we stopped and saw the Toadstools. This was an easy hike, only 1.5 miles. They were really cool to see!

Then we checked into our super cute tiny house (#3 if you can choose) at Cliffside Cabins on AirBnB, 600 North State Street, Orderville, UT 84758. This was perfect for our family. A bed in the back for mom and dad and a pull out couch in the living room for the kids. It had good size bathroom, and a little kitchen with stove, coffee maker and microwave. We were super happy with this house. We could actually see the cliffside from our bed since there were windows above.

It was nestled right next to the bottom of a cliff and every morning I would go look out side with my cup of coffee and be grateful.

There was also a fire pit and grill so we were able to make dinners and hang by the fire. I would suggest stopping at the Walmart in Page, AZ before coming and loading up on some food and snacks. There is not a whole lot near the Zion National Park area.

Day 5

Our friends, Adventurtunity Family (follow them on Instagram @AdventurtunityFamily), were staying at the Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort in their RV, so we had a brunch, hot tub, tour the campground, dinner kind of day. Also make sure that you follow all of their journeys on YouTube too, click their logo to see their latest videos.

Day 6

The women took on Angels Landing. If you haven’t heard of this hike, do not look it up…. just go! Things you need to know… this is a thrill seeking hike in Zion National Park. This is not a hike for kids…. I say that but I did see some kids on the hike but for me, I would be holding my breath the whole time.

So the mom’s had a day and the dad’s had a day to hike. And the other parents kept the kids. Getting to the Angel’s Landing – So you can either reserve the shuttle that will take you up to the Grotto Trail (which takes you up to Angels Landing), or you can rent a bike from the bottom of Zion National Park or you can walk it the two miles up.

We didn’t know about the shuttle or bikes at the time, so we parked at the bottom, on the street, across from the sign that says shuttles only (on the road that takes you up) and then we started hiking up the road. This was an easy walk up and you were able to walk along the water most of the way and get some pretty views. I recommend starting early in the morning. We started about 9:30am.

Once you get to the top, you will see a sign for Grotto Trail. Stop, go to the bathroom, have some snacks, get some water and get prepared before you go.

You are going to walk over the bridge and then start hiking up. The hike up is not bad, the paths are wide besides feeling my legs burning from the walk up, I felt fine. There are plenty of places to stop, turn around, enjoy the view and take a rest.

Once you get to the top of that hike, you are going to be at Scouts Landing and you can sit, eat again, get some water in. This is the point that some people chicken out and decide not to go all the way up. I will say that looking at the little people hiking up, I was intimidated and my heart was racing. But, I made it here, I was watching other people do it, I knew that I could, so why not now? There are chains for you to hold onto which gives you the extra sense of security.

When you make it to the top – WOW! Just WOW! We packed two mini bottles of champagne and popped them at the top. My only regret is that I did NOT pack more food. I wish I had a four-course dinner up there after the hike I just did. All the pizza, doughnuts, steak, all of it.

Recommendation: Wear good shoes, pack champagne, all the good foods and an extra battery charger for your phone. (You probably will not have service, so put your phone in airplane mode).

The hike down went fast and even though I though the was going to be the scariest part, it was actually better than going up.

Tip: Do the hike. You came all this way. Just do it!

Day 7

My husband woke up early and went to the Kanab Center Gym, 20 North 100 East, Kanab, UT 84741, where he entered the lottery to get the chance to go to The Wave, which is one of the most sought after places to see. Only 20 permits are given out a day. You can either do the lottery four months ahead of time at home or you can come in the day before and hope to get picked.

They only pick either 16 more people or 4 more permits on the day of and my husband won!

Recommendation: If you want to see The Wave, you can enter the lottery from home for the days you know you will be there. If not, you can start trying to enter the lottery and go there every morning and try to get in.

We spent the rest of the day hiking places in Zion National Park. You can pull over just about anywhere and just get out and walk around. The kids loved hiking over the rocks, discovering new little areas and jumping all over the place.

Tip: If you are going to be visiting any National Park and have a fourth grader, make sure you sign them up for the Every Kid Outdoors program. The program gives them free access to all of the National Parks in the country starting September 1 to August 31 during the year that they are in fourth grade.

Day 8

The Wave! This was an incredible day. If you win the lottery for a permit to hike there, start early. You can either meet the guide at the beginning of the trail or you can make it on your own. They will give you a map of where to go, however the map only has landmarks, there is not a specific trail.

It was incredible to be out there and for miles there was only allowed to be a certain amount of people. We hiked 2.8 miles there and it was amazing. If you ever have the opportunity to go there, do it! We took so many incredible pictures, just sat in awe and really took it all in.

What was really amazing, was being able to take my son who would have been at school that day and instead was with me, hiking and seeing something that only a certain amount of people will ever be able to see.

Now, if you get here – you want to keep going. The mountain behind the wave is where you want to go. If you went with a guide, then ask them where to go. If not, your goal is to basically walk to the second wake and then go past that a little and then up the mountain.

There is Melody Arch and a Sandy Alcove which is absolutely worth seeing. We went up to the Sandy Alcove and stopped to have lunch and take in the amazing view. You will walk down on the other side (not the side you came up) and then make your way around.

Recommendation: Good hiking boots, bring plenty of water and plenty of snacks.

I run monthly fitness groups and I told the girls in my group every single day how grateful I was for them, the groups and the home fitness I have kept up with because I felt in shape to be able to accomplish so many amazing hikes. (Click to join my next group!)

Day 9

The husbands went on their Angel’s Landing hike and we had a low-key day around our Tiny House and then had dinner at the RV.

Day 10

We actually woke up to snow on this day but we still went to Bryce Canyon National Park. It was beautiful and the snow was on and off. Go up to the different observation points (Bryce and Inspiration) so you can see from really high up. Then make your way to either the Sunset Point or Sunrise Point and make your way down through the Queens Garden Trail. You will be able to walk down into Bryce Canyon, see amazing views, little alcoves and have a great hike.

We got pizza from Sammie’s Chuck Wagon, 115 East State Street, Orderville, UT 84758, and had pizza, a fire and s’mores.

Day 11

We drove back to Las Vegas, Nevada and spent one night at Planet Hollywood Las Vegas Resort & Casino. We stopped at Pinkbox Doughnuts, 10251 South Eastern Avenue, Henderson, NV 89052, because it was highly recommended. The doughnuts were huge and the kids loved the different unique doughnuts. We also went to see the Seven Magical Mountains, which is large-scale public art installation.

If you end up in Las Vegas and want to go to any restaurants, I would make a reservation way in advance before you go. A lot of the places in Las Vegas were booked up and traveling with hungry kids became a little difficult.

Overall, this was an amazing trip. Every single day we did something incredible. We woke up each day a wrote in out gratitude journals and of course we had so much to be grateful for.

We feel so incredibly blessed that we have the opportunity to take our children to these incredible places and show them there is so much in life to do, see and to be.

Again, I hope you find value, you can always ask me questions and when you go to these places and if you do some of the same things, tag me @farindoran so I can see your adventures!!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”“

Mark Twain

Items to bring:

  1. Water bottles:
    A.
    AdultsNalgene Tritan Wide Mouth BPA-Free Water Bottle
    B. KidsMIRA 12 oz Stainless Steel Water Bottle
  2. Carabiner clips for your water bottles – 6PCS Carabiner Clips
  3. Kid journalsEmraw Neon Color Cover Composition Book
  4. LeggingsAny with pockets (for your easy phone storage) – use code: FARIN10 for 10% off at Clothed In Radiance.
  5. Hiking backpackJanSport SuperBreak Backpack
  6. Extra battery chargerMophie Powerstation Plus XL with Built in Micro USB and Lighning Cables
  7. Hiking socksMERIWOOL Merino Wool Hiking Socks for Men and Women
  8. Hiking Boots:
    A.
    JeffsRax Men’s Wild Wolf Mid Venture Waterproof Lightweight Hiking Boots, Light Khaki
    B. Peyton’sMerrell Kids’ Unisex M-Chameleon 7 Access Mid A/C Wtrpf Hiking Shoe, Grey/Blue
    C. Sawyer’sHawkwell Kids’ Outdoor Mid Hiking Boots Trekking Walking Shoes, Burgundy Mesh
  9. All-natural, family safe, hydrating drink mixMessage me on Facebook or email farintea@hotmail.com for more information on what we drank every single day
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