Road Trip From Zion through Canyons and Dunes

This trip was taken pre-Covid 19 pandemic but we can’t wait to go back!

Leaving Zion National Park, our hearts were a little heavy…how could anything ever compare to the beauty we had just witnessed?

Nature literally said, “Hold my beer,” as we continued our exploration of the Southwestern USA landscape. 

Stop 1: Springdale, Utah / Zion National Park

Springdale is a small town located at the gates of Zion National Park.  After our early morning hike, we needed some fuel (both literally and figuratively) and had many options to choose from but we quickly settled on Cafe Soleil for food.  The building was incredibly inviting and the menu options were EXACTLY what we needed.  We split the granola (to die for) and also the California BLT panini.  

We would certainly return and spend more time in Springdale if time had allowed it.  There were many gift shops, galleries, restaurants and even Zion Brewery (Southern Utah’s first microbrewery).  We can’t wait to return on our next trip!

Stop 2: Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Kanab, Utah

About an hour into our drive we landed in Kanab and started seeing signs for Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.  This destination was not something on our radar but we figured we would live in the moment, give it a whirl and we pulled off the road.  We had SO MUCH FUN!  

This park is open 7 days a week during daylight hours and it costs $10 to park your vehicle while you explore…WORTH IT.  We were shocked by the warm, pink sand landscape that was formed by erosion of Navajo Sandstone.  We spent our early afternoon, running up and down the dunes, taking in the sights all around us.  We rolled in the sand, laid in the sand, and expended so much energy after we had felt cooped up in the car.  If adventuring is more your style, we saw our fair share of dune buggies, ATV’s and four wheeler’s in the distance.  There are many different options to explore the dunes including scenic tours, hiking tours, horseback riding tours, etc.  It should definitely be a place to make your next list!

Stop 3: Upper Antelope Canyon, Navajo land east of Page, Arizona

Now THIS was our final destination of the day…a bucket list item that needed to be checked off.  Upper Antelope Canyon was just shy of 2 hours from Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.  We were glad we had done our research…you can’t enter Upper Antelope Canyon unless you are with a guided tour.  

We had reserved our time during mid to late afternoon when more light entered through the caverns and created incredible beams of light.  To get to the canyon, you will go to the meeting point of the company you booked your tour and they will transport you to Upper Antelope Canyon.  One thing we were surprised about was how many other people were in the canyon at the same time as us!  I think some of the online images had us fooled but it was DEFINITELY worth it to be a little crowded for the breathtaking scenery.  Our guide was incredibly knowledgeable and took many photos of us together.  We used Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours but they all seemed very similar in terms of guides and structure.  This is a spot we would visit again and again and one we can’t wait to visit again with the rest of our families!

Some Notes:

This was a one day snapshot of our road trip!  This trip was about a week long.  We got our start in Las Vegas where we rented a car and just DROVE and took it all in.  Our final destination of the trip was the Grand Canyon and we flew home (out of Phoenix) from there.  We would highly recommend this way of sightseeing to anyone looking to explore the Southwest.

If you are interested in reading about more national parks, head over to this article about the Canyonlands

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