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Road trip in the Western USA : 2 weeks

road trip in americain west

Article mis à jour le 29 Nov 2023

Road trip in Western USA : 2 weeks itinerary

A road trip in Western USA is certainly on many people’s bucket list. The breathtaking scenery, coupled with the feeling of freedom, makes for an exceptional holiday. After experiencing it, I can tell you that I’d put this destination in my top 3, along with Iceland and Tanzania. Here we go… I’m going to tell you all about the 2 weeks itinerary to discover the Great Western USA !

How do you organise a road trip in Western USA ?

There’s a lot to see and do in this part of the United States. And with good reason, planning a trip there can be complicated. That’s why I find it useful to have a travel agent help you organise it. For people who are not at ease in English, this is even more the case !

Which national parks to visit ? Where to sleep ? Do I need a visa ? I asked myself a lot of questions when I was planning this trip !

For practical information : when to leave for Western USA, which car to hire, plane tickets, budget for a 2 weeks road trip, tips, what to pack, etc. See you at the end of the article or click here for those in a hurry !

2 weeks itinerary for a road trip in Western USA

road trip west america map

Here’s a summary of the stages I’ve outlined in this article :

  • Day 1 : Arrival in Las Vegas
  • Day 2 : Tour of Las Vegas and Valley of Fire
  • Days 3 and 4 : Zion National Park
  • Day 5 : Bryce Canyon
  • Day 6 : White Pocket
  • Days 7 and 8 : Page and Lake Powell
  • Day 9 : Monument Valley
  • Day 10 : Grand Canyon
  • Days 11 and 12 : Sedona
  • Day 13 : Scottsdale and Phoenix
  • Day 14 : Departure from Phoenix

You can condense this itinerary into 12 days, as I did, if your travel dates coincide. It’s also possible to do it in 3 weeks, if you take your time or visit other American national parks. What I particularly appreciated, over and above the beauty of nature, was seeing how these places were arranged for people with reduced mobility. 👏”

road trip in the american west

↠ DAY 1 : Arrival in Las Vegas

After landing at Las Vegas International Airport, I collected my hire car from Alamo.

Las Vegas is a good starting point for a road trip in Western USA. Firstly, it allows you to immerse yourself in the overflowing atmosphere of the Strip, but also to be close to the Valley of Fire, which you’ll visit the next day.

What to do in Las Vegas ?

Well, it’s well known that you don’t go to Las Vegas to knit 😂. The hustle and bustle of this city is interesting to experience. Clearly, unless you’re a party or casino fan, one day is enough. Among the things to do, I’d advise you to take a trip to the Bellagio to see the fountains, try your hand at gambling if you like and, more generally, take a stroll along the Strip. You can enter the hotels at your leisure to observe the decorations created from scratch. For a reproduction of the miniature Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, that’s at the Paris Las Vegas hotel. If you want to see the canals of Venice, head for the Venetian and its shopping arcade.

You’ll also find all kinds of entertainment in Las Vegas : mini golf, zip lines, attractions, concerts… Book it on GetYourGuide.

visit las Vegas

Visit Old Las Vegas

Beyond the Strip, I recommend taking a stroll down Fremont Street, home to the city’s oldest casinos. This street is particularly impressive at night, when you can see the light shows projected onto the screens. Over there, you’ll find the Heart Attack restaurant, which struck me as cynical! You can weigh yourself on a scale outside and if you weigh more than 150kg, you eat for free. They also serve a 20,000 calorie burger and make a mockery of junk food.

I visited Fremont Street the morning after I arrived, stopping for an American-style breakfast at The Blue Skillet Pancake House.

Where to stay in Las Vegas ?

I stayed at The Venetian, an iconic hotel on the Strip. A tourist tax will have to be paid on the spot; mine was $51 for two people.

visiter le vieux las Vegas

↠ DAY 2 : Valley of Fire and the road to Zion

After losing $60 at the Fremont Street casino, I went to comfort myself with what I came to the USA for: beautiful scenery ! So it’s time to start our road trip through the Western USA. Let’s head for the Valley of Fire, 1 hour from Las Vegas.

Valley of Fire

The Valley of Fire is Nevada’s first state park. The red and orange tones of its rocks give it its name. It’s an excellent first discovery before marvelling at the great national parks of Utah and Arizona. A perfect appetiser 🥰.

Once you’ve reached the park entrance, pick up a map that will show you all the points of interest to visit on foot or by car. This applies to all areas: don’t go off the marked paths and roads. If you don’t go hiking, allow around 1 hour for the visit.

🎟️ Access: $10 for cars with Nevada plates, $15 for all others. It is possible to sleep in a van or camper van in the park for $20/night. Not accessible with the America The Beautiful pass, which I’ll mention below.

visit las Vegas

visit the valley of fire

west american travel

Where to stay in Zion ?

After enjoying the first flamboyant landscapes of the Western USA, you’ll head for Zion National Park. It’s a 2 hour 15 minute drive to Springdale and 35 minutes more if you’re staying in the same hotel as me.

Mind you, Utah is an hour later than Nevada ! So if you take the road at 5pm from the Valley of Fire, it’s actually 6pm in Zion. Once you arrive in Springdale, you’ll find plenty of shops and restaurants to dine in. There are also hotels. This is where the shuttle buses to Zion National Park leave from.

I slept further on at Zion Mountain Ranch, which is just beyond the eastern entrance to the park. The setting is sublime, in the heart of nature, and the chalets they offer are super cosy ! Note that you’ll have to cross Route 9 again the next morning to park and take the shuttle bus. This will allow you to admire the scenery in the soft morning light.

where to stay in Zion national park

↠ DAYS 3 and 4 : What to do in Zion ?

🚗 Driving time from previous stage : 3h

There’s a lot of hiking to be done in Zion National Park, which is why it’s possible to spend 2 days there during your road trip in the Western USA if you like walking. Personally, I only stayed for one day, which was enough to enjoy the views.

The park is closed to traffic, no doubt for conservation reasons. A shuttle service runs from morning until night. It’s free and runs regularly. Don’t miss the last shuttle, or you’ll have to walk home… 😂

How do I get to Zion ?

For this road trip in the West of the United States, I recommend that you buy the America The Beautiful pass for $80 per vehicle, for a period of one year. Once in your possession, this pass will be valid for all the occupants of the car for all the national parks in the United States.

what to do at Zion national park

A must-do hike in Zion : the Narrows

The Narrows hike is unusual in that it takes place in water. The walk takes place in the heart of the canyon, in the Virgin River bed. If you want to do the whole walk, you’ll have to cover 15 km round trip. However, as the route is not a loop, you can stop and turn back whenever you like !

There will be quite a few people at the start, especially in summer. But the further you go, the more you’ll be on your own. To get to the start of the path leading to the river, take the free shuttle bus to stop no. 9 Temple of Sinawava.

hiking Zion national park

What equipment do you need for the Narrows hike ?

In summer, when the water level isn’t very high, I think you’ll need water shoes. Choose closed-toe trainers so that you don’t hurt yourself as you make your way along the rocks. A walking stick is a good idea to keep your balance, as you can’t necessarily see your feet!

Outside the summer months, the water can be very cold. In early October, for example, it was 12°C. So I strongly recommend that you hire a wetsuit from the Outfitter in Zion, because otherwise it’s freezing! What’s more, the water level can be very high after the rain, and there were times when it reached below my shoulders. Make sure you check the weather conditions with the rangers: the Narrows may be closed if the water level is dangerous.

Finally, don’t forget to take a waterproof bag. If you don’t have one, you can hire one from the shop.

What other hikes can you do in Zion during your road trip in the Western USA ?

Angels Landing for some thrills

As I said, Zion National Park offers a wide range of hiking opportunities. One of the best known is Angels Landing, which offers breathtaking views of Zion from its summit. To access the trail, you’ll need to win a lottery. Enter on the official website.

Be warned, this hike is very physically demanding, with a fair amount of ascent and emptiness on both sides of the trail. I would strongly advise anyone suffering from vertigo not to attempt it.

Emerald Pools

For a more family-friendly walk, the 4 kilometres that will take you to the Emerald Pools are perfect! Here you’ll find pretty pools surrounded by Zion’s characteristic red rocks. Swimming is prohibited, but it’s refreshing all the same.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get there because the bridge was closed at the time of my visit. Stop at stop 5 with the shuttle bus to start your hike.

There are, of course, plenty of other things to see in Zion, which you can find on the park map, which is very well done. You can pick it up free of charge at the park gates or visitor center.

Where to eat in Springdale, near Zion ?

For lunch, I recommend taking a picnic with you! You can find what you need in the shops in Springdale (for example at the Happy Camper Market next to the Outfitter).

For dinner, I tried Zion Pizza & Noodle Co. It was good and the portions of pasta are enormous! There’s also Oscar’s Café, open from breakfast to dinner, which looks great.

visiter Zion

↠ DAY 5 : Bryce Canyon, my favourite part of the road trip in the Western USA

🚗 Driving time from previous stage : 2h

As much as I loved Zion, I was literally overwhelmed by the beauty of Bryce Canyon. In fact, it was voted the most beautiful national park in the United States, and I can see why! The landscape is dotted with “hoodoos”, vertical rock formations that are unique in the world. Nature is so well done…

To visit Bryce Canyon, you can explore different viewpoints by car and also go hiking. There’s something for everyone. During high season, it’s a good idea to take the free shuttle bus to get here and there, as the car parks at Bryce Canyon are very small. So to avoid searching for a space, it’s best to leave your car at the Visitor Centre. As an indication, I was there at the beginning of October in the middle of the week and the level of visitors was rather low.

What can you do in Bryce Canyon National Park ?

First of all, you should know that Bryce Canyon is at altitude : its highest point is around 2,800 m, but you’ll be at least 2,000 m above sea level. So, logically, it’s cooler than elsewhere. So make sure you bring appropriate clothing for the mornings and evenings!

A little aside: it must be magical to see Bryce Canyon in winter, under the snow. 😍

🎫 Park accessible with the America The Beautiful pass.

what to do in the american west

Viewpoints accessible by car (or shuttle bus)

At the park entrance or at your hotel, as always, pick up a map of the national park so that you have all the information you need for your visit. All the information on what to do and see in Bryce Canyon is indicated on the map. So I wandered around following this map and the signs to admire the landscapes from different angles. I particularly liked the Natural Bridge and the view from Inspiration Point at the end of the day.

what to do at Bryce canyon

west america itinerary

visit Bryce canyon

Speaking of which, don’t miss the sunrises and/or sunsets over Bryce Canyon : they’re magical. The colours of the landscape change from minute to minute depending on the light. Make sure you don’t leave just as the sun is setting, and enjoy the different shades until nightfall. ♥️

2 weeks in the American West

visit Bryce Canyon

Hiking in Bryce Canyon

During your road trip in the Western USA, you’ll be doing a lot of hiking. The hikes in Bryce Canyon are particularly beautiful !

Queens Garden

The Queens Garden hike is an iconic loop starting at Sunrise Point. It takes you down into the amphitheatre of Bryce Canyon to get a closer look at the hoodoos. There’s a bit of a climb on this walk, but it’s accessible for all ages. Allow around 2 hours to complete it.

Bryce Canyon national park

what to do in the american west

Bryce canyon hike

Tropic Ditch Falls

This little trail, called Mossy Cave, takes you to some pretty waterfalls tumbling into the Tropic Ditch river. Allow just 20 minutes on foot from the car park.

🚗 Access

randonnée Bryce canyon

Other walks to do

Once again, to find out about all the possibilities, take a look at the map or the official Bryce Canyon website, which are very well done. Depending on how much time you want to spend in the park, they’ll recommend walks with all the practical information you need.

Where to stay in Bryce Canyon National Park ?

I stayed in the heart of the park at The Lodge at Bryce Canyon. This establishment offers different types of accommodation: lodge suites, motel rooms and cabins. You can eat in the hotel restaurant or at the small pizzeria.

2 weeks west american itinerary

↠ DAY 6 : The unusual Western USA, visit to White Pocket

🚗 Driving time from previous stage : 1h05

Let’s continue the road trip in the Western USA by heading to Orderville, for 2 nights at the East Zion Resort. I stayed in a Tiny House, which was superb and perfectly equipped. It had everything you needed for cooking, barbecuing, a campfire and a washing machine. The resort also offers unusual accommodation such as Glamping tents and Yurts in magnificent surroundings !

White Pocket, the alternative to the famous The Wave

The excursion to visit White Pocket departed from Kanab. Our guide Maddie was great and gave us lots of explanations about this exceptional place.

It’s a good – if not better – alternative to The Wave, which is not far away and requires a lottery entry fee. Unlike The Wave, White Pocket doesn’t require a permit or an 11km walk! You just have to get there in a 4×4 because of the sandy road, which is why I recommend that you take a guide if you don’t have a suitable vehicle. Above all, don’t try to get there without 4-wheel drive, as you risk getting stuck. It will then be difficult to call a tow truck (there is no network), which will be at your expense as rental contracts generally forbid you to leave the concrete roads. Finally, White Pocket is much bigger than The Wave, so there’s more to see !

road trip in the american west

visit white pocket

que faire en utah

How does the White Pocket excursion work ?

Early in the morning, you will meet your guide for the day, who will take you to White Pocket. It’s a fairly long drive (around 2 hours from Kanab), as a good part of it is on sandy tracks. However, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the place! There’s not a lot of physical effort involved, as you access White Pocket directly from the car park and walk about 3 km to explore the site.

Once you’re there, the scenery speaks for itself. It’s like arriving on another planet, a perfect symbiosis between what I imagine the Moon and Mars to be…

⭐️ You can also visit White Pocket overnight. It’s said that stargazing from there is absolutely magical !

comment accéder à white pocket

↠ Days 7 and 8 : Page and Lake Powell

🚗 Driving time from previous stage : 1h30

Page is also a must-see stop on a road trip in the Western USA. There’s a lot to see there! Note that Page is in Arizona, so the time zone changes again (-1h compared with Zion and Bryce Canyon).

What to do in Page in the Western USA ?

Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon is one of the best known and most beautiful places in Arizona. It is a slot canyon formed by erosion and water. This famous canyon was discovered in the 1930s by a Navajo woman, as it lies at the heart of a reserve belonging to them. There are 2 entrances: Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. Both can only be visited on guided tours. Upper Antelope Canyon is the most visited because it’s easier to get to. The Lower is a little less crowded, due to its narrower walls and the ladders you have to climb.

visit antelope canyon

Is it worth visiting Antelope Canyon ?

Let there be no doubt about it : Antelope Canyon is magnificent. If you’re in the USA, it’s a must-see. However, you should be aware of the conditions under which you can visit.

Firstly, there are a lot of people. The groups are split into ten or so people, but the tour is fairly quick. You don’t have time to soak up the scenery; you have to move fast to keep all the visitors moving. So don’t be fooled by the Instagram photos, or even by the ones below where there’s nobody there. It’s quite paradoxical what I’m about to say because I’m clearly participating in this system, but this is the first time I’ve seen an organised tour where all the participants are glued to their phones to take THE photo. Basically, the guides will advise you on the settings by applying a filter and will tell you when, where and from what angle to take your photo.

Aside from the expedient aspect, I repeat that Antelope Canyon is very beautiful !

antelope canyon arizona

What are the alternatives to Antelope Canyon ?

If you want to avoid the crowds, many people have recommended Canyon X, which is much less well-known ! For one thing, it costs less to visit: only $40 per adult (at the moment). Secondly, it’s right next door, so the scenery is a bit similar to Antelope. Canyon X is open every day from 9am to 3pm, but I’d advise you to choose a time in the middle of the day to get as much light as possible.

➡️ Book your trip to Canyon X

Incidentally, to see the skylights at Upper and Lower Antelope, you should also go there when the sun is at its highest (i.e. between 11am and 1pm).

Lake Powell

Lake Powell is part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. You can get there in 10 minutes by car from Page, with the America is Beautiful pass. Lake Powell was artificially created by the Glen Canyon Dam and can be up to 300km long, depending on the season. It is nestled in the heart of a magnificent landscape and travellers can enjoy water sports there. I chose to explore it on a paddle board. You can also kayak or simply swim there from the beaches.

💌 Where to hire a paddle or kayak on Lake Powell ?

what to do in arizona

Where to swim in Lake Powell ?

Drive to Lone Rock Beach for a dip and a magnificent view of the rock! FYI, the water is good even in early October, so don’t forget your swimming costume. 🤩

💌 You can also book a boat tour to discover the Powell Lake, the dam and Antelope Canyon.

Lac Powell United States

Horseshoe Bend

If you’re looking for THE sunset spot in Page, Arizona, stop ! Horseshoe Bend is clearly the place to go. I’d seen photos of this spot many times before, and I wasn’t disappointed because I found it so magnificent. It’s one of my favourites of this trip to the Western USA. For early risers, the sunrise must be great too as it rises right in front of the view and there must be many, many fewer people.

🚗 Access costs $10 per vehicle for parking. 10 to 15 minute walk from the car park.

what to see in the american west

horseshoe bend page

Where to stay in Page ?

I stayed at the Courtyard by Mariott hotel, perfectly located in Page. The room was great, as was the swimming pool for a refreshing dip in the afternoon. I also appreciated the games available (table tennis and a kind of American-style petanque 😂).

If you’re organising your own trip, click here to book.

Where to eat in Page ?

Well, we know that the USA isn’t the nation of gastronomy, but there are still some good places to eat in Page. For a healthy breakfast, head to Desert Nutrition for a good smoothie bowl or protein-rich waffles. I’ve also tried the Lake Powell Espresso coffee, which I really like !

For lunch, you’ll find plenty of places to grab a quick bite. However, if you want to take your time, the Mexican restaurant El Tapatio is great.

For dinner, I went to Big John’s Texas BBQ… It was a bit expensive and not really crazy in terms of taste, but it was still a nice experience (live country music, Texan decor). I’d recommend going to the restaurant Sunset 89, where the fusion cuisine is more original and sophisticated than elsewhere. Best of all, it has a splendid view from the terrace !

where to eat on page

↠ DAY 9 : Monument Valley, road trip in the Western USA

🚗 Journey time from previous stage : 2h

At this stage of the article, you’re probably thinking that we’ve already had our fill of it 🤩 Well, Monument Valley isn’t where the wonder is going to end! This American icon is located on the border between Utah and Arizona and belongs to a Navajo reserve. The Navajo are an indigenous people of North America who have endured many hardships over the ages. Long hunted down and ostracised, they have now reclaimed their original lands and live on the Navajo reservation with their own president, judicial system and parliament. At Monument Valley in particular, you can learn more about the history, culture and way of life of the Navajo !

road trip united states

What to do in Monument Valley ?

Forrest Gump Point

If you want to take a souvenir photo in one of the most famous places in Monument Valley, you have to go to Forrest Gump Point. My advice is to stop at these GPS coordinates, not at the landscaped area itself, as there will be fewer people and you’ll be a little closer to the landscape in the background. After all, it’s a long way from the rocks you see below in the background.

📷 Photo Tips : If you want your photo to look its best, you need to move away from the subject and zoom in as far as possible with your camera or smartphone lens. This will give the illusion of ‘bringing in’ the background! I often use this trick for my travel photos. If you’re using your smartphone, be careful not to zoom in with your fingers, and be sure to respect your phone’s options so as not to lose image quality. For example, on my iPhone, I can zoom in x3 without any loss of quality.

Timing tip : For the best photos, I recommend going to Forrest Gump before midday so that you have the sun at your back. Personally, I was there at the end of the day and you can clearly see that the landscape is against the light. But it’s beautiful at any time of day !

⚠️ Watch out for cars in the middle of the road !!!

visit monument valley

Visit Monument Valley via the Scenic Drive

For those who want to discover Monument Valley on their own, it’s possible! If you take the Scenic Drive, a road about 30 km long, you’ll pass many viewpoints, each more beautiful than the last. There are some rather bumpy stretches on this road, so drive carefully to avoid damaging your hire car, especially if you don’t have an SUV.

As usual, stop only in designated areas and don’t park just anywhere. But don’t worry, stops are frequent and very well thought out. Don’t miss the sunset and/or sunrise – it’s nothing short of spectacular… ♥️

⏰ Times : access to Scenic Drive is regulated and times change according to the season, from 6.30am to 5.30pm (April to September) and 8am to 3pm (October to March). So you need to get on the road before the maximum closing time, you’ll then have until sunset to get out again.

🎫 Price : $8 per person. The America the Beautiful pass is not valid for this park.

what to do at monument valley

What excursions are there in Monument Valley ?

Horse riding

In the image of John Wayne, directed by John Ford, transport yourself to the western films shot in Monument Valley, on the back of a horse.

You’ll pass by mythical points, including those named after the famous actor and director. The perfect discovery for adventurers !

> Book your horse riding tour

4×4 excursion

To discover areas of Monument Valley off the Scenic Drive, you can take a 4×4 excursion. Our Navajo guide explained a lot about the region and their culture, and I absolutely loved it !

It’s a great way to see some magnificent arches, as shown in the photos below.

monument valley excursion

visit monument valley

monument valley excursion

Where to stay in Monument Valley ?

I was lucky enough to stay at the legendary The View hotel in Monument Valley. This hotel lives up to its name because the view from the rooms is MAGISTERIAL. From your balcony, you’ll be able to watch the sunrise and sunset, and be amazed by the immensity of it all !

Apart from the view, the rooms are comfortable and spacious, although the decor is a little dated. As for the catering, it’s a big area for improvement, so don’t expect much from it.

Where to eat in Monument Valley ?

For dinner, I recommend eating in or taking away from the restaurant at Goulding’s Lodge (a 10-minute drive away) or Linda’s food truck if it’s open. You’ll find the food truck menu in your room at The View so you can have it delivered. When I was there it was closed, so I ordered from Goulding’s Lodge and it was pretty good !

the view hotel

visit monument valley

where to stay in monument valley

hotel the view

↠ DAY 10 : Grand Canyon

🚗 Travel time from previous stage : 2h30

There’s a reason why the Grand Canyon is one of the 7 Wonders of the World. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is an exceptional work of art in terms of its size and 2-billion-year-old origin.

The Grand Canyon is undoubtedly one of the must-see landscapes on a road trip in the Western USA. It was carved by the Colorado River and is 4,500 km long, with a depth of +1,500 m in places. Suffice to say, it’s more than impressive !

How do I get to Grand Canyon National Park ?

Access is included in the America The Beautiful pass.

If you are arriving from Monument Valley, you will enter via the East Entrance. On the way to Grand Canyon Village, don’t hesitate to stop at the various viewpoints to discover the Grand Canyon for the first time – with emotion, I’m sure !

What to do at the Grand Canyon ?

Once again, you’ll need the holy grail : a map of the National Park ! Yes, the Americans have made life easy for us, because their tourist itineraries are very well thought out, and for everyone. You’ll find all the information you need about shuttle buses, hikes you can take for as long as you like, panoramic viewpoints, etc.


If there’s one time when you shouldn’t be reluctant to get up, it’s in the morning at the Grand Canyon. Don’t miss the sunrise, because it’s one of those suspended moments that stay with you forever.

To do this, you need to take the first shuttle bus to Hopi Point. It’s on a road closed to cars. The shuttle will take you there and you can sit back and watch the sun come out.

If you’re too lazy to take the shuttle, there’s also Mather Point, which can be reached by car via Scenic Drive. This will allow you to grab a few extra minutes of sleep 😂.

visit the grand canyon

sunrise grand canyon

road trip grand canyon

Hikes and views at the Grand Canyon

After sunrise, it’s up to you to go for a hike or simply let the shuttle buses take you around to admire the scenery from the various points of interest. Be warned, the gradient of the hikes can be severe.

2 weeks in the American West

2 weeks trip united states

2 weeks in the American West

Flying over the Grand Canyon

If you’re looking for something special, then a helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon is for you.

> Book your Grand Canyon Helicopter 45-Minute Flight

helicopter flight grand canyon

helicopter grand canyon

Where to stay in Grand Canyon National Park ?

There are several accommodation options available in the heart of Grand Canyon Village. I stayed one night at the Kachina Lodge. This hotel is ideally located with comfortable rooms that can overlook the canyon. It’s just a shame that they’ve put screens in front of the windows, which hide the view a bit. The decoration is rather vintage, but the location makes you forget all that 🙂.

In the village, you’ll have plenty of dining options, from breakfast to dinner.

↠ DAYS 11 and 12 : Sedona

🚗 Travel time from previous stage : 2h

Lunch stop in a Western town

Ready to be transported to another era ? It’s in the two small towns of Williams or Flagstaff that you can imagine yourself as a western. I chose to stop in the former, but you can choose to visit both if you’re passionate about this universe.

So I had lunch in Williams at The Long Horn Saloon. I chose this one because of its name and it delivers on its promise: it really does feel like a saloon from the old days. The decor is perfect and the service is authentic ! Note that you can drive a small section of the famous Route 66 from Williams, for the experience. 😍

Sedona, the mystical city

I’d never heard of Sedona before and yet it’s a town that has so much to offer. I really recommend that you put this stop on your road trip through the Western USA ! As soon as I got in the car and got on the road, I felt right at home. A feeling that is almost inexplicable, because people have been looking into a particular symptom : red rock fever. In fact, energy phenomena known as vortexes are said to reign over the region, giving rise to a feeling of well-being, even ecstasy. The positive energies are said to encourage visitors to return, or never leave again !

Whether you’re spiritual or not, I guarantee you’ll love Sedona. How could you not succumb to the charm of its red rock formations, its small shops and its locals who seem touched by grace ?

What to do in Sedona ?

Take your time

Yes, you don’t go to the city of spirituality in a hurry. That’s why I recommend you spend at least two nights here! But if you don’t have the time, 1 night will suffice to soak up its magic.

In Sedona, visitors enjoy meditation, hiking and yoga in the heart of Red Rock State Park, to get as close as possible to the Vortexes. Among the hikes I recommend are Devil’s Bridge and the 7 Sacred Pools. As usual, go to the Visitor Centre or your hotel for a map with all the information.

For sunset, I had noted the Doe Mountain hike but got lost on the way there… 😆 Don’t do as I did and park in this car park. To get a great view, you’ll have to walk about 1.5km round trip with some elevation gain. On Google Maps, you can see the route of the hike so you don’t get lost : Doe Mountain Trail.

sedona hiking

devil's bridge sedona

© photo Clay Banks

Discovery by car

If you want to take in the sights without going too far, get in your car and get moving ! Note that if you’re coming to Sedona from the Grand Canyon, you’re bound to take the Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Drive, i.e. Highway 89A. So don’t hesitate to stop and take a refreshing stroll in the river.

I also liked the Red Rock Loop Road, right next to my hotel, which offers views of Cathedral Rock in particular. Crescent Moon Ranch is a wonderful spot for a picnic and a relaxing afternoon by the water, surrounded by the red cliffs. There is a charge for parking here : $12 for the whole day.

road trip sedona

visit sedona arizona

Jeep tour

The jeep tour in Sedona is fun to do, because the paths (and sometimes the cliffs 😂) taken by the guide are pretty impressive! To admire the scenery, but also to learn more about geology, history and the Vortex phenomenon, this excursion is great ! I hope you’ll have the same guide as me, Scott, because he’s an enthusiast who has just been hit by Red Rock Fever.

> Book your Jeep Tour

what to do in sedona

visit sedona arizona


Sedona has one of the purest skies in the world, which makes it ideal for stargazing… when I said this town was magical, I wasn’t lying! I really hope to come back to the United States one day to find out more about this part of the world.

To learn all about the stars and the solar system, I recommend booking a stargazing tour in Sedona. The guide will have all the knowledge and equipment you need to make the experience even better. Alternatively, you can simply head to the Crescent Moon Ranch I mentioned above, or the Jordan Trailhead Observing Area. The aim is to get as far away from light pollution as possible, so you can get a good look at the stars and the Milky Way. ✨

what to do in sedona

© photo Darryl Brian

Where to stay in Sedona ?

I stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott in Sedona and it was great ! Like Page, the rooms were really top notch and modern. I didn’t get to try out the pool, but you should know that there is one. The hotel is very beautiful and blends in perfectly with the surroundings.

Where to eat in Sedona ?

Sedona is full of shops and good places to eat, including some healthy alternatives. As an aside, you’ll find plenty of artisanal jewellery and gemstone shops in Sedona, as these are found in the surrounding rocks. This could be one of the reasons for the good energy that spreads through the area !

  • For breakfast, as a fan of acai bowls, I recommend Berry Divine Acai Bowls. It’s super tasty and there’s a drive-through for quick takeaways.
  • For lunch, I tried the burgers at Outlaw Grill, which I voted the best burgers of my trip to the United States. What’s more, the prices are reasonable compared with other restaurants. I recommend ++.
  • For dinner, go to the Vino di Sedona wine bar, which is a top address. They have a wine section, as well as platters and tapas to nibble on. I found the menu more sophisticated than elsewhere and it was delicious. My advice if you drink wine: don’t order by the glass, order by the bottle. This is not indicated on the menu, but you can buy a bottle in the wine shop and enjoy it on the spot with a bite to eat. It’s half the price !

↠ DAYS 13 and 14 : Drive to Phoenix and departure

It’s already time to say goodbye, so let’s head to Phoenix for a heartbreaking goodbye to American soil. Phoenix is a big city, so I took the opportunity to visit a few boutiques and do some vintage shopping. Apart from that, the Old Scottsdale district is a must-see. It’s full of restaurants and trendy shops.

Where to stay in Scottsdale ?

For my last night, I stayed at the Valley Ho hotel, which has 2 swimming pools, 1 spa and all the comforts you need to relax before your flight home. There’s an extra charge of $25 for parking.

Before moving on to the practical information, I’d like to say – in case you haven’t understood – that I found this trip exceptional! The scenery was breathtaking, you felt safe and it was easy to make contact with the Americans. People like to chat and strike up conversations on the shuttle bus, for example, or in the supermarket, which is great fun. ♥️

phoenix United States

scottsdale phoenix

Practical information for your 2 weeks road trip in the Western USA

↠ When to go to the Western USA ?

I find that October is the ideal time ! In fact, in summer it can be very hot, which can make hiking suffocating. As we approach, the temperatures drop but remain mild, and the weather is sunny.

That said, the months of May, June and September seem equally suitable. Also, for travellers who don’t mind the cold, winter is the low season, with all the advantages that brings: falling prices and fewer visitors! If you want to admire the Western USA in the snow, this could be a great option.

↠ Where do I book my plane ticket ?

If you want to organize your stay yourself, I recommend the French comparator Ulysse to take your tickets. You can benefit from -10€ on your first flight ticket booking by registering via our link thanks to our promo code : PVWYP4ESA !

For this road trip itinerary, I landed in Las Vegas and left from Phoenix.

↠ Where to rent a car ?

I recommend the Alamo rental company for your trip to the United States. I had already used it for my road trip in Mexico and everything went very well.

You don’t have to hire a 4×4 for this itinerary.

↠ Should I take out travel insurance ?

The answer is YES. It’s well known that medical expenses in the United States can soar, up to thousands of euros depending on what happens to you… So I recommend more than strongly that you insure your back.

To do this, go to the Chapka website as they are the best and I’ve been using the Cap Assistance 24/24H contract since 2016 now, every time I go outside the EU. Via my link, you will get 5% discount applied to your contract !

With Chapka, you’ll be able to teleconsult a doctor, be reimbursed for your medical expenses and benefit from a host of guarantees so that you can travel with a light mind.

↠ Having internet on your phone in the United States

In my Red By SFR package, I had an option to have a package in the USA. Check with your operator.

↠ Do I need a visa to travel to the Western USA ?

The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens of certain countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for up to 90 days without a visa. The Visa Waiver Program is not available to all countries, and not all citizens of partner countries are eligible for the visa waiver.
Check whether your country is concerned and whether you are eligible to apply for an ESTA to avoid having to apply for a visa.

You will need to apply for an ESTA on the government website before arriving in the USA. I recommend that you apply 2 or 3 weeks before you leave, as there can sometimes be a delay. I received it in 24 hours but you never know !

☞ Price of ESTA per person, valid for 2 years: $21

↠ Do I need to withdraw cash ?

You can pay by credit card in all shops. I paid for everything with my ULTIM bank card from Boursorama. It’s the best card on the market for avoiding charges abroad! If you haven’t got one yet, DM me on Instagram @amoureuxdumonde and I’ll give you a sponsorship code if you like.

Just bring some cash for tips for the guides if you go on excursions. You can either withdraw cash on the spot, or exchange euros for dollars on the spot or in France. Just avoid airport exchange offices, which often charge higher fees.

↠ The question of tips in the United States

Ahhh tips, gratuity… In Europe, we’re much less used to this, but you should know that tipping is king for service professions in the USA. Also, all prices are quoted exclusive of tax. So you need to bear in mind that when you pick up the bill in a restaurant, taxes will be added at the end (around 6%), as well as tips. In general, you should allow at least 15% of the total before tax, whether in restaurants or for tour guides. Of course, if you’re very happy with the service, you can put in more!

If you wish to pay by credit card, you can add it on the terminal, where a calculation is directly proposed.

↠ Budget for 2 weeks trip in Western USA ? my expenses

  • ESTA : 21$ per person
  • Pass America The Beautiful : 80$ per car
  • Monument Valley & Valley of fire entrances : 31$
  • Food : 60$ per person per day with breakfast, snack lunch and take away dinner
  • Rental car : 750$
  • Gasoline : 200$
  • Hotels parking & taxes : 100$
  • Hotels : for motels, you should pay 30-80$ per night. For hotels, prices are higher 80-200$ per night. For accommodations next to touristic places or national parks, the rates can be around 300-400$ per night or more. For this road trip, I will count an average of 150$ per night.

Attention : the accommodation fees can change a lot, depending on the standard and the time of the year !

TOTAL budget for 14 days = 4 833$ for 2 peoples. You have to add the plane tickets and activities to this budget.

↠ Where to book your excursions Western USA ?

For those wishing to organise their trip themselves, I recommend booking your activities on the Viator platform. This will allow you to have all your bookings centralised and see live prices.

GetYourGuide also offers many excursions in the USA.

↠ What should you pack for a road trip in Western USA ?

If you’re going in October like me or in spring, pack 2 or 3 jumpers and 1 jacket for the cool mornings and evenings. It warms up in the afternoon, so you can bring summer clothes too !

What I did was to take long-sleeved thermal T-shirts so that I wouldn’t be cold in the morning, and I’d take them off when it was warm enough. Don’t forget your swimming costume, your sunglasses and your best smile. Yes, yes : forget your worries and come and get crazy 😂 (kisses to those who have the ref).

↠ Travelling by van

In my opinion, Western USA is THE ideal destination for a van road trip. If you want to reduce the costs of your trip, it’s a great alternative as it saves you the cost of hotels and the obligation to always eat out.

If I come back one day, this is certainly the way I’ll be travelling to enjoy nature. Over there, camping is very free so you can easily find beautiful places to enjoy and spend the night.

If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to use the comments section of this article. I’ll be happy to answer them !

See you soon for new adventures,

For more ideas on how to get away from it all…

This article contains affiliate links. If we’ve helped you organise your trip or you’d just like to support us, please consider booking your activities and hotels in the USA by clicking on our links. We’ll earn a small commission and the price stays the same for you of course. 🤍

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