National Parks Road Trip | The Itinerary

First up, thank you so much for all the love on our Powder Room yesterday! My head is still spinning with that whirlwind project, but I’m always up for a challenge… especially when I get to cross a room off our Home To Do List!

Now on to today’s travel post… we’ve known for years we’d take a Grand Canyon adventure when the kids were old enough, but daydreaming about it was as far as we’d gotten. So when we decided in January this was the year, we weren’t left with much time to plan, and as we soon discovered, our early Spring Break would strongly dictate the itinerary.

We’d always assumed we’d spend a week at the Grand Canyon, but once we realized the North Rim and most of the rafting was still closed in early March, we were forced to find a new route and itinerary. And turns out our unfortunate timing was the best thing to happen to our vacation! We ended up in parks we’d never considered, saw more amazing natural beauty, and had a ridiculous amount of fun.

Obviously, touring National Parks is a quintessential family vacation because y’all have been burning up my email for more details! I’ve broken down each of the main stops in stand-alone posts already (find those at the end of this post), but I know it’s helpful to see the itinerary in full, with all the details in one spot. So here you go…The Sugarplum Family Spring Break!

road trip, national parks, zion, bryce, the grand canyon, family road trip

DAY ONE // Arrive Las Vegas, pick-up rental car

While Vegas was never part of my family vacation scenario, flying into Las Vegas and out of Phoenix allowed us to see more parks, without spending more time in the car. And actually, the kids loved it!! The lights, the huge hotels, the water shows… all of it was mesmerizing for them. I will say, walking the Strip with a curious 11-year-old was tricky, and resulted in a lot of questions! #dontstare

Where We Stayed // The Venetian Las Vegas

The hotel is massive & awe-inspiring, with huge suites perfect for families. There’s several restaurants on property, along with a big food court with more causal (inexpensive) options. It’s also centrally-located for exploring the most well-known hotels, and has free parking.

What We Loved // The Beatles LOVE, Cirque du Soleil

Located in the Mirage Theatre (across from the Venetian), this show is non-stop fun, regardless if you know and/or like the Beatles music. It’s performed in-the-round, in a small theatre, so there’s not a bad seat in the house…but be warned, it’s crazy-loud.

What We Loved // Seven Magic Mountains

Just outside of town, this outdoor art installation is comprised of seven towers of colorful boulders. Sure you could just look at pictures, but there’s something really cool about seeing it standing all alone in the middle of the desert.

Similar Jacket | Favorite Jeans | Sneakers | Sunglasses


DAY TWO // Drive to Zion National Park ~ 160 miles, 2.5 hours


DAY THREE // Zion National Park (see full post here)

Oversized Hoodie | Bootcut Leggings with Pockets | Long Sleeve Layering Tee | World’s Best Hiking Shoe

Sweatshirt | Pants | Shoes | Twill Pants | Pullover | Similar Boots | Sunglasses

Long Sleeve Layering Tee | Similar Joggers | Boots | Sunglasses


DAY FOUR // Drive to Bryce Canyon (see full post here), 80 miles, 1.5 hours

Since we only had one night in Bryce, we left Zion right after breakfast so we could have the majority of the day to explore. The drive is almost as spectacular as the destination, so allow some time to pull over a few times.

Rain Jacket | Athletic Jogger Pants | Shoes | Similar Parka


DAY FIVE // Drive to Page, Arizona, 160 miles, 3 hours. We left just after sunrise, which shouldn’t be missed!

11:00 am – Float trip with Colorado River Rafting (see full post here)

Tunic | Favorite Athletic Leggings | Best Trail Shoes Ever

5:00 pm Sunset at Horseshoe Bend (see the full post here)

Long Sleeve Tee | Best Jeans Sneakers | Sunglasses Hoop Earrings


DAY SIX morning // Antelope Canyon Tours by Chief Tsosie (see full post here)

DAY SIX afternoon // Drive to Grand Canyon, 140 miles, 2.5 hours


DAY SEVEN // Explore Grand Canyon (see full post here)

Tunic | Favorite Athletic Leggings | Best Trail Shoes Ever


DAY EIGHT // Drive to Phoenix, 230 miles, 3.5 hours for flight home

It was a busy trip, with a fair amount of driving, but there was also a lot of down time for hanging out and laughing. And in my experience, those are the times my kids open up the most, and start talking! I live for that, don’t you?! I hope this itinerary is helpful for your own trip planning, but feel free to leave questions in the comment section if I missed something.

Several of you have also asked about the camera we used for this trip…other than the selfies, I used this camera/lens combo. It’s pricey, but it’s truly amazing! The wifi connectivity comes in extremely handy for posting on social media, too.

What’s your favorite family road trip or vacation? We’re hooked on exploring National Parks and can’t wait to add more to our list!

[More National Parks Posts]

National Parks Road Trip | The Itinerary
Trip Report | The Grand Canyon
Trip Report | Bryce Canyon
Trip Report | Zion National Park
Trip Report | Antelope Canyon + Horseshoe Bend
Trip Report | Big Bend National Park
Trip Report | West Texas Road Trip
Our Favorite Hiking Spots in the United States
Road Trip Essentials

Leave a Comment


  1. I never knew of the Seven Magic Mountains – it looks so cute! I also couldn’t imagine travelling the National Parks with kids in tow – you’re amazing. I would be a mess even just by myself!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    Posted 5.17.17 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      haha — you’d be fine!! They’re so much fun! xo

      Posted 5.17.17 Reply
  2. Jennifer wrote:

    Looks like an amazing vacation! I think my favorite pictures are the ones of Antelope Canyon! So unique and pretty! Thanks for sharing! Hope to do this vacation one day!

    Posted 5.17.17 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Antelope was definitely the biggest surprise, and one of our favorite parts of the entire trip! xo

      Posted 5.17.17 Reply
  3. Wonderful post! Thank you for all of the itinerary details. I am pinning in hopes that we get to do this trip with our kids someday. We just returned from Washington, D.C., with our 5 kids, ages 5-12. We all had a wonderful time and saw so many fascinating things. Here are our top 10 Favorite Things:

    Posted 5.17.17 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Awesome, thanks so much for the tips….DC is on our list, too!

      Posted 5.17.17 Reply
  4. Trisha wrote:

    I love the pics and was wondering what attachment you use on your phone for the selfies. I have long arms and can’t fit my family of 4 with any kind of background in it! Is it just a selfie-stick or some sort of wide-angle attachment? I’m hoping its an attachment as my 2 teenage kids would be mortified by me taking out a selfie-stick in public (although that could be fun)! Thanks

    Posted 5.17.17 Reply
  5. Kristin wrote:

    Colorado: Quick stop at Great Sand Dunes, several days at Mesa Verde, head up to Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and on to Rocky Mountain National Park. We’ve been wanting to do the Utah parks for years, so I loved seeing your trip.

    Posted 5.17.17 Reply
  6. Kara wrote:

    I love hitting up the national parks! Two of my favorites are Acadia and Olympic.

    You can go to Seattle, enjoy the city, and then drive out to Olympic for exploration of mountains, waterfalls, rainforests, and beaches.

    For Acadia, I lumped it in with other parts of Maine as well as Boston.

    Posted 5.17.17 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Sounds amazing!! Thanks for sharing those, girlie!! xo

      Posted 5.18.17 Reply
  7. Darcy wrote:

    Thanks for posting this itinerary! Our son is only 16 months (and our second is due in June) but I can’t wait to take them to the Grand Canyon in a few years!

    Posted 5.17.17 Reply
  8. Carley wrote:

    Loved your trip and how you shared all those fun things with all of us! Thank you! Now I am all set to see Page, Arizona, and Horseshoe Bend. My husband and I are just newly retired and look forward to visiting as many National Parks as we can! Cassie keep traveling and sharing!

    Posted 5.17.17 Reply
  9. Shelly wrote:

    I’m dying to do this trip with my family! I have seen Cirque Love twice and loved it equally both times!! I’m not going to lie..that one picture of y’alls feet on the edge gets me every time. 🙂

    Posted 5.17.17 Reply
  10. Joan S wrote:

    I’m in Phoenix and been to GC several times, but have never made a multi-stop trip before. This itinerary def. inspires me to do that. Thanks a lot for sharing.

    Posted 5.17.17 Reply
  11. i hope my photos of horseshoe bend look something like that, yeesh. did you use your tripod in antelope? will pics not come out at all if you don’t? b/c i don’t have one and i didn’t book a special photography tour, either.

    Posted 5.17.17 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      We thought about doing the photo tour at Antelope, only to get access without all the people…but truthfully, the regular one was fine! And our guide told us exactly how to set our cameras and phones for those amazing pics!! No tripod necessary!!

      Posted 5.18.17 Reply
  12. Mac wrote:

    Thank you for sharing! Is there anywhere you would have spent more or less time knowing what you know now?

    Posted 5.18.17 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Ooh, that’s a tough question!! Actually, I think other than wishing we had more time everywhere, the distribution of time was pretty good!! I’d definitely go back to Zion to see more of it, and I’m so glad we fit Bryce and Page in the schedule!!

      Posted 5.18.17 Reply
  13. jillian wrote:

    pinnning this for later! xo

    Posted 5.18.17 Reply
  14. Eryn wrote:

    Love this post (and all the previous)! We are heading over in 2019 for a much planned and anticipated holiday to the West Coast USA, Canada and Alaska from Australia. I was really finding it hard to decide how long to stay and what we should see whilst there and this has helped enormously. I really loved your comment about your gorgeous 11 year old on “The Strip” as I was anxious about that as well – ours will be 11 and 13 when we travel….. Perhaps a pair of blinkers might be required. LOL. xx

    Posted 5.18.17 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      That sounds like an amazing trip! Let me know if you need an American tour guide! 😉 xo

      Posted 5.19.17 Reply
  15. Faith wrote:

    We took a similar vacation last year with our kids (9 & 12) to Badlands/Rushmore/Yellowstone/Grant Tetons. Spent a week and no more than 3ish hours of driving between stops so no one went postal in the car. 😉 It was a great trip and we can’t wait to do your trip in another year or so. National Parks are a great vacation!!!

    Posted 5.20.17 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      That itinerary sounds awesome…already looking forward to our next trek! xo

      Posted 5.20.17 Reply
  16. Natalie wrote:

    are there any restrictions on what you can take into each of these locations? I’m thinking of taking a GoPro with the stick attached but don’t want to show up at the entrance and be sent away

    Posted 5.24.17 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Actually, I think selfie sticks and drones are banned in most natural parks now! I’m not completely certain, so you might want to check!

      Posted 5.24.17 Reply
  17. Hayley wrote:

    love this post! stumbled across it as I am researching for our very similar trip with our kids. We are flying into Vegas and will visit Bryce and Zion (we have been to Grand Canyon before). Im contemplating if I should add in Page! Just can’t decide if I want the extra trip / drive time. what are your thoughts?

    Posted 1.13.18 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      It’s definitely more drive time, but Antelope was one of the coolest parts of our trip! The float I could give or take, but I did love the overlook at Horseshoe! But if you’re driving back to Vegas with no other stops, that might a little far!! Maybe you could do the North Rim of the GC? (Assuming you’ve done South Rim). Either way, it will be a great trip! I hope the post was helpful!

      Posted 1.15.18 Reply