My First Trip To Arizona: Highlights & Recommendations

Saturday, December 16, 2017

It's amazing how many activities you can squeeze into three days when you're somewhere new and excited to explore. My boyfriend and I were in Arizona last weekend from Saturday to Tuesday. While it was only three days, we made the most of it and saw some places we'll never forget.

Since we were on a budget and bought the plane tickets that only allow a personal item and no carry on, I didn't vlog this trip. But I did still want to share my favorite things for you to keep in mind if you ever go to Arizona (which you should). 

Doesn't this picture look like it was taken in California? But nope, it's Arizona!

I associate palm trees with beaches and coastlines, so I wasn't expecting to see so many, but they're everywhere, even in the city. It felt unusually tropical. Then a few hours north, it can be as cold and snowy as Chicago. Arizona can't make up its mind.

I also didn't realize that cacti were so huge.

As you can tell, Arizona was all brand new for me, and I loved it.

Camelback Mountain

The very first thing we did once we landed (aside from eat) was head to Camelback Mountain. It was an area we heard a lot about when looking for places to hike. This is where I learned that cacti are not always tiny plants and instead can tower over you like trees!

Camelback Mountain has two trails: Echo Canyon and Cholla Trail, both of which end at the same place at the top. We knew nothing about either one but the Internet told us that Cholla was a little less challenging, so we opted for that one. It was a nice casual hike with a great view, especially as the sun started going down behind the mountain.

Though we made it far along the trail, we didn't quite make it all the way to the top because we wanted to make sure we could make it back down before it got dark. We found out later that apparently there was a Christmas tree and/or Santa at the top?? If we had known that, we probably would have made more of an effort to get to the end.

Compass Arizona Grill

For one night, we felt fancy and kinda rich – or as rich as you can feel in an upscale place wearing black jeans and a backpack purse.

Compass Arizona Grill is a revolving restaurant on the 24th floor of the Hyatt Regency Phoenix. It takes about an hour to go all the way around. As soon as we found out about it, we knew we wanted to go.

Our reservation was later in the day, at 9 p.m., so we could try their happy hour. Discounts on drinks and appetizers are right up our alley. It's a great, unique place to get a meal and admire the city.

Devil's Bridge, Sedona

Sedona was most definitely the highlight of the trip for both of us. It's about two hours north of Phoenix. We drove there and back on the same day but didn't feel rushed at all. If you are outdoorsy and enjoy hiking, this area is a must, especially Devil's Bridge.

The walk from the trailhead to Devil's Bridge itself was a little over an hour, which was more than I was expecting. Luckily, December in Sedona means upper 60s, AKA the perfect hiking weather. Be warned, as you get closer, the trail becomes less walking and more climbing.

There is truly nothing like the view from up there. It's one of those views that reminds you how crazy beautiful this world is and how tiny you are in comparison. The coolest part of it was that while you're at the top, catching your breath and watching people take their pictures, you end up chatting with other hikers. We took a group picture with everyone who was at the top with us and we didn't even know them. It was awesome.

Overall, our first trip to Arizona was a wonderful success. The best part was that it was new for him and me.. I have been to a lot of places around the country, and while I am totally willing to visit places again so my boyfriend and I can experience them together, I loved that this trip was all new for both of us.

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