Thanks to everyone who answered all of my questions on this forum. I was able to plan a great trip!! My family of four including sons aged 12 and 9 left Providence, RI early on 4/21 and arrived in PHX at about 1:00 pm. Unfortunately we accidentally checked a couple bags so baggage claime added a few precious minutes to my itinerary. We got the shuttle to Hertz and got our car quickly and were on the road. We stopped at the Walmart in Anthem to stock up on water, snacks and sunscreen and grabbed some lunch. We got to Flagstaff around 5 and checked into our hotel. The hotel had discount tickets to Lowell Observatory so we decided to check it out after dinner. It was a busy Saturday night and didn't want to wait to eat at our first choice (Lumberyard) so we ended up eating at Bigfoot BBQ. The food was ok but the service was quick and we made our way over to the observatory. I wish we'd had more time but we were able to look through a few of the telescopes and the views of the sky and the city from up on the hill made the trip worth it.
Early the next morning we had breakfast at the hotel and headed right for the Grand Canyon. We arrived late morning, purchased our America the Beautiful pass, and headed for the visitor center to watch the short movie. Next we stopped at the market and purchased sandwiches to eat later on the trail. There was some construction going on so we were a little confused navigating to the hotel. We were staying at Kachina but couldn't find any parking at the hotel so we parked in one of the lots. I knew parking would be scarce but I was surprised at how little parking there was for the hotels. We grabbed the shuttle and rode to our first view at Bright Angel. It was amazing to finally set eyes on the Canyon. We followed the rim trail to the next shuttle stop stopping at a quiet spot to have lunch. We rode to Maricopa and Powell Point before the boys got bored and tired. We took the shuttle back to the Village, grabbed the car, and were lucky enough get get a parking spot at El Tovar. We checked into the hotel, dropped off our stuff, and headed out to explore some of the gift shops. We followed the advice of the ranger at the visitor center to avoid the crowd at Hopi Point and watch the sunset at Mojave. We were early so we got off the shuttle at Hopi and walked the rim trail to Mojave. The weather was cold and overcast so as soon as the sun set we caught the shuttle back to the Village and had dinner at the Bright Angel restaurant. The food was simple but good and especially after a long day it really hit the spot.
The next morning at sunset I rushed out to see the sunrise over the canyon from just outside the hotel. Having a room so close to the rim was priceless as was the view! After I had watched for awhile I went back to the room and my husband went out to see it. Once the kids were up we checked out of the hotel, grabbed some breakfast at Bright Angel bike rental, and left the park via the East entrance stopping at some viewpoints along the way: Pipe Creek Vista, Grandview, Tusayan ruins, Lipan, and Desert View. I just couldn't get enough views of the canyon but we had to make our way to Page. My only regret was not buying more at the GC gift shops. The shops had some great things and I didn't find things I liked as much the rest of the trip. On our way we stopped for lunch at Cameron Trading Post. We didn't find anything we liked at the shop but lunch was delicious. My younger son and I split the Navajo taco and the Arizona egg rolls. So good! My older son and husband got the beef stew and green chile stew and loved it. When we arrived at Horseshoe Bend the wind really started picking up and unfortunately we couldn't stand to spend much time looking at the view. It was worth the discomfort but we headed back pretty quickly. We were at our hotel in Page by 3:00 which gave us a little time to relax, scrape the sand off, and swim in the pool. We had pizza at Strombolli's which was better than I'd expected.
The next morning we had reservations for Antelope Canyon at 8:00 am. The tour started right on time, our guide Zach was great and took lots of pictures for us. We were all stunned by how beautiful the canyon was and the time flew by. After the tour we headed out to Sedona. All the driving we did around Arizona and I was constantly surprised by the variation in the landscape from deserts to forests to mountains. It was all so beautiful. We took the Wupatki detour stopping at the Lomaki and Citadel pueblos before getting to the large Wupatki pueblo. By now we were all anxious to get to Sedona so we skipped Sunset Crater and grabbed a quick lunch near Flagstaff. When we arrived in Sedona checked into the BW Arroyo Roble. I was thrilled with the location walking distance to shops and restaurant and the view of the red rocks from our room. We enjoyed the pool and checked out the shops before dinner at Open Range Grill. The food was fine but the view during sunset made for a really enjoyable meal.
The next morning we had our Pink Jeep Broken Arrow tour first thing. I found our guide kind of annoying but the tour was enjoyable and probably the highlight of the trip for everyone. Unfortunately my younger son came down with a cold and he had a low grade fever and a pretty bad cough so we didn't get to do as much hiking as I would have liked. We picked up some Tylenol Cold and tried to keep the hikes on the shorter side and supplemented with breaks for the pool and shopping. For hikes we did Red Rock Crossing, the Bell Rock Path, and Fay Canyon. We tried to visit the Chapel but two times we tried and couldn't get parking so I was only able to view it from the car. We took a side trip through Cottonwood to visit Tuzigoot. This was based on a recommendation we got to skip Montezuma in favor of Tuzigoot and it was probably the right choice - we were able to get up close to the ruins and the artifacts in the museum were pretty special. Other dinners we had were at Cowboy Club (great food) and Hideaway House (great food and views from the porch.)
The last morning in Sedona we hiked the Boynton Vista trail and visited the Palatki heritage site. We called the number on the sign and were lucky to get a reservation to see the ruins. It was a great way to end our trip - the ruins and pictographs were incredible to see and the guides shared some great information. Sadly it was time to leave Sedona for PHX. We returned our rental car, retrieved the baseball glove that my son lost on the plane at lost and found, and spent our last night in Phoenix at the airport Marriott. We had an overpriced but very good dinner at the restaurant where we met another couple from RI. We had an early but easy flight back home. We really enjoyed our first trip to the south west and I'm already thinking about planning another trip to see more.