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Family visit help: Flagstaff & Sedona 3.10.17 - 3.16.17

Saint Louis...
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Family visit help: Flagstaff & Sedona 3.10.17 - 3.16.17

All input welcome; many questions below, thanks in advance for your patience and assistance.

We've never been to the SW before and will be staying about 15 miles south of Sedona (via arriving in Phoenix on 3.9.17) for 1 week. We'll also be visiting Flagstaff as well. Our group is two parents, 15, 13, 10 year old children.

Overall, we're interested in budget friendly / free options so we can afford 1-2 "big" things. Example of 1-2 "big things": maybe the train ride to/from the Grand Canyon? Or the pink Jeep tours? River rafting experience? Or something else we're unaware of?

Not interested in golf, zoos, or other science museums (except Lowell Observatory) as we have an incredible quality of zoo & many museums where we live which are free

Interested in:

* day trip to GC -- maybe train ride if possible but unsure of timeline & budget for GC train rides

* a few "not to miss" hikes (not necessarily the most famous, but just great hikes with beautiful terrain and views). However, we want to avoid endless days of hiking....with more days of hiking...and more days of hiking.... as we'd like to mix it up with other unique to the area experiences.

* guided river rafting or other H20 related experience

* some sort of a 'cowboy' or 'dude ranch' experience and/or AUTHENTIC Indian or Native American experience (hope I'm using the correct terms to describe this....) for our kids to experience and learn from

* thoughts on antelope canyon? The photos look beautiful online.

Also interested in: one day of either trout fishing or a more intense guided hike for my husband as a "thank you" for remodeling our house for the last year :)

Finally, we like to experience the Sedona, Flagstaff, and very nearby areas as "locals". Please pass along restaurants and other places that the locals know are either great restaurants or other places to visit. Every trip we try to immerse ourselves in "known by the locals" restaurants or experiences.

A small request....if there happen to be any gluten-free folks reading this post, please recommend a good place to purchase GF groceries and maybe the opportunity to enjoy a delicious GF meal while visiting the area.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

Hilton Head, South...
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1. Re: Family visit help: Flagstaff & Sedona 3.10.17 - 3.16.17

There are so many things to see and do in the area you will be going to. You will need to narrow your priority's.

I would suggest since you will be 15 miles south of Sedona, using that as a base, going to Sedona, then Flagstaff. There so many things to do in Sedona, pink jeep, hikes, slide rock park, not to mention the drive up to 189, with the monuments along the drive, with hikes off the roads at pull outs. Flagstaff is a university town with not much to see, but very nice. Take the back way to Flagstaff on 189A past slide rock park. A most beautiful drive, when you get to the top, use the pull out and check out the valley looking back towards Sedona....Amazing!

You get the train in Williams to the GC for a day trip, but one day is never enough to see it all. Been there 4 times and still haven't seen it all. The train takes you the south rim, where with short hikes you can see quite a bit, get something to eat, and rest up. I'm not sure but I think the train also leaves from Prescott.

There is a dude ranch off 17 where you turn to go to Sedona. Never been there so I can't speak to that.

A thought....If you do drive to Flagstaff, there is crater NP nw of flagstaff, the painted desert, and Winslow, AZ. where you can take your picture with Glen Fry standing on the corner. Winslow is on the way to the painted desert, which also takes you through the petrified forest.

As you can see the is so much to see and do, and there are so many I have not mentioned. One last thing it's gonna be cold in march. Days warming and cold nights.

Tempe, AZ
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2. Re: Family visit help: Flagstaff & Sedona 3.10.17 - 3.16.17

Be aware that there is a distinct possibility of snow in the Flagstaff area in March. That being said, the ski resort there, Arizona Snowbowl, will still be open if you're interested in that.

My favorite restaurants in Flagstaff are Tinder Box, Criollo, Coppa Cafe, Pizzicletta, Diablo Burger, Pato Thai , and Brix.

New York City, New...
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3. Re: Family visit help: Flagstaff & Sedona 3.10.17 - 3.16.17

Here is a recent (yesterday) write up of the train ride you are interested in:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g14302…

For the one day tour, you will only have 3 hours at the Rim. An expensive day for a family.

Boxing John is correct about the snow! With that in mind, Slide Rock is probably not something you will want on your list of attractions. Antelope Canyon is in Page, AZ, about 3.5 hours north east of Sedona. That is also where you can also find 1/2 day river rafting (neither are at Grand Canyon National Park). Again, the weather during the beginning of March should be considered. It may not bother you or the kids but that time of the year is still too cold for me. Antelope Canyon (either upper or lower) is sure to please the kids but it is a VERY long day for a day trip and involves extra driving. A better plan is to spend the night in Page on the way to or from the Grand Canyon.

tucson az
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for Tucson, Arizona, Northern Mexico
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4. Re: Family visit help: Flagstaff & Sedona 3.10.17 - 3.16.17

Going down your items.

The train is not a good deal to visit the park, unless you are train buffs. You may see photos of a steam engine, but it is only used a few times a year. The equipment is 50s/60s era. You do not see the canyon from the train, and the ride is not very scenic. It also takes 2.25 hours plus waiting and boarding time in each direction. It seriously limits your time in the park as there is barely 3 hours between arrival and departure. Drive yourself.

Do a Pink Jeep tour in Sedona. It will be the highlight of your trip.

To do a day trip to GCNP, leave early, possibly pack a lunch and take water. If you are south of Sedona, take I-17 to I-40, then east to Hwy 89 north and enter the park by the east entrance. You will spend 2-3 hours on the east road at the overlooks there. You won't have time for any hikes. Visit the Visitor Center and Yavapai Point. Spend some time in the rim lodge area; possibly lunch there. Depending on time, take the shuttle west along the Hermits Rest road. I am guessing that where you are staying it will take 2.5 hours each way. You need to leave the park before dark as this is not an area to drive at night.

Depending on where you are staying, an alternate route going to GCNP would be to go through Sedona and take Hwy 89A (there is no 189A) through Oak Creek Canyon to I-17, and then as above. Do not take it on the return as you would not like the drive in the dark and could see nothing except the wildlife crossing the road.

There is no river rafting at GCNP or near where you will be. There is a float trip on the Colorado below Glen Canyon Dam from Page, but it would take an entire day to drive there and back. Antelope Canyon is there, but Page is not a good day trip from the Sedona area. It is also an area not to drive at night.

A note about water at GCNP. Bottled water is not sold there, and plastic water bottles may not be disposed there. You can take a plastic water bottle disposable or otherwise, and there will be numerous places to refill, but take it with you when you leave..

There are no "authentic Native American experiences." When in Flagstaff visit the Museum of Northern Arizona which is primarily about native peoples of the Southwest. It has displays of arts, crafts and much educational info. While you don't want museums, this one is different and very worthwhile to learn about native people. The Navajo are nearby at Flagstaff and Page, but there is really nothing to visit. The Hopi people have a Cultural Center and offer tours of their mesas, but tht can't be done on a daytrip. In the area where you will be staying are native ruins which can be visited near Sedona, Tuzigoot pueblo ruins at Cottonwood, Walnut Canyon just east of Flagstaff, Wupatki pueblo ruins north of Flagstaff.

The only trout fishing near where you will be is in Oak Creek in Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona and south. It is stocked, and there is a trout hatchery on Oak Creek at Page Springs 10 miles south of Sedona. A fishing license costs $20/day for a non-resident. Sedona is a special area and there may be limits and fees in addition. Parts of Oak Creek above Sedona are catch and release only. Where keeping is allowed the limit is 6 trout. Most of Oak Creek Canyon above Sedona is difficult for fly fishing unless you get in the creek which will be very cold. Worms are best and minnows and other live bait not allowed. Inquire locally about fishing guides. (I am a fisherman and have fished in that area.)

There are guided hikes in the Sedona area.

Others will tell you about good places to eat in the area. Any place you might go there will be locals and visitors.

Saint Louis...
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5. Re: Family visit help: Flagstaff & Sedona 3.10.17 - 3.16.17

Thank you for the helpful recommendations!

6. Re: Family visit help: Flagstaff & Sedona 3.10.17 - 3.16.17

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