Page, AZ – The Real Life Screensaver!

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve written a blog post, but I’ve got a fun one just in time for spring break! This past 10 weeks with school, work, and life got super busy, but now that I’ve graduated I have more than enough time to dedicate to writing in my blog.

So, without further ado, your guide to Page, Arizona – home of the amazingly beautiful Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend!

Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon located on Navajo land near Page, Arizona. It’s considered a sacred and spiritual place by the Navajo – and if you go, you’ll see why! Years of flash flooding and erosion have caused it to be the spectacle that it is today. Last spring break, my friend Anna and I went on a Great American Southwest Road Trip, which included several stops in Arizona – this being one of them.

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We honestly didn’t know much going in – just that we had to buy a ticket online and show up at a designated time. Because the canyon is located on Native American land, there are different tour companies that operate – it’s not something that you can just show up and explore yourself. We went with Ken’s Tours, but honestly both of them seemed reputable. There’s much debate about Lower vs. Upper, but we decided to go with Lower Antelope because it is a little less crowded, longer, and cheaper.

Upon arrival, the land doesn’t look like anything special. Just dry and very dusty. After some waiting with the rest of our group, our tour guide helped us down the nearly vertical stairs down into the canyon. For those afraid of heights, this was a little scary but our Navajo tour guide was incredibly patient in helping us get down.

Once we were down into the actual canyon, the varying colors and textures took my breath away. I’ve traveled plenty and have seen lots of beautiful things in my lifetime, but this was hands down the most beautiful natural thing I have ever seen. Lots of “oh my god”‘s were said.

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The next two hours were spent in absolute awe, gawking at the different formations created in the canyon. Our guide even pointed out parts of the canyon that look like different Native American spiritual creatures.

Some parts of the canyon were so narrow that we had to shuffle through one-by-one and sideways! I did begin to feel a little claustrophobic, but it was also kind of fun to squeeze through the canyon’s walls.

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Squeezing one-by-one through the canyon! Our guide in the background, LOL!

At the very end of the tour, our guide (who was incredibly skilled at photography and playing with the light down there) showed us a cool trick with the sand that made for an awesome photo!

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Horseshoe Bend

Another place that was even cooler to see in person was Horseshoe Bend. Located off the side of the road, Horseshoe Bend is super easy to get to and just requires a short (probably 1/2 mile?) walk down to the viewing point. You’ll have to navigate the mass of tourists, but it’s absolutely worth it.

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We saw a lot of boats cruising by on Lake Powell below, and we heard that it was a great way to see the Bend from below! Unfortunately we didn’t get the chance to do this, but it looked amazing!

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Page

The town of Page is absolutely nothing to write home about. Albeit a bit sketchy, Page’s claim to fame is definitely Lake Powell, Horseshoe Bend, and Antelope Canyon. However, Page is home to some great Mexican food! We went to El Tapatio, which had cheap and delicious food after a long day of being outside. Other than Mexican grub, don’t expect much culinary greatness here.

As a whole, Page is absolutely worth a stop on your road trip! Like I said, Antelope Canyon is basically stepping into a real-life screensaver and will make your jaw drop. It’s an excellent place to learn about the Navajo culture, Southwest culture, and more!

Conquering the Road to Hana

During my winter break for school, my mom and I were lucky enough to visit Maui, Hawaii! Although we have been to Maui before, we wanted to do something adventurous that we hadn’t done before – which included the infamous Road to Hana!

Honestly, if you do a quick Google search, the Road to Hana looks absolutely terrifying, impossible to navigate, and stress-inducing in figuring out which stops to look at. Being the big planner I am, I scoured several blogs in order to figure out the best stops. Every blog recommended different stops, and to be honest – it stressed me out. The best piece of advice I came across was download the “Road to Hana Maui GyPSy Guide” on the iTunes App Store. With this thing, there’s absolutely no planning necessary. The narrator tells you exactly which stops are “must-sees” and which ones are worth skipping over. Tired of researching, I left everything up to the app and couldn’t have been more happy with my choice.

Don’t be fooled – the drive is very tiring if you do the whole thing. But you will be very happy if you get up early (think 6am!) and are able to complete it! The roads are very narrow and there are lots of locals who will want to speed around you, but I didn’t think it was bad as some of the blogs and reviews made it out to be. If you take it slow and don’t mind being passed by locals, you will be fine!

Keanae Arboretum

The Keanae Arboretum was one of our first stops, mostly because we missed the first few and wanted to get a feel for the road first. This was one of the “must-do” stops. Here, parking is a little more plentiful and it’s a nice walk to stretch your legs. There are some really cool plants – a personal favorite of mine was the rainbow eucalyptus!

Wai’anapanapa State Park

My absolute favorite stop along the Road to Hana! Honestly, we could’ve spent all day here. There are tons of walking trails and the scenery is jaw-droppingly beautiful. Highlights here included the gorgeous black sand beach and some awesome lookout points. Bring your swimsuit!

Keanae Peninsula 

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The Keanae Peninsula was also another awesome stop – and we almost missed it! The turn off for this one is right after the Arboretum, which we didn’t realize until we had already passed it. Keanae is a traditional Hawaiian village that has a few scattered homes, a baseball field, a bomb banana bread shop, and a very cool old church and cemetery (pictured above). There are awesome views to be had nearly everywhere you look!

Aunty Sandy’s – get the banana bread, you won’t regret it!

Be Open!

Another thing I realized during this journey was to be open to nearly everything! Don’t go in with a set plan and number of stops, because that will surely change! If you see a ton of cars pulled over on the side of the road, pull over and see what they’re looking at – it won’t hurt. We discovered an awesome swimming hole and waterfall this way.

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Remember that the whole drive is about the journey not the destination! The town of Hana isn’t really much – but the sights along the way are much better! The diversity of landscapes along the 64-mile stretch is incredible and not something you’ll see in the mainland US! At times it felt like we were in Jurassic Park or on some Caribbean island.

Have fun, bring a swimsuit, and take lots of pictures! Oh, and buy the banana bread! 🙂