Arizona Vegan Vacation: Part 1 – Planning
I’m so excited!
In less than one week my husband, David, and my stepdaughter, Mia, and I leave for our long-awaited trip out west. We Vegans Three are headed to Arizona (and parts of southern Utah) for a whirlwind summer vacation that we’re sure to remember for the rest of our lives.
Thirteen adventure-filled days up and down the great state of AZ, where the air is dry, dusty and HOT…VERY HOT. Coming from the steamy, humid, scorching and sticky gulf coast of Florida, it will be interesting to see how our bodies adapt to the dry heat of the desert air. Interestingly, we have been checking temperatures in the places we are staying and the highs and lows are very different throughout the state.
David and I have been to Phoenix for work in the past, but none of us has had the opportunity to visit all the amazing geographical wonders that the area has to offer. Some of the iconic places on our list are Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Zion National Park in Utah, Flagstaff and Scottsdale. Actually in that order. I’ve never flown to another state, just to turn around and take a road trip but, the way I look at it, it’s the best of both vacation worlds.
Not only is it our first time going to AZ for vacation, but it’s also the first vacation that the three of us will all be together for so long, at one time. I guess it’s fortunate that we all love the outdoors, hiking, nature, exploring, new adventures and most of all, FOOD! We are all looking forward to seeing what AZ has to offer by way of food, and since taking Rouxbe’s plant-based culinary course, I am a bit of a foodie critic.
And, as a vegan chef, it was my job to research and find our various food options along the way. It’s funny how something as simple as food has become so important to us when planning our vacations. It used to be we just chose a cool vacation spot and went. But now, because we are completely animal-free, we have to search out restaurants and double check menus to see what’s available.
When it comes to places like Phoenix, Sedona, Flagstaff and Scottsdale, based on my research, the plant-based options seem nearly endless. But, when I dove into the areas around the Grand Canyon and the northern AZ border regions, it seems there are slim pickings and we may have to be a little creative when finding potential places to please our vegan palate. I mean, a tried and true vegan knows if they can find crackers and hummus they won’t starve. But, seriously, crackers and hummus? On vacation in the Grand Canyon? There has to be more…
Researching restaurants and grocery stores so we won’t starve (slight exaggeration!? ) was just one piece of the planning process. We are road tripping the entire state so we also need to understand what kind of vehicle we should rent (we went with a standard SUV), what to pack for our various adventures, and where to stay. We know the general areas we want to visit, but finding suitable accommodations for three people without breaking the bank can be challenging. We are also heading to one of the most recognized national parks of all time during the busiest time of the year (and for the 100th-anniversary of the National Park Service mind you), and we had to really dig deep to strategize our trip timing and details.
Finding 5 different hotels during the busy summer time was a challenge that I was ready to accept and I am happy to say I completed my task with great success. Since Mia is a teenager, she needs a little bit of her own space and it was important to either find inexpensive hotel suites or rooms with a pull-out couch or some separate area for a little privacy. Fortunately, we scored great rooms within our budget at all our locations and thankfully they seemingly have plant-based options available in the area.
We also want to treat ourselves to jeep and hiking tours in the Grand Canyon and Antelope Canyon and things were getting a little complicated during the planning process so this is when we turn to our handy dandy vaca folder and our fancy trip itinerary planner (a.k.a good old excel). When I met my husband 7 years ago and we went on our first trip together, he showed me this convoluted excel file that had me giggling. I used excel for work before but, I never used it to plan a vacation!
Jump ahead 7 years to the present day, and we still create a folder and use an excel file to plan our trip. And, I will admit, I have come to appreciate the vacation folder and itinerary “guide”. Which is what I made David promise to call it since I hate feeling pigeonholed to a set itinerary. After all, we’re not in boot camp. We’re on VACATION!
So the flights are booked, the hotels and lodges are reserved, the rental car is waiting, the tours are scheduled and now… now we just need to have the best time ever. I will be capturing our moments along the way and you know I will be snapping photos of the food we do wind up devouring. When all is said and done I will come back and share a vegan foodie tour review of Arizona, similar to my Portland write up.
I am super-thrilled to have the opportunity for this trip and I am looking forward to submerging ourselves in the beautiful and spiritual red rocks of Arizona. I will be sharing stories and photos on Facebook and Instagram, too, so be sure to follow me on those sites to see how we are doing. I gotta say, I’m smiling ear-to-ear as…
we vegans three go west!
Certified Plant-Based Chef and Holistic Nutritionist veganizing the planet one meal at a time. Bringing fans vegan food, brand, travel & lifestyle news while offering clients personalized vegan chef services in the Tampa Bay area. For the health of it! View all posts by Jennifer