Changing Routes

No one who knows us, or follows us, will be surprised to hear that we did NOT head north through Arizona and Utah National Parks as planned but instead road tripped California to find our way back to Oregon. Ever flexible, when the mild winter turned into a raging spring, our thoughts turned to warmer temps. When Dave & Anne and presumably Max, our road-tripping partners, expressed a desire for warmer and sunnier the original plan was scrapped and we began to route west.

No photo description available.

Continue reading


How to Plan the Best Trip to Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, also known as the Valley of the Sun, provides sunshine almost every day of the year. And while it has remained on the list of must-visit cities in the U.S., something has shifted as of late. The city is gaining visitor momentum with its up-and-coming arts scene, gastronomic greatness, and its stunning desert and mountain scenery. If you’re intrigued, here’s how to plan the best trip to Phoenix, Arizona.

When to Go to Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix offers extreme temperatures ranging from 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 40 degrees Celsius, in the summer months to freezing in the winter. So it’s best to go in the in-between months in spring and fall to enjoy the Valley of the Sun at its best. When you’re ready to plan your trip, check out this Phoenix hotel planning guide to book the perfect hotel for your needs.

Soak in the Culture and Gastronomy

Capitol Building Phoenix, Arizona

Image via Flickr by Gage Skidmore

Culturally, Phoenix can really stand out with its many museums, theaters, music venues, opera, and symphony. Some of the state’s best museums lie here and feature a number of themes. I recommend The Heard Museum, the Arizona Science Center, the Phoenix Art Museum, and the Museum of Musical Instruments. You can also take a stroll through Bentley Projects, a downtown warehouse district full of art galleries.

Dining Phoenix, Arizona

Image via Flickr by Alan Light

After fueling with the complimentary breakfast at your hotel, feel free to work up an appetite during the day to give way to delicious food. Given the proximity to Mexico, you’ll find outstanding south-of-the-border inspired cuisine.

At the Phoenix Ranch Market, you’ll find freshly made tortillas, refreshing aguas frescas, and mouth-watering tres leches cake. Phoenix also has other international flavours, including French, Korean, and other Latin American cuisines.

Stay Cool

Pool Phoenix, Arizona

Image via Flickr by mirage1210

As mentioned, Phoenix can get pretty hot, but there are several ways to stay cool. Many hotels have pools where you can soak, refresh, and lounge with the family. You can also take them to the several water parks around the city. If water isn’t your thing, you’ll find air conditioning across buildings in Phoenix. So feel free to satisfy your shopping needs at the many malls and chic boutiques.

Witness Stunning Natural Beauty

Hiking Camelback Mountain Phoenix, Arizona

Image via Flickr by ThreeIfByBike

Possibly one of Phoenix’s best feature is its majestic desert landscape with breathtaking sunsets and plenty of outdoor activities. Nature enthusiasts will enjoy hiking and biking up Camelback Mountain, where you can view the city from above. If you want to bring your furry friend on your hiking adventure, there are many pet-friendly hotels in Phoenix, too.

There are also many green areas around the city, like the South Mountain and Squaw Pearl parks. You can also go horseback riding through the splendor of the desert and enjoy the vast array of colours during sunset.

Now you have all the best tips for arts and culture, gastronomy, staying cool, and outdoor adventure to visit Phoenix, Arizona. Do you have any other tips or recommendations?

(Featured image via Flickr by midiman)

Originally published by Mani at A New Life Wandering on 3 April, 2017

A Bounty of Choices in Arizona

Written in cooperation with Hipmunk’s Boutique Hotels campaign.

Arizona has long been a winter escape for snowbirds. What you might not realize, though, is that this Southwestern state has plenty to offer all year round. Take a look at some of Arizona’s best destinations and top places to stay.

The Grand Wonder

Arizona’s most majestic wonder has to be the Grand Canyon. One of the largest of its kind in the world, the Grand Canyon has drawn visitors for decades. If a day trip isn’t enough time for you to enjoy this mammoth wonder, check out the Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn.

Located a short distance from the park, the hotel is an affordable option in what can be a pricey area. The resort features free parking and Wi-Fi, as well as an outdoor pool, a fitness center, a bowling center, a game room, a sports bar, a coffee shop, and a restaurant. It’s also ideally located across the street from the popular Big E Steakhouse and Saloon. Rooms are comfortable and appointed with luxury linens, coffee makers, microwaves, refrigerators, and deluxe bathrooms.

Image via Flickr by Moyan_Brenn

The Capital

Whether you’re going to Phoenix for work or pleasure, Hipmunk offers the right hotel option for you. If a vacation is on the agenda, choose the Royal Palms Resort and Spa – Destination Hotels & Resorts. Everyone in the family will find a favorite feature, like the outdoor pool, the full-service spa, the bicycle rentals, or the luxurious rooms. This resort offers a few rare amenities, such as makeup mirrors and robes, to create a spa-like experience.

Image via Flickr by kevin dooley

For a central location and excellent amenities, the Hyatt Regency Phoenix is a wonderful choice. For business travelers, the hotel offers up work stations and Wi-Fi, and there are meeting rooms and catering available for events. The rooms feature a mini-fridge and coffee maker to get your day started right, while the restaurant, pool, and fitness center will keep you on schedule. The property also has an on-site Einstein Bagels.

Image via Flickr by

The Favorite Neighbor

While Phoenix is the transportation hub of the area, Scottsdale is its upscale neighbor. Known for its spas, golf courses, and fabulous desert landscapes, Scottsdale has had a loyal tourist base for a very long time.

If you’re searching for a sun-soaked getaway with easy access to championship golf courses and great hiking areas, search no further than the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia. The lovely rooms feature all of the usual comforts, guests come here for the golf, the hiking, and the spa services, all set against the dramatic desert landscape. After playing 18 holes or taking an early morning hike, lounge by one of the three pools or enjoy a relaxing massage.

Image via Flickr by JefferyTurner

If you dream of a morning of golf and an afternoon in the pool, all with a view of the mountains, the Scottsdale Marriott at McDowell Mountains is for you. The hotel’s signature Revive bedding and designer toiletries will keep you rested so that you can spend your days exploring the natural beauty of the desert. A mere 10 miles from Old Towne Scottsdale, the Scottsdale Marriott offers a fantastic location, combined with the peace and quiet of the country.

Image via Flickr by Jeff Tidwell

No matter which part of Arizona calls out to you, Hipmunk offers the right hotel choices for you.

Searching for Spirit of Sedona

Written in cooperation with the Hipmunk Boutique hotel 2016 campaign.

Sedona, Arizona can surely be regarded as one of the most scenic small cities in the United States. Part spectacular scenery, part spiritual vortex, part resort town, Sedona offers up something for any interest. Challenge yourself to a hike in the majestic Red Rock Mountains. Explore the over 40 art galleries. Or possibly spend your time luxuriating in one of the many spas after a delicious lunch. It can all be yours in Sedona.

image via Flickr by zen!

Continue reading

The Joy of Impromptu Decisions

Funny, isn’t it, how once you just STOP over-thinking, and take the time to listen to your instincts, the day just gets better? We hadn’t planned on spending the night in Monument Valley. We had booked through Sunday night at Overland Expo and planned a long driving day to Moab. Instead, by Sunday noon, feeling disappointed with our Expo experience, and fed up with the unrelenting dust and wind, we made a snap decision to just pack it up and move on.


Continue reading

Facts from the Road

Three weeks back from vacation, my mind is still swirling with all the stories I need to write. Although our road trip was a mere 17 days, we experienced such extraordinary diversity, it’s been challenging to put it all into words. First, a few facts:

Miles Driven: 3055


Continue reading