Zion / Bryce Canyon National Park Vacation

In celebration of Sabrina’s upcoming 16th birthday, I gave her the option of picking anywhere in the US for a special mother/daughter trip. I secretly hoped that she would pick a beach resort and we could sit by the pool and lounge for a few days. But that isn’t my kid. Her selection was Zion and Bryce Canyon National Park! Sabrina planned everything from where we stayed, the hikes, restaurants, EVERYTHING. I am so grateful for this one on one time and the incredible adventure we had!

You know that our family loves to travel – here are the blog posts of our previous vacations

Colorado (Aspen, Telluride, Crested Butte)
San Francisco/Yosemite/Lake Tahoe
Paris/South of France/Barcelona

Here is our itinerary for our Utah Vacation

Day 1

We flew from EWR to Las Vegas at 840am and landed at 11:30am local time. After we got our rental car, we checked into our hotel, The Platinum and got a late lunch at Sadelle’s Cafe at the Bellagio and walked around a little bit. Then we enjoyed the roof top pool at the hotel and had an early night because we were still on East Coast time zone!

Day 2

We left Vegas early morning and made the 2.5 hour drive to our amazing Airbnb in Springdale. Sabrina found this gem early on in our planning It was right next to the Visitor’s Center so we just walked there and caught the shuttle each day. It was also above a cafe where we got lunch all 3 days. The balcony had amazing views of the mountains – it was perfect! On our first afternoon, we did Emerald Pools trail to the lower and middle pools. What a great introduction to Zion. Not too hard and absolutely beautiful! We returned to the visitor’s center and hiked up part of the Watchman trail before the sun started going down.

Day 3

We did a 10 hour private hiking tour with Zion Guru to Bryce Canyon. Our guide, Jake picked us up at 630am right at our airbnb. He was wonderful and patient and showed us the highlights of Bryce which was stunning!! Having a guide was so beneficial for us because it saved me the stress of having to drive in the dark and we ensured that we saw the best spots in the park. We also learned a lot about life in Utah from a local and he gave us great tips on where to eat and how we should spend our remaining time in Zion. On our way back to our airbnb, Jake pulled over for us to stop at the Keyhole Canyon at Zion which is a neat slot canyon that Sabrina loved!

Day 4

We rented gear and hiked The Narrows at Zion which was epic!!! We ended the day with 10 miles on my Apple Watch – I think about 8 of those miles were from the Narrows. We made it further than I thought we would (just past Floating Rock past Wall Street). The water was up to our waist in sections of the hike and it was strenuous. We could not have done it without the walking stick and dry pants / shoes.

Day 5

We did the Canyon Overlook Trail – amazing views. It’s only 1 mile but felt harder than I thought it would because of how sore we were from the previous few days. We made our way back to Las Vegas and checked into the Four Seasons. We spent the afternoon lounging at the various pools. There is a lazy river that we loved and a fun wave pool. We also walked over to Mandalay Bay casino where we played a slot machine and won $20 🙂

Day 6

We had a morning flight home from Vegas back to Newark.

If we had another day, we would have rented bikes and we also would have attempted the first part of Angel’s Landing. But Sabrina only wanted to miss two days of school so we fit what we could in the days that we had. We would love to return to see Moab, Arches, Antelope Canyon and the Grand Canyon.

I took over 200 photos but here are a few faves!! The first 5 photos are from Bryce

Here is the view from our airbnb balcony

Here are 3 photos from the Emerald Pool Trail

Here are a few photos from The Narrows

Here is a shot from the Canyon Overlook Trail

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Christie Adams Photography

Bergen County NJ baby children & family photographer