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Old 01-14-2011, 12:47 PM
 
Location: Central Indiana/Indy metro area
1,684 posts, read 2,862,442 times
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Hello everyone. Soon I will have to put in for my 2011 vacation where I work. Having been out west a few years back (Denver, Yellowstone, Glacier), I'm looking at checking out some places in the SW and throwing a few days in Vegas (never been there either). The idea is to do the following:
-It is likely we will drive out to save money. It will take us two days to get out to the area. We might fly, if I can find a non-stop from Indy to either Denver, SLC, or Vegas.
-Planning on staying a few days/nights in Moab, UT. This will be to check out Arches and Canyonlands NPs.
-Next would be to drive to Kanab, UT. From here, spend a few nights or so and us this as a base to see Zion, Bryce, and the Grand Canyon
-Then we would drive to Vegas, and would like to see some parts of Vegas (we aren't gamblers) and see some things there are to see in Nevada.
-Drive or fly home.

About us:
-Single, no kids. We don't mind hiking and walking, but we aren't really into doing anything that will be a huge "work-out" all day and night.
-For lodging, we prefer your typical Holiday Inn, Ramada type hotels. Name brand isn't important really, but want decent accomidations for a reasonable price.
-I don't care about driving. I would rather have a couple days here and there of long drives to and from a location than constantly pack-up and move. If this means a two hour drive to a destination, then two hours back, I'm OK with this.
-For food, we are picky eaters. We pretty much eat hamburgers, chicken, pizza, turkey, pb&j, some seafood, and breakfast foods like pancakes, waffels, eggs, and bacon.

I'm just wanting any suggestions on places to stay, some places to eat (ie: Best burger in Moab, best pizza in Moab). We like to try non-chain places, so long as they offer a decent product at a fair price. We aren't into fancy dining at all. We also enjoy breakfest buffets when on vacation.

Most importantly, while we enjoy visiting and exploring our national parks, we don't mind seeing other things that might be out-of-the-way, or get over shadowed by the national parks in the area. For example, near Moab is Dead Horse Point State Park. Wondering if places like that are worth a look.

This trip is likey not going to occur until mid-Sept. or after. Just asking questions now because my work likes to give an early window for vacation taking after the first of the year. I am planning on two weeks of time. We aren't fans of heat, and I would rather it be jeans and hoodie weather than blazing sun with heat. Is mid to late Sept. a good time to go? What about Oct.?

Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Old 01-14-2011, 02:04 PM
 
1,703 posts, read 4,993,231 times
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I can't really say much about the food or lodgin cause I've only been to Moab once. The restaurant we ate at was a Mexican place and was pretty good.
Moab is really small so there's not a lot of choice there. If you want more variety St. George would be a better bet but it is a couple hrs. away.
If you don't like the blazing heat then late Sept. early Oct. would be a great choice. I'm not a fan either. We actually went to Dead Horse once in Feb. when there was still snow and it was gorgeous out.
I did wanna say that Dead Horse Point is Definatly worth the visit! We've been there a coupl of times and I really enjoyed it although I've heard Canyonlands and Zion National Park are pretty spectacular too. As for Arches, I haven't been myself but my husband has and he said it is a fairly good, steep hike up there so that one probably wouldn't be on my list...lol
Hope you have a great visit and enjoy our beautiful state!
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Old 01-14-2011, 07:52 PM
 
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After you finish touring Zion on your way to Las Vegas you should consider stopping at Valley of Fire state park in Nevada, between Mesquite and LV off I 15, not far from St. George.

In southern Utah, also enjoy Cedar Breaks National Monument and you will drive right through Red Rock Canyon between Bryce and Zion. If you time it right you will also experience some great fall colors.
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Old 01-15-2011, 08:01 PM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
26,309 posts, read 27,650,553 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indy_317 View Post
I'm just wanting any suggestions on places to stay, some places to eat (ie: Best burger in Moab, best pizza in Moab). We like to try non-chain places, so long as they offer a decent product at a fair price. We aren't into fancy dining at all. We also enjoy breakfest buffets when on vacation.
If you go between Bryce and Zion via the little town of Hatch, be sure to have a hamburger at the Cafe Adobe! It's closed on Sundays, and I believe on Mondays, too. It will be the best burger you have on your trip, and quite possibly the best one you could get anywhere in the state of Utah.

Just barely outside of Bryce, Ruby's Inn is a nice place to stay, particularly if you can get a room in the "main building."

In Zion, the absolute best place to stay by far is the Desert Pearl. It's on the pricey side, but you choose to stay there, you absolutely will not regret it. I promise! It's actually so far superior to anywhere else in town (Springdale), that you will need to get reservations several months in advance (you might want to call in early June to get a room for September or October). Ask for one on the second floor.

I disagree with what another poster said about Moab. I've found quite a few very good motels there over the years. I can't even recall the names of them right now, but if you stick with a chain, you'll almost certain to be fine, and would probably be fine otherwise, too. There's lots to pick from.

Quote:
Most importantly, while we enjoy visiting and exploring our national parks, we don't mind seeing other things that might be out-of-the-way, or get over shadowed by the national parks in the area. For example, near Moab is Dead Horse Point State Park. Wondering if places like that are worth a look.
Dead Horse Point is absolutely worth going to.

Quote:
This trip is likey not going to occur until mid-Sept. or after. Just asking questions now because my work likes to give an early window for vacation taking after the first of the year. I am planning on two weeks of time. We aren't fans of heat, and I would rather it be jeans and hoodie weather than blazing sun with heat. Is mid to late Sept. a good time to go? What about Oct.?
You couldn't possibly find a better time for that part of Utah.
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Old 01-15-2011, 08:31 PM
 
226 posts, read 545,168 times
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I may be too new to this forum to post links. But I"ll risk it. I suggest that you go to TripAdvisor.com for suggestions on travel in Utah. City_data is usually better for people considering a move.

In case my link is cut, I'll make some suggestions:

If you fly into Las Vegas you will be close to Zion NP and could go there first, followed by Bryce Canyon NP. From there you can go directly to Moab or, you could go to Torrey, Utah which is the gateway to Capitol Reef National Park. The hwy between Bryce and Capitol Reef is Hwy 12 which is a spectacular national scenic highway. From Torrey, go east to Moab and while in Moab do definitely visit Dead Horse Point and Canyonlands NP.

If you drive, you would do this trip in reverse. The minimum number of days you would need to do all of what I've suggested would be 6 or 7.

Day 1, arrive Las Vegas pick up rental car and drive to Zion NP
Day 2, morning in Zion NP, afternoon drive to Bryce Canyon NP
Day 3, Hwy 12 to Capitol Reef NP taking your time and stopping for lunch in Boulder or Escalante.
Day 4, Explore Capitol Reef in the a.m., then drive to Moab.
Day 5 -6 Moab and vicinity
Day 7 - drive straight back to Las Vegas.

If you drive, you could do that in reverse Moab >Capitol Reef>Bryce>Zion and then home on I-70 which bypasses the scenery but is quicker.

If you don't want to try to see that many parks, or don't want to move around that much then you need to either concentrate on Moab and vicinity, or on Zion/Bryce. You can't have it both ways in September without driving at night on rural one lane unlit highways. (Unless of course you have more than a week, and then you CAN have it all.)

If you decide to limit it to Moab and are driving:
Look into stopping at Mesa Verde NP in Colorado on your way.
Spend the majority of your time in Arches NP (Moab) with side trips to Dead Horse Point and Canyonlands.

September is a beautiful month to visit.
Hope this gives you a starting point for your itinerary. I hope you can get to that other website I suggested.
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Old 01-15-2011, 09:05 PM
 
226 posts, read 545,168 times
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OK - I just noticed that you have two weeks which gives me an excuse to add a couple of ideas.

Kanab is good, but aside from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary (beat you to suggesting it Katzpur), it might not actually be the best base.

I would suggest that you consider Moab as a base for the first half of the trip, then Zion as a base for the second half, with one night in Torrey (Capitol Reef) in between the two halves.

I wholeheartedly second the motion to stay at the Desert Pearl in Springdale (Zion NP). Tighten your belts elsewhere and give yourself the luxury of staying in the most amazing hotel of your whole trip.

Katzpur keeps trying to get me to Cafe Adobe, but we haven't managed to hit a day of the week when they're open. Take her word for it though. In Moab, try Eddie McStiff's. It's your kind of place.

In Springdale, try Zion Pizza and Noodle.

In Torrey, there aren't a bunch of restaurants that strike me as what you might like, but in the little town of Bicknell, just a mile or so down the road from Torrey, you'll find the Sun Glow Cafe - and pie to die for. The Sun Glow has been there forever. It's a mom and pop kind of place. My teeth swim thinking about the apple pie with whipped cream so cold that it's more like ice cream. Good breakfasts there too.

At Bryce Canyon - good luck. I personally can't stand the food at Ruby's. It's kinda the only game in town though. It might be worth driving to Hatch for a burger.

Weatherwise, it's hard to predict. This year, at the end of September Zion was 100º. Last year, it was coolish. Bryce will be the coolest park for sure.
Capitol Reef will probably be pretty comfortable but might be warm. Moab will still be pretty warm.
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Old 02-15-2011, 10:44 AM
 
7,053 posts, read 11,663,421 times
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A place very few people visit is Castle Valley/Professor Valley just 20 miles or so NE of Moab. It is spectacular, and used in many movies from John Ford flics to "Thelma and Louise." You can stay at a lodge right on the river, which used to be part of the fort in Ford's "Rio Grande." It's on the expensive side, but worth it--and they have a really good restaurant with a deck overlooking the river. You could at least plan to have lunch there. They have their own winery, and the local Castle Rock wine is pretty good. Also, they have a movie museum in the basement.
Castle Rock|Castle Valley|Moab Utah|Red Cliffs Luxury Ranch Resort|Moab Caslte Rock
If you're planning to stay at the lodge, get a cabin facing east, on the river. Watch the sunrise!
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Old 02-16-2011, 01:02 AM
 
404 posts, read 1,136,500 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clark Fork Fantast View Post
A place very few people visit is Castle Valley/Professor Valley just 20 miles or so NE of Moab. It is spectacular, and used in many movies from John Ford flics to "Thelma and Louise." You can stay at a lodge right on the river, which used to be part of the fort in Ford's "Rio Grande." It's on the expensive side, but worth it--and they have a really good restaurant with a deck overlooking the river. You could at least plan to have lunch there. They have their own winery, and the local Castle Rock wine is pretty good. Also, they have a movie museum in the basement.
Castle Rock|Castle Valley|Moab Utah|Red Cliffs Luxury Ranch Resort|Moab Caslte Rock
If you're planning to stay at the lodge, get a cabin facing east, on the river. Watch the sunrise!
Totally agree with the Red Cliffs Lodge suggestion. We stayed in one of the cabins on the river and we were amazed at the sound of water rushing by just outside our cabin. At night, the starry sky is absolutely amazing
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Old 02-16-2011, 11:24 AM
 
Location: PA/FL/UT
1,294 posts, read 3,123,034 times
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If you don't mind keeping this thread going, I have some questions. We have been dreaming of doing our vacation in southern Utah for awhile.

Can you do the Moabish sites (Arches/Canyonland) and St Georgish sites (Bryce/Zions) in a 1 week trip? A all-camping trip? Can you see all the sites?

Thanks!
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Old 02-16-2011, 11:42 AM
 
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I did a similar trip last September. We flew into LAS then drove to Springdate UT. We stayed at the Cable Mountain Lodge. It was great, really nice and the entrance to Zion NP is about 100ft away from the hotel. For as nice as the hotel was I thought the price was resonable. About $150/nt for a room with a kitchen and living room area. You can get a smaller room as well. We spent 2.5 days hiking through Zion. It was great. We then drove to Bryce NP. We were too tired to do any hiking or exploring so we just drove the main road and took some pictures as we went.

We then wanted to go to Lake Powell but we decided to drive up to SLC and stay in Park City. We are considering moving there when my Fiance is done with school so we thought that was the better choice. Then we drove back to LAS for a few nights. We both wish we would have skipped Vegas and spent more time in Utah.

It's a really fun trip, but its a tough trip to plan. The distances between the parks, places to stay and the amount of time needed in each park is different, and there is not much in between parks. I would have liked to see Lake Powell and Arches NP but maybe another trip.
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