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Travel Tips – Off Season at the Grand Canyon and Lake Powell — Delightful!

Travel Tips – Off Season at the Grand Canyon and Lake Powell — Delightful!

By Françoise Rhodes

Summer vacations are fun, but can also be consumed with long lines, large crowds and frustrated travelers.  My solution is to visit high profile destinations during their off season, preferably in the very beginning when everyone is excited about the new season or at the very end when businesses start to close shop for the summer or winter.  Why?  The crowds thin out and the full timers take their towns back with local events and smiles on their faces.

A perfect example on this trip was the Grand Canyon, instead of 50 buses at the Mather Point  parking lot there were only three. The ACT Tours group I was escorting (39 of us) could walk up to the view points and take lots of photos with no one pushing and shoving. People were excited and friendly, instead of stressed about the perfect selfie….same thing at Desert View Point (a must if you haven’t been to this spot at the GC.)  Inside the tower there was plenty of room to explore, take pictures, enjoy the view and simple reflect on the magnitude of the canyon.

Our next stop was the Lake Powell Resort in Page, Arizona.  The season had just ended but the resort still had a lot of guests.  With that said, the amount of boat tours were scaled back and only one restaurant was open.  However the weather was perfect on the Lake and the boat tour was so beautiful.  In the afternoon some of the group took the Lower Antelope Canyon walking tour, one of the most photographed places on earth.  Even though the tour is only a mile, they don’t mention that it is strenuous, with stairs going up and down inside the canyon……so be prepared!

Then we hit downtown Page in the evening for the Balloon Regatta Festival where hot air balloons lined main street (about 20 of them) for an evening show. The event was packed with mostly all locals and what a great time it was.  If this would have been during the season with  all tourists it would have had a more commercial feel, but it didn’t and that made the evening special.

On the way back to the Coachella Valley (via one more stop in Las Vegas for the night) we went through Utah and stopped at Kanab, “Little Hollywood” to the locals.  Our bus driver suggested it and he was spot on, in fact I could easily spend a week there.  Kanab is situated in the “Grand Circle” area, centrally located among Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Bryce Canyon National Park, the Grand Canyon (North Rim), Zion National Park, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park and Lake Powell. Other nearby attractions include Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, the privately owned Moqui Cave, and the largest animal sanctuary in the United States, Best Friends Animal Society.  Locals refer to Kanab as “Little Hollywood” due to its history as a filming location for many movies and television series, prominently western, such as Stagecoach (1939), The Lone Ranger, Death Valley Days. Gunsmoke, Daniel Boone, El Dorado (1966), Buffalo Bill (1944) and the list goes on and on.

So whether you go during the off season or not, here are a few things I learned on this trip.

  • Go through Kingman and eat at Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner on Andy Devine Ave, go hungry because you’ll want to try everything!

  • This was my first time stopping at Desert View Point at the Grand Canyon, the views are amazing, the tower interesting, there’s an ice cream parlor with delicious ice cream, plus a store and clean restrooms.

  • Be sure and take a boat tour of Lake Powell, gives you a better insight of the area.

  • If you are up to it, the Lower Antelope Canyon Tour shouldn’t be missed, we went with Ken’s Tours.

  • Stop in Kanab for a night or two, however on Sunday the town closes down so plan your trip accordingly.

  • On the way home stop at the Barstow Station on Main Street and dine at Mega Tom’s. Family owned and operated, clean and a variety of delicious meals.

  • As always have a sense of adventure and be spontaneous when the opportunity arises, those are the stories you’ll talk about for the rest of your life!

For more information about Françoise Rhodes visit her website at TravelingWithFrancoise.com .



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