Vacation Plan B-ing (Driving Distance to Vegas)

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So, with impeccable timing, my husband and I are going on vacation in about a week. To the National Parks of the Southwest. A few of them anyway. Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion. Do you see where this is going already?

Yup. The government shutdown.

I am generally an optimistic person, but I’m also a just-in-case-r at heart. So, just in case the shutdown is ongoing when we fly in to Vegas, do any of you have suggestions for where we should go if the National Parks are still closed? We’re staying our first and last nights in Vegas and that’s probably going to be more than enough for this Introverted Reader. We’ve come up with the vague idea of just driving across to San Diego, but we’ve never been to the Southwest at all; I’m not entirely ready to give up on the idea. I mean, look at these gorgeous photos:

Grand Canyon. From Wikimedia Commons,
taken by Muu-Karhu

Bryce Canyon. From Wikimedia Commons,
taken by Ymaup

Zion. From Wikimedia Commons
Taken by Diliff

In the brief amount of time that I’ve spent looking for alternate ideas, I keep smacking into National Parks. I have one friend who has been telling me to go to Sedona ever since she heard we were going out that way, so that could be one possibility. I’m just looking for more ideas. That rocky landscape is so very different from what I’m used to:

Blue Ridge Parkway. From Wikimedia Commons
taken by Ken Thomas

We’ve already booked hotels in Tusayan, AZ; Panguitch, UT; and Springdale, UT. If we have to, we’ll cancel. I’d rather not, partly because I don’t want to take a chance on any cancellation fees but also because I know local businesses have to be hurting from all this mess. I know ours are; fall is prime tourist season here at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Any ideas out there on the interwebs? Where can we go that isn’t a National Park that’s within driving distance of Vegas? Just in case.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

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  1. Jen, I'm dying to know how your trip turned out! Did the parks open in time? Did you end up doing plan A? What was your favorite thing you saw? 🙂

  2. This might be too late, but hopefully you've already heard that the state of Utah has reopened Zion, Bryce, arches, and I think Canyonlands NPs. AZ is looking at reopening at least part of the GC, but I don't think it has happened yet. If not, you should go to Canyon De Chelly which is somewhat near Monument Valley. It is run by the Navaho Nation so I'm sure it is open. I've never been, but it's got some great cliff dwellings and scenery. Also, I third Sedona (and Oak Creek Canyon which is right next door). They are really beautiful and the weather is perfect this time of year.

  3. I second what Suey said. Lots to see even if you don't get into National Parks and State Parks should be open. They are in Wyoming anyway. Lots of awesome country to see, just driving. Go for it!!

  4. Ah, this makes me so sad! It's sort of my neck of the woods (I live just a few hours north) and I want so bad for you to see these awesome parks! Argh! BUT, for alternatives, I'm assuming STATE parks are not shut down. Yes? Here's a few state parks in the area that you might enjoy. In Utah: Kodachrome Basin (very near Bryce), Snow Canyon (near St. George), Goblin Valley is AWESOME but I'm not sure it's near where you plan to be.. it's more by Canyonlands and Arches, but you'd love it. There's also Goosenecks State Park, kind of near Blanding. In Arizona, there's Monument Valley, just across the Utah border on highway 163, run by the Indians and this place is very very impressive. I LOVED it! Sedona in Arizona is beautiful, so I second that suggestion. In Nevada near LV is the Valley of Fire State Park and it has some fun hikes and cool rock things just like the national ones, just on a smaller scale. So I say you should check out that one for sure! Anyway, we've seen a lot of smaller, out of the way things near St. George. Maybe I should send you an email? Do you like ghost towns. There's one called Grafton near St. George that's pretty cool where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was filmed. There's a cool drive through the Virgin River Gorge between St. George and Las Vegas, through the tip of the corner of Arizona too. If you drive south out of LV, you can go to Lake Havasu and see the London Bridge. It's a quaint little resort feeling town too. Well, I guess there's a few suggestions! Like I said, we know this area well. Let me know if you have other suggestions, or if you want more details about the St. George Utah area! 🙂

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