Honeymoon Inspiration: Taste of the Grand Circle, an Epic Southwest U.S. Road Trip

Honeymoons & Destination Weddings
Grand Circle Honeymoon Road Trip

Photo: Getty Images

If the idea of wide open spaces, national parks, and unforgettable scenic vistas sounds like an incredible vacation, why not plan an epic road trip for your honeymoon? Las Vegas, Zion, Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon, Route 66 — for an adventurous honeymoon with Southwestern twist, it doesn't get much better than the Grand Circle road trip.

Inspired by this iconic route, this itinerary focuses on the natural wonders of southern Utah and northern Arizona. Plan for 7-10 days, including one or more nights in Las Vegas, where the route begins and ends.

Zion National Park Honeymoon Roadtrip

Photo: Getty Images

First Stop: Zion National Park, Utah
Distance: 160 miles
Known for its soaring sandstone walls, red rock formations and water elements, Zion has hiking trails to suit a range of interests and skill levels, as well as bicycle rentals and horseback trail rides. Plan for two nights to have a full day to hike or otherwise explore the park. Book early to make a reservation at Zion Lodge, the only traditional hotel within the park's borders. Alternatively, the Pioneer Lodge, a 19th century "Old West" style inn located in Springdale, UT, is just one mile from the park's borders.

Bryce Canyon National Park Honeymoon Road Trip

Photo: Getty Images

Second Stop: Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Distance: 73 miles
Hit the road early and plan on doing any sight-seeing at Bryce Canyon during the day; hiking routes abound and several tour operators offer scenic ATV and Jeep tours. Bryce Canyon is famous for its otherworldly collection of hoodoos, chimney-like rock formations that can be well over 100 feet tall; their colorful hues are best captured at sunrise or sunset. Post up overnight at Ruby's Inn or Best Western Plus, both located in the town of Bryce, Utah.

Grand Canyon North Rim Honeymoon Road Trip

Photo: Courtesy of Grand Canyon National Park via Flickr

Third Stop: Grand Canyon National Park (North Rim), Arizona
Distance: 156 miles
Numbers don't do the sheer size of the Grand Canyon justice. A World Heritage Site and listed among the Seven Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon covers more than 1.2 million acres, is thousands of feet deep at points and 15 miles across at its widest.

If remote and rugged is the draw, make a point to stay for a couple of nights on the canyon's North Rim, by far less touristy than Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim. The seasonal North Rim Lodge, a charming, rustic property located within the park's borders, is one of the only lodging options around, so plan on booking well in advance.

Grand Canyon Honeymoon Road Trip

Photo: Courtesy of Under Canvas

Last Stop: Choose Your Own Adventure — Grand Canyon National Park (South Rim) or Sedona, Arizona
Distance: 212 miles or 236 miles, respectively
At this point, you and your betrothed have a decision to make: More Grand Canyon or time for a little R&R? To continue exploring the Grand Canyon from the South Rim, why not make an adventure of it? This summer, Under Canvas is opening its newest "glamping" resort in Williams, AZ, on 56 acres in the Kaibab National Forest. The Under Canvas glamping experience (aka "glamorous camping") comes with en suite bathrooms and concierge-like services for booking tours and activities.

See More: Your Mini-Moon Itinerary in Sedona, Arizona

Surrounded by picturesque red rock buttes, the quaint desert town of Sedona is an artists' enclave with a vibrant creative community. El Portal Sedona Hotel is quintessential Sedona, built in the style of a Spanish hacienda with handmade adobe walls, reclaimed woods, native stone and hand-painted detailing. Proprietor Steve Segner doubles as your personal concierge, offering local recommendations as well as booking spa treatments or area tours.

From either point, the return journey to Las Vegas is about 250 miles, or a 4-hour drive.

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