Albuquerque has some great shopping in “Old Town”; after hitting the shops there, head west on Interstate 40. It takes about 45 minutes to get to Sky City, an old Indian city at Acoma Pueblo. Located on a mesa top, you have to take a tour to go through it. For more information: www.skycity.com. There are tours about every hour April through September. Nearby is a Sky City Casino and Hotel. Photos of Sky City are below:
Continue west to the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert. I takes time to visit these beautiful places, located near the western town of Holbrook. From Holbrook the Painted Desert is just a short drive east on AZ 77. The Petrified Forest National Park is exit 311 about 20 miles east of Holbrook. Continuing west on Interstate 40 you are about 45 minutes from Winslow, made famous by the Eagles “Standing on the corner in Winslow Arizona”. The song says it all.
If you really like geology and/or astronomy you will want to consider stopping at the Meteor Crater located about 20 miles west of Winslow.
Continuing west you are about 25 miles from Flagstaff. The driving time from Flagstaff is approximately 1 ½ hours to the hotel. Flagstaff is a good place to fill up your gas tank as, once you leave, the prices will be much higher. You might also want to pick up some things at the store and a throw-away ice chest to avoid the higher prices further up the road. Departing Flagstaff, you will continue west on Interstate 40 about 30 miles to exit 165 in Williams. From there you are just about an hour from Tusayan. Be very careful not to speed on AZ 64 North. Do not be the fastest car on the road!
Upon entering Tusayan, you will see the airport on your left. Try to make it in time for sunset which is the highlight of any day at the canyon.
There are several great hotels in Tusayan: Red Feather Lodge; Best Western Grand Canyon Squire Inn; and Grand Canyon Canyon Plaza Hotel. All three have dining, and Grand Canyon Canyon Plaza Resort and Grand Canyon Squire Inn have full-service lounges. Big E Steakhouse is also a great place for dinner. Also, check out the IMAX Theatre with its Grand Canyon welcome center. Grand Canyon Jeep Tours and Safaris provides great back country tours of the area.