Three couples explore canyons, watch sunsets and go sightseeing on rivers together.
What are the secrets for a successful multigenerational family vacation? Time together, to appreciate in unison the splendor of world-class natural landforms, and time apart, to pursue individual interests. That formula worked well on a recent road trip to Arizona with my girlfriend’s family. Our vacation was more leisurely than those depicted in Hollywood movies, where travelers hike poison ivy-covered trails, burn burgers on the grill and run out of gas next to a “200 miles to Phoenix” road sign.
Three couples made up our group: Sarah, my girlfriend, and me; Susan, Sarah’s mom, and her boyfriend, Mike; and Anna, Sarah’s sister, and her boyfriend, Ryan. Page, a town of about 7,400 in northern Arizona, served as our base for the five-day trip. Known for its steep canyons and ethereal red rock formations, Page is about a 15-minute drive from Lake Powell, and it’s less than 2.5 hours to either the north or south rims of Grand Canyon National Park.
To accommodate our different interests, each couple drove to Page in separate vehicles. Sarah and I love to pack our days from sunrise to sunset with active experiences. Susan looks for a big splash of adventure each morning but then may opt for a poolside seat for the rest of the day. Mike is happy to tinker with his RV inside and out, fixing any problem that he comes across. Anna may lag on a hike as she stops to identify a flower, or she and Ryan may go in search of local craft shops.
When we assembled at our rental house on a cool and dry September evening, clouds hung on the horizon, and a light fog filled the canyon. After some of us gathered in the infinity pool to watch the sunset from inner tubes, we all settled into our rooms, eagerly anticipating the next day’s visit to the 227-mile-long Grand Canyon.
The next morning, on our 133-mile drive along AZ-64 to Grand Canyon Village on the south rim, Anna and Susan kept a lookout for Navajo craft stands. Sarah was stuck with me in the front seat, listening as I pointed out every deer and antelope we passed. As though on cue, Mike sang the refrain from “Home on the Range” and spouted dad jokes from the back.