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Alternative Honeymoon in Arizona

Advisor Spotlight - Julia Hanauer

November 20, 2020

When Joe and I had to postpone our June wedding, we quickly realized that meant we wouldn’t be going on our honeymoon to France in July either. While we were understandably bummed to cancel our Europe trip, there was a silver lining for my inner travel advisor – I got to dream up an entirely new honeymoon!

After contemplating being cowboys for a week at an all-inclusive ranch in Montana, or sipping wine every day in Napa, we ultimately decided on Arizona. It had everything we wanted – outdoor adventure, a little bit of luxury, and easy access from Fort Wayne.

Our honeymoon was split into three parts – the Grand Canyon, Sedona and Scottsdale. My plan was to begin the trip with the more adventurous and upbeat activities, and work our way to luxury and relaxation.

Grand Canyon

We started our honeymoon at the furthest point north on the itinerary before working our way down the state. Since it was a special trip, I wanted to find unique accommodations to match the mood. I decided to surprised Joe with a glamping experience at Under Canvas Grand Canyon – and it ended up being one of the most fun and unforgettable experiences.

Under Canvas is just 25 minutes from the South Rim entrance to the Grand Canyon, and is a safari-inspired glamping experience. It provides the amenities of luxury accommodations, like premium bedding, flushing toilets, and delicious on-site dining, but also allows you to be in the outdoors and experience the natural surroundings.

There was something really special about sipping wine while watching the sunset from our tent just miles from the Grand Canyon, and the stars at night were truly spectacular. Glamping doesn’t come without a few obstacles though, like coyotes howling outside our tent and having to stoke the in-tent fire for warmth throughout the night, but that’s what husbands are for, right?

The next day, we were a quick drive from the Grand Canyon, allowing us to get a little extra sleep and still be hiking in the canyon before 10AM.

We opted for the Bright Angel Trail, which is a steep dirt trail that descends several miles into the Grand Canyon. We hiked a little over two miles in and two miles back, stretching a couple of hours, which provided just the right amount of challenge and was absolutely beautiful the entire way. 

Don't worry, there's a mask in my hand just outside the picture!


People talk a big game about Sedona, and the scenery definitely lived up to the hype. Though we found the town to be a bit crowded, it was worth it to see the red rocks.

We stayed at Amara Resort and Spa, which is set along the creek in Uptown Sedona. The rooms were clean and spacious, if a bit dated, but the common areas were beautiful. Joe and I particularly loved spending our afternoons by the infinity pool overlooking the red rocks with a margarita in hand.

To get our hiking fix, we chose the Teacup Trail on one of the days and Yavapai Vista to Cathedral Rock for the other. The Teacup Trail was a pretty chill hike with great views of the town of Sedona and the surrounding rocks. Yavapai Vista to Cathedral Rock was a several hour endeavor, culminating in scrambling up Cathedral Rock to get to the top, which was slightly terrifying but exhilarating.

From the bottom of Cathedral Rock looking up

Our favorite meal in Sedona was at the restaurant at our resort, SaltRock Kitchen, which featured delicious tacos and an amazing ice cream sandwich for dessert. We also liked the Creekside American Bistro for breakfast, and I can’t go without giving a shoutout to my beloved Whole Foods for lots of yummy snacks and quick lunches on the go.


To say we really hit our stride in Scottsdale is an understatement. I should have known that upscale resorts, delicious southwest food, and beautiful golf courses would be just our speed, but for whatever reason, I didn’t have many expectations going into Scottsdale. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised.

We based ourselves at the Andaz Resort & Bungalows, which I would move into tomorrow, should the opportunity arise. It was mid-century modern, vibrant, beautiful, and simultaneously upbeat in the common areas and peaceful in the bungalows.

Two of our afternoons and evenings we spent entirely on property, because it was so enjoyable to hang out at any of the three pools, enjoy the happy hour, and eat at the resort’s restaurant, Weft & Warp. They also offer complimentary fitness classes on their lawn most days, but I had my eye on other activities.

A great place to social distance, if I do say so myself

While in Scottsdale, we also did a property visit to the Four Seasons at Troon North. The Four Seasons was beautiful in a more classic, regal sense, tucked into nature on the hillside near Pinnacle Peak. One of my favorite parts of the resort is that many suites offer private plunge pools on their patios, making it the ultimate spot for a quiet, secluded getaway. This is a great place to stay for those seeking outdoor activities like horseback riding or hiking, multigenerational travelers, and those planning to golf at Troon North or some of the other courses on the north side of town.

We enjoyed lunch at Proof Canteen at the Four Seasons, and despite dining outside in the middle of the day, I was pleased to find the temperature was perfect on their outdoor patio. I could wax poetic about how delightful the pretzel and spicy cheese sauce was, and our entrée salads were as beautiful as they were delicious.

Afterwards, Joe golfed at the Boulders Golf Club while I caddied (read: admired the course and surrounding houses from the golf cart). Watching the sun set over the boulders and illuminate the colors of the landscape was a real treat.

We finished up our time in Scottsdale with a trip to Frank Lloyd Wright’s desert home, Taliesin West. It was very cool to see the property on a guided tour, and I left ready to redecorate my entire house.

While Arizona was not what we originally had in mind for our honeymoon, it ended up exceeding all of our expectations. We were able to experience such a broad range of activities and landscapes, from the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon, to the stunning beauty of Sedona’s Red Rocks, a bit of cultural interest at Taliesin West, and ultimate poolside relaxation in Scottsdale. Add in margaritas, burritos, and a lot of chips and salsa, and you’ve got the perfect honeymoon.

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Still having issues? Contact julia @ grueningertravel.net