If you're looking for jaw-dropping scenery, northern Arizona has more than its share of vistas, whether you're up for a strenuous hike or prefer to stay in your car. The obvious place is Grand Canyon National Park, which celebrated its 90th birthday on Feb. 26. But there's more to explore within hours of this marvel, ranging from the budget-friendly to the super-luxurious.
Monument Valley on the Arizona-Utah border has served as the backdrop for Western films "Stagecoach" and "Fort Apache."
There's Canyon de Chelly National Monument (pronounced "de SHAY") in Chinle, Ariz. This park isn't as widely known as the Grand Canyon, but it offers equally breathtaking canyons, rock formations the size of skyscrapers and ancient pueblos. Two canyons come together in a "V" to form Canyon de Chelly. Visitors can explore by car the remote South Rim, where they can gaze at Spider Rock, an 800-foot sandstone spire, from an overlook. The North Rim drive resembles a typical highway, but is rich with history. Canyon de Chelly is on Navajo land. While there's no entrance fee, access comes with restrictions. You can drive along the park's rims on your own, but visitors can only hike the 2.5-mile White House Trail unescorted. That trail takes you to the canyon floor, where you can see cliff dwellings. You must engage a Navajo guide to tour the rest of the monument. You can do that at the Thunderbird Lodge, the only place to stay in the park. It's more motel than hotel, but it's clean and comfortable, and its cafeteria serves a cheap, tasty breakfast. Rooms start at $105 from March to October.