Remember girls trips?! Oh how we miss them! We know a lot of you, like us, have had to cancel Spring and Summer plans so I wanted to share one of my favorite trips ever from this past November to Zion National Park in Utah for my sister’s bachelorette party. If anyone has had to totally cancel any trip due to Covid and now starting over from scratch for some unknown time in the future, you’ll DEF want to consider this one!! We did an instagram poll last month and by far the most requested topic was seeing more of how incorporate our calligraphy and lettering into real life occasions, so here we are!
After I learned calligraphy, it immediately also coincided with LOVING party detail and decor planning and I really think the two go together since calligraphers are hired for special events you can’t help but get ideas to apply to real life too. It’s so much fun being able to add hand lettered touches to everything, especially for such special moments for your friends and fam. Don’t be surprised if after taking one of our classes you’re suddenly writing on ALL the things for your friend group!
For this trip you can see the invitation I designed below (via procreate on the iPad) and after we returned home I brush lettered the favorite people quote we love for my sister to have as a keepsake. For the trip itself I wrote everyone’s names on camp mugs I grabbed ahead of time at the Target dollar spot which the girls all loved! I packed my favorite lettering marker in my carry on and wrote them all with whatever name or nickname they wanted when we arrived!
When I was researching and thinking on what kind of bachelorette party I wanted to plan for my sister, Lindsay, I knew I wanted to somehow include a hike of some kind because of her love for mountains. She has a huge friend group and they had all been to the usual spots: Nashville, Savannah, Charleston so from the start I was determined to plan something unique.
Her wedding was in February, so after polling her friend group we decided on mid November for the date. Knowing that anywhere in New England would be closed for hiking around then, I soon found myself deep into glamping options when researching what we could do in a warmer climate. I ultimately found the company Under Canvas and immediately knew this would be perfect. A mix of some outdoorsy hiking time but also sleeping in a bed and having running water was a must for our crew.
Under Canvas has so many amazing locations (and actively expanding!) so depending on the time of year you might have more open options but honestly can’t rave enough about their Zion camp. One perk we learned checking in was that November is past tarantula season there soooo we didn’t have to worry about that (THANKFUL AF) and we were allowed to have food in our tents. Summer months, not so much! Many of their parks are in bear territories so food is required to be kept in vehicles, Zion excluded.
They had a few locations still open mid November, but we ultimately decided on their Zion location because the closest airport to fly into is Vegas so it would be a relatively easy and central spot for all her friends across the country to get to. All the airport recommendations for different camps are mapped out on their website!
I honestly didn’t know too much about Zion prior to this planning, but WOW wow wow is it a beautiful place on earth. During the trip we were all getting about 293837493 DM’s from people thinking we legit took Linds to Mars because it seemed so insane but I promise it was manageable as long as you plan it right! I couldn’t find much online at the time re: bachelorette parties in Zion (shocking LOL) so wanted to break down our itinerary and costs for anyone interested, below!
Thursday: Everyone flew into Vegas at various times throughout the day. Because we had girls coming from Boston, NY, DC and Atlanta we planned the first night to stay in Vegas because Zion is about a 2 hour and 20 minute drive from there. There is SO much info out there on planning a bachelorette here so won’t go into detail but it was fun to get a wild glam girls night out of our system first before a weekend of relaxing in nature.
Flights Boston to Vegas: We flew JetBlue, $375 non stop round trip flights which got us to Vegas around 9am. We were able to check in early and hang out at the hotel pool for the day while the girls on other flights made their way to Vegas too.
We stayed: at The Cosmopolitan. We had 12 girls total, so booked 3 rooms and it came to about $60ish per person for the night. There is a very convenient Walgreens across the street from The Cosmo so we grabbed in room snacks and booze for getting ready with, which came to $113.00 total ($10 per person). I took notes from our launch parties for the room decor and installed a mini balloon backdrop!
We ate: Egg Slut for a quick brunch, Beauty & Essex for a glam dinner before going out (LOVED!!), both right in the Cosmo. Dinner came to $916 for all the food and drinks for the 12 of us, so $83 per person. After dinner we headed to Tao for a true Vegas experience and that’s what we got! So fun but was very glad we only planned for one night here because 24 hours in Vegas is definitely enough!
Friday: I had instructed the girls to rise and rally to leave by 11:00am so we could get to Under Canvas mid afternoon for check in. Highly recommend leaving by mid morning to have enough time for a few stops and we ended up arriving right at golden hour and we were truly in awe and speechless at the beauty when we arrived, all hangovers forgotten.
A quick Uber ride back to the airport that morning brought me to Enterprise so that I could pick up our 15 passenger van rental for our trek to Zion. I purposely didn’t drink much the night before because I was a little nervous about driving a beast of a bus but it honestly drove just like an SUV once I got used to it! TIP: I told the group carryon sized bags ONLY, hard rule. I knew it would be a tight fit with 12 girls plus massive suitcases and stopping for food. Highly recommend this!!! It was definitely hard to pack for multiple climates and scenarios (sequin jumpsuit and heels but also flannel and hiking boots) but worth it. The van rental for 3 days was $309.00 including fees and then we spent $48 in gas (stopped on the way back Sunday) so the van costs came to $32 per person.
Everyone woke up on schedule, showered, grabbed food and some of us booked blowouts at the Dry Bar in the Cosmo because it would be the last time we could use any styling tools for the weekend before being tent bound!
When the van was packed we took off for the wilderness but first planned out an In n’ Out stop for lunch. This location was 45 minutes from Under Canvas and was a good stopping point. This Walmart was an exact halfway point and also a perfect stopping location, right off the highway. We wanted to stock up on happy hour snacks, lunch items easy to pack and carry for hiking (PB&J’s), and some wine, liquor and bubbly. The Utah liquor laws can be tricky, so this Walmart being in Nevada we had no issue. We had a massive overflowing cart that came to $370 total, so we each paid $33.
I had told the girls we would do a Flannel Friday themed happy hour when we arrived and instructed them to pack some plaid to wear, whatever they already had! I ordered these flag bunting banners to decorate the tent with and then this banner from A Paper Touch etsy shop to say “Camp Salis” our hashtag (my sister’s married name) for the weekend! I also strung these battery light LED lights that were such a festive and cozy touch as the sunset. I wanted something that would be easy to hang with minimal supplies and these were festive and tasteful without being “too bachelorettey” per the bride’s request. I should note that I shipped all the decor items to the hotel in Vegas to pick up there and made it so much easier to not have to worry about flying with camp mugs too! Definitely pack extra string and strong tape and scissors to make decorating a breeze.
When you arrive at Under Canvas you’re greeted in the “lobby” tent by the nicest staff to get all squared away on the layout and logistics. At their Zion location, this also is the tent where they have a full counter service restaurant with long tables to hang out at fully stocked with games too. They have a firepit inside as well and offer live music on weekend nights! Highly recommend signing up for the coffee/tea tray morning delivery to your tent when you check in! You can choose any time, but we chose 6am because we wanted to get up early to watch the sunrise both mornings.
We booked two suite sized tents for our group (king size bed and queen size pull out with room for cot) and it was plenty of space although we were cozy with 3 girls to the king beds! We were so tired both nights we honestly didn’t even move, and the beds were SO comfortable. The suite tents also are the highest set tents with the best views (although you truly can’t find a bad view anywhere here if you tried.) The staff were great about giving us rides when needed on their golf carts they drive around the campus. (With two suite tents of 6 girls each, the tent reservations came to $126.00 per person, per night. We opted for suites so we could have bathrooms in each tent and took a vote on this prior to booking!)
Friday night after taking approximately 1889228811 pictures of golden hour views we put our cozy clothes on (temps were mid 60s during the day and dropped down to low 50s/40s at night), took our wine bottles and snacks down to the campfire outside the lobby tent area for happy hour before dinner. We just wanted to chill because of our early wakeup time the next morning and this was perfect after a wild night in Vegas.
We also had dinner inside the lobby tent at their restaurant, Embers and LOVED it. I had actually researched restaurants in the town next to the National Park entrance for the second night, but we loved hanging around the camp so much we ate here on Saturday night too. The food is all counter service and the menu has a great variety to pick from. You can order beer/wine here but also they allow BYOB, and serve breakfast and lunch too! The lobby had live music on Friday and Saturday night which we also loved.
After dinner the camp staff came up to our tents to assist in making the fires in our woodstoves so that the tents could stay heated during the night. The fires last a few hours, and we did wake up in the night to add more wood because it had gotten so cold. Very clutch to have these in your tent if booking during the cooler months! They provide all the matches and kindling and wood.
Saturday: We googled the sunrise time and all set our alarms for that time so we could enjoy coffee and hang out on our tent decks. We had planned a big day of hiking the Angel’s Landing trail so after waking up, making our packed lunches, and grabbing breakfast at Embers we jumped back into the van and set off for the 45 minute ride to the National Park entrance. There is a shuttle (from what people had been saying it gets extremely busy in the summer months and the parking lots fill up by 6am) but we had no trouble driving in around 9am and parking on the side of the road. You then have to grab the park shuttle to get to the Weeping Rock trailhead (Stop #6 – Grotto).
I had researched Angel’s Landing for months leading up to this trip, and recommend the same if you plan to hike this notorious trail. This is not for inexperienced hikers and many deaths have occurred from falling (hiiii nightmares from many google black holes). At the top there are chains you need to hold onto as you climb and at some points the trail width is just a few inches wide. Our families were absolute wrecks the entire day until we had come down safely (sorry Mom!) but it was SO worth it, just a completely unreal experience. 3 of the girls who wanted to opt out of the hike did horseback riding back near the Under Canvas property at a ranch and absolutely loved it, so there options if you come as a group with different activities in mind. They were able to come meet us later in the day for our sunset hike!
I personally only did a tiny portion of the chained part of the dangerous section (the last .7 miles of the trail) because it was SO incredibly crowded that only 1 person could go down or up at a time holding on, and if one person had slipped it would have taken out the entire group. Was very sketched out by older people wearing just teva sandals coming down at me and decided with half of our group to turn back at that point, where the bride and some of the other girls carried on. This trail takes about 4-5ish hours to do depending on the crowds, and truly didn’t relax until my sister got service again to text that they had safely made it! Even if you don’t go the full way, you are rewarded with SUCH amazing views regardless and it will forever be one of my favorite memories. Later that afternoon, the trail had actually closed for a few days because a refrigerator sized rock fall happened on the narrow area blocking the trail.
Once we all regrouped and met back up at the Zion Canyon Brew Pub, we had come celebratory beers and snacks (came to $10 per person), changed and got back in the van to drive to the Canyon Overlook Trail for sunset. This is a short, 1 mile hike that I had thought was a quick “walk”, but it was actually still hiking and recommend wearing actual shoes. It rewards you with the most GORGEOUS views and photo ops, especially at golden hour (we googled the sunset and planned accordingly). We got lucky and there happened to be the sweetest photographer at the top who offered to take our pictures and texted us the edited photos later that night! SO nice, I wish I had gotten her name! We had packed some bubbly to cheers to our last night together and to our incredible trip. Our theme for this night was desert/bohemian vibe.
Tip: Definitely do research on what trails are open in Zion, which can change by the hour depending on the day and season. I had studied the maps and website and trail reviews for so long before deciding on these two!
When we got back to Under Canvas we showered (the tents have showers, toilets, and running water!) and changed back into comfortable clothes to head back down to the lobby and Embers for dinner and fire hangs. We ended up having a singalong with the employee there who had his guitar and I’m sure the other guests enjoyed this very lowkey impromptu performance 🤣. We honestly didn’t stop laughing the entire trip, and it truly was the perfect combination of a celebratory girls night out but also relaxation time with exciting and novel experiences mixed in. It was such a whirlwind and even now looking back I am extra thankful we got to squeeze this in before the Covid craziness hit.
Under Canvas has now reopened for the 2020 season (with new guidelines) so if you are looking for a good social distancing getaway RUN, don’t walk to ANY of their dreamy locations. It was honestly such a refreshing pace from other bachelorette weekends because it didn’t center around drinking and bar hopping (hence the lower price point) so our splitwise at the end of the weekend for ALL spending except flights and the tents came to $300.
Happy to chat more about this trip and answer any questions at any time!! 1000000/10 recommend doing this at some point if you can! I know locally they are opening a location in Maine soon in Acadia that I’ll definitely be booking a trip to ASAP…. calligraphy retreat, anyone?!