Mountain peaks, endless deserts, lush forests, and red rock formations are just a few landscapes that make visiting Arizona such a phenomenal experience. Whatever your interests, Arizona will have something for you; few states in the US can offer all that this southwestern destination does.
Table of Contents
- 25 Best Places to Visit in Arizona
- 1. Grand Canyon National Park
- 2. Sedona
- 3. Page
- 4. Old Town Scottsdale
- 5. Flagstaff
- 6. Superstition Mountains
- 7. Payson
- 8. Downtown Phoenix
- 9. Williams
- 10. Lake Havasu
- 11. Monument Valley
- 12. Tucson
- 13. White Mountains
- 14. Montezuma Castle National Monument
- 15. Saguaro Lake
- 16. Sonoita
- 17. Havasu/Havasupai Falls
- 18. Tombstone
- 19. Prescott
- 20. Saguaro National Park
- 21. Bisbee
- 22. Jerome
- 23. Petrified Forest National Park
- 24. Wickenburg
- 25. Canyon de Chelly National Monument
- Getting Around Arizona
- Quick Itineraries for Arizona
- Must-Try Foods in Arizona
- Best Places to See in Arizona: FAQs
- In Conclusion
The best places to visit in Arizona happen to be some of the best places to visit in the United States. After living here for three years, I’ve explored all avenues of the state and continue to be awestruck by each new place I visit.
I will never tire of the diversity of the state. I’ve been snowboarding in the morning, driven two hours south, and spent time in the warm sunshine in my pool for the rest of the day. I’m yet to become bored in amazing Arizona.
Quicklook: 5 Best Places to Visit in Arizona
- Grand Canyon National Park: The Grand Canyon is one of the country’s best national parks, filled with endless exploration opportunities.
- Page: Page is located close to Lake Powell, Antelope Canyon, and Horseshoe Bend, so you can cross off three unique destinations in one stop.
- Sedona: The red rocks surrounding Sedona are stunning and make for great hiking opportunities.
- Tucson: The fantastic restaurants, history, and charming feel of Tucson make it a perfect place to visit.
- Old Town Scottsdale: If golf, nightlife, unique food, and luxury are exciting to you, then a visit to Old Town Scottsdale is a must.
25 Best Places to Visit in Arizona
The following 25 places are some of my personal favorites in all of Arizona. They’re all accessible and are absolutely worth a visit regardless of the type of traveler you are.
1. Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park is my favorite place in all of Arizona. As an avid hiker, the trails push my abilities, and I’m humbled by the vast beauty each time I go.
Families, adventurers, casual hikers, and all other types of visitors will find something to enjoy about the Grand Canyon. Take a tour, walk the rim, or dive deep into its depths for a true experience. There are few more beautiful places to see in the world.
Location: The Grand Canyon is located in the Northwest corner of the state. The south entrance is around a four-hour drive from Phoenix, and it’s the entrance that offers the most to do.
Getting There: The best way to get to the Grand Canyon is with your own vehicle. Since it’s so far from major cities, public transportation can be hard to find.
Things To Do: Hiking is my favorite thing to do at the Grand Canyon. However, helicopter rides or mule rides are also great ways to see the canyon in its full beauty.
Where to Stay: The Holiday Inn Express in Tusayan is the best place to stay for your visit to the Grand Canyon. Located right outside the South Rim, it provides easy access to some of the best parts of the park.
Entrance Fee: A 1-7 day entrance fee is $35, and an annual pass is $70.
Sedona holds a special place in my heart because my wife and I got engaged there on a beautiful fall evening. The towering red rocks paired with pine forests are unlike anywhere I have ever seen.
While the adventuring possibilities in the area are amazing, the luxurious hotels and restaurants provide added excitement to the city. All different kinds of people find something to love about Sedona; it’s simply stunning.
Location: Located two hours North of Phoenix, Sedona is a beautiful town off of Interstate 17.
Getting There: The best way to visit Sedona is with your own vehicle. Within the town, there are shuttles to different trailheads, but getting there is easiest with a personal vehicle.
Things To Do: Like the Grand Canyon, hiking is one of my favorite things to do in Sedona. However, jeep tours and eating at the many fabulous restaurants are two of my other favorite activities here.
Where to Stay: The Matterhorn Inn in Sedona is in Uptown Sedona, close to restaurants and hiking trails. Plus, each room offers phenomenal views of the mountains.
☞ SEE ALSO: Top Things to do in Sedona
The city of Page is extremely unique. Whenever my wife and I visit, we usually hit Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell, and Antelope Canyon all in one day. One of my favorite things to do in the world is kayak to Antelope Canyon from one of the Lake Powell Boat ramps.
While it can get hot in the summer, fall, and spring make for perfect times to visit. You’ll be stunned by the variety and beauty all around you.
Location: Page is located in Northern Arizona, East of the Grand Canyon and West of the White Mountains. It’s around 4 hours from Phoenix.
Getting There: Getting to Page is best with a personal vehicle. There are too many options for things to do in the area, so you’ll want to have your own vehicle to make getting around easy.
Things To Do: Visiting Lake Powell, Horseshoe Bend, and touring Antelope Canyon are the best things to do in Page.
Where to Stay: The Baymont by Wyndham is located seven miles from Antelope Canyon in the town of Page. You have great proximity to the canyon tours as well as restaurants, Lake Powell, and Horseshoe Bend.
Entrance Fee: The Glen Canyon Recreation Area (Lake Powell) entrance fee is $30, and Horseshoe Bend has a $10 parking fee.
4. Old Town Scottsdale
After living in Phoenix for three years, I’ve concluded that Old Town Scottsdale has my favorite restaurants and bars. The walkability of the city and the unique restaurant options always make for entertaining date nights with my wife.
Whether you’re interested in a bachelor party, a golf trip, or just a warm vacation in the winter, Old Town Scottsdale is the perfect place to make your home base.
Location: Old Town Scottsdale is 20 minutes East of Downtown Phoenix, so it’s effortlessly accessible.
Getting There: Getting to Old Town Scottsdale is easy with public transportation or ride-share services. Otherwise, a personal vehicle gives you the chance to explore the area and other parts of the state.
Things To Do: Eating at restaurants and visiting the local bars are my two favorite things to do in Old Town Scottsdale. However, a segway tour through the city is always a great time.
Where to Stay: Canopy By Hilton is the best option for lodging in Old Town Scottsdale. The modern hotel is within walking distance from all the best nightlife.
☞ SEE ALSO: 15 Best Things To Do in Old Town Scottsdale
Flagstaff is always a key stopping point for us on our trips North. It’s a quaint college town with great restaurants and fantastic adventuring opportunities. Mountain bike trails, hiking, and skiing/snowboarding are just a few things visitors can enjoy here.
If you want a true mountain-town feel, Flagstaff is for you. In the summer, escaping the heat of the valley and spending time in the cool temperatures of Flagstaff make for a welcomed relief.
Location: Located in Northern Arizona at 7,000 feet elevation, Flagstaff is around two hours from Phoenix.
Getting There: Flagstaff is best accessed by a personal vehicle. There are countless things to do in and around town, so having the freedom of a vehicle is the best option.
Things To Do: Hiking Humphries Peak or seeing a show at the Pepsi Amphitheater are two of my favorite things to do in Flagstaff. The Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course is also a blast.
Where to Stay: Located on 500 acres of forest, the Little America Hotel provides great access to the city and plenty of privacy.
6. Superstition Mountains
The Superstition Mountains are located in close proximity to Phoenix and are perfect to explore in the cooler months. From October through March, visitors can hike miles and miles of desert trails. I absolutely love exploring the backcountry of the Superstitions every chance I get.
There are short, easier hikes for families and longer excursions for the more die-hard adventurers. Plus, there are a ton of mountain biking opportunities throughout the mountains.
Location: The Superstition Mountains are around 30 minutes East of Phoenix near the city of Mesa.
Getting There: The Superstition Mountains are best explored with your own personal vehicle since it’s spread out across Burea of Land Management land.
Things To Do: Hiking in the Superstition Mountains is some of the best you’ll find around Phoenix. Otherwise, I recommend this off-roading experience as well as exploring the lakes in the area.
Where to Stay: The Best Western Apache Junction Inn is an ideal place to make your base for exploration of the mountains.
I’m always excited to head to the lush Ponderosa Pine forests of Payson. It’s home to some of my favorite off-roading, fly fishing, and dispersed camping in the entire state.
If you’re interested in seclusion, alpine lakes, and quaint downtown, Payson is the perfect place for you. It’s family-friendly but still has plenty of activities for the hardcore adventurer.
Location: Located around 1.5 hours Northeast of Phoenix, Payson is located right in the heart of Tonto National Forest.
Getting There: Like many other areas of Arizona, getting to Payson is best achieved via a personal vehicle. It’s around two hours from the nearest airport, and the national forest land is best traversed via your own transport.
Things To Do: Payson has amazing off-roading and hiking opportunities, but one of my favorite things to do is enjoy all of the local lakes and rivers in the area. Guided canyon tours are also a must.
Where to Stay: Kohl’s Ranch Lodge is 20 minutes east of Payson within a beautiful Ponderosa Pine Forest. It’s a great place to unplug and unwind.
8. Downtown Phoenix
Downtown Phoenix provides the perfect mix of big-city excitement and laid-back relaxation. There are phenomenal restaurants on every block, and the city is fairly walkable. My wife and I love to head downtown to see concerts, sports games or just to have a great dinner out. Accessibility is easy.
If you’re interested in quant restaurants and fun bars, the Roosevelt Arts District is perfect. More modern digs can be found in the Warehouse District. Both are a blast to explore.
Location: Phoenix is the largest city in Arizona. Located in the central part of the state, it’s deep within a valley with mountains surrounding it.
Getting There: Getting to Phoenix is simplest via personal vehicle. Whether you’re road-tripping to the city or flying, a car is your best bet. If you only plan on staying in Phoenix, there’s enough public transportation and ride-sharing for your needs.
Things To Do: Phoenix has great golfing opportunities and restaurants within the city, but one of my favorite activities is this hot air balloon ride.
Where to Stay: The AC Hotel by Marriott is in the heart of the city near all the best restaurants and bars.
Williams is my favorite small town in Arizona. The Route 66 town is filled with historical charm and modern amenities. The Polar Express train that runs from Williams to the Grand Canyon each winter is a yearly priority of mine.
Young families and adventurers alike often make a stop at Williams before they hit the Grand Canyon. You won’t find friendlier people in the state than those you find in Williams.
Location: Williams is a small town in Northeast Arizona, about an hour south of the Grand Canyon.
Getting There: A personal vehicle is your best bet for traveling to Williams. It’s far from many other parts of the state, so you’ll need a vehicle to access it.
Things To Do: My favorite thing to do is take the train from Williams up to the Grand Canyon and explore for the day. Otherwise, off-roading or taking the train up to the Grand Canyon are great activities.
Where to Stay: Stay at the La Quina by Wyndham on your trip to Williams. If there isn’t enough outside for you to do, this hotel features an indoor swimming pool and fitness center.
10. Lake Havasu
Lake Havasu City is the perfect base camp for my yearly trip to Lake Havasu. The massive Colorado River reservoir is ideal for long weekends on the water and the dozens of restaurants and off-road trails only add more diversity to this incredible location.
Lake Havasu is the perfect family-friendly place to visit. Beaches and simple water activities can keep the kids entertained for hours.
Location: Lake Havasu is in the far Northwest corner of Arizona, a few hours south of Las Vegas.
Getting There: To get to Lake Havasu, you’ll want to take your own personal vehicle or a rental vehicle. It’s a few hours from Phoenix and Vegas, so getting there can be a challenge on public transportation.
Things To Do: When visiting Lake Havasu, I take our personal boat and spend time boating and fishing. Otherwise, a private sunset cocktail cruise is another fun option.
Where to Stay: Island Suites is an all-suite hotel within a few miles of downtown and right near the lake.
11. Monument Valley
I have fond memories of driving through Monument Valley every year I visited Arizona before moving here. Now that Arizona is my home, I like to make a yearly trip to these beautiful red rock formations in the midst of the desert. I grew up on old Western movies like Stagecoach, so it’s fun to see the filming locations in person.
While Monument Valley isn’t near to much else, it’s a great place to experience Native American history. Take a guided jeep tour or enjoy the 17-mile drive. If you’re driving in or out of Arizona from the north, make it a priority to stop.
Location: Monument Valley is in Northern Arizona, right on the border of Utah. It’s absolutely beautiful.
Getting There: Visitors will need their own vehicle to get to Monument Valley. For most people, it’s considered to be in the middle of nowhere, but in my opinion, its location only adds to its beauty.
Things To Do: Driving through the park is the best thing to do. Plus, the visitor center is well worth checking out. I like to take guided backcountry jeep tours with Navajo guides because they’re able to access different parts of the valley non-natives otherwise couldn’t.
Where to Stay: The Hampton Inn in Kayenta is a classic hotel that works well as a launching point for your exploration of Monument Valley.
Entrance Fee: The Monument Valley 17-mile driving loop costs $20 per vehicle.
Tucson is a vibrant, historical city that Arizona tourists often overlook. I’ve spent countless days exploring the national forests and BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land that surrounds the city. Plus, I’m a massive fan of the Mexican restaurants in the area.
Romantic getaways, outdoor recreation, and some phenomenal golf courses are all at your fingertips on a visit to Arizona’s second-largest city. Don’t skip it on your next trip to Arizona.
Location: Tucson is in the south-central part of the state of Arizona. It’s the second-largest city in the state.
Getting There: Visitors can either drive or fly into the city and rent a car from there. Otherwise, Tucson has a bus and shuttle system that runs throughout the city.
Things To Do: Whenever I visit Tucson, I make sure to eat at one of their many restaurants and visit the Catalina Foothills for some great hiking. Otherwise, a half-day ATV tour through Box Canyon is a brilliant way to see the city.
Where to Stay: The El Amador Downtown Luxury Inn provides ideal access to all the best parts of Tucson.
13. White Mountains
The White Mountains form my ideal playground. The jagged peaks, backcountry rivers, and endless national forest land put a smile on my face every time I come here.
If you want to get off-grid, out of the Phoenix heat, and enjoy more rugged nature, the White Mountains are for you. Show Low or Greer make for great bases for your White Mountain adventures. Make sure you follow local reservation guidelines during your exploration.
Location: The White Mountains are located in the Northeast section of Arizona. This beautiful range’s highest peak is over 11,000′ in elevation.
Getting There: Visitors can reach the White Mountains by renting a car from the Phoenix airport and driving for four hours. Otherwise, Show Low has a regional airport right in the mountains. A personal vehicle is a must.
Things To Do: Whenever I visit the White Mountains, I always try to fly fish. I also love to hike or paddle board on one of the local lakes.
Where to Stay: Stay at the Hampton Inn & Suites Show Low-Pinetop on your visit to the pristine White Mountains. It’s a beautiful hotel with easy access to all major roads.
14. Montezuma Castle National Monument
As a history fan, Montezuma Castle National Monument was one of the first places I wanted to visit when I first moved here. These dwellings built by the Sinagua people between AD 1100 and 1425 are extremely well-preserved and are a must-see for any fan of history.
They make for a great stop on your way north to Sedona, Flagstaff, or the Grand Canyon. You can easily spend a morning looking around and learning all about the ruins.
Location: Montezuma Castle National Monument is right near the town of Camp Verde, an hour and a half North of Phoenix.
Getting There: Getting there is easiest with a personal vehicle. You can fly into Phoenix and rent a car or road trip from wherever you’re setting off from.
Things To Do: When I visit, I like to hike the 1/3 mile loop trail and spend time in the visitor center. Otherwise, you can combine the trip with a tour of Sedona and Jerome.
Where to Stay: The Cliff Castle Casino Hotel is minutes from the Montezuma Castle National Monument and is on the premises of a great casino.
Entrance Fee: $10 for each adult 16 and older.
15. Saguaro Lake
If I ever want a break from the summer heat, my wife and I head over to Saguaro Lake for a day of swimming and kayaking. Just 30 minutes East of Phoenix, it’s an easy drive and well worth the effort. We usually round off the day with a stop in Mesa on our way home for a great bite to eat.
Saguaro Lake is a reservoir that breaks up the Salt River. It’s located in the beautiful Superstition Mountains that can be seen on the horizon in East Phoenix.
Location: Saguaro Lake is located in the Superstition Mountains, about 30 minutes East of Phoenix.
Getting There: It’s easiest to get to Saguaro Lake with your own vehicle. Fly into Phoenix and rent a car or take your own.
Things To Do: When I visit Saguaro Lake, most of my time is spent paddleboarding and boating, but there are also guided kayak tours for you to enjoy.
Where to Stay: The Best Western Gold Canyon provides guests with easy access to Saguaro Lake, Canyon Lake as well as the Superstition Mountains.
Entrance Fee: A daily $7 pass is required for all vehicles.
Wine country isn’t something people first imagine when they think of Arizona. However, Sonoita is about an hour south of Tucson and has several amazing wineries. These are true hidden gems and offer a great break from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life.
Sonoita Vineyards has over 30 acres of vines for visitors to see. You get the best parts of wine country without any pretentiousness.
Location: Sonoita is located about an hour south of Tucson.
Getting There: Getting here is easiest from Tucson, whether you rent a car at the Tucson airport or take your own.
Things To Do: Wine tasting is the best thing to do when you’re in Sonoita, so make sure you book a wine tour for your visit.
Where to Stay: The Rancho Milagro Bed & Breakfast is a great spot for your visit to wine country.
17. Havasu/Havasupai Falls
Havasupai Falls is one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. The 18 miles of hiking were well worth the effort to see the jaw-dropping blue waterfalls. Before you go, you must make sure you get a permit from the Havasupai Reservation. Permits are released each February for the year, so be prepared to pick the dates you intend to visit.
This hike requires an extensive amount of planning since it’s so far from any major city, but the waterfalls make me want to go back every year. As long as you organize ahead of time, you’ll be okay.
Location: Havasu Falls is located within the Grand Canyon on the Havasupai Indian Reservation, so it’s not a part of the national park.
Getting There: The only way to get to the falls is via a nine-mile one-way backpacking trip with a secured permit, so ensure you’re registered before making the trip.
Things To Do: My wife and I were fortunate enough to secure a permit and complete the hike. We hiked on the first day, enjoyed the waterfalls, stayed another full day, and then hiked out on the third day. It was an absolute treat.
Where to Stay: The Cabins at Grand Canyon West in Peach Springs offer the best access to Havasu Falls.
If you’re a fan of Wild West history, you won’t find a better town to explore than Tombstone. Located in Southeastern Arizona, Tombstone is home to numerous museums and exhibits dedicated to America in the 1800s. Mock gun fights, ghost tours, and historical buildings are all available to enjoy.
My first visit to Tombstone was this past year, and I loved it. The mock gun show was so much fun to watch. Plus, Tombstone has some great local restaurants making it ideal for foodies.
Location: Tombstone is in the southern part of Arizona, not far from the border of Mexico and around an hour from Tucson.
Getting There: The best way to get to Tucson is in your own vehicle. Fly into Tucson and rent a car or take your own.
Things To Do: When visiting Tombstone, I love to stop by the old museums and see a classic gunfight show at the O.K. Corral. Otherwise, the Dead Men’s Tales Walking Tour offers a fascinating look into the town’s rich history.
Where to Stay: Stay at the Tombstone Miners Cabins when you make your visit to the historical city of Tombstone and enjoy a private balcony in perfect surroundings.
Prescott is the perfect place to visit if you want to escape the summer heat in Arizona. It’s only an hour or so north of Phoenix and sits at around 5,000 feet elevation. It’s a historical town with great walking access and charming restaurants.
I go every summer to play golf and kayak on Watson Lake. It’s an easy day trip and offers a welcome tease of cooler temperatures to come.
Location: Prescott is a little over an hour North of Phoenix at around 5,000 feet elevation, so it’s a nice break from the heat of the valley.
Getting There: Getting to Prescott is necessary via a personal vehicle, as public transport isn’t an option. Whether you’re flying into Phoenix and renting a car or taking your own.
Things To Do: When I visit Prescott, I like to kayak Waston Lake, go downtown, or take a guided horseback ride.
Where to Stay: Hotel Vendome is a great historic hotel in the heart of Downtown Prescott.
20. Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park in Tucson is a truly beautiful, untouched desert paradise. The soaring cacti, desert wildlife, and gorgeous mountains within this park are a must-see. Visitors are always pleasantly surprised on their visit.
I’ve visited the park several times and love the laid-back feel of it. I love how much hiking I can get in here whilst enjoying the amazing wildlife and plant life.
Location: Saguaro National Park is located on the Northeast side of Tucson, not far from downtown.
Getting There: Getting to Saguaro National Park is easiest with a personal vehicle. Fly into Tucson and rent a car or take your own.
Things To Do: I like to do the Bajada Loop Drive and hike the Valley View Overlook Trail. Otherwise, a guided e-bike tour on the East side of the park is an exciting yet relaxing way to see the picturesque landscapes.
Where to Stay: The Hampton Inn Suites Tucson Marana is on the North side of Tucson, not far from the park entrance.
Entrance Fee: $20 per vehicle for a 1-7 day pass.
No town in Arizona has surprised me as much as Bisbee. This small town close to the Mexico border is unlike any I have seen. It’s an old copper mining town that’s turned into a charming tourist destination. The many great restaurants and mine tours are my favorite things about Bisbee.
While it’s a three-hour trip from Phoenix, it’s become an annual excursion of mine to stop here. There are great points of interest along the way that make the visit even more worth it.
Location: Bisbee is found in the mountains of southeast Arizona, around three hours south of Phoenix and within a few miles of the Mexican border.
Getting There: You’ll need your own vehicle for a tour of Bisbee, as public transportation is very challenging to find.
Things To Do: I love to walk around Bisbee and explore the unique city on foot, visit historic buildings, and enjoy the local breweries. Otherwise, I recommend this tour via a private golf cart – it’s excellent.
Where to Stay: A stay at the Jonquil Motel gives a great feel for all that Bisbee has to offer.
Located in central Arizona, Jerome is another charming copper-mining town. Plus, with its proximity to Phoenix, it makes for an easy day trip. There are great museums, and Jerome State Historic Park is great. Families are sure to love Jerome.
If you’re interested in ghosts and some more eclectic history, Jerome is for you. For those that like to experience a new place through taste, there are wineries and wonderful restaurants for you to visit.
Location: Located two hours North of Phoenix, Jerome is a small and extremely unique town.
Getting There: Visitors can best access Jerome via a private vehicle. Whether it’s a rental or your own, access is easiest in your own car.
Things To Do: Whenever I visit Jerome, I take a trip through Jerome State Historic Park and go to the mining museum. Otherwise, the Jerome Ghost Walk gives you a glimpse into the spooky side of the town.
Where to Stay: The Clinksdale is one of my favorite hotels (ever). It’s right downtown and has awesome decor.
23. Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Forest National Park isn’t something that necessarily needs an entire trip dedicated to it. If you’re traveling I-40 into Arizona, it’s right off the highway and makes for an easy stop-off. Families and adventurers will find easy trails and great views of the surrounding desert.
The park can be visited in a day without feeling pushed for time. Plus, you can stay in nearby Holbrook for an easy stop after you’re done.
Location: Petrified Forest National Park is in Northern Arizona, off Route 66 near the town of Holbrook.
Getting There: You’ll want your own vehicle when you visit Petrified Forest National Park. It’s a long way from any major city, and public transportation isn’t an option.
Things To Do: Visiting Petrified Forest National Park doesn’t require any longer than one day. My wife and I like to drive through the park and hike Devils Playground.
Where to Stay: The La Quinta Inn & Suites in Holbrook gives guests the best access to the national park.
Entrance Fee: $20 per vehicle for a 1-7 day pass.
Wickenburg is a fun historical town west of Phoenix. Plus, it’s home to my favorite golf course – Wickenburg Ranch. The Hotshots Hike north of the town is a must-visit when you’re in the area. It’s a 7-mile hike dedicated to the 19 members of a fire crew that died fighting a fire.
Families will enjoy the fun downtown shops, and adventurers will appreciate the thousands of acres of BLM land to explore while in the area.
Location: Wickenburg is around an hour west of Phoenix, off State Highway 60.
Getting There: A private vehicle is a must when you’re making a trip to Wickenburg. Public transportation is very limited in the city.
Things To Do: I love golfing at Wickenburg Ranch Golf Club, completing the Hot Shots Hike, or renting a UTV to explore the surrounding areas.
Where to Stay: Stay at Stagecoach Suites when you visit Wickenburg. It’s a historical 4-star hotel with great views and clean accommodations.
25. Canyon de Chelly National Monument
Canyon de Chelly National Monument is a fairly large park in Northeast Arizona. It’s located on Navajo tribal lands, and the canyon is surrounded by a rock spire as well as beautiful sandstone cliffs. It’s somewhat of a secret spot in the far East side of the state.
I frequently visited with my family for several years on our way to Arizona for vacation. It blew my mind when I first saw it. I couldn’t believe this canyon was out in the middle of what I thought was such a desolate place.
Location: Canyon de Chelly National Monument is located on a Navajo Reservation on the far Northeast side of Arizona.
Getting There: It’s easiest to access the monument from your own personal vehicle as it’s a long way from larger cities.
Things To Do: Whenever I go, I like to complete the drives on the North Rim and South Rim. These take a few hours in total. Otherwise, my wife and I walk out to Spider Rock Viewpoint to stretch our legs.
Where to Stay: Located 12 miles from the monument, Thunderbird Lodge is the best place to stay for those who wish to be in close proximity.
Getting Around Arizona
Without a doubt, the best way to get around Arizona is with a car. It’s a massive state with a lot to see, and the public transportation options are limited.
You’ll find some public transportation throughout the cities, but there are large distances between the best places to visit, so a car gives you the most freedom and access.
Rental car options are plentiful throughout Arizona, so you won’t struggle to find one that suits your needs.
Quick Itineraries for Arizona
Here are a few simple itineraries to follow when visiting Arizona:
3 Days in Arizona
For a three-day trip to Arizona, I’d recommend flying into Phoenix and renting a car. From Phoenix, drive two hours north to Sedona and stay the night.
Day 1: Wake up in Sedona, hike Mount Wilson, explore Downtown Sedona, and grab dinner at The Hudson.
Day 2: The next morning, drive another two hours to the Grand Canyon and spend the day exploring. Hike down Bright Angel Trail for a few miles, grab a bite to eat at El Tovar, and watch the sunset over the canyon before you head into your room at the Bright Angel Lodge.
Day 3: The next day, drive back to Phoenix before heading home.
One Week in Arizona
Day 1: Fly into Phoenix, rent a car, and make your way up to Sedona. Grab a bite to eat at the Hudson in Sedona while preparing for a day on the trails.
Day 2: On your first full day in Sedona, hike Cathedral Rock or Devil’s Bridge in the morning. In the afternoon and evening, take a guided jeep tour on the miles and miles of backcountry trails in the area. For dinner, grab a bite at the Casa Sedona Restaurant.
Day 3: The next day, wake up and get out onto the Mount Wilson trailhead early. This hike will take all morning, but it provides amazing views of the red rocks. After you finish, grab lunch at one of the many eateries and enjoy downtown Sedona.
Head back to your hotel for a relaxing evening before heading to dinner at the Hideaway House.
Day 4: The next morning, pack up the car and drive two hours to the Grand Canyon. On the way, stop in Flagstaff and spend time looking around downtown and enjoying the local businesses.
Get to the Grand Canyon in the afternoon and check into your room at Bright Angel Lodge. Enjoy a delicious meal at the on-site lodge restaurant.
Day 5: The next day, start your morning off with a hike into the Grand Canyon down Bright Angel Trail. This will take until around noon, depending on when you set off. In the afternoon, drive along Rim Road and enjoy all of the beautiful vistas. Grab a bite to eat at El Tovar.
Day 6: The next morning, make the four-hour drive back down to Phoenix and check in at the Arizona Biltmore near the airport. Enjoy the resort amenities before you fly out the next day.
Day 7: If you’re feeling up to it, hike Camelback before you fly back home.
10+ Days in Arizona
Day 1: Fly or drive into Tucson and check in to the Hilton Marana in North Tucson. From here, grab a bite at one of the many local restaurants.
Day 2: Start your second day with a visit to Saguaro National Park. You can spend a day exploring the park and the surrounding areas. If you’re feeling up to it, you can head toward the top of Mount Lemon in Tucson for some fresh mountain air.
Day 3: On day three, make the two-hour drive up to Scottsdale. Stay in Old Town Scottsdale and enjoy one of the famous restaurants, and if you’re up for it, grab a drink at a local bar.
Day 4: For your fourth day, drive North from Old Town and hike Pinnacle Peak in the morning. In the afternoon, feel free to golf at Troon North Golf Club and enjoy another night out in Old Town, walking around and exploring the many eateries.
Day 5: On day five, you’ll make your way North to Sedona. Stay at the Enchantment Resort for a true five-star experience. If you have time in the evening, scramble up Cathedral Rock for phenomenal sunset views. For dinner, eat at the Hudson – get their Mushroom & Swiss burger.
Day 6: On day six, explore Sedona. Hike Mount Wilson or Devil’s Bridge for an authentic red rocks experience. If you’d like, take a jeep tour in the afternoon to experience all of the amazing 4×4 trails.
Day 7: The next day, pack your bags and make your way up to the Grand Canyon. This two-hour drive can be broken up with a stop in Flagstaff for breakfast or lunch. Plus, it’s worth visiting the downtown. Stay at Bright Angel Lodge within the park and enjoy a meal at the restaurant.
Day 8: Wake up the next morning and spend the day hiking the Bright Angel Trail. This trail is very challenging, so be realistic about your physical capabilities before you go. Grab dinner at El Tavar to reward yourself after the long day.
Day 9: The next morning, head the four hours back down to Phoenix and grab a room at the Phoenician. Spend your last full night relaxing and reflecting on your trip to Arizona.
Day 10: Drop your rental car off in Phoenix and have a safe flight home.
Must-Try Foods in Arizona
Arizona is a melting pot for all sorts of different people groups and cultures. As a result, the state is full of unique foods that many natives and tourists have come to love. Whether it’s Mexican food or Native American delicacies, there are a few options you must try when you visit:
Fry bread, beans, ground beef, lettuce, tomato, onion, and cheese make up the famous Navajo Tacos. These are famous within the native communities in Arizona. Visit The Stand in Scottsdale for the best Navajo Tacos in the valley.
Sonoran Hot Dogs
Sonoran Hot Dogs are a true staple in Arizona. The buns are filled with pinto beans, onions, mustard, jalapeno salsa, mayo, and tomato. Oh, and the hot dog itself is wrapped in bacon. It’s a delicious, Southwestern twist on a staple. Try Sonora Querida in Phoenix for the best Sonoran Dogs in the city.
Cheese crips are a classic bar snack. Flour tortillas and shredded cheese are griddled until the tortilla has a nice crunch. Feel free to make them more exciting with toppings such as chicken, chiles, onions, or anything else you fancy. El Minuto Cafe in Tucson does a particularly good job of this dish.
Best Places to See in Arizona: FAQs
Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about visiting beautiful places in Arizona:
Arizona is located in the Southwest United States. California borders it on the East, Mexico on the South, New Mexico on the West, and Utah and Colorado to the North. It’s located right in the heart of some of the most beautiful scenery in the entire country.
Visitors can snowboard or ski during the day and be back in the pool at night. It’s a diverse state with something for everyone. The countless activities available were what first drew me to Arizona.
Absolutely. After living here for three years, I have never run out of things to do. Whether you like nightlife, food, hiking, climbing, camping, or biking, there’s something for you. I am more and more impressed with Arizona with each adventure I take part in.
The most popular place to visit in Arizona is the Grand Canyon. I’ve hiked the canyon numerous times, and I bring everyone who visits me along to it – everyone should visit at least once!
While it’s four hours from Phoenix, it’s worth the drive. I usually make it a 2-day trip and visit Sedona and Flagstaff on my way up from the valley.
The fall or spring is the best time to visit Arizona. In the fall, temperatures are cooling in Tucson and Phoenix, and all of the northern attractions, like the Grand Canyon, are not yet covered in snow.
The spring is also beautiful with the cool Phoenix temperatures and snow sports in the northern part of the state.
In my opinion, the Sedona and Flagstaff area is the prettiest part of Arizona. You get the beautiful red rocks, towering peaks, and lush forests all in one. Breathtaking views are around every single corner.
Flagstaff or Sedona are the best places to base yourself in Arizona. You’ll be around two hours from Phoenix and a little less than two hours from the Grand Canyon. Plus, you’ll have all of the places in Sedona and Flagstaff to explore.
Arizona is famous for beautiful views, the Grand Canyon, hot summer weather, phenomenal golf courses, and endless outdoor activities. Depending on your interests, Arizona can stand out to you for many different reasons.
I love to hike, and camp, and I’ve found that it’s one of the best states in the country to do it.
Yes, Arizona is safe to visit. Tourists are common at all times of the year, so you will rarely visit an area that feels uncomfortable. I’ve explored the state for years and have never once felt unsafe.
You can surround yourself with people or explore alone, depending on what you prefer.
If you want to experience something new and unique every single day of your vacation, Arizona is the place to visit. You have almost everything you would want; mountains, water, red rocks, deserts, and more. My three years living here have led to some of my favorite adventures so far.
Visitors are always welcome, and it’s easy to create an itinerary that fits exactly what you would like to do. There’s a reason Arizona is one of the fastest-growing states in the United States. A new adventure is always around the corner.