Arizona has something to offer nearly every family of travelers. You can find great food, a spot to swim, terrific hiking trails, and amazing views. As the home state of the Grand Canyon, Arizona is focused on sharing its natural resources with travelers who love the great outdoors.
Learn how to make the most of your Arizona family vacation. Our experts share their tips and tricks for hiking, camping, and traveling on a budget.
For those who head to Arizona from a cold climate area, the chance to stretch your legs and get some sun should be a welcoming experience. When looking for things to do in Arizona this weekend, consider taking a guided hike through one of the many smaller canyons.
Arizona’s topography is about more than just the desert, though the cactus can be amazing! A guided hiking tour through one of the many slot canyons can help you.
- Understand flood risk in the desert.
- Study the remarkable features created by sandstone and water.
- Get great photos without having to worry about getting lost.
Connect with your guide before you get on the road to make sure that you have the proper gear, from water bottles to hats to sunblock to trekking poles. Protect your health and your family by starting on shorter, smaller trails and increasing the fun as you gain strength.
Grand Canyon Viewing
The key to an epic Grand Canyon viewing experience is not to rush. Visit the South Rim and stroll through Grand Canyon Village. There is the Yavapai Geology Museum to view as well. As you travel the South Rim, make sure you set a timer to remind you to stop and view the sunset.
If you like to hike, you may prefer time on the North Rim. You may have to pack for self-sufficiency; the majority of the amenities are on the South Rim, but that region is also more crowded. For those who love time in nature and need a break from people, a trip to the North Rim is critical.
There are several hikes, trails, and campgrounds near the Grand Canyon. If you need an RV spot, do make sure that you book ahead to avoid struggling to find a parking spot. Even dry Dockers can struggle to find a spot to stay during the busy season in the Canyon.
Take the Kids to Phoenix!
No matter the season, there are many kid-friendly spots for family fun in Phoenix. Start early to avoid the heat with a stop at the Phoenix Zoo. There is a splash pad here, so consider bringing bathing suits to the zoo to make it easy to stay cooled off.
Older children will love a stop at the Arizona Science Center. There’s a maker space where kids can get their hands dirty and create a keepsake to take with them as a reminder of their family trip. Finally, spend the warmest part of the day at the Wet and Wild Water Park.
Regional Food Treats
Travelers who love local food will need to make a stop in Sedona. Travel to Elote Café for authentic Mexican food. You can only get dinner at Elote and they do not take reservations, so get there early. If you are a fan of tequila, the selection is quite remarkable.
Arrive early, get a spot by the window so you can check out the Red Rocks of Sedona, and linger over tequila. You can enjoy both traditional foods and seasonal, locally grown produce from the menu. Each meal starts with chips and salsa to whet your appetite.
Go for a Swim
Swimming holes in the desert? Why not? Take route 260 up to Fossil Creek Road and swim in the falls on Fossil Creek. You can easily see the fish you swim with and the water is clear and cool. There is a cost for parking.
There are hiking trails along Fossil Creek and some amenities, but you will want to pack enough food and water that you can rough it if you need to. You can also stay nice and cool by hiking from jumping-off point to jumping-off point and cooling off as you travel!
Study the Flora
While we may think of the desert as a barren, sandy stretch with little visual variety, the plants of the desert put on a spectacular show. Consider a trip to the Lost Dutchman State Park to check out the poppy bloom in the spring.
While in Phoenix, you can also walk the Harriet K. Maxwell Desert Wildflower Trail at the Desert Botanical Garden. This remarkable garden spot covers 145 acres and offers 5 different trails to allow you to stretch your legs, get some sun, and study the amazing plants of the desert. Once you’ve seen the desert in bloom, you will never think of it as barren or boring again!
Check Out the History
For those who love airplanes, a trip to the Pima Air and Space Museum has to be top of the list. You can take study planes, helicopters, and hot air balloon structures as you work your way around this remarkable facility.
The best way to see this museum is on one of the guided transport vehicles. Bring sunscreen and a hat; the desert sun can be intense even inside the vehicle. Of course, you will be able to buy water but you might also be able to carry some in depending on the weather. The wind in this region can be quite strong.
This facility is huge. In addition to the many aircraft lined up for your viewing fun, there is an on-site museum that includes some fascinating military history. There is a restaurant on-site and the seating area overlooks the large collection of military aircraft.
Arizona is loaded with opportunities to check out the natural world, ancient history, new flowers, and planes. Children will love the chance to study up on dinosaur fossils and cool off on a water slide. You can also go a bit rustic and take a hike along a river that offers great swimming holes. Your Arizona vacation can be as wild as you want!