Saguaro Desert Dreams.

If you are looking for a getaway that has it all, Arizona may be the perfect destination for you. There is a dynamic range of places to visit in Arizona, from ski slopes at the Snowbowl in Prescott to 50 foot Saguaro cactuses near Tucson. Here are 12 incredible places to visit in Arizona from our southwest road trip.

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Travel to Arizona

We flew into the Mesa Gateway Airport in Mesa, Arizona.

Using Skyscanner, we were able to book cheap flights with Sun Country to Arizona from Minneapolis. We flew into the Mesa Gateway Airport in Mesa and if you can, I highly encourage you to go this route vs. flying into the International Airport in Phoenix, especially if you are traveling with kids. Mesa is a 30 minute drive east of Phoenix. We loved how convenient everything was since this was a small airport.

Check out my article Road Trip Planner to Save Money and Time for my ultimate list of apps to plan a complete vacation.

We flew into the Mesa Gateway Airport with Sun Country,

Our departure and arrival went quickly and smoothly. The best part? Mesa Gateway Airport has rental car units just a few steps away from the baggage claim area & the return lot is near the bag drop area. It was the most convenient process we have every experienced when it comes to rental cars and airports!

Where We Stayed

We wanted to experience as much of Arizona as we could, but we decided with our kids, we wanted to have a home base. We decided on the A to Z Walker Getaway located at the top of a mountain in Prescott National Forest with 360 degree mountain views. To get to our Airbnb from town, it was a 10 minute drive (part of it up a really rough gravel road going up the mountain). It was still very conveniently located with Trader Joes and Wal Mart being nearby and Lynx Lake only minutes away.

This property features 1 bedroom, a pullout bed in the living room and an extra guest bedroom detached from the house. There is one bathroom, a grill and complete kitchen for anything you need. This has been one of our favorite unique AIRBNB family stays yet!

One of the most famous places to visit in Arizona : the Grand Canyon.

Places to Eat

During our road trip, we found some awesome places to eat. As always, we try to experiences places to eat that we do not have in Minnesota.




Frequently Asked Questions

What is the prettiest place in Arizona?

Arizona has a dynamic range of places to visit, ranging from desert waterfalls, saguaros, white capped mountains and red rocks. It may be one of the few states that has something for everyone. Page, Arizona was our favorite and of course, Sedona stole our hearts as well.

What is the number one attraction in Arizona?

I would say the Grand Canyon- it is the second most visited National Park in the United States.

What are 3 things Arizona is famous for?

The Grand Canyon, beautiful desert and Sedona.

What attraction can be found in Arizona?

There are countless places to visit in Arizona and things to do as well. To navigate, I would write down a list of all the things you enjoy doing and match that to a location in Arizona where you can experience them.

Best 10 Things to Do and Places to Visit in Arizona

1. Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona

Page, Arizona is home to one of the most infamous places to visit in Arizona: Antelope Canyon. Antelope Canyon is located in northern Arizona near the Utah border. Driving from Phoenix, it would be a 4.5 hour drive. From Sedona, AZ it is a 2 hour and 50 minute drive. The drive to Page, Arizona alone is absolutely stunning as you pass through the southern edge of the Great Basin Desert. Page shares it’s time zone with Phoenix. There is an upper and lower Antelope Canyon. We booked the lower because there is a lot more lighting vs. the upper Antelope Canyon.

We booked our tour through Dixie’s Lower Antelope Canyon Tours and we were not disappointed! Our guide took us on a 10 minute walk to the entrance, where we climbed down a steep stair case into the canyon. As we walked, he shared with us stories of how the canyon formed and interesting formations that mirror animals or people (we saw a seahorse, a “lady in the wind”, smiling, shark and a sunrise). Our tour guide provided photography opportunities on our 1.5 hour tour.

To be prepared for your lower Antelope Canyon visit, read my post, 10 Things to Know Before Visiting the Lower Antelope Canyon.

Land acknowledgment: Navajo Nation

2. Hiking in Sedona, Arizona

Sedona is one of the most iconic places to visit in Arizona.

Sedona may be one of the most famous places to visit in Arizona, famous for it’s red rocks and gorgeous hikes. Below is a list of famous hikes from Arizona. Some of these we experienced, others we have saved for next time (I mean, we need a reason to go back, right?). No matter which trail you are hiking, I highly recommend you figure out which hikes you want to do the most & get there early as parking fills up fast.

Two of the most popular hikes are the Devil’s Bridge and Bell Rock. You will need a Red Rocks day pass ($5) to access majority of these trails or an America the Beautiful Pass. I have linked All Trails Maps to each of the hiking trails on this list for you (click the trail name in bold).

Before you go hiking, check out my Tips for Day Trip Hikes guide.

Bell Rock Climb

Bell Rock’s name comes from the fact it looks like a bell. If you are looking for gorgeous views, consider Bell Rock Climb. For parking, try the Bell Rock Trail Trailhead or Courthouse Vista lots- from Courthouse Vista the hike is about .7 miles. Restrooms are available in both lots. There are no actual trails that lead to Bell Rock, but at the beginning near the parking lot there are signs identifying the different paths.

For the first part of the hike, we followed the baskets with rocks in them, but they disappear as you get closer. Once they disappear, there are small rock cairns that signal where you are supposed to go. At this point, it’s important to know your limits as the climb gets steeper and sketchier. We honestly though the lower part of our Bell Rock Climb was just as beautiful as the upper. If you are going to the very top, you will have to navigate the rock ledges among the spires.

Birthing Cave

Birthing Cave hike is one of the fastest and easiest to visit. It is a 2 miles round trip hike. The walk is easy until you have to climb up into the cave- then it gets moderate to difficult. You will want to park at the Long Canyon Trailhead. If you cannot find a parking lot, try to Mescal Trailhead nearby. After hiking .6 miles, you will come to a partial wooden fence. There will be a sign that says “trail” pointing right. This leads to the rest of Long Canyon Trail. To get to the Birthing Cave, you will want to go left instead. Once you get to the cave, climb in and enjoy the view!

Cathedral Rock

If you are short on time, consider a

Hiking the Cathedral Rock is essential in Sedona, making it one of the most popular hikes along with Devil’s Bridge and Bell Rock. You will want to make sure to park at the Cathedral Rock trailhead near Back O Beyond Road. The climb to Cathedral Rock starts almost when you hit the trail. The trail is marked by large wire baskets of rocks. Once you hike the first level of sandstone rock, the trail gets steeper. You may have to do some rock scrambling, but there are no ledges or major drop offs in this part of the hike. The trail ends at a saddle between two of the giant sandstone spires, leading to 360 degree view of Sedona.

Devil’s Bridge

When going to Devil's Bridge, don't be surprised if there is a line of people waiting to get their picture taken.

The Devil’s Bridge is a hike with an easy trail (no rock scrambling) and iconic red rock views. There are four ways to start this hike: 1) Dry Creek Road to Devil’s Bridge Trailhead (a high clearance 4×4 is needed to navigate large rocks in the road- your hike will be a 2 mile round trip), 2) Park at Dry Creek Road parking lot, 3) Take the Sedona shuttle to Dry Creek parking lot, 4) Park at Mescal Trailhead. If you choose the last 3 options, your hike will be about 4.6 miles road trip.

I would recommend parking at Mescal Trailhead because it is more scenic vs. walking a dusty dirt road for majority of your hike. The Mescal Trail ends quickly, and you will start hiking to Chuckwagon trail until you get to Dry Creek Road. The trails here are marked well and easy to follow. A sign will mark the Dry Creek parking lot, meaning you have 1 mile left to hike to Devil’s Bridge. The trail will narrow and at the very end, there is some rock scrambling to get to the top.

Boynton Canyon and Subway Cave

One of the biggest draws to Sedona is hiking the red rocks.

This is an easy hike because you walk a flat trail with shelter from the sun. The trail ends at the back of the canyon where a short climb takes you to the viewing point. The hike to see Boynton Canyon and Subway Cave is 7 miles round trip and considered a moderate hike. The main parking lot is on Boynton Canyon Road. The trail to Subway Cave is located 2 miles into the hike. There will be no sign marking the entrance to the cave, but there is a unique Alligator Juniper Tree on the left side of the trail.

The trial to the entrance of the cave starts across from this tree, to the right of the trail. You will gradually climb in what looks like a slit in the sandstones (this is a rock scramble and the hardest part of the hike), with the incline ending at the back of the cave.

Seven Sacred Pools, Devil’s Kitchen and Solider’s Pass

This was not taken at Subway cave- but still a beautiful view to share of the red rocks.

To access both these Sedona wonders, you will need to park at the Solider’s Pass trailhead. This trail is a 4.6 miles round trip loop that also accesses Seven Sacred Pools and the Devil’s Kitchen. Starting out, you will quickly reach Devil’s Kitchen, which is a sinkhole formed by the collapse of underground caverns. Continue north on the trail, and you will then reach Seven Sacred Pools formed into the rock with the beautiful Sedona view in the background. You will want to continue north on the trail, which brings you to a turn off to Solider’s Pass Cave and Solider Arch. It’s a short and steep trail that will take you into the cave.

Airport Mesa & Airport Loop Trail

A stormy Sedona view from Airport Mesa.

While you can technically drive up the mountain to access the most beautiful view of the Sedona city, there is also a trail you can hike nearby. You will drive up to the top of the mountain on Airport Mesa Road, where you pay $3 for parking. From there, you can view the overlook, the access the trailhead for Airport Loop Trail. This trail is considered to be a moderately challenging route because it’s very rocky. The round trip hike is a total of 3.3 miles.

Other Trails

Of course, Arizona has other AMAZING trails to offer such as Doe Mountain Trail, Broken Arrow Trail, Raven’s Cave, Fay Canyon and more. I suggest viewing All Trails website or downloading the app to your phone to find which trails are perfect for you.

Pro Tip: Are you short on time and can’t hike? No problem! Drive north on Highway 89 A in Sedona to see all the beautiful views from the red rocks all the way to Oak Creek Canyon.

3. Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona

The Grand Canyon is the most famous places to visit in Arizona, with a total of 3 entrances into the park. There is the North Rim entrance (closed during the winter season), which is probably the least convenient, located off Highway 67. (The closest town is Fredonia). Second, there is the east entrance near Desert view west of Cameron. Last, is the South Rim entrance, 1 mile north of Tusayan. If you are traveling from Flagstaff, Sedona or Phoenix, this is the most convenient entrance. It is also the most crowded, with 90% of visitors coming through the South Rim. I highly suggest you visit early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid waiting in line for an hour like we did.

Our adventure into the Grand Canyon started from the South Rim entrance. We were worried there wouldn’t be parking, but there was quite a few spots still open because the parking lot is huge. The trails and attractions we are sharing are kid-friendly. The Grand Canyon has countless amazing trails and hidden gems, but we decided to filter our hiking adventure by which trails would be most enjoyable for us as a family.

The Grand Canyon.

We started out at the Visitor’s Center. The hours fluctuate in the spring time. The Grand Canyon may be isolated in nature, but the Visitor’s Center area has everything you need. There is a store in this area, the Bright Angels & Bicycles Cafe, a book store and access to the shuttle. There are also restrooms in separate buildings on either side of the Visitor’s Center.

The first glimpse of this beautiful natural wonder can be found at Mather’s Point, which is an easy 5 minute walk to the overlook. On clear days, you can see 30 feet the the east and 60 feet to the west. From the trail to Mather Point, you can walk .7 miles on the Canyon Rim Trail to access the Yavapai Geology Museum. I highly recommend you visit this spot because it offers an incredible (and safe) view into the Grand Canyon.

From the Geology Museum, you can walk the Trail of Time, an interpretive walking trail where you go backwards in time to experience the Grand Canyon’s complete geological history. The trail actually starts at the Yavapai Geology Museum & continues beyond the Grand Canyon Village.


Kid friendly trails at the Grand Canyon.

Next, I also wanted to point out the South Kaibab Trail to Ooh Aah Point. It’s about a 1.8 mile walk & you can access the trailhead via shuttle or park at the South Rim Trailhead. The most accessible point of Cedar Ridge is the halfway point, which is perfect for hiking with kids, staying away from crowds and not going on an all day hike. You will reach the Ooh Aah point, which is the highlight of this trail.

The second kid-friendly hiking trail in the Grand Canyon is Shoshone Point, off the beaten path, yet only a few minutes drive from the visitor’s center. You can’t take a shuttle bus there, but the drive and 2 mile walk is worth it. there are also picnic tables and a bathroom near Shoshone Point. Last is the 3 mile hike on Bright Angel from the Visitor’s Center. This trail is paved, well marked and you will hit many attractions along the way like Kolb Studio, Geology Museum and El Tovar, where there are many food options.

I always encourage travelers to visit the National Parks Service website to read the alerts and to see any areas of the park that may be closed prior to visiting.

Pro Tip: If you enjoy National Parks, make sure to purchase the America the Beautiful Pass. This actually saved us time once we got closer to the gates. We went to lane 1 & got in quickly.

Do you ever have anxiety about traveling with kids? Whether it’s navigating the airport, going on a road trip or any other adventure, I have you covered in my article, 30 Plus Tips on How to Travel with Kids.

4. Watson Lake in Prescott, Arizona

Prescott is known for it’s lovely lakes, historic downtown and the gorgeous Prescott National Forest. Minutes from the historic downtown you will find the one of a kind Watson Lake. The bright blue waters of the lake are surrounded by granite boulders and hiking trails (Pea-vine Trail is the most popular).

Swimming is prohibited, but other activities are available such as canoeing, kayaking, fishing, boating, climbing and camping (the park has 380 acres!). It costs $3 to enter the park for the day. Amenities at the park are a playground, horse shoe pits and even fish cleaning stations! There are restrooms with showers available. We spent a late afternoon here and we were glad we did- it’s very unique!

5. Picacho Peak State Park in Pinal County, Arizona

You can’t visit the desert during the spring & not stroll through the wildflower super bloom. We took a trip to Picacho State Park to experience iconic desert views in southern Arizona. Picacho Peak State Park is located in Pinal County near Tuscan. It’s know for it’s geological features, sea of wildflowers and campground. As with any outdoor activity, make sure to bring sunscreen and a lot of water. Even being here early spring, the heat was intense.

The easiest trails to do are Nature Trail (0.5 mile hike) and Children’s Cave Trail (0.2 mile hike). If you want more of a challenge, consider Calloway Trail (0.7 miles), leading to an overlook and Sunset Vista Trail (3.1 miles)- not recommended during summer time.

One mile east of the park’s entrance is a commercial ostrich ranch, where you can get an up close and personal view of the ostriches. Twenty six miles from Picacho State Park is Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, an ancient dwelling of the Hohokam Tribe. Finally, 33 miles away is the iconic Saguaro National Park.

6. Slide Rock State Park in Sedona, Arizona

Slide Rock State Park is a favorite place for many to “beat the heat” in the Sedona area and one of the most well known places to visit in Arizona. This 43 acre historic apple orchard is actually one of the few intact homesteads that still exist in the canyon today. The hours and prices to enter vary, so please visit Arizona State Parks website before you go. Taking a dip in Oak Creek Canyon is an adventure that should be on everyone’s bucket lists! And if you don’t want to swim- the view alone is amazing. I do suggested walking the quick trails of Pendley Homestead Trail (.25 miles) and Slide Rock Route (.3 miles).

7. Horseshoe Bend in Page, Arizona

If I had only a few hours to explore Page, Arizona, Horseshoe Bend would be on my list! It’s $10 to enter (bathrooms available in parking lot), and from there, it’s a 2 mile (round trip) walk on a dusty, flat dirt path to the Horseshoe Bend overlook. There is a section that is fenced in for safety, but there are also big rocks you can climb and other areas with a wonderful over look. The catch is they are not fenced in, so you have to proceed with caution-especially if you have kids with! The entire area is gorgeous around Horseshoe Bend, so we actually explore the surrounding area as well.

8. Dobbin’s Lookout in Phoenix, Arizona

The stone building at the top of South Mountain in Phoenix, AZ.

If you are looking for an aerial view of the entire city of Phoenix, check out Dobbin’s Lookout. Dobbin’s Lookout is located off Summit Road in South Mountain Park. From here, you will be at an elevation of 2,330 feet, yet be completely safe as you enjoy the view from your car and at the top of the mountain where the lookout area is located. There is a stone lookout building at the very top to provide some shade. This overlook is perfect for watching the sunset.

9. Downtown Sedona & Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping, Arizona

Sedona is one of the most iconic places to visit in Arizona. When we came to Sedona, we truly came for the hiking, but couldn’t resist checking out their awesome downtown area. There is SO much to see and every store you would dream of, you can find here. Parking is doable, and there are 6 free parking lots in the area. Located on Main Street, our favorite shops were Soulshine, Earthbound Trading, Gypsy Jenny, Western Trading Post, Sedona Wonder Gallery & Gifts and The Hanging Tree. I have more listed from my Google Maps. Delicious places to eat downtown are Elote Cafe (it can be very crowded and they do not take reservations), Sedona Memories, Pussycat Gelato, Sedona Wellness Cafe and Rascal.

We were very excited to check out the Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Center. We ate at the Secret Garden Cafe for a delicious breakfast out on the patio. Afterwards, we browsed through art galleries, jewelry stores, chocolate and ice cream shops and The Chai Spot (this is a must see!). Check out the directory for a complete list.

10. Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, Arizona

The desert super bloom is beautiful everywhere you go in Arizona, but if you want to experience a variety of botanical desert life (over 50,000 plants to be exact) and a butterfly garden, the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix is a must see! Here are the following trails to walk: the Sonoran Desert Nature Walk, Center for Desert Living Trail, Desert Discovery Loop Trail, Wildflower Loop Trail and a Succulent section. It get VERY hot on these trails. There were a lot of families here, but definitely bring a lot of water. You are able to bring your own drinks and backpacks in.

Pro tip: If you have kids with who love animals, the Phoenix Zoo is next to the Botanical Gardens.

11. Lynx Lake and Prescott National Forest in Prescott, Arizona

We found this gem because of our Airbnb! Located in Prescott National Forest, Lynx Lake was like a slice of Minnesota (except, with mountain views). There is a 2.6 mile loop trail you can walk that will take you completely around the lake. There is a lot of accessibility here, so everyone can truly enjoy Lynx Lake. It’s a perfect spot for fishing, viewing wildlife and a picnic!

Do you love lake views and beautiful evergreens? Consider taking a vacation to North Shore of Minnesota using our 4 Day Itinerary.

Are you a fan of the Pacific Northwest? Check out or Oregon Coast Road Trip.

12. Palatki and Honanki Heritage Sites in Arizona

Personally, one of the most scenic spots in Sedona was the Palatki Heritage site, home to an ancient cliff dwelling (2 separate Pueblos) and Pictographs. There are three trails at the Palatki Heritage Site that take you up the Sinagua Cliff Dwellings. You must make a reservation before visiting. Tours last 1.5 hours and have a limit of 12 people. The site is located 10 miles off Highway 89A in Sedona. Forest Road 525 leading to both Palatki and Honanki from Cottonwood and Sedona are rough dirt roads for 2 miles. Allow for extra driving time as you need to proceed slowly.

Bonus: Amitabha Stupa Peace Park in Sedona, Arizona

The Amitabha Stupa Peace Park was our go to spot to relax after lunch time. The park is an outdoor destination for prayer, meditation and experience of peace that expands over 14 acres of land. It’s free to enter this iconic place to visit in Arizona, open until dusk. The stupa is gifted from India and considered to be one of the oldest forms of sacred architecture on earth, dating back to 2600 years ago. You can walk through the park, meditate, view the medicine wheel and prayer bells.

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  • Best 12 Things to Do and Places to Visit in Arizona

    Best 12 Things to Do and Places to Visit in Arizona

    If you are looking for a getaway that has it all, Arizona may be the perfect destination for you. There is a dynamic range of places to visit in Arizona, from ski slopes at the Snowbowl in Prescott to 50 foot Saguaro cactuses near Tucson. Here are 12 incredible places to visit in Arizona from…

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