Ditch the hustle and bustle for wide-open spaces and enjoy a leisurely trip through the state of Arizona. Get to know the state’s true beauty by slowing down and immersing yourself in each adventure. Unplug and take in the history, scenery, and culture in some of our favorite places!
When visiting the Grand Canyon National Park South Rim…
Near the east entrance, explore the Cameron Trading Post
Founded in 1916, the Cameron Trading post was once a place for Navajo and Hopi locals to barter their wool, blankets, and livestock for dry goods. Today, this historic travelers' oasis is noted for its fine Collector's Gallery and its contemporary collectibles in the gift shop, beautiful vistas, first-class lodging, and southwestern hospitality and cuisine.
On your drive from the Grand Canyon to Flagstaff make sure to stop at...
Born in a dramatic series of eruptions 900 years ago, Sunset Crater is still the youngest volcano on the Colorado Plateau. Visitor Center exhibits explain the powerful geologic forces and their aftermath. See for yourself on the one-mile, self-guided Lava Flow Trail. Allow at least 1 hour to stop at the Visitor Center and hike the Lava Flow Trail.
Wupatki National Monument
Rock walls of 800-year-old pueblos dot a desert landscape once home to thousands of people. Visitor center exhibits explain how they survived by farming, hunting and gathering, and trading. Short trails lead to Wupatki, Lomaki, and other pueblos. The scenic drive to Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument climbs rapidly from desert to mountain landscapes.
Take your time in Flagstaff...
Set in the high country mountains of northern Arizona, Flagstaff delivers exciting activities for each season. In the summer, the Arizona Snowbowl offers mountain dining, hiking for all levels, and a scenic chairlift ride with views of Sedona’s red rocks, the Grand Canyon, and the San Francisco volcanic field. Flagstaff is also home to the Lowell Observatory. More than 100,000 visitors per year visit the Mars Hill campus at the observatory to explore space for themselves by looking through telescopes, gazing at the star-spangled skies as educators point out celestial features, and listening to experts explain the wonders of the cosmos.
Pay a visit to Winslow
Pay tribute to the Eagles’ hit song Take it Easy by visiting Winslow’s Standin’ On a Corner Park in “the city of 10,000 friendly faces!” Winslow is one of Northern Arizona’s best-kept secrets and has always been an important stop on Route 66, due to its location and the influence of the railroad industry. Enjoy a range of outdoor activities at Clear Creek Reservoir, such as swimming, fishing, birding, exploring, hiking, and picnicking. With a canoe, paddleboat, SUP, or kayak, one can follow the creek along Clear Creek Canyon.
Scenic Highway 89A through Oak Creek Canyon, be sure to stop here:
Oak Creek Vista
Here you can get a bird's eye view of what awaits you down the road (or a look back at from where you have just come) and, at the same time, shop for American Indian jewelry and other craft items from the local Native American artists who set up displays along the pathways.
About 100 miles north of Phoenix, you find the “Wickedest Town in the West!” Jerome is a mining ghost town that still looks like it did 100 years ago. Now a creative hub, haunted mine, and hotel tours are abundant as well as shops and restaurants.
Drive through Old Town Cottonwood
Cottonwood, located in the heart of the Verde Valley in north-central Arizona, is quickly becoming Arizona’s new destination to relax and get away from it all. Enjoy many fabulous restaurants, wine tasting rooms along the Verde Valley Wine Trail, and gourmet shops offering the finest in craft beers, olive oils, and desserts in a few short blocks. Experience antiques, art, books, specialty stores, and inns. Spend a day exploring the beautiful vineyards and wineries of the Verde Valley, or hiking in our beautiful scenery.
Consider a stop at this little museum in Clarkdale
Home to Arizona’s “first planted community,” Clarkdale was founded as a modern copper-smelting company town, but today boasts many historic assets. Hop aboard the Verde Canyon Railroad for the longest-running nature show along the Verde River, or visit the Arizona Copper Art Museum with thousands of copper artifacts. Clarkdale is also home to the Tuzigoot National Monument which features ruins of an ancient Sinagua Indian pueblo and Chateau Tumbleweed’s tasting room and winery.
Nestled at an elevation of 5,200 feet above sea level amongst the largest strand of ponderosa pine forests in the U.S., Prescott's breathtaking landscapes are complete with granite mountains, lakes, streams, and rolling meadows. Once the territorial capital of the state, Prescott is rich with Western history embodied in its world-famous Whiskey Row and abundant historical landmarks and home of the “World’s Oldest Rodeo.” Rent a canoe, kayak, paddleboard, or tandem float and get out there with wildlife and views.
Check out a dude ranch in Wickenburg
Wickenburg is known for its clean air, wide-open space, and dude ranches! Founded in 1863, the community heritage of Wickenburg (Horses, Hats, History & Hospitality) is found in the heart of its historic downtown, where numerous heritage events are held - such as the annual Gold Rush Days and Pro Rodeo, to name a few. Hike or bike trails lined by wildflowers, ride horses at a guest ranch, ride a jeep to experience natural trails and historic places, or visit former mining towns, all in the solitude of the Hassayampa Valley, surrounded by the scenic high Sonoran desert and mountains.
Stop here on your way from Sedona to Phoenix:
What to do in...
A popular destination with a hidden Arts District, Downtown Scottsdale has something for everyone. One-of-a-kind specialty shops and boutiques, extraordinary art galleries, magnificent restaurants, nightclubs, entertainment venues, salons, and museums - the downtown area has four unique districts and so much to offer! The UNESCO World Heritage site Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s beloved winter home and desert laboratory, is a must-see for architecture lovers. Make sure to visit the ArtWalk, a tradition that has taken place for over 40 years!
Also in the heart of the desert, and the Phoenix metropolitan area, Mesa visitors can take advantage of the city’s close proximity to a water recreation paradise. Head to the Salt River to partake in the ever-popular activity of “tubing”, a leisurely float along the cool waters of the Salt River via inner-tube, or an adrenaline fueled whitewater raft trip! Mother Nature’s pool provides a cool retreat from the summer heat and it’s an experience you’ll never forget. For fly-fishing, birdwatching and a more tranquil experience, the banks of the Salt River within the Tonto National Forest offer some of the best escapes with nearby offshoots like the Granite Reef recreation area with riverbank trails and outposts.
In the center of the Phoenix metropolitan area, Tempe created a desert oasis. Building a lake in the middle of the dry Salt River bed, the town has boomed around the lake. There are now parks, pathways, and boat rental facilities to allow people to play outdoors year-round and still be close to shopping, dining, luxury accommodations, events, and the museums, sports, science, and performing arts facilities of one of the largest universities in the nation – Arizona State University.
When in Phoenix...
Spend the day at the Desert Botanical Garden
Stop and smell the cacti at the 140 acre Desert Botanical Garden. Explore the over 50,000 plants beautifully displayed outdoors in Phoenix. The renowned garden is 1 of only 24 botanical gardens accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. Make sure to check out the 3,200 square foot open-air butterfly pavilion featuring lush garden plantings, a water feature, thousands of live butterflies, engaging programming, and state-of-the-art nursery space.
Worth the drive…
For a northern adventure, visit Page:
As the river flows from Colorado towards Arizona, the water hits Glen Canyon Dam and creates Lake Powell, the second-largest man-made lake in the nation. The lake is more than 180 miles long and has 1960 miles (3,161 km) of shoreline, including more than 96 major side canyons. The wide-open spaces of this red, white and blue playground (red and white rocks and blue water) provide endless exploration.
Explore eastern Arizona in Pinetop/Lakeside:
High above the deserts, in the Ponderosa Pine Forest, the White Mountains offer clean crisp air, a mesmerizing star-filled sky, miles of trails and more than 50 alpine lakes, and 800 miles of cold, crystal-clear rivers and springs. At an elevation of 7,000 feet, there are plenty of adventures on offer year-round in Pinetop-Lakeside.
Head south to Bisbee:
Fifteen miles north of the Mexican border lies the former mining town of Bisbee. The miners have since moved out and artists have moved in along with visitors that appreciate historic architecture. Bisbee's best attractions are the tours of the mine and town. For those interested in the paranormal, make sure to check out the Old Bisbee Ghost Tour!
Eastern Arizona is home to Lake Havasu City:
Lake Havasu City is a favorite for all types of water sports. But, the lake is large enough to accommodate them all. Lake Havasu is popular year-round. Spring breakers love to come in March-April, the summer crowd likes to spend their time in the cool water, fall sees big events such as the World Jet Ski Championship and other racing sports on the lake. And, winter has its fans, although you might see desert rats in wetsuits!