The 15 Best Arizona Road Trip Ideas for 2017
Arizona is among the most scenic states in the U.S.A. Everyone knows about the wonders of the Grand Canyon, but the 48th state has much more than just its contribution to the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.From the Old West city of Tombstone to the slopes of the White Mountains, Arizona has a bounty of beauty worth seeing. Let’s have a closer look at 15 of the best road trips in Arizona.
Located on Navajo land outside of Page, Antelope Canyon is actually two slot canyons consisting of the Upper and Lower canyons. Created from flash floods, touring Antelope Canyon requires a guide, and booking a tour in advance is recommended. Offering regular hikes and photographic tours, Antelope Canyon's picturesque beauty is quite the sight for photographers and those seeking adventure alike. But the fees and drive to northern Arizona are worth it to see the light beams as the sun shines through the cracks above you.
There's one place in the United States where you can be in four states at the same time, and that's at the Four Corners Monument. The meeting point of northeast Arizona, northwest New Mexico, southwest Colorado and southeast Utah, it's a little out of the way, but still a fun idea for a day trip. And there's more to do than just take a picture or two. Owned by the Navajo Nation, you can often find shops with Indian jewelry and fry bread. The monument lacks running water, so you'll want to make sure you have supplies, especially sunscreen and water.
Home of the infamous "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral," Tombstone is a must-go in Arizona. Located in southeastern Cochise County, The Town to Tough to Die keeps the spirits of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday alive. Sharing their history as a mining town and as the site of the most famous gunfight from the Wild West, Tombstone takes you back. With shops, shows and saloons, Tombstone has fun for everyone in the family.
Part of the Colorado River, Horseshoe Bend almost looks like a mini Grand Canyon as you peer into the 1,000-foot drop created by the river's incision. Not far from Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend makes an excellent companion stop. It can be slightly tricky to find, but is easy to access. Just make sure you're heading south on Highway 89 from Page and look for the dirt path between mile markers 544 and 545. There is a little hiking to get there, but it's only 1.5 miles round trip to see one of Arizona's best features.
Nestled in the White Mountains, Sunrise Ski Park is one of Arizona's skiing and snowboarding destinations. Getting there isn't hard as the resort is located near Greer and Pinetop, close to some great fishing and hiking spots. You won't need four-wheel drive here, but you may want to come prepared with chains for the snow and ice to avoid losing traction.
Another skiing and snowboarding destination, Snowbowl is just outside of Flagstaff, sitting in the San Francisco Peaks. You can have a great time during the day hitting the slopes, and then spend your nights in downtown Flagstaff as you enjoy the bars or shops the college town has to offer. And don't let the summer deter you from visiting. The peak still offers an escape from the heat with hiking and fantastic views of the Grand Canyon and Sedona from the lifts.
A great day trip from the Phoenix area, tubing on the Salt River can last anywhere from two to six hours. Just northeast of Mesa, you and your friends can float through this section of the river and enjoy a peaceful Arizona afternoon. You can jump off the mud cliffs, catch some gentle rapids and keep an eye out for the wild horses. Just make sure to pack sunscreen and lots of water.
Not too far from Winslow is Meteor Crater, the result of a meteor hitting Earth 50,000 years ago. Meteor Crater is over a mile across and remains one of the best preserved meteor impact sites in the world, making it a great stop during any day trip in that area of Arizona.
The site of the westernmost battle of the Civil War, Picacho Peak stands alone in the Arizona desert, alongside the I-10 between Tucson and Phoenix. Hike the trails to the western side of the peak for an untainted view of the desert, go camping or check out the nearby Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch while you're there.
From boating, fishing, hiking and camping to checking out the "world's largest antique," Lake Havasu isn't short on things to do. Part of the Colorado River on the Arizona-California border, Lake Havasu has been a hot spot to visit for years. Take a romantic walk on the London Bridge, which was shipped over brick by brick from London in from 1968-71, take a hike in SARA Park and find Balance Rock, or boat up to the Sandbar and join the party.
One of the most beautiful spots in all of Arizona, Sedona is packed with so much to do you'll likely need to go more than once to take it all in. Located right off the I-17 south of Flagstaff, Red Rock State Park and Slide Rock State Park bracket the town on the north and south and provide swimming holes and hiking trails. Oak Creek flows through, and Sedona's many hiking trails run alongside it, providing expansive scenery of sandstone structures formed over centuries.There's even a piece of unique architecture with the Chapel of The Holy Cross standing sentinel over Oak Creek and Buddha Beach. Visiting Sedona can be a spiritual trip as well, as many spots are said to have vortexes of energy to wash away negative mojo. Come prepared, though – while most of Sedona is easy to access, some of the more challenging and rewarding hikes require a vehicle that can handle some difficult off-road driving.
A little east of Holbrook is the Petrified Forest National Park, the result of pressure and time turning buried trees into rock and crystal-like formations. Taking a walk through the Petrified Forest is taking a walk through the past. With educational guided tours all year round, hiking and the Painted Desert, mirroring an Arizona sunrise, nearby, it's a worthwhile way to spend a day.
This is the largest ghost town in America. Once a flourishing mining town in northern Arizona, Jerome is much quieter these days. Built on the side of a mountain at a 30-degree incline, some of the buildings have shifted since construction, making for an interesting tourist destination to check out the history and remnants of what has since become a haven for artists (there's even a painting from famed street artist Banksy to be found). Jerome's location makes it a great spot to stay while taking day trips throughout Arizona with its close proximity to Flagstaff, Horseshoe Bend and many other attractions.
Comfortably located just east of Scottsdale, Taliesin West was famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright's winter home and is also the winter location for the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. The home built on the brow of the hills overlooks the Valley of the Sun, giving an expansive view of the Phoenix metropolitan area, but the real reason for stopping is, of course, the house itself. Joining building with artwork, each room is a masterpiece in its own right.
The prime destination for any trip to Arizona, the Grand Canyon has no peer when it comes to its sheer magnitude. Over a mile down, the Grand Canyon can be seen from space, and a drive from the North Rim around to the South Rim can take five hours. Ninety percent of people visit the South Rim when taking in the Grand Canyon as it is open year-round, but the North Rim and its road less traveled is worth a visit as well.Hiking trails, mule rides, river trips and camping are all part of the fun. Head to the western part of the Grand Canyon to find the Skywalk, a horseshoe-shaped structure that lets you look over the canyon from 4,000 feet high. And if you can handle long hikes, Havasupai Falls might be the best hiking destination there is in the state.