Are you wondering where you could bring the kids that will blow them away? Arizona vacations and a trip to the Grand Canyon are sure to do the trick. Arizona is an outdoor amusement park where swimming, boating, and biking is just the beginning of the fun. Shake things up this year and discover a different kind of family vacation in Arizona!

This Arizona travel guide will expose you not only to the wonders of the Grand Canyon and adventurous activities, but also the culture, heritage, dining, and art that lures travelers to this part of the Wild West. If you’re looking for the ultimate way to experience Arizona, let prove that a trip to the Grand Canyon doesn’t have to break the bank.

What to Do in Arizona

Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon

The most famous landmark in the state of Arizona is the Grand Canyon. Arizona vacations wouldn’t be complete without gazing across and down into the vast canyon. The Grand Canyon has earned a world-wide reputation—the steep walls stretch for a magnificent 277 miles. Seeing the canyon is an experience your family will always remember.

When visiting this natural wonder you can enter Grand Canyon National Park from the main entrance on the South Rim or the North Rim. Top attractions within the park include Havasupai Falls on the western edge and the town of Supai. The most popular destination at the canyon is the South Rim, where the park headquarters and Grand Canyon village are located. Restaurants, a general store, and an ATM are all located there. If you’re looking to enjoy a quieter side of the canyon, head for the North Rim.

Entire Arizona vacations could be spent at the Grand Canyon. A variety of Grand Canyon tours include helicopters, on foot, or on the back of a mule. Hikes range from easy trails of an hour or two to longer endeavors. To see the canyon from a different perspective, sign up for a rafting tour along the Colorado River. Whether you arrive for adventure or the great views, the Grand Canyon leaves an indelible impression on every single visitor.

The Great Outdoors

Any good Arizona travel guide will reveal that there is much more to the state than the Grand Canyon. While this landmark should never be skipped, there are also other beautiful views and landscapes in Arizona. Adventure sports are one way to enjoy the great outdoors, including rock climbing, water skiing, or even sky diving.

Arizona also provides the opportunity to finally teach your kids how to fish. Breathe the fresh air during a horseback ride or while bicycling along a mountain path. Another highlight of Arizona vacations is exploring caves and caverns. Arizona’s rock formations have created some of the most Arizona Outdoorimpressive caves in the world. The most famous example is Kartchner Caverns State Park, home of the world’s largest stalactite formation. Other popular caves include Colossal Cave near Tucson and Grand Canyon Caverns on famous Route 66.

Other ways to enjoy the scenery include a hot air balloon ride, kayaking on one of the many lakes (Lake Powell and Lake Havasu are both popular choices), or taking a dip in one of the many hot springs (such as in the Black Canyon). No matter how you choose to take in the panoramic views, Arizona will leave you charmed.

Grown-up Fun

When the sun goes down, put the kids to sleep and indulge in some of the pleasures Arizona vacations have in store for adults. Get pampered at one of Arizona’s award-winning spas or try your luck at the casino. Arizona’s reputation for fine-dining has developed in recent years, leaving you with many options for a romantic night out.

Don’t let the fun stop after dinner; Arizona is home to a variety of wine bars, dance clubs, live music venues, and comedy clubs. From Phoenix to Tucson, nightlife is thriving in Arizona. If you’re in Scottsdale, try a local favorite called Living Room, which is known for serving up a delicious cocktail.

If you’re taking a vacation away from the kids, there is a variety of arts and culture for adults to enjoy as well. From the symphony to the opera and ancient ruins to modern galleries, Arizona is full of sophistication. Combine adventure with some of the finer pleasures in life during Arizona vacations.

For the Whole Family

Your kids are guaranteed to love the Grand Canyon and all of the adventure activities, but what if you have a rainy day? Any good Arizona travel guide can point you in the direction of a variety of activities to keep your kids happy and occupied whether it is raining or a hot summer day.

The Arizona Science Museum, Pima Air and Space Museum, and the Hall of Flame Fire Museum are all fun for kids. Across the state, zoos and wildlife parks will bring kids up close and personal with some interesting creatures. Exploring dude ranches, mines, and railroads is something the whole family can enjoy together. If the heat makes you want to cool off, head for a water park and have some family fun splashing around.

Treat your family to something extra special during Arizona vacations: tickets to a major sports game. Phoenix is home to a variety of professional sports including baseball, basketball, hockey, and football. Golf championships and NASCAR are available as well. Whatever your favorite sport is, there is a game in Arizona that will add some excitement to your vacation!

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What to See in Arizona

Arizona vacations wouldn’t be complete without visiting some famous landmarks. Monument Valley is a sandy preserve where columns of rich red sand protrude 1000 feet straight into the air. The layers and sheer height of these columns is an unforgettable sight in the middle of the desert.

No Arizona travel guide would be complete without recommending a trip to the "four corners" where you can see four states intersecting at one point. Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah intersect at this popular landmark. Other popular attractions include the Petrified Forest National Park (with its 200 million year old fossils) and the Painted Desert.

After the Grand Canyon, one of the most famous landmarks in Arizona is the Hoover Dam. Located in the Black Canyon, the Hoover Dam is not only a historical monument but also boasts incredible views. Whether you simply drive over the dam or stop for a look, the dam is worth a visit. The immense size makes a great backdrop for a family photograph!

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Where to Shop and Eat in Arizona

Arizona Dining

Dine in Style

Whether you want to sample Native American specialties or sit down for a five-course meal from one of the hottest new chefs in the country, Arizona vacations deliver. Taste Mexican specialties in Tucson, dine outdoors at casual cafés in Phoenix, and sample fine dining in Scottsdale. Arizona vacations will be full of exciting flavors!

If you’re in Tucson, Café Poca Cosa and Casa Molina are both Mexican favorites. Local choices in Phoenix include an Italian restaurant called Aiello’s, a Mexican-French fusion restaurant called Barrio Café, and a fire station that’s been transformed into a wine bar called Bomberos. In Scottsdale, Bourbon Steak House, Café Bink, and Petite Maison have all recently gained praise from food critics.

Bring Home Something Special

Arizona is full of different types of shopping venues. There are almost too many to list in one Arizona travel guide; visitors will love the outdoor malls, boutiques, antique shops, art galleries, trading posts, and outlet stores that are spread across the state.

From the name-brands of Fiesta Mall to the Native American crafts at the Ten Thousand Villages store in Phoenix, shoppers will find anything they have in mind. Scottsdale is known for high fashion and Borgata on Scottsdale Road is home to some of the city’s best. If you’re looking for discount shopping, head for the Outlets at Anthem.

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When to Visit Arizona

Arizona is known for its dry heat. During the fall, spring, and winter, this fact attracts many tourists to see the state’s major landmarks and cities. While summer can be a popular time for Arizona vacations, travelers will want to strongly consider heat as a factor. In areas of southern Arizona, such as Phoenix, temperatures in summer can reach the triple digits and at times make it difficult to enjoy the variety of adventurous activities and landscapes the state provides.

The Grand Canyon is also swamped with visitors during the summer. If you envision yourself seeing the canyon for the first time without the crowds, plan a trip during the shoulder season of spring or fall. During these months the weather is still very pleasant, and the crowds have gone home. It is possible to visit the Grand Canyon in the winter as well, although more remote parts may be closed due to weather conditions and seasonal operating hours.

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What to Bring to Arizona

No matter what time of year you plan Arizona vacations, you will need sunscreen. To keep your family happy and healthy, avoid sunburn by wearing hats and reapplying sunscreen frequently. A good pair of hiking boots is essential for exploring the Grand Canyon or Arizona’s caves. If you plan on doing some hiking, remember a good map, a compass, and plenty of water. Some travelers will arrive to Arizona by car, and bringing a bike along could be a fun addition to the trip. Don't forget a good map or a GPS system to help you navigate the large state. The dramatic landscapes of Arizona will make you want a camera, so use your trip as an excuse to buy the latest digital camera!

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Local Services in Arizona

Most of the landmarks in Arizona you will be visiting will have excellent local services. Restaurants, general stores, ATMs, restrooms, and refreshments are all widely available at the Grand Canyon and beyond. However, beware that visitors centers can sometimes be great distances apart, and some services may shut in the winter. In the cities, travelers won’t have this issue at all. The bustling cities of Phoenix, Tucson, and Scottsdale will all have everything you could need around the clock. From post offices to pharmacies, local services in Arizona will suit all your needs.

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What to Know About Arizona

Many visitors don’t adjust their behavior for the hot temperatures of Arizona. Remember to drink plenty of water and give your body a chance to cool down by taking a break from adventure activities and relaxing in the shade.

Arizona is a big state, and any good Arizona travel guide will suggest you don’t try and see it all in one trip. Focus your itinerary and allow yourself time to enjoy the landmarks you reach, without having to immediately get back in the car and continue driving. A rental car will be beneficial to your trip, and maximize your time in Arizona with a GPS.

The Grand Canyon is one of the most popular sites in the entire country. If you must visit in the summer, avoid visiting on weekends when crowds are at their worst. And remember, if you want to get away from the crowds, head for the North Rim where you can enjoy the canyon in solitude.

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Getting to Arizona

The main international airport in Arizona is in the capital city of Phoenix. Nonstop service to over 100 cities in the US and beyond is provided from this airport. Tucson International Airport has direct service to 15 cities. Most visitors to Arizona fly to Phoenix and rent a car. It is also possible to travel to Arizona with Greyhound or Amtrak.

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Why Arizona Vacation Rentals?

After an exhilarating day of exploring the Grand Canyon, what sounds more appealing: returning to a small, crowded hotel room or a spacious vacation rental? Any good Arizona travel guide will advise you to skip overpriced hotels in favor of vacation homes. Plan a family reunion at the Grand Canyon, and you can all stay together and still have plenty of room. Or you can plan girls-only vacation and you and your friends can spend nights drinking a glass of wine in your own living room. Arizona is full of opportunities for your own "home away from home" that will help make the most of a trip to the Wild West!

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