In order to plan a trip on a budget, the destination you have in mind must have affordable (or free!) entertainment. This is the case in Arizona, where visitors can enjoy hiking around the Grand Canyon, exploring ghost towns, and gaze at the stars from the deck of a vacation rental. Affordable family vacations in Arizona are a possibility for savvy travelers who do a little extra planning about when to visit and strategies for keeping costs down.

arizona river

Canyon Country

One of the most popular places for Arizona affordable family vacations is canyon country. Who needs pricey entertainment when you have one of the world’s great attractions at your fingertips? Pack a picnic and plenty of water and hit the hiking trails to see this site from different vantage points. Remember to bring a camera along to capture every step!

If you’re planning on visiting the Grand Canyon, choosing vacation rentals over hotels will already help you to save money. There are other strategies as well, including when you travel. Avoiding the summer and any weeks when schools are closed is a good place to start. During these school vacations prices can jump, eating into your budget before you even arrive. Planning ahead, and sometimes paying in advance, can also help you to secure the best possible rates.

The Colorado River Area

South of canyon country is another popular area for affordable family vacations in Arizona — the Colorado River region. Here, the water is the main attraction. It provides free entertainment in the form of fishing, swimming, and tubing. Bring along your own tubes and blow them up once you arrive for an affordable alternative to rafting.

Bringing along some entertainment for the vacation rental can also keep family members happy in the evenings. A simple deck of cards and few board games can really go a long way for entertainment. Don’t forget to buy some marshmallows — everyone loves to roast them on a campfire! Not only is this an affordable way to make dessert, but it also provides quality time for your family.

family vacations in arizona

Tucson and Southern Arizona

Many travelers are attracted to Arizona for ideas of seeing the southwest. Images that come to mind include cactus and expansive deserts. This is southern Arizona, and it is a fun place for a family road trip. If you’re planning Affordable family vacations in Arizona, budget for some gas for your rental car, and hit the roads to get a taste of the southwest. Don't forget a good map, some sunscreen, and plenty of cold water for the trip.

Experiencing local culture doesn’t have to come with a big price tag. Instead of grand meals out, you can still sample southwestern cuisine at affordable restaurants. Ask around at stores and cafes for local suggestions on where to eat that offers authentic and affordable meals. Another strategy is to ask the owner of your vacation rental before you even arrive. This way you will come to Arizona armed with local information.

More to Explore in Arizona

Other areas of Arizona are known for their pricey entertainment. Phoenix and Scottsdale specifically are well known for their championship golf courses, shopping, and spas. While these are all great ways to relax, there are also many other ways to experience the authentic side to Arizona. Visiting ghost towns and pioneer towns will tell you more about the people who lived here than you will ever discover on a golf course. Traveling on a budget often results in experiences that you wouldn’t find if money wasn’t an issue. These discoveries are often the most memorable aspect of a trip, for you and your kids.