Arizona family trip

Top 10 Best Family Vacation Spots in Arizona

Last Updated on May 30, 2022

Planning a family trip and wondering what are some of the best family vacation spots in Arizona? In this travel guide, discover some of the best places to visit in Arizona and the top family vacation ideas.

Arizona is filled with kid-friendly destinations the whole family will enjoy. From exploring the desert to lounging by the pool at an all-inclusive resort, there are tons of options for all types of families.

Whether you want a relaxing vacation or an adventurous one, you will find plenty of things to do in Arizona for families and for kids of all ages.

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Sedona

Sedona, Arizona

By Kim from Traveling Swansons

Sedona, Arizona is a desert town famous for its stunning red rocks and jaw-dropping scenery, located about 115 miles north of Phoenix.  

Sedona offers families a lot for a memorable vacation. While in Sedona, you will want to spend all your time outside. It is just that beautiful! There are many kid-friendly hiking trails that even the youngest toddler can enjoy hiking on. I recommend starting your days off very EARLY. The parking areas at Sedona’s most popular hiking trails can fill up fast.

The most adventurous families can hike the beautiful Bell Rock Hoop, while people looking for a more relaxed hike will enjoy trails such as the West Fork Trail or the Baldwin Trail.

You can also plan to spend half a day in Red Rock State Park. They organize daily guided nature and bird walks to learn more about the geology, wildlife, history, archaeology, and plant life of the area.

Jeep tours are a very popular activity in Sedona. Your kids will have a blast going on this exciting off-roading adventure! Jeep tours are a great way to learn about the area and see a part of Sedona that can only be reached by off-roading.

The best time to travel to Sedona weather-wise is spring or fall. Summer can get very hot for hiking the Sedona trails.  Although, if you come to Sedona in summer, you can experience the world-famous natural waterslide at Slide Rock State Park.

The Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock is a perfect place to stay with your family. Rooms include a separate living/dining area with a sofa bed and fireplace. Your kids will enjoy the amazing pool area, while you relax by the outdoor fire pit. Speaking of fire pits, s’more kits are available to purchase. This makes for a fun family activity. The resort also includes tennis courts, a golf course, a spa, and two restaurants.

Everyone in your family will enjoy Sedona, no matter the age!  It’s the perfect spot for a family vacation in Arizona! If you have more time, you can also go on a fun road trip from Sedona to Tucson.

Scottsdale

Scottsdale

By Lauren from the Traveling Moore

Scottsdale is one of the best places to visit in Arizona for families. There are activities for all ages, amazing restaurants, and great hotel options. Scottsdale is a short drive from the Phoenix International Airport, making it an easy weekend getaway from anywhere in the United States.

Some of the best activities in Scottsdale are hiking Camelback Mountain, exploring old town Scottsdale, and playing golf at Top Golf.

Camelback Mountain is a short hike with amazing views but is technical in parts, so it is best for teens and adults. Around Old Town, there are shops for all ages including a great ice cream parlor, the Sugar Bowl. Top Golf, an interactive driving range, and bar, perfect for kids of all ages.

There are many great hotels and resorts in Scottsdale, but my recommendation is the Mountain Shadows Resort. It’s a small boutique hotel with a mid-century design, great restaurant, and large pool area. The hotel is very kid and dog friendly, with personalized service and amazing staff. 

Page and Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona

By Krystianna from Volumes & Voyages

One of the best places in Northern Arizona for a family vacation is Antelope Canyon. It’s located right in Page, in the northeast part of the state.

Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon that’s owned by the Navajo Nation. The public isn’t allowed to just go and visit whenever they please; in fact, a tour has to be booked in order to visit the canyon. Don’t worry though, booking a tour and visiting Antelope Canyon is one of the top things to do in Page.

There are tours available for both upper and lower Antelope Canyon, but with kids, you’ll want to book the upper canyon as it’s more accessible. Luckily, there are more tours available for the upper portion, but you will have to book well in advance as this is the more popular part to visit.

Upper Canyon is more kid-friendly because it doesn’t require as much work to get into it as the lower canyon does. Children will love learning about the canyon’s history and teens will love all of the photography opportunities for Instagram.

Because most people visit in the summer, the best time to visit is in the spring or the fall. During these times, accommodation prices in Page are a bit lower and it’s easier to get a spot on a tour due to there being fewer tourists.

There are a few great places to stay near Antelope Canyon, but some of the top-rated ones include Best Western Plus at Lake Powell and Hyatt Place Page.

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

By Sophie from We Dream of Travel

Is there anything more quintessentially American than loading up the van or station wagon for a family vacation to Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona? For nearly a century now, parents and children alike have enjoyed the thrill of gazing down to the largest canyon in the entire world. 

In this digital era, disconnecting from our devices and experiencing a true miracle of nature has never felt more important.

The best part about a visit to Grand Canyon NP is that there are things to see and do for all ages and abilities, even with just one day in Grand Canyon. Those with little-legged toddlers can stick to some of the shorter rim walks, or just take in the expansive vistas from the many roadside pull-offs. 

The adventurous families, meanwhile, can hike and camp at the bottom or even book a multi-day rafting trip along the Colorado River that runs through the canyon.

Most visits to the Grand Canyon will focus on the South Rim. There are far more services available both in the park and nearby the South Rim, for better or for worse. The more remote North Rim is considered more photogenic by most and more peaceful by all.  

Another great activity to do is to take a train trip through the Grand Canyon Railway – it’s a unique way to visit the park.

If budget permits, try to arrange your family visit so that you can stay in the Grand Canyon historic lodge where you will be immersed in the present and ancient history of the region.

Be aware that each season can come with challenges, but most agree that the spring months are the best. Summers and early fall often experience intense heat and monsoons, while winter travel can be impaired by snow.

Tucson and Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park, Arizona

By Candice from CS Ginger

If you’re looking to get a taste of nature in Arizona, Tucson is a great place for family travel. Typically the weather is a bit cooler than in Phoenix and there are lots of fun outdoor activities to keep you busy. The top place for this is Saguaro National Park. There are lots of great hikes in Saguaro National Park as well as scenic drives and learning opportunities at the Visitor Center.

The best time to visit Tucson and Saguaro National Park is from October to April. Summers can be very hot making hiking a lot less enjoyable. The cooler winter months are much more enjoyable when on the hiking trails. If you are visiting during the summer months, consider checking out the scenic drives and some of the shorter walks.

Another great place to visit is the Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium. It is a great educational stop that kids will love. There are lots of hands-on activities and problem-solving activities. The science center is on the campus of the University of Arizona. Another fun stop is the Arizona State Museum which focuses on anthropology and history.

Don’t miss the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum as well, known for its natural history museum and botanical garden.

One of the most unique things to do in Tucson is visiting Karchner Cavern State Park. It is just south of Tucson but is well worth the drive. It is a beautiful cave and a must-see, especially if you haven’t been to a cave before.

Lodge on the Desert is a great, kid-friendly hotel in Tucson. There is an outdoor pool featuring a stone fireplace. There is also farm-to-table dining on-site. If you want to splurge, check out Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, in the middle of the Sonoran desert and offering incredible views of the Catalina Mountains.

Lake Havasu State Park

Lake Havasu State Park

Located in Mohave County, Lake Havasu State Park is a great family vacation spot in Arizona. Its scenic shoreline is an ideal place to spend a few days enjoying beautiful beaches, nature trails, boat ramps, and convenient campsites. Kids will love camping in the wild, exploring Havasu City’s many trails, looking for birds, or going on a boat tour across the lake.

For kids aged 6 to 12, the park offers a Junior Ranger Program with a list of activities to complete in order to get the Junior Ranger Button and to take the pledge. The kids will learn about the importance of nature and the many ways to preserve it.

Make sure to also check the many playgrounds in the Rotary Park for a fun couple of hours and pass by the London Bridge, built in 1830’ and meant to be built in London.

There are also tons of water activities for kids of all ages. A kayak tour is a fun and eco-friendly way to visit the lake and spot wildlife along the way.

If camping is not your thing, the park offers a couple of lodges near the lake or you can check out hotels in Lake Havasu City. Families will love The Nautical Beachfront Resort, right by the beach, with great amenities such as an infinity pool and a children’s water park. All rooms are equipped with a fridge and microwave and the hotel offers an on-site restaurant and a pub.

Lake Powell

Lake Powell

Located in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area between Utah and Arizona, along the Colorado River, Lake Powell is a popular family-friendly vacation spot in Arizona.

In Lake Powell, make sure to take a boat trip to explore the Colorado River’s beautiful shoreline. Some tours include a short hike in the desert as well.

If you like hiking, there are plenty of kid-friendly trails around the lake. Don’t miss the Natural Bridge Natural Monuments – three natural bridges formed by erosion featuring pictographs and cliff dwellings. You can also take a trip to Glen Canyon Dam, where kids will enjoy looking at Native American artifacts.

Another must-see is the Rainbow Bridge National Monument, considered sacred by the Navajo, it is the highest natural bridge in the world (290 feet high). You can get there through a trail, kayaking, or via a tour.

Page is a central place to stay and has easy access to the lake. If you want to treat yourself to a hotel right on the lake, check out Lake Powell Resort, with an outdoor pool, a restaurant and bar, and direct access to the beach.

Petrified Forest National Park

Petrified Forest National Park

Petrified Forest National Park is a must-see in Arizona. Kids will love exploring the desert and seeing these millennium-old tree trunks.

There are plenty of kid-friendly hikes you can on. Some of the easiest ones (less than a mile) include Giant Logs Trails, Crystal Forest Trail, and Painted Desert Rim Trail. For more adventurous families with older kids, you can head to the backcountry and the designated wilderness areas. Make sure to stop first at one of the two visitors centers to get a map and update on the roads and trails.

You can also visit The Rainbow Forest Museum to see some paleontological exhibits with skeleton displays of prehistoric animals.

The Park has also put together a cultural demonstration program where local artisans share the local culture and the history of the area.

If you have more time, you can also plan a road trip through the Blue Mesa Loop.

The park offers one campground without any amenities, perfect if you are looking for a true wilderness experience. Otherwise, you can stay in Holbrook where you’ll find several hotels, Airbnbs, and campgrounds. La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham is one the best-rated hotel in the area and a great place to stay with kids.

Phoenix

Camelback mountain from Phoenix

One of the best places to visit in Arizona during a family vacation is Phoenix. With tons of interesting things to do for kids of all ages and plenty of day trips opportunities, the city has a lot to offer.

Some of the best things to do in Phoenix with kids include a visit to Papago Park, a beautiful park within the city where you can walk around, through lush vegetation and lagoons – right next to it, you’ll find the Desert Botanical Garden where you can learn more about the plants that grow in the area.

Kids will also love visiting the Arizona Science Center – offering hands-on learning exhibits and plenty of activities for kids – and the Children’s Museum of Phoenix.

If you are traveling with teenagers, you could do some fun activities like rafting on the Salt River (ages 9 and up), taking an ATV tour of the Sonoran Desert, or spending the day at one of the city’s many water parks.

For a great place to stay in Phoenix, check out The Hermosa Inn. Situated on 6 acres of lush desert landscaping, this resort is absolutely gorgeous. It features an outdoor pool, a restaurant, and Southwestern-style rooms with a fireplace.

Yuma

Badlands in Yuma, Arizona

Overlooking the Colorado River, Yuma is the gateway to the Great Southwest with its rich culture and heritage, rooted in centuries of history. It’s the perfect place for outdoor adventures discovering the Wild West and the area’s desert scenery and rugged mountains.

Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park is a must-see – kids will love visiting some of the best-preserved cells and guard towers of the Wild West–era prison. Next to it, have a look at the Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park, a 19th-century military warehouse and telegraph station. The Castle Dome Mines Museum and Ghost Town are also nice places to visit with kids to learn more about the local history

You can also book a tour and take a trip on the Colorado River, spotting birds and other forms of wildlife such as beavers, muskrats, foxes, or coyotes.

Older kids will enjoy going on a buggy tour through the nearby sand dunes or you can just walk around the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreational Area.

The Best Western Plus Yuma Foothills Inn & Suites makes a good accommodation option for families. The rooms are spacious and some are equipped with a kitchenette. The hotel offers a sun terrace with a swimming pool, a fitness center, and a shared lounge, as well as a jacuzzi and table tennis and darts.

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