Embarking on an Arizona road trip usually doesn’t come to mind when we think of a vacation. Known for the record breaking heat and deserts, this Southwestern state isn’t the #1 vacation spot during the summer.
Yet Arizona offers some of the most beautiful sights and once in a lifetime experiences. If you consider yourself a brave person who loves nature and enjoys the heat, then Arizona is your next vacation destination. So pack your bags, load up your car and go on an Arizona road trip to see unforgettable sights.
Arizona Road Trip Stop #1: Phoenix
Phoenix is the next up and coming city, rich in heritage and growing in diversity. With a 1.6 million population, the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks is thriving and downtown Phoenix is an urban metropolitan. If you want to spend a couple of days soaking up Southwestern heritage and the Phoenix culture., then take a stop at these places.
Visit the Desert Botanical Garden and experience the desert’s beauty. Home to over 50,000 different plants, this desert garden is heaven to cactus and succulent lovers. The Heard Museum holds a vast and growing collection of American Indian Art and is dedicated to sharing American Indian’s stories from a first-person perspective. Known for their award-winning exhibits, the museum has hosted work from famous artists like Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.
The Mill in downtown Tempe is the place to go on a Friday or Saturday night. Play a round of pool with a drink in your hand at Mill Cue Club. Or get your beer on at Blasted Barley. This beer bar serves 30 craft beers on tap and is known for their wild nights. If you want to spend time in a scene that’s on the boujee side, then grab a mixed drink in Scottsdale.
Feel like a socialite as soon as you step through the vault door at Mint Ultra Lounge. A former bank turned nightclub, this fancy club is decked to the nines with Hollywood Glamour design, a 4,500 sq. feet drinking and mingling lounge , private dining and wine tasting rooms, a champagne bar and more. For more intimate conversations, elegant cocktails and panoramic desert views, head over to the Casablanca Lounge. This swanky lounge has an old Scottsdale turn chic vibe, and is the perfect setting for a date or girls night out.
Arizona Road Trip Stop #2: Sedona
Sedona is the epitome of Arizona’s beauty. A two hour drive from Phoenix and the Grand Canyon, this little town is nestled in between the Red Rocks and is known for their yoga retreats, wineries, breathtaking hikes and relaxing spas. If you visit Sedona on your Arizona road trip, you’ll leave feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Start your morning with a hearty breakfast at the Coffee Pot Restaurant. Known for their quaint outdoor patio and menu of 101 omelets, this spot is a Sedona staple and even attracts celebrities like Reba If you love unique architectural landmarks, then hike your way up to The Chapel of the Holy Cross. This man-made beauty was completed in 1956 and inspired by the Empire State Building. Inside the striking church is a tranquil chapel, where visitors can gather their thoughts and meditate on their blessings.
The Sedona Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Road is a drive that has sights similar to Yosemite National Park. See up and close sights of the red rocks and cliffs covered with oak trees and evergreen pines. It’s the perfect escape for nature lovers and people who draw inspiration from the great outdoors. Last but not least, cool off and slide off Sedona red rocks at the Slide Rock State Park. Featuring an 80 ft stretch of rock slides and an open creek, this man-made park is a fun place to cool off and relax.
Arizona Road Trip Stop #3: Horseshoe Bend
The Horseshoe bend is a natural beauty that every person should visit on their Arizona road trip. The rich, dazzling colors of the Colorado River, curved against the red Arizona mountains is a sight you’ll always remember.
You can visit this spot by yourself at no cost or you can sign up for a tour. There is a little bit of a hike to reach Horseshoe bend, but if you’re in relatively good health you should be fine.
The best suggested time to see Horseshoe Bend is midday to early afternoon. If you want to avoid the crowds, visit Arizona during the slow season which is from mid July to early August. There’s no food stops nearby so make sure to pack a meal, find a good spot and have a picnic in one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Arizona Road Trip Stop #4: Grand Canyon
You had to know that the Grand Canyon would be on this list. You can’t skip this infamous canyon during your Arizona road trip. One of the 7 Natural World Wonders, this colorful canyon attracts over 5 million people every year.
Viewing different spots of the Grand Canyon will leave you speechless. Painted with reds, greens, blues, whites and yellow, this majestic canyon will make you catch your breath. It’s a once in a lifetime experience that you’ll want to recreate. To separate this road trip stop from the rest, reserve a spot in the North or South Rim and camp in the Grand Canyon National Park.
For an up close experience, sign up for a mule trip and venture your way down into the Grand Canyon. If you don’t have a tight schedule and plan to spend the whole day at this national treasure, eat a meal at the El Tovar Dining Room to specialize this occasion.
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