Be it the world’s best museums or the most unique landscapes, be it the multi-cultural influence in art, cuisine, and communities or the vibrant urban environment, it is difficult to pick the best feature of Arizona.
A staycationers home away from home, Arizona is also one of the most comfortable states to travel to. With plenty of airports, great highways, convenient public transport, you can fly, drive or ride to Arizona with no hassle.
Here’s a guide to help you plan a flawless staycation to Arizona, with suggestions for top cities, road routes, and things to explore.
Top cities for a staycation in Arizona
A state with eminent history, notable culture, and striking outdoors, Arizona is a diverse place with something for every kind of staycationer. Whether it is a solo staycation or romantic one, an adventurous or laid-back one, these cities in Arizona have all the wonderful features you need for your staycation.
Sedona is famed for its red sandstone formations and the ancient spiritual significance it holds. The magnificent scenery of multi-fold rocks, mesas, and obelisks make Sedona one of the most beautiful places in Arizona. The city offers a load of outdoor activities, from hiking to mountain biking and swimming to camping. Nestled amid the breathtaking vistas, Sedona’s attractions date back to the prehistoric era. Ancient ruins like Honaki and Palataki are cliff dwellings built over 1000 years ago. Lots of people come to Sedona to attain spiritual enlightenment at the Vortexes. These are believed to have transformational electromagnetic earth energies. Take part in events such as Vortex healing, group hiking, strolling through art galleries, and more in the New Age city of Sedona.
Where to stay on a Staycation in Sedona
There are a huge number of properties in Sedona. From luxury resorts to Airbnbs, there are plenty of options to choose from. This property is designed for staycationers and comes with all the amenities required for a comfortable and cozy stay. The tiny yet capacious design makes it an instagrammable home. Plan your stay in this tiny home with awesome views.
Best time to Visit Sedona
The best time to plan a staycation in Sedona is from March to May and September to November. There is no bad time to visit Sedona. The weather is pleasant throughout the year.
March to May is great for hikers as the trails are covered in desert flowers, the temperatures are warm but not too hot and there is less crowd on the trails.
The popular festivals during this time are Sedona Yoga Festival, Sedona Food Truck Festival, and Sedona Mountain Bike Festival.
The mild temperatures between September to November are ideal for jeep tours and biking. However, it is the most popular season to visit Sedona, so the prices are high and there are a lot of tourists in the city around this time.
But if you’re planning a staycation in this period, you can experience the Red Rocks Music Festival, Sedona Winefest, Sedona Arts Festival, and Sedona Plein Air Festival.
Pro tip: Travel in winter for cheaper deals and a quiet environment.
Tucson boasts a motley of cultures that reflect in its museums, historic neighborhoods, and authentic restaurants. The second-largest city in Arizona, Tucson has an eclectic vibe with lively nightlife and quaint bars. The fun to explore streets and the surreal natural marvels that surround Tucson make it a must-visit staycation destination. The Saguaro National Park and the Arizona-Sonoran Desert are the two major spots in the city but Tucson is also home to a great number of museums and art galleries. There is a lot to explore in this buoyant city on your staycation.
Where to stay on a Staycation in Tucson
To make the most of your staycation in Tucson, stay in a local Airbnb to feel the essence of this city. The Poet’s Studio is a peaceful retreat in the heart of Tucson. Built-in classic Santa Fe style, Poet’s Studio is a snug private place with all the essentials for a staycation.
Best time to Visit Tucson
The best times to visit Tucson are from April to May and from September to October. These shoulder seasons enjoy pleasant weather and affordable room rates. While winter is the peak season because of sunny skies and comfortable temperatures, the summer months are great for huge discounts on hotels but the temperatures hover on the higher side. Planning a staycation from April to May opens up the opportunity of experiencing Spring Fling, Tucson Folk Festival, Arizona International Film Festival, and Fiesta de Garibaldi.
September to October is perfect to enjoy the mild rains, breezy days, clear skies, and the Tucson Meet Yourself Festival.
Planning a staycation during the peak seasons has its perks as well. This is the season when the town comes to life with countless activities, events, and festivals. Especially the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, Tucson Jazz Festival, La Fiesta de Los Vaqueros, and the 4th Avenue Winter Street Fair.
Thriving with culture, theaters, museums, history, and art, Phoenix is the economic, political, and cultural hub of Arizona. Enveloped in the Valley of the Sun, Phoenix is blessed with warm weather and ample sunshine. The vibrant city with a glorious cultural scene is home to numerous theaters and great museums such as the Phoenix Art Museum and the exceptional Musical Instruments Museum–which hosts the largest collection of instruments in the world. From sports to music, from outdoor enthusiasts to history buffs, Phoenix has something for everyone, and that’s what makes it one of the most splendid cities for a staycation in Arizona.
Indulge in hiking or plan a road trip, enjoy a good game of golf or walk through the quiet alleys of the art galleries, there’s so much to do in this city of culture, that you will never want to leave.
Where to stay on a Staycation in Phoenix
There are different neighborhoods within the city, each with its unique vibe, from artsy to historic. Pick your vibe and then decide where you want to stay. The Cozy Container features a great location, aesthetic design, and amazing amenities for a staycation.
Best time to Visit Phoenix
Phoenix experiences dry and hot temperatures for most of the year. November through April is the only season with a temperate climate to enjoy the outdoors. While you might get cheaper deals at the beginning of the season, as the season advances, the rates go up and everything gets crowded. Book your accommodation in advance to avoid high prices.
Whilst most cities in Arizona are too cold to travel to, Phoenix is a great escape for a lively and eventful staycation. Phoenix celebrates the McDowell Mountain Music Festival, Heard Museum’s Indian Fair & Market, Arizona Beer Week, and Fiesta Bowl.
If you can brace the dry heat of the desert, May to October is a delightful time to plan a luxury staycation. Resorts offer cheap deals during this season and you can spend your time relaxing indoors.
Pro tip: Avoid February and March around Spring break to get better deals.
Often known as a pit-stop before visiting Grand Canyon, Flagstaff is well worth stopping by for a staycation. A haven for outdoor aficionados, Flagstaff is a charming town to enjoy skiing, mountain biking, and hiking. Located alongside Route 66, amid the marvelous San Francisco Peaks, Flagstaff is a mix of laid-back, active & vibrant vibe and an old & new feel. The coffee shops & bars, the youth culture, and the amazing outdoors make this is a great location for a staycation.
Plan a relaxing holiday or a rugged adventure, Flagstaff offers plenty of possibilities for all kinds of travelers.
Pro tip: Mount Elden is the perfect place to enjoy the great outdoors in Flagstaff.
Where to stay on a Staycation in Flagstaff
Flagstaff, Arizona is an exciting place to live like a local. Finding homely Airbnbs is a great way to live on a staycation. The Perfect Base is a charming house Downtown, perfect for bigger groups who want to be close to the town but enjoy quiet surroundings.
Best time to Visit Flagstaff
You can plan a staycation for Flagstaff any time of the year. Something exciting is happening every season. Depending on what you want to do and how you’re planning your trip, you can pick the right month as per your preferences.
Flagstaff in Winter
Winter is popular among skiers and snowboarders for the Arizona Snowbowl (one of the best skiing spots in Arizona). Flagstaff enjoys over 100 inches of snow every year, making it a bit difficult to travel during winters. The accommodation costs are the lowest during this period. You can find a great room at $100 per night.
Flagstaff in Fall
Flagstaff looks the prettiest during fall with changing colors of trees and the balmy weather. You can also find lower rates on lodging as compared to the peak season. You can get a room for $120 per night during this season.
Flagstaff in Summer
This is the most popular season to visit Flagstaff. The city floods with tourists, the rates are the highest. The temperatures are around 80 degrees in June and start dropping around August.
Flagstaff in Spring
Late spring is an ideal time to plan a trip, but the rates start to rise and can go as high as $150 per night during this period. Spring experiences high winds and occasional snowstorms.
Surrounded by mountains and filled with adventure, Prescott is a charming downtown with an old west ambiance. Though the striking town may not be as popular as Flagstaff or Sedona, Prescott has its own charm for some travelers. The community-driven, homely vibe of the town, welcoming cafes, and the famous Whiskey Row’s lively saloons are just made for staycationers. With lovely Victorian buildings and home to the oldest rodeo in the world, blessed with a phenomenal setting, Prescott is “Everybody’s Hometown” (the slogan given to Prescott). Go hiking at Thumb Butte or stroll through the historic downtown area, sit by Willow Lake, or go to the Heritage Park Zoo, there are some great things to do in Prescott on a staycation.
Where to stay on a Staycation in Prescott
Finding a place in Prescott is not that hard. There are plenty of options for all types of travelers. One of the top picks for big groups (8 people) is Acre’s Away. This luxurious cabin has a well-equipped kitchen, spacious living room with a high ceiling, three bedrooms, free Wi-Fi, an indoor fireplace, and more.
Best time to Visit Prescott
The best time to visit Prescott is from May to October. The weather is optimal and there are showers during this season. Prescott never gets as hot as other cities in Arizona and you can plan a trip all year round. With a lot of local events, outdoorsy weather, and crisp temperatures, fall and winter are the most preferred times to travel to Prescott.
Pro tip: Pack warm layers and an umbrella for a trip any time of the year.
Best road trip in Arizona: Grand Canyon, Monument Valley & PEFO
Route for Grand Canyon, Monument Valley & PEFO road trip
Phoenix- Saguaro National Park- Petrified Forest National Park- Monument Valley- Antelope Canyon- Grand Canyon- Sedona
- Phoenix to Saguaro National Park- 104 miles (1 hour 40 minutes)
- Saguaro National Park to Petrified Forest National Park- 263 miles (4 hours 40 minutes)
- Petrified Forest National Park to Monument Valley- 186 miles (3 hours)
- Monument Valley to Antelope Canyon- 120 miles (2 hours)
- Antelope Canyon to Grand Canyon- 136 miles (2 hours 30 minutes)
- Grand Canyon to Sedona- 114 miles (2 hours)
1. Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park is named for the Saguaro cactus which only grows in the Sonoran desert. The park is divided into two parts and Tucson lies exactly in the middle. The eastern section, known as the Rincon Mountain District, has sparse cacti population but has an amazing backdrop of the Rincon Mountain. The western district, known as the Tucson Mountain District, is the more popular section of the park because of its denser cacti population.
The Bajada Loop, Signal Hill Petroglyphs, Desert Discovery Nature Trail, Wassen Peak, and Arizona Sonora Desert Museum.
2. Petrified Forest National Park
Known for its fossilized fallen trees and the hikes around these fossils, visiting the Petrified Forest National Park is an other-worldly experience. There are a lot of hiking trails and viewpoints in the national park. You can also go to the area known as the Painted Desert and other historical spots in the park.
Kachina Point, Puerco Pueblo, Blue Mesa Petrified Forest National Park, and Crystal Forest Petrified Forest Arizona.
3. Monument Valley
Monument Valley or the Valley of Rocks represents the iconic American West landscape. Located in the region of Colorado plateau between Arizona-Utah state line along Highway 163, Monument Valley is an unmissable destination with its majestic sandstone buttes, colossal mesas, and unending panoramic vistas.
John Ford’s Vista, Artist’s Point, Wildcat Trail and meet the Navajo locals.
4. Antelope Canyon
Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon located near Page, Arizona. The incredible red sandstone was carved by wind and rain over centuries. The canyon has hundreds of narrow passageways. The canyon comprises of two slots, Upper Antelope Canyon, or “The Crack,” and Lower Antelope Canyon, or “The Corkscrew.” Each offers a unique experience, with Upper Antelope being the more accessible and popular of the two. Antelope Canyon should be the must-stop destination on your road trip.
The highlight of the canyon is the magical light shifts that happen inside the slots.
5. Lake Powell
Lake Powell is listed as one of the best destinations for beach vacationers, staycationers, and travelers. With the blue waters, sandy beaches, remote islands, house boating experience, and plenty of opportunities to engage in water sports, Lake Powell is one of the most exotic American staycation locations.
Antelope Canyon, Rainbow Bridge, free-flowing waterfalls, water sports, and drive-through slot canyons.
6. Grand Canyon
The ultimate destination of an Arizona trip, Grand Canyon is well-worthy of the hype. The steep canyon walls, river tributaries, innumerable hiking trails, and endless adventures are what makes the Grand Canyon noteworthy. One of the seven wonders of the world, Grand Canyon is truly a spectacular marvel of nature. You can plan the road trip directly from Phoenix or Flagstaff to the South Rim of the park.
Camping at Phantom Ranch, Hiking Rim to Rim and down the Colorado River, and the breathtaking views of the Grand Canyon.
It is impossible to mention all the things that you can do in Arizona. A state with a gazillion possibilities, there are so many more places and spots you can explore on a staycation in Arizona. The best plan is to not plan too much for this staycation and let the roads lead you to beautiful hidden corners of the place.