Arizona, also referred to as the “Grand Canyon State,” is home to dozens of parks, monuments, and landmarks. Here, couples and families can enjoy breathtaking sights across miles upon miles of remarkable scenery. For the purposes of this travel guide, the focus will be on the city of Flagstaff. From Flagstaff, visitors will have an 80-mile drive to the Grand Canyon, but it offers more of a selection for lodging and dining. Additionally, it is a great focal point for other tourist attractions and points of interest. Flagstaff is located in northern Arizona and has an active cultural scene, and several activities for outdoor enthusiasts. Furthermore, the area of Flagstaff is flourishing with cultural diversity, beauty, history, recreational, and scientific opportunities. Located in the world’s largest ponderosa pine forest, Flagstaff is also rich in Native American history with Navajo and Hopi reservations in the area.
Top Attractions in Arizona
Grand Canyon National Park
Visiting the Grand Canyon is a must do when traveling to Arizona. With a powerful and stimulating landscape, be prepared for all five senses to be on overload. Its immense size has people awe-struck. Distinct combinations of geologic color and erosional forms make up the Grand Canyon. It is 277 river miles long, approximately 18 miles wide, and 1 mile deep. 5 million people visit this historical landmark annually. Free shuttle buses are on sight, and others chose to overlook the landscape from their cars along the South Rim. The South Rim remains open all year and includes: historic Grand Canyon Village, Hermit Road, and Desert View Drive. As the most accessible part of the park, its elevations average 7,000 feet above sea level. The North Rim rises 1,000 feet higher than the South Rim and is less accessible due to its remote location. It is not open year round; lodging and restaurants are open from May 15th through October 15th. The Inner Canyon is popular among hikers, backpackers, mule riders, and river runners. It consists of everything below the rim with a stifling desert environment, which brings little shade and summer temperatures soaring over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. A truly remarkable way to enjoy views of the Grand Canyon is to take a Maverick Helicopter Tour. This service offers tours of the Grand Canyon South Rim. The helicopters are climate-controlled and specifically built for sightseeing; passengers will experience unobstructed views and an adventure of a lifetime.
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is one of the grandest and most photographed landmarks in the United States. It is one of a sprawling, sandy preserve that spans the border between Arizona and Utah, bathing the region in rich red hues. Dominated by crimson mesas and surreal sandstone towers some as tall as 1,000 feet – the area is also known for dramatic, mesmerizing lighting, with the sun illuminating the towers and casting long shadows on the valley floor.
The Arboretum at Flagstaff
This unique destination specializes in plants native to the distinct habitat of northern Arizona. Soaring at 7,150 in elevation, the Arboretum is the perfect place to experience nature and have a picnic. Open May through October, six days per week excluding Tuesdays, there are several events for visitors to enjoy. Check out the live raptor show at noon and 2PM on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Additionally, be sure to check out the website or call for more information regarding wine festivals, summer concert series, and native grass workshops. 4001 S. Woody Mountain Rd., Flagstaff AZ 86001-8775
Calling all astronomy lovers! The Lowell Observatory is located directly in Flagstaff and is the home of the Discovery Channel Telescope. It is the fifth largest telescope in the continental U.S. with extreme technological cutting edge advancements. Visitors can peer through telescopes in the evening or take a gander at the instrument that helped Clyde Tombaugh discover Pluto. Knowledgeable tour guides are available to show its guests around the facility. Experience the Universe at this unique astronomical site through widescreen multimedia shows, exhibits, and live presentations. Be sure to swing by, SlipherVision, which is the property’s new immersive space theater. Be advised to pace yourself if you are not used to high elevations. Drink plenty of water and dress in layers, as evenings can be cool. During the day, wear sunscreen to avoid sunburn from the stifling heat. 1400 West Mars Hill Road Flagstaff, Arizona, 86001
Cliff Castle Casino & Hotel
Cliff Castle Casino & Hotel is an excellent choice for both entertainment and lodging. Comfort and attentive service are the main priorities at this establishment. Amenities include a casino, but also a gourmet steakhouse, a gift shop, a 20-lane bowling center, Kids Quest and much more. Check out the Dragonfly Lounge providing live music, dancing, and fun every Friday and Saturday evening beginning at 9PM. Additionally, visitors rave about the Stargazer Pavilion Theater. This is an outdoor concert pavilion located right next to the casino. Several acts take the stage including comedians and musicians. 555 West Middle Verde Road Camp Verde, AZ 86322
Pick the time right!
Tourists visit Arizona in summer
Flagstaff has a rather dry climate with five distinct seasons. Surprisingly, Flagstaff has a cold and snowy winter. Snow falls about once every 3-4 weeks. Spring consists of wind and occasional snow. From May to early July, temperatures soar and dryness ensues. From July to early September, expect wet and humid conditions with occasional monsoons. Fall is typically dry and pleasant. Overall, the combination of high elevation and low humidity does provide mild weather conditions throughout the year. Depending on whether travelers are looking to ski, hike, or simply bask in the sun, there is a perfect season for all to enjoy.
Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (FLG) is a mere five miles south of Flagstaff, Arizona. The grounds cover 795 acres; the main purpose of the airport is general aviation. FLG serves as a gateway to the remarkable scenery of the Grand Canyon, Navaho Reservation, Lake Powell, and Sunset and Meteor Craters. The terminal provides free Internet access throughout the airport. Travelers can grab a bite to eat at the Blue Moon Café, and head to the Flagstaff Visitor Center for information on things to do while visiting. There is a rental car counter, in which several reputable companies will be happy to assist with any car rental needs
Renting a car is the best option for getting around Flagstaff. As most visitors will want to visit the Grand Canyon, at approximately 80 miles away, the most popular choice among travelers is a rental car. However, if renting a car is not a preference, check out the Mountain Line bus service. It is convenient, will save money, provides accessible service to downtown Flagstaff, and it is eco-friendly. Be advised that exact change is required to board the bus. Bus stops are located throughout the Flagstaff area.