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Must Do & See In Sunny AZ

When I was researching things to do in Arizona, my mind was blown at what all there is to see. It's seriously a treasure trove of adventure! It remains one of our favorite family trips (yes, we say that about all of them, but this one truly was), and I can't wait to go back! 

Here are some highlights to hit when you visit. I honestly cannot recommend each of them enough. All of these are wonderful family activities, suitable for all ages. Let's get to it!

Oh, first let me link you up to a couple great Arizona travel books. These helped me a ton in planning our vacation a couple of years ago. 10/10 recommend! As a participant in the Amazon Associates program, I may earn a commission from using the links. 

Frommer's Arizona and the Grand Canyon (Complete Guides)

Fodor's Arizona & The Grand Canyon (Full-color Travel Guide) 

NOW let's get to it! Let's start off with a showstopper...

1. ANTELOPE CANYON: PAGE, AZ


Antelope Canyon is hands down one of the most insane places I've ever seen with my own two eyes. There is absolutely nothing like it. I could bombard this post with the (hundreds of) cool photos we got from the day, but I have to leave some space for the rest! 

Antelope is a slot canyon located on Navajo land. There are two entrances - the lower and upper. We opted for the upper so we could have a guided tour. The lower is self-guided and quite a trek to get to. I absolutely recommend this as we learned so much and the tour guides stop for all the best photo ops. Our guide actually took our cameras and got the best shots for us himself. We loved that we were able to be in so many of the photos as a whole family!


We had a super early morning tour, the first of the day. The sunlight shooting into the slot canyon made for a pretty incredible sight. There is a certain tour time that is the most popular where beams of light make their way in looking like a spotlight, but those were all booked up. I can't imagine it being any more spectacular than what we experienced, though. I think any time would be the perfect time. 


Whenever you plan to visit, make sure you grab tickets months out. They fill up fast! (I'm pretty sure tours are on hold right now due to Covid-19 and them being on Navajo land.) This is what it looks like from the ground - this is why they missed it for so many years! It was only discovered in 1931. Incredible! 


Make sure you wear your walking shoes as there is a bit of a hike (in sand) to get down to the canyons. Then we took some metal stairs to get down into it, so be prepared for that! You can bring a backpack and water bottles with you. It's also much cooler down inside the canyon than above, so remember that. Aside from the Grand Canyon, this is the top thing I would recommend doing in Arizona.

2. HORSESHOE BEND: PAGE, AZ

While you're in Page, you have to hop on over to Horseshoe Bend and take a peek. 


Let me warn you about this place: it is a steep hike to the top. I wasn't prepared for or envisioning that, but that's what it was. And there were swarms of people when we went. And it was hot. People were hiking with umbrellas because the sun was so fierce. The view is pretty spectacular and cool to say you've done it, but it's not easy. Also, there are no fences or barricades, so watch your children at all times and hold their hands. People accidentally fall here all the time, so it's somewhat horrifying. I would try to go as early as possible to try and beat the crowds. 

3. BOAT TOUR ON LAKE POWELL: PAGE, AZ

There are several boat tour agencies on Lake Powell and we took the Antelope Canyon Boat Tours. Lake Powell truly was like no lake I've ever seen. We weaved in and out of the massive canyons through the water, and I have to say - it was remarkable. An absolutely beautiful way to tour the area!


There are boat rental places, too, and I think that would be a great way to spend the afternoon if you wanted to spend more time on the water. Our tour was around two hours, and for us it was the perfect amount of time to fill our day. 

The pier where we left from was something special too. There were nice restaurants and a big food court, and a couple shops to browse. We had a delicious lunch after our afternoon on the boat, and it was a nice place to unwind and decompress from our big day.

4. THE GRAND CANYON: ARIZONA

This one goes without saying. They don't call it The Grand Canyon for nothing - the thing is astonishing. We've all seen hundreds of photos and even videos on the place, but I promise you that nothing but your own eyes can do it justice. It is truly magnificent


We spent two whole days in the Canyon, and I feel like we got to see so much. We stayed at the South Rim and the views were gorgeous. We lucked out and had super clear days, so nothing was blurry or foggy for us - we were so grateful!

I recommend taking the hop on-hop off tram to make sure you get to view each point. There are some points that are so far out you almost have to take the tram to get to them or else you would be walking all day long. With the heat and the sun, the tram is an actual life saver. Each point provides such unique views so you want to make sure to hit as many as you can!


The boys had to have walking sticks, and we found the coolest souvenir walking sticks at one of the gift shops. They really came in handy, and they felt like pro-hikers walking around with their sticks. I think every family with little boys needs to take a trip to the Grand Canyon. It is an absolute paradise for them with all the climbing, jumping, running, and exploring. 


This is another place you need to book your hotel for early. I was surprised to see how few hotels/restaurants there were around. With it being one of (if not THE) most popular tourist spots in the US, I just imagined hotels and restaurants everywhere. That wasn't the case! The town was super quaint and we were shocked to roll up to our hotel to see three massive elk sprawled out on the lawn like they owned the place. The boys loved it!


5. BEARIZONA: WILLIAMS, AZ


If you have children, this place is a must! Bearizona is a zoo and also drive-thru safari. We did the zoo part first and finished with the safari, where we saw so many bears and other wildlife. It was quaint, and easy to do in just a couple of hours. Our boys enjoyed it so much! They also have some live shows you don't want to miss. We caught a bird show that was super fun!



6. GHOST TOWN: JEROME, AZ

We are suckers for ghost towns. There is something fascinating about them to me and we like to find one in any state that has them. We have found some next-level ones over the years. This one wasn't exactly the best one we've ever been to, but the setting was on top of a literal mountain which was absolutely beautiful and provided quite an adventure to get to. The drive up there is one of our favorite family memories!





This old copper mining town was once the 4th largest city in AZ, and now it's completely deserted. Old mining towns basically got wiped off the map after The Great Depression. It was really neat to walk around and look at the remains. We had to keep a look out for rattlesnakes which made it even more of an adventure!

7. SLIDE ROCK STATE PARK: OAK CREEK CANYON, AZ

Hands down one of the most fun days we've ever had was here at Slide Rock State Park. This is located about 7 miles north of Sedona and is seriously a must-visit, especially if you are a nature lover or have children. It is an absolute blast!


Sedona's red rocks formed an 80-foot "rock slide" of rushing water that is so smooth and fast it's like an actual slide. It's a dream! So much fun. You can go down on your bottom or on a tube if you bring one. We did both! 



The whole park is absolutely stunning, and like something you'd see out of a movie. It's voted one of the best 10 swimming holes in the nation, and I can certainly see why. There's deep places to swim and jump off of rocks as well as shallow spots to wade and relax. The water temps were cool which was so refreshing in the Arizona sun. 


We will never forget our day at Slide Rock. It was a highlight for all of us and I would recommend it to everyone. Be sure to bring sunscreen, snacks, and water. I brought a pop-up shade to sit under (I am super fair and sensitive to the sun), and it was the perfect spot to camp out and keep all of our things cool and shaded. 



8. CHUCKWAGON DINNER AT BLAZIN M RANCH: SEDONA, AZ

Another "family must-do" if you are in Sedona is a chuck wagon dinner at the Blazin M Ranch. Oh my goodness, this was the best. If you know me, you know I love a good chuck wagon dinner and this one was hands down the best we've seen yet. A day at Slide Rock and this place for dinner makes for an actual perfect day. Believe me! 


From the moment you step foot onto the property it's as if you're been transported back in time to an old town in the wild west. There are all kinds of buildings to visit and activities to do. The boys learned to rope a steer, brushed up on their shooting skills (Ezra won the sharp shooter award out of the entire night!), and we took a wagon ride to tour the property. 



When they rallied us up for dinner I was delighted to see actual chuck wagons serving as a buffet for our food with real cowboys serving us. We had BBQ with the works. It was absolutely delicious!


The show they put on during the dinner was excellent - singing, dancing, and a comedy act provided the best entertainment. We still sing some of the songs they sang that night and I'm kicking myself for not buying the CD. 

The end of the show brought the best surprise that none of us were expecting! I never read a thing about it in my research, so I don't want to spoil it for any of you who may ever attend - but I will say that you might have an encounter with the Headless Horseman ... if you're lucky!



9. PINK JEEP TOUR: SEDONA, AZ

Sedona is one of the most majestic places my eyes have ever seen. The towering red rocks are stunning. They offer a wonderful way to experience and explore the red rocks, and that's with the Pink Jeep Tours! I cannot recommend this enough - if you are in Sedona, do this. They will take you up paths you'd never expect to take and will bring you to the very top of the red rocks offering the most spectacular views. 




The ride alone brings all the thrills. You will bounce up and down like crazy and when you see the steep inclines the guide tells you he's about to climb you will laugh in his face. And then he will do it and you will hold on for dear life. It's fantastic! 

The best part of being atop the red rocks and enjoying the views is the hidden spots the guides know to take all the best photos. I am so thankful for our guide and the great shots he got of my family. Here are a few of my favorites!




There's no better way to tour beautiful Sedona! 

And there you have it, my comprehensive list of things you can't miss when visiting the state of Arizona.
If I had to pick just a couple things from this list to recommend, I actually couldn't. They were all 10/10 in my opinion, and each spot created the most unique memories for us as a family. 

If you're thinking about booking a trip, do it now! You won't regret it! 


I am a modern day homemaker with a passion for family, cooking, celebrating, decorating, travel, and memory making! The Lord has blessed me with the desires of my heart in my husband and our two sons. We recently built our dream home and cultivating a loving and happy haven for my family is where I find so much joy.

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