The Best Of Arizona by Melissa Temple http://www.disableddisney.com
When you are out exploring the country don’t forget to explore Arizona! Arizona has many beautiful and unique experiences to offer. We have a thriving metropolitan area in Downtown Phoenix with art, dinning and museums and there are many activities in Southern Arizona to explore and have fun. This article is going to focus on all the beauty and fun of Northern Arizona.
If you have a week to vacation in Arizona, you should definitely check out this vacation! For this vacation you are going to need a vehicle! If you are close enough to drive, I suggest driving. I use an app called Gas Buddy to check fuel prices. If you fly into Sky Harbor International Airport, you can rent a vehicle at the Airport. I like to use Enterprise. They are have very good customer service and I get a discount through my cell phone service.
For booking hotels I use Booking.com because I can pay at the hotel and get kicks through an app called Shopkick! You save the kicks and earn gift cards. So in my book it’s a win-win. There are a lot of great hotels in Flagstaff, Arizona, which is where you need to base yourself! I do recommend the La Quinta Inn and Suites! It’s easy to find where I-17 and I-40 meet!
Day 1 of this vacation starts by arriving in Flagstaff or flying into the airport, renting a vehicle and driving to Flagstaff. It’s about 2-3 hours North of Phoenix. It is really easy to get to. You just take I-10 West to I-17 North and that takes you to Flagstaff! So get to Flag as we locals call it, check into your hotel, and get something for dinner! Get a good night’s sleep tomorrow will be a busy day!
Day 2 I want to suggest you book a trip on the Grand Canyon Railroad! Go to TheTrain.com, that’s the website where you book passage to the Grand Canyon. It is a 65 mile daily train ride from Williams, AZ to the Grand Canyon. You have about 30-45 minute drive to get to Williams in the morning. The train departs at different times during the year but a typical trip could leave at 9:30am and gets to the Grand Canyon at approximately 11:45am. It departs back to Williams at 3:30pm and then you drive back to Flagstaff.
The Train operates 364 days per year closed on December 25. The trip on the railway includes a Wild West Shootout at the Williams depot before your train departs. Then during your journey there is entertainment and live action onboard! You will also be able to get a copy of Territorial Times, the Grand Canyon Railroads very own news publication.
While you are at the Grand Canyon, take lots of pictures! It is one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the World! While you are there you can take a 1.5 hour guided tour that is only open to the patrons of The Train. You can have lunch, check out the Grand Canyon Village, the Museum, and the hotels! This is an amazing site you should definitely check out and the taking the train is a beautiful and relaxing way to go! You can even have a seat in the panoramic dome and see the Kaibab National Forest.
(Photos Courtesy of Yourtravelhandbook.com)
Day 3 of this Arizona adventure keeps you in Flagstaff. I suggest visiting the Lowell Observatory. It is 125 year old telescope. They have programs for everyone to enjoy. They have daytime tours, evening activities and a special Jr. Astronomer Program for kids!
The daytime tours consist of three different topics. The first called the Lowell Tour takes you around the campus and discusses the history of the observatory. You also get to see the 24” Clark Refracting Telescope still in use today! It’s a little slice of history. On The Story of Pluto Tour you learn about the Pluto Discovery Telescope. And on the Lunar Legacy Tour you learn the history of the telescopes part in the Apollo Moon missions.
At night they have several programs. The Wonders Of The Solar System, The Lives Of The Stars, The Flyby, Galaxies And The Expanding Universe, Constellation Tour and evening viewing of the Telescope. You can also participate in 45 minute science demonstrations which are hands-on!
They have a museum called the Rotunda Museum and it is open during certain hours. It houses artifacts relating to the history of the Observatory. They also have a cute gift shop, called My Astronomy Shop. You can get souvenirs, telescopes and other space themed items!
The Jr. Astronomer Program is similar to the Jr. Ranger Program at the National Parks. Kids ages 5 and older can complete activities while visiting the Observatory and earn a badge. It costs $3 and is approximately 3 hours. It is designed for kids ages 5-13 but “kids” of any age can complete the program! So if you have ever wanted to be an astronomer you should check out this program!
So after your day of hanging out at the Lowell Observatory you are going to want to eat. Flagstaff is no different then most cities and have plenty of chain restaurants or fast food restaurants if that is what you like. However if you want to try something new try the Flagstaff Brewing Company. You can pare craft beer or they have specialty whiskey also with your burger or sandwhich! If you want a quaint diner experience try Downtown Diner 7 E Aspen Ave (they don’t have a website!). If you want a cool Route 66 experience check out The Crown Railroad Cafe.
Speaking of Route 66…it’s a historic roadway steeped in tradition and history. So check out the Historic Route 66 Walking Tour. They also have a Historic District Walking Tour and Haunted Flagstaff Walking Tour. I don’t know about you but I love to do these behind the scenes kind of tours!
Day 4 of your perfect Arizona trip is a drive out to Meteor Crater! It’s about a 45 minute drive from Flagstaff. This is another really big hole in the ground! But it’s beautiful and very picturesque. A definite must do in your Arizona itinerary. This crater was made long ago when a meteor hit the desert landscape. They have educational programs and you can learn all about how the crater was formed. They also have a cool exhibit about astronauts and a gift shop.
A guided tour is available and included with admission. Admission information is available online. They do offer Military Discounts for active duty and retired. They have complementary RV Parking and Big Rig Parking if you want to do this trip in an RV which would be an amazing way to do this trip also.
Day 5 is a trip to the Petrified Forest. It is about an hour and a half drive from Flagstaff but it is worth the trip! It is part of the National Parks system. They have a Jr. Ranger program for kids to participate in as well. They also have guided tours if that is your thing. But if you are a little more adventurous they have backpacking, camping and horseback riding.
To backpack or camp you have to get a permit which is free. You can get this permit at either of the Visitor Centers. The area is very fragile and delicate so groups are limited to 8 people. There are a lot of regulations you must follow and abide by pack in and pack out rules. But it is an amazing experience.
They also have geocaching which you can find out more by clicking on the link. There is so much history and culture to learn about and take in, be prepared for this to be a whole day experience. Also do not take any plants, rocks or petrified wood!!! It is illegal and disturbs the land.
Day 6 your trip is almost done! This day takes you to Sedona, AZ. It’s about an hour drive South of Flagstaff. This is a must for any Arizona trip. It’s where the famed Red Rocks are located. There is a thriving art culture in Sedona. If you like fine art, abstracts, bronze, kinetic sculpture, jewelry, Native American art, photography, ceramics or woodcarvings, you will find something to love! Please utilize the Sedona Visitor Center Information website to research and plan your day! I will of course be telling you about my favorite Sedona things to do!
I personally love Oak Creek Canyon. Which has hiking, camping and fishing. They also have a scenic driving route and if you love mountainous and curvy roads I highly suggest you drive the Canyon. They have a really great place during the summer called Slide Rock and it is a natural water slide. We used to go as kids with friends and it is such a fun family friendly activity! If you are going to be there just for one day there is day use area but if you would like to camp there for your Arizona trip they have tent and RV sites available. The other activity I really enjoy in Sedona is Pink Jeep Tours.
With a Pink Jeep Tour they have full day adventures or even just a few hours. They take you to some amazing sights and you get to have a fun off-road adventure! There is also some tours that include hiking, lunch and shopping if that is what you like to do. They have tours for all physical ability levels from easy to adventurous. So no matter what you would like to experience they can accommodate your family.
Day 7 is always the saddest of the trip. This is your pack up and head home day. If you decide you want to stay and play for a while in Flagstaff, you can check out the downtown area or anything in the day 3 suggestions you didn’t get to experience yet. You can also utilize the Flagstaff Visitor information website to find out more of this beautiful Arizona destination.
After reading this, I hope Arizona is on your list of States or Areas of the country to visit. We really have an eclectic and picturesque State with all of our scenery, culture and history to learn and explore!
About the Author:
Melissa Temple is a disabled wife and mother. She has worked in the medical and mental health fields. She loves to help people and volunteer in her community. She loves reading, crafts, Disney movies, and music. She blogs about disability travel and lifestyle with a very heavy emphasis on Disney related travel. She started Disabled Disney with her husband of 19 years, David. Disabled Disney has a website, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook and Patreon https://linktr.ee/disableddisney.
Melissa thank you so much for sharing! Arizona looks beautiful and like there is a lot to do outside! I enjoy being outside! A jeep tour I would love that! We keep on going back and forth on if we want to purchase a jeep on not. I have never had one nor have I driven one. I am kind of afraid to go test drive one and fall in love and make a HAVE TO purchase. Haha! Hopefully someday soon my family and I can visit!