Photo courtesy of the National Park Service The majestic wonder of the Grand Canyon draws thousands of visitors annually.

Family Vacations in Arizona Overview

Arizona is home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, making it the state's number one tourist attraction, and one of the most popular attractions in the country. In Sedona, families can explore unusual desert landscapes, and in the Grand Canyon, outdoor adventurers can hike exciting canyon trails or take a rafting trip down crystal-clear -- but temperamental -- rivers.

The fun doesn’t stop at sightseeing, hiking or water rafting adventures. Arizona features scores of small towns and communities where the locals will always welcome you, and it is also home to one of the fastest growing cities in the country.

In the following articles, explore profiles of some of the state’s major attractions and activities with contact information to help you plan your trip. There are also photos of each destination:

Sedona

The eerie red rock formations around Sedona resemble the desert landscape of an alien planet. The formations soar dramatically above the dry gulches and exotic saguaro cacti of the rugged terrain to the wonderment of every visitor.

Grand Canyon

At 227 miles long and 18 miles across at its widest point, this breathtaking abyss plunges more than a mile from rim to river bottom at its deepest point.

Canyon de Chelly National Monument

Canyon de Chelly blends archaeology, history and geography, and is home to the famous attraction Spider Rock.

Sabino Canyon

Sabino Canyon is surprisingly green for a desert, and its hiking trail is one of the most beautiful in the United States.

Taliesin West

Once the winter home of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Taliesin West is a visionary architectural achievement. In the late 1930s, Wright designed and built the complex in Scottsdale, Arizona, as the winter counterpart to his original Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin.

Window Rock

Window Rock is both a community and a geological masterstroke. It is the capital of the Navajo Nation, and it also a natural landmark -- the city has taken its name from the wondrous pothole arch.

Continue to the next page learn about family vacations in Sedona.

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:
  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Phoenix City Guide: Find out where to stay, what to do, and where to eat when you visit the Valley of the Sun.
  • Arizona State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Arizona, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.

Photo courtesy of National Park Service Sparkling creeks and streams create a scenic obstacle course for Sedona hikers.

Family Vacations in Arizona: Sedona

The eerie red rock formations around Sedona resemble the desert landscape of an alien planet. Children will be fascinated as they take in the striking red spires and sculpted burgundy buttes that have been given unusual names such as Devil's Bridge and Coffee Pot Rock. The formations soar dramatically above the dry gulches and exotic saguaro cacti of the rugged terrain.

Hiking trails lead to Native American ruins and overlooks; jeep tours whisk visitors over hard-packed dirt, through arid gullies, and past odd configurations of crimson rocks and walls covered with ancient petroglyphs. Nearby is the historic mining town of Jerome and a towering cliff dwelling that was once inhabited by the Sinagua Indians.

­ Sedona Information

Address: Red Rock

7780 E. Beaver Creek Ranger Station Rd., Sedona, AZ

Telephone: 928/282-7722,800/288-7336

Continue to the next page to learn about the Grand Canyon.

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:
  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Phoenix City Guide: Find out where to stay, what to do, and where to eat when you visit the Valley of the Sun.
  • Arizona State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Arizona, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.

Photo courtesy National Park Service Explorer John Wesley Powell traveled The Grand Canyon's Colorado River.

Family Vacations in Arizona: The Grand Canyon

Millions of years of erosion caused by wind and water have carved and sculpted the Grand Canyon, truly one of the world's most dramatic natural wonders. At 227 miles long and 18 miles across at its widest point, this breathtaking abyss plunges more than a mile from rim to river bottom at its deepest point.

The Colorado River flows along the bottom of the canyon, but because of the canyon's depth, the river is visible only from certain viewpoints above. Families can book a rafting trip on the Colorado for one or more days, and it's an unforgettable way to explore the canyon.

The North and South rims are 215 miles apart by car, so if your time is limited, it's best to visit just one. The South Rim area attracts roughly 90 percent of the park's visitors, largely because the views are thought to be better and it has the majority of the park's accommodations and restaurants.

Not far from the South Rim Visitor Center is Hopi Point, the gathering spot for a famous view of the sunset. Early birds who awake before dawn can catch an awe-inspiring view of a Southwest sunrise over the canyon. You'll have the place practically to yourselves.

Stroll along the paved South Rim Trail (an easy walk, even with a stroller) or exercise your legs on the steep switchbacks of Bright Angel Trail to get a real view of the landscape. Kids love the donkey and mule rides down into the Canyon, but children must meet a minimum height requirement to be permitted to ride. Many families take aerial tours for the ultimate bird's-eye view of the canyon.

Numerous horse rentals are available, and there are dozens of shops and small arcades, in Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim. You'll also find several small museums highlighting Native American culture and local flora and fauna. An IMAX theater offers a virtual tour of the Grand Canyon and is packed with information about the park.

Visitors seeking tranquility should head to the less-visited North Rim. It has lodge accommodations, hiking trails, camping, and somewhat limited services. The rim is usually buried in snow during winter, but in summer, it's the first choice of serious hikers and outdoorsy people hoping to get away from the crowds.

Mule rides are also available at the North Rim, and families with kids over the age of seven should look into the half-day tours down the rim to Uncle Jim's Point or the easy-going five-mile Widforss Trail.

Grand Canyon Information

Address: US Rte. 180 and AZ-64, Grand Canyon, AZ

Telephone: 928/638-7888

Hours of Operation: Dawn - Dusk

Admission: $25 per vehicle or $12 per person

Read the next page to learn about Canyon de Chelly National Monument.

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:
  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Arizona State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Arizona, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.

Ancient Puebloans built multi-storied stone and adobe dwellings into these cliffs.

Family Vacations in Arizona: Canyon de Chelly National Monument

Canyon de Chelly in northeastern Arizona blends archaeology, history, and geology. The canyon was carved by eons of runoff from spring storms and has been inhabited by humans for about 2,000 years. The cliff dwellings are spectacular structures with perfectly preserved specimens and ruins set in deep caves at the base of vivid red and yellow sandstone walls.

The caves are surrounded by green pastures, fields of maize, and cottonwood trees, creating an incredible vista. But unlike most of the national parks in the United States, Canyon de Chelly is also part of the Navajo Nation and home to a living community of people who consider the canyon sacred ground. Likewise, visitors to Canyon de Chelly should treat the canyon as such and tread lightly on its floor.

Canyon de Chelly National Monument Information

Address: Visitor Center 3 miles off Rt. 191

Chinle, AZ

Telephone: 928/871-6647

Hours of Operation: Dawn - Dusk

Admission: Free

Continue to the next page to find out about Sabino Canyon.

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:
  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Arizona State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Arizona, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.

Sabino Canyon is a surprisingly green desert.

Family Vacations in Arizona: Sabino Canyon

The hiking trail leading up Sabino Canyon on the outskirts of Tucson, Arizona, is among the most beautiful in the United States. The steep red walls, dotted with saguaro, mesquite, and ocotillo, plummet to the canyon floor, where a paved trail beckons hikers and bikers. There is also a tram to deliver passengers to the top without breaking a sweat.

Due to rainy seasons in summer and winter, Sabino Canyon is surprisingly green for a desert, providing habitat for roadrunners, deer, rattlesnakes, mountain lions, and the collared peccaries known as javelinas. Seasonal storms replenish Sabino Creek, which runs down the canyon, and a number of pools that lie along the creek bed.

Beyond the paved trail taken by the tram, a more primitive trail leads to the spectacular terminus of Bear Canyon and the cold splash of water known as Seven Falls cutting through the untouched desert.

Sabino Canyon Information

Address: Sabino Canyon Tour Information

5900 N. Sabino Canyon Rd., Tucson, AZ

Telephone: 520/749-2861

Read the next page to learn about Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West.

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:
  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Arizona State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Arizona, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.

The organic design of Taliesin West blends perfectly with the surrounding arid landscape.

Family Vacations in Arizona: Taliesin West

Once the winter home of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Taliesin West is a visionary architectural achievement. In the late 1930s, Wright designed and built the complex in Scottsdale, Arizona, as the winter counterpart to his original Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin. Each site included his living quarters, studio, and campus for his schools of architecture.Taliesin West covers 600 acres of rugged Sonoran Desert at the foot of McDowell Mountain. The landscape is an integral part of the site: Wright employed rocks and sand on the property as key ingredients in his masterpiece. He didn't limit himself to native materials, however, but also used plastics, canvas, and concrete in innovative ways.

Despite its historic status, Taliesin West is no museum. Since 1940, the vibrant complex has been the headquarters for the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. The foundation strives to preserve Wright's contributons to architecture and to promote organic architecture that blends with its natural environment, of which Taliesin West is a dazzling example.

Taliesin West Information

Address: 12621 Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd., Scottsdale, AZ

Telephone: 480/860-2700

Hours of Operation: Hours Vary

Admission: Cost varies by tour

Continue to the next page for details on Window Rock, the capital of the Navajo Nation.

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:
  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Phoenix City Guide: Find out where to stay, what to do, and where to eat when you visit Phoenix.
  • Arizona State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Arizona, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.

© Razvan S. Chemical and thermal exfoliation of entrada sandstone created the astonishing arch known as Window Rock.

Family Vacations in Arizona: Window Rock

Window Rock is both a community and a geological masterstroke. It is the capital of the Navajo Nation, the largest Native American government in the United States, and home to about 3,000 people. It is also a natural landmark -- the city has taken its name from the wondrous pothole arch. Over millions of years, sunlight, wind, water, and chemical exfoliation formed the distinctive window. These elements slowly peeled away layer after layer of red sandstone, leaving a nearly perfect circular hole in its place. The formation is known as Tseghahoodzani, which in Navajo means Perforated Rock.

Window Rock has long been a sacred place in the Water Way Ceremony, or Tohee. The 200-foot formation has traditionally been one of four sources for the water Navajo medicine men use in the ceremony performed to ask the gods for rain.

Window Rock Information

Address: Navajo Travel Center

I-40 Exit 325, Navajo, AZ

Telephone: 928/871-6417

Hours of Operation: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., daily

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:
  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Arizona State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Arizona, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.