Bucket List Worthy
Thinking about your next big family vacation already? Well, it’s about time you take a good look at the Grand Canyon state.
Prior to visiting a few weeks ago, I’ll be the first to admit that we hadn’t given Arizona much thought as a stand alone destination. Sure, we’ve often used Phoenix as a transit hub while en route to tropical destinations in the Caribbean or Central America, but never as the final destination.
This was a huge mistake, one that we hope to rectify by sharing a few of the reasons we think you should add Arizona to your vacation short list.
1. Guaranteed Sunshine
With over 300 days of sunshine expected every year, few destinations can compete with Arizona’s sunshine predictability.
In the Phoenix area, the average monthly rain fall is less than 1 inch, with May and June being the driest months at 0.11 and 0.2 inches respectively.
So, if you’re thinking about golfing or lounging by the pool, Arizona offers some of the best (if not the best) chance for frequent sunny days.
2. National Parks and Outdoor Adventure
I’m willing to bet that when you think of Arizona, two images come to mind – (1) the world famous Grand Canyon, and (2) the hot, dry desert landscapes.
Fortunately, Arizona is loaded with National Parks, which translates into endless opportunities for adventurers looking to connect with nature. From river kayaking to rock climbing to mountain biking, Arizona’s national parks have something for every appetite.
For the on-the-go family, it’s the perfect place for an epic road trip through vast desert landscapes, from Route 66 to the Apache Trail Historic Road. If time permits, try to visit Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley, Sedona and Montezuma Castle near Camp Verde.
Oh, and visit the Grand Canyon too, it’s kind of a big deal.
Let’s be honest, convenience and simplicity play a big role when travelling with a family. Nothing sucks the fun out of a family vacation quite like long travel days and annoying flight layovers.
Phoenix is home to one of the busiest airports in North America, which makes it relatively easy to find cheap flights to Phoenix. More importantly, there’s a good chance you’ll find short, direct flights from your home destination (assuming you live in North America), which is always a bonus when travelling with younger kids.
Added bonus – if you’re flying from a northwest province or state, like Vancouver or Seattle, you’ll likely fly directly over the Grand Canyon. I captured the above image from the window seat on our flight down.
4. Rawhide Western Town
No trip to Arizona is complete without a visit to Rawhide Western Town, located in the city of Chandler. Set like an old Western Town in the dusty desert, there are burro rides for the kids, old western shows, a petting zoo, gold panning and many themed stores that transport you back in time to the Old West.
There are special events and attractions throughout the year. Fortunately for us, there was a beer and wine festival during our visit (read our experience here).
It’s free to enter but if you want to participate in certain activities/rides/shows it’s best to purchase a wrist band for $15. Before going, check the Rawhide website because hours of operation vary depending on the season.
5. Plenty of Family Attractions
We visited several locations on our trip to Arizona, ranging from bird watching to cowboy shows to boating around Tempe Town Lake.
Our highlights were visits to the Phoenix Zoo and SEA Life Arizona Aquarium. Ironically, we ended up having more fun than our toddler, reminding us that touristy attractions can be a lot of fun when you give them a chance.
If you’re a baseball fan, Arizona is the place to be during spring training. The Cactus League brings 15 professional baseball teams to the Phoenix metropolitan area, which boasts the greatest concentration of professional baseball facilities in the United States. Now that’s a lot of baseball!
Have you visited Arizona? What was your highlight? Share your tips and tricks in the comments section below, we’d love to read them!