Looking to take a trip to Northern Arizona? Well, we have one ultimate Arizona road trip itinerary for you. From bucket list scenery to cruising down Route 66, we compiled the best list of Arizona road trip attractions.
Arizona Road Trip Itinerary
Arizona Road Trip Map
This road trip for us was one for the memory books! From massive monumental sights, like the Grand Canyon, to beach front relaxation on Lake Powell and cultural experiences with the beautiful Navajo, Arizona is one unforgettable USA state that’s waiting for you!
Where To Start Your Arizona Road Trip
First, understand when arriving into Arizona, you have a few airport options to choose from. There are three airports that make great jumping off points for your visit to Arizona!
- McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada
- Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, AZ
- Pulliam Airport in Flagstaff, AZ
However, for this Arizona road trip post, we are talking about one airport and that’s the airport we flew into to begin our visit to Arizona – Pulliam Airport in Flagstaff, AZ.
Day 1: Fly Into & Explore Flagstaff
Kick off your Arizona road trip in the Ponderosa Pine Forest, mountain-high desert town of Flagstaff, Arizona! If you’re looking for the best things to do in Flagstaff, we have a short but perfect list below…
Things To Do In Flagstaff, Arizona
- Grab some breakfast and coffee at The Tourist All Day Cafe
- Walk around Flagstaff’s Historic Downtown
- Drink craft beer from Flagstaff’s 9 craft beer breweries (yes, nine)
- Our brewery recommendations are Mother Road and Wanderlust Brewing Company
- Check out the Dark Skies of Flagstaff
- Eat your heart out at Pizzicletta
- The Luxury Inclined: Marriott Flagstaff
- The Budget Conscious: Hotel Aspen Flagstaff
- Something in Between: Drury Inn & Suites Flagstaff
Day 2: Make Your Way to Havasupai Trailhead
Drink one last coffee and eat one last breakfast at Macy’s European Coffee House & Bakery before you say bye, bye to Flagstaff!
Grab whatever snacks and last minute gear you need for the Havasupai hike in Flagstaff as there is nothing on the reservation once you check in for the hike to Havasupai.
TIP: There is an REI in Flagstaff for any last minute gear you may need for the hike. Also, there is a Safeway and Whole Foods for any hiking snacks or camping meals you may be need.
After you’re stocked and ready, hit the road and begin your 3.5 hour drive north to the trailhead of Havasupai!
- It’s here, at the Trailhead, where you will be spending the night
- Alternatively, if you do not have a RV to sleep in and you wish to not sleep in your car, you can book a stay in the town of Peach Springs, AZ at Hualapai Lodge
Day 3 – 5: Experience The Magic of Havasupai Falls
With an early morning wake up call, your 10 mile hike to the campground of Havasupai begins!
For the next four days and three nights, you’ll be surrounded by an oasis of crystal, clear blue waterfalls and nature.
Setup camp and enjoy the next several day of hiking, swimming and taking in the beautiful Havasupai tribals lands in Arizona.
Day 6: Make Your Way to The Grand Canyon
After a wonderful, whirlwind 3 days at Havasupai, it’s time to pack up and hike out.
Plan to leave the Havasupai campground early, like before sunrise, you have a 10 mile hike and then a 3.5 hour drive to the South Rim of The Grand Canyon ahead of you.
Once your hike is done and you’re enroute to the South Rim, plan a late-lunch stop in Williams, AZ! Get a classic diner milkshake, burger and fries in this Historic Route 66 town!
Trust us, you’ll want this meal after that 10 mile hike 🙂
After your 1960’s diner meal, continue 1 hour to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
You’ll role into “town” late afternoon / early evening. Feel free to take it easy and spend the rest of the day doing what you want.
We have a jam-packed day of exploring tomorrow!
- Camping: Mathers Campground
- RV Park: Trailer Village RV Park
- In-Park Hotels: El Tovar Hotel | Bright Angel Lodge
- Outside Park Hotels: The Grand Hotel | Arizona Luxury Expeditions
Day 7: Stand in Awe at The Grand Canyon
With only one day in the Grand Canyon, we’re going to make sure you make the most of your day soaking up the best of the best this natural wonder has to offer.
From sunrise to sunset, we have a complete Grand Canyon one-day itinerary waiting for you.
Day 8: Road Trip Your Way to Lake Powell
It’s time to say bye, bye to the Grand Canyon and set your sights North to the Arizona / Utah state line – you’re going to Lake Powell in Page, Arizona!
Lake Powell is a desert oasis that straddles the border of Utah and Arizona. Surrounding Lake Powell, you’ll find Glenn Canyon – a 1.25 million acre National Recreation Area that will be your playground for the next two days.
Once you get into Page, head to Lone Rock Beach for a little R&R. Oh, and if you have a tent or a RV, Lone Rock Beach is also our recommendation for your accommodation! It was insanely perfect and way too beautiful.
From Lone Rock Beach, take a swim, enjoy the lake-front, sandy beach and the fantastic views of Lake Powell.
If you are feeling a little boat ride, you can rent boats on Lake Powell and and/or book a boat tour through the Marina. Oh, and if you’d like to rent water toys, Lake Powell Marina has plenty of options for you as well.
NOTE: Glenn Canyon National Recreation Area requires an admission fee. It is $30 USD for a week pass.
- Camping & RV: Lone Rock Beach Campground
- RV Park: Wahweap
- Hotels: Lake Powell Resort| Desert Canyon Inn | Lake Powell Motel
Day 9: Explore Upper Antelope Canyon
After a wonderful day and evening on Lone Rock Beach, it’s time to see Upper Antelope Canyon!
PLEASE NOTE: Booking a tour is THE ONLY way you are able to see Upper as well as Lower Antelope Canyon. Antelope Canyon is on Navajo Tribal Lands and a Navajo Guide is required to enter the canyon.
It is strongly advised to book your tour ahead of time as they sell out quickly.
You can book your Upper Antelope Canyon tour here or through other tour agencies in Page like Antelope Canyon Tours by Carolene Ekis.
After seeing the stunning Upper Antelope Canyon, the rest of the day is yours! Head back to Lake Powell and chill or wander around Page. Regardless of what you do, spend your last day well 🙂
Day 10: Sunrise at Horseshoe Bend + Explore Monument Valley
Another early morning, but trust us on this one too, it’s worth it! Set those alarms and make your way to Horseshoe Bend for sunrise.
Horseshoe Bend is located about 20 – 25 minutes from Lone Rock Beach Campground and the Wahweap Marina.
Once at Horseshoe Bend, you’ll be graced with views like the below.
Get you photo fill and head out. It’s time to make your way to Monument Valley! Monument Valley is a two-hour, easy drive east of Horseshoe Bend.
You’ll arrive in Monument Valley by mid-day and our suggestion is to spend time at the Visitors Center and drive the scenic 17 mile loop through Monument Valley.
NOTE: The 17 mile loop can be driven via car. RV’s cannot drive the loop and hiking the loop is not permitted. If you’d like to book a scenic drive loop tour, you can book ahead of time here or once your arrive at the Visitors Center.
- Lodging in Monument Valley: The View | Goulding’s | Arizona Luxury Expeditions
- Lodging Outside Monument Valley: Bluff Dwellings Resort | Canyon Wren Bed & Breakfast | Willow Street Cottages
Day 11: Witness a Beautiful Butte Sunrise
If you’re fans of the movie Forest Gump, then no trip to Monument Valley is complete without getting a photo in the same spot of the infamous “I’m pretty tired. I think I’ll go home now” running scene.
Forest Gump Point, yes it’s truly a thing, is past Monument Valley to the east by about 20 minutes.
From this point, you’ll have one epic photo of Monument Valley in the background as the sun is rising. Truly a southwest spectacular!
After sunrise, you can head back to the Visitors Center for breakfast – try the Navajo Frybread and spend the rest of the day as you please.
Just a heads up, you’ll have to make the 3 hour drive back to Flagstaff by the afternoon in order to catch that flight tomorrow.
End your trip on a high note, and grab dinner and a few beers in Flagstaff while you reminisce on the past few amazing days.
Day 12: Fly Out of Flagstaff
The day no one ever wants to come, the day you leave to go back home. Enjoy what you can of Flagstaff before catching a ride to Pulliam Airport.
We hope you enjoyed this 12-day Arizona road trip as much as we did! The southwest is absolutely beautiful, right?!
Arizona Trip Planner
Now, we’re not just going to leave you with an ultimate 12-day Arizona itinerary. We have more tips on road trip packing, road trip vehicles and the best time of year to visit Arizona below.
Told ya, we have you covered 🙂
Getting Around Arizona – Van and RV Rental
No road trip is complete without an epic ride to get you to and from your next destination. Get around like a pro and see the best of what Arizona has to offer by RV.
We booked a RV through Outdoorsy, a RV sharing site that connects RV owners to folks (like you) who are looking to rent a RV. Outdoorsy is your one-stop RV rental shop for outdoor adventure!
We booked a RV for 10 nights and it by far was the most convenient and freedom-filled way to get around Arizona. Plus, we found the per day cost of an RV was cheaper than the daily cost of renting a car with the nightly cost of a hotel room.
We went where we wanted to go, when we wanted to go and didn’t have to worry about booking accommodations or dealing with last minute changes. Everything we needed was with us, always.
From “van life” sprinter vans for two to massive rigs for the family, RV’ing is the BEST way to get around and explore Arizona.
Best Time to Visit Arizona
Really and truly, Arizona is a gem all year long. However, there are better seasons than others depending on what you want to do and where you want to visit!
Winter (December – February)
If you’re heading down south to cities like Tombstone, Sedona, Tucson or Phoenix winter is your month! With the weather still warmer and sunny, hiking and relaxing are two perfect ways to waste the days away.
As for high altitude places like Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon, you can expect snow and colder temps. However, Flagstaff is great for skiing so honestly, some snow is perfect 🙂
Spring (March – May)
The cold is breaking and outdoor activities are in full swing! From white water rafting to mountain biking and hiking Arizona’s outdoor world is coming alive!
Temps are nice during the day, but at night, dress in layers as it can get cold.
Summer (June – August)
The peak season for Arizona travel as well as the hottest months are Arizona’s summer months – and we mean HOT.
School is out and locals as well as tourists are taking their much needed summer holidays exploring popular tourist attractions throughout the state.
Summer is the perfect month to spend up in high country or relaxing on the waters of Lake Powell – just make sure you have plenty of sunscreen!
Autumn (September – November)
The season we visited Arizona in and it was PERFECT! Cooler temps means sweater weather and amazing temps for exploring the beautiful outdoors.
Wine and craft beer hit the spot after a long day of hiking and seeing the leaves change. The weather is warm during the day but chilly at night, perfect for some bonfires and s’mores.
What to Pack for an Arizona Road Trip
Now, of course there are other things that you’ll pack, but consider this list the essentials to your Arizona Road trip!
- Pack Those Hiking Boots – You’re going to do some some dusty, rocky hiking at some of the most beautiful places in the states, so you’ll need some proper boots!
- Sunscreen – The sun is always shinning and it’s hot. Protect that skin of yours!
- Layers – Warm during the day and cool at night is the way the desert rolls. Pack breathable layers so you are prepared for whatever the temps are.
- Reusable Water Bottle – Lets make this world a little bit of a better place and use reusable water bottles and not plastic. Plus, tap water is drinkable and you can fill up at any gas station or sink, for FREE.
- Portable Charger / USB Car Charger – You’ll hate yourself if you phone/GPS dies. Keep your gear charged so it’s ready when you need it.
- Lotion – Yes, lotion. Arizona is VERY dry and your skin will be screaming for some moisture relief.
- Day Pack – Your go to bag for exploration is your day pack. Day packs are perfect for carrying snacks, camera and your water bottle. So when it comes time to jump on the RV and go exploring, you’re ready to rock!
- National Park Pass – If visiting National Parks is on your list, as it should be, you’ll want a National Park pass. Pay a one time fee and get access to all US National Parks.
- Camera / GoPro – The amount of beauty you’ll see will be limitless. Have your camera ready to capture all the beautiful sunrises, sunsets and everything in between,
- Headlamp – A flashlight is never a bad thing to have. Headlamps allow you the hands-free vision you need for getting around the trail or campsite.
Camping in Arizona
Arizona is home to some amazing campsites – both free and paid. Here are a few things to know ahead of time.
Campsites / RV Parks
If you are looking to stay in a designated campground or RV parks within National Parks or National Recreation Areas, be prepared to make a reservation and pay a per night fee.
First things first, campsites are cheaper than RV parks. Expect to pay around $5 – $15 a night for a tent campsite and anywhere from $40 – $60 a night for a spot at an RV park.
TIP: Most tent campgrounds will allow RV’s, 25ft and under, to park and use a tent site. Mind you, there will be no hook ups, but it’s cheaper than paying for a spot in the RV park.
Arizona gets slammed with tourists all year, so it’s best to make reservations ahead of time to secure the campsite or RV Park you want to call home for the night.
Primitive / Dispersed Camping
Dispersed camping is camping on public lands that has no development or facilities around. No bathrooms, showers, power, fire pit, etc. It’s just you, the wilderness and the open sky.
These dispersed sites are free, yes free, to the public.
However, you must respect the space and leave no trash or waste. Everything you setup for the night must be taken down and brought out with you when you leave – aka leave no trace.
For more information on proper dispersed camping on US public lands, please refer to the Bureau of Land Managements site.
Right, we get it, this isn’t camping but if you are in a RV or want to sleep in your car, this will be useful.
The places listed below allow travelers to rest their bones, and their engines, in their parking lots free of charge…
- Sam’s Club
- Truck Stops
- Cracker Barrel
- Rest Areas
Arizona Road Trip Pro Tips
- Once the gas tank gets to half, fill her up – Never assume you’ll have enough gas to get you “to the next gas station.” Some parts of the state can be really rural and really spread out from each other. There was a time we almost ran out of gas, so learn from us, FILL UP often.
- Leave No Trace – Arizona is a beautiful and let’s keep her that way. Do NOT litter, use bio-degradable and eco-friendly products when camping and hiking, and clean up after yourself. Leave the state a little better than what you found it 🙂
- Native American Lands – In many parts of the state, you’ll be on Native American lands. These lands often require permits or guides to access and explore. Please respect that rule and the Tribal Lands.
- Have An Epic Playlist – Lets end this on a fun note! No road trip is complete without an epic set of tunes! May we suggest some Classic Rock, like The Eagles? There is something about Glenn Frey’s voice and that beautiful southwest sunrise that just sets the mood right!
Arizona Tours & Activities
There is plenty of amazing places to visit in Arizona, and some of these amazing places require a guided tour to see and experience the place. As for the rest, well, consider those just sprinkles on top of an already amazing trip!
Arizona Required Guided Tours
- Antelope Canyon – In order to see the famous slot canyons of Antelope Canyon, you will need to book a tour a head of time. This canyon lies on Navajo lands so a Navajo guide is required in order to gain entrance.
- Monument Valley – If you want to drive the 17 or 28 mile scenic drive through Monument Valley, you’ll need to book a tour! Again, like Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley lies within Navajo land, so a Navajo guide is required to access the scenic loop of Monument Valley.
NOTE: If you have a car, SUV or Van, you are able to drive the scenic loop in Monument Valley yourself, without a tour. HOWEVER, if you have an RV, RV’s are not allowed on the scenic loop. In addition, hiking is not permitted on the scenic loop either.
Arizona Guided Tours for Fun
- Grand Canyon Helicopter Ride – On of the ultimate sights to see in Arizona is the Grand Canyon! See it by air as you take a 45-minute helicopter ride over one of the most iconic natural monuments in the world!
- Dark Skies Astrophotography Tour – While in Flagstaff you’ll be 7,000ft above sea level, making the stars shine extra bright. From San Francisco peaks, stargaze into the night sky and learn about astronomy, constellation mythology and astrophotography.
- Grand Canyon Railway Adventure – A fun, family way to get to the Grand Canyon is by railway! From Williams, AZ, hop on board the Grand Canyon express and witness authentic characters and musicians who bring the Old West to life on this scenic adventure.
- Flagstaff Food Tours – If you like to eat, then this tour is for you! Flagstaff is home to many scrumptious eateries so a proper food tour will ensure you try the must have morsels that will send your taste buds soaring.
- Grand Canyon White Water Rafting – If you’re a thrill seeker, then a white water rafting trip on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon is right up your alley!
Regardless of what tour you do or don’t do, what place you see or skip, your time in Arizona will be nothing short of spectacular. The southwest is truly a place of unmatched beauty – Enjoy! Need more? Check out our Highlight Video
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For more travel tips, guides and awesome travel shots, be sure to poke around our site, follow us on Instagram @wanderingstus and on Facebook. Oh and if you have any questions, let us know in the comment section. We’re happy to answer. Or, just leave us a positive note!
– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)