Looking for amazing family travel adventures for your crew? You should consider Arizona for an inexpensive family vacation packed with adventure. I’m sharing 5 Fun Family Travel Adventures in Arizona You’ll Love including a desert hike, Sedona, Bearizona, Out of Africa, and of course, The Grand Canyon.
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We’ve been to Arizona several times on vacation and each time we have gone, we have enjoyed a new family adventure. Arizona has great experiences to offer families who travel to this beautiful (always sunny) state for vacation.
5 Fun Family Travel Adventures in Arizona You’ll Love!
1. Desert Hike in the Superstition Mountain Wilderness
You’ll love this fun family adventure activity! This is a great outdoor activity that will immerse kids (and adults) into a stimulating and unforgettable experience. Go on a desert hike in the Superstition Mountain Wilderness (just east of Phoenix), and the best of all, it’s free!
We live in the Midwest, so it was fun for my boys to simply walk through an Arizona desert and observe how a desert can be more than just sand. The simple difference in the scenery from home made this hike both thrilling and exhilarating. We saw so many cacti and interesting plants, and even a real wild scorpion, which was a total moment of excitement for my boys! He was a tiny little thing, but we didn’t dare try to touch him.
It was exciting and true to the wild west when we saw a group traversing the path on horseback. There was a string of about seven riders.
In places, the terrain was uneven with slanted rock and many small pebbles which made the terrain challenging, but doable. At times, it was hard for our youngest to walk. At the age of five, he could handle the hike, but in certain spots he would slip, so he often needed someone to hold his hand so he wouldn’t slide. My middle son was so sweet and offered to help his little brother by holding his hand on the uneven sloped rocks and ground. A sweet parent moment for me that will be engrained in my brain forever; an image I will cherish always!
There are camping areas in the Superstition Mountain Wilderness as well. This would be a fun adventure also to camp and hike within this beautiful wilderness.
Wherever you are staying in Arizona, check out the local area for a designated hiking area.
Tips for a desert hike:
- bring plenty of water because it will get hot
- assess the terrain to make sure it is appropriate for your family (more on this below)
- go in the morning before it gets too hot
- stay on the path so you don’t get lost, review a map before hiking if there is one
- don’t go too far, remember you have to walk that same distance back, and it will most likely be even hotter being later in the day
- bring a bag lunch
- wear sunscreen
- bring sunglasses
- carry along your cell phone in case of an emergency
- visit the bathroom before you begin your hike
- dress in layers
- bring your camera
- carry binoculars around your neck in case there is something to view in the distance
- wear comfortable shoes like tennis shoes (I actually wore clog style Crocs® on our hike, but I always wear Crocs:)
Assess the Terrain
I can’t stress this enough. Be sure to assess the difficulty of the terrain if considering hiking with young kids. My older two boys (both over 8) could handle the hike on the uneven ground without any problem, in fact, they really loved the adventure. Just be sure you assess the terrain before you go to make sure your kids can handle the difficulty of the path.
I would not have taken kids under the age of five to walk on this hike in the Superstition Wilderness. Or, if you plan to take young kids, plan for just a very short hike just to experience it so you don’t get into trouble with young kids being unable to traverse the path on their own. No one wants to carry kids on this type of path;) A carrier may work for real young kids or babies, but keep in mind the ground is uneven in spots.
2. Stop in the Gorgeous City of Sedona
All the red rock formations around Sedona make it a very beautiful city to visit. Many of the rock formations have a red or orange hue and they make this city stunning and gorgeous. Sedona is a must-see stop if you are near it while in Arizona.
We took a Sedona Trolley Tour around town. The tour guide pointed out rock formations and their names as we drove around Sedona. The kids especially enjoyed the elephant and the Snoopy rock formations. We enjoyed relaxing on the ride while taking in the amazing views while we listened to the guide. It was wonderful to have a local point out all the highlights for us.
Church on a rock was one of our stops.
We made a stop at the Chapel of the Holy Cross, Church on a rock. This church was both amazing to behold and stunning. It was built right into a rock and appears to be emerging from it, tall, mighty, majestic. The builder of this church searched around for the perfect spot to build this church, right next to the rock formation famous for its likeness to Mary holding baby Jesus and the nuns. The Roman Catholic Diocesse of Phoenix and Saint John Vianny Parish welcomes visitors. They do hold prayer services are held every Monday at the church.
Visitors are allowed inside the gorgeous church; it was beautiful inside and it was an honor to be allowed to stand inside its walls.
Back on the trolley, our tour guide also pointed out a beautiful mansion owned by a famous inventor.
We didn’t have time to explore more, but there are many hiking trails near Sedona.
We were only there for the day, but I would love to go back and spend more time is this amazing town!
Need a new travel backpack? Read the review of my fave compact travel backpack here!
3. Go on a Family Adventure inside Bearizona
Bearizona is a must-see stop near The Grand Canyon. Visitors actually drive through the enclosures that the animals live in. Visitors remain in their cars as they drive through because the animals are roaming around free in the enclosures. At one point, a bear was walking down the road right in front of our vehicle! This setup makes for awesome pictures!
The workers remained in the little houses near the gates between enclosures and as visitors approached each gate, they would open it and shut it just long enough for the car to go through. It was comforting to see staff nearby when we were near these large and strong animals (especially the bears). It is truly amazing to be so close to the amazing animals like bears, wolves, goats, donkeys, ox, buffalo, and more.
They offer a bus ride with a tour guide as another option for the drive-through area of the park.
There is also a self-guided walking portion at this wildlife park which is more like a traditional zoo with exhibits. The baby bears located in this walking portion of the zoo were my absolute favorite. I love all baby animals, who doesn’t, right! The baby bears were so cute as they were climbing up into the trees.
Bearizona is a unique animal experience and truly worth the stop when near The Grand Canyon. It’s a definite must-see park!
Bearizona is located one hour south of Grand Canyon’s South Rim at 1500 Historic Route 55 in Williams, AZ. Williams is called the gateway to the Grand Canyon.
To read my full review of Bearizona, click here.
4. Get a Taste of Wild Family Adventure at Out of Africa
Out of Africa Wildlife Park is truly a unique and unforgettable experience as well. We were absolutely amazed by some of the amazing things we saw at this wildlife park. It was definitely a family adventure my family loved!
Our favorite experience was the Tiger Splash® show. We were astounded as two tigers and a lion interacted and played with caretakers in a pool where the people were in the enclosure with the animals. We sat in the stands behind fencing that surrounded the pool play area, so we were completely separated from the tigers and lion. The Bengal and Siberian tigers splashed and played with toys just like pet cats! We were thrilled to see them splash and play while they plunged into the pool. It was both entertaining and educational. Everyone squealed with delight as we watched this delightful and spontaneous show! They just play so each show is different.
The tigers were more playful with the caretakers than the lion was which maybe is due to their temperament?
Another awesome activity we enjoyed at Out of Africa was the African Bush Safari bus ride. We rode in an open window bus while a tour guide narrated for us. The bus drove right through the enclosure where the animals were roaming free. We saw giraffes, zebras, antelope, and more. My son even fed a camel a carrot from the tour bus window, which was very exciting indeed!
My boys also enjoyed the Giant Snake Show. The snake was just huge and my boys loved being that close to the big snake. A great experience for those interested, but I stayed back however (snakes are NOT my favorite).
There are many other activities to enjoy at this amazing park, some of them are for an additional cost. Some day my family hopes to return to this amazing park to do more!
This park is located about thirty minutes from Sedona in Campe Verde, Arizona.
Get this for your trip:)
5. Visit The Grand Canyon
No trip to Arizona is complete without making time to view The Grand Canyon. Being known as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, The Grand Canyon does not disappoint! It’s super amazing and it should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. It is so vast and majestic, and a bit scary, to stand in front of it. You will feel tiny when you stand next to it.
I’ll admit, as a mom, I was a little nervous while we were there. My boys tend to think they are invincible, so when they stepped up to the areas without any fence, this mama was very nervous! All it would take is a wrong step or an accidental slip on some pebbles and down they would go. (Ugh!! this makes me cringe and shudder even just thinking about it!! Let’s move on quickly)
Our bus tour guide informed us that every year, there are people who fall into the canyon, so people need to be careful and keep back from the edge, especially little kids. It totally worth going, just be safe:) For toddlers, maybe keep them in the stroller, especially if they are runners!
We have been at The Grand Canyon at different times of the day and it’s amazing to see all the different colors the canyon gives off at various times of the day. It’s beautiful and we’ve been awestruck each time we have gone.
This last time we visited, we took a guided bus tour. This was fun because it brought us to various outlooks so we covered a lot of ground in short amount of time, plus we got all the great tips from our tour guide. We stopped at Hermit’s Rest and saw California condors flying overhead at one point, which was super cool!
Do All These Stops in One Great BIG Family Adventure!
Travel plan suggestion for you:
- fly into Phoenix
- go on a desert hike in Superstition Wilderness
- take a roadtrip to The Grand Canyon with stops at Sedona, Bearizona, and Out of Africa
- drive back to Phoenix to fly home:)
We knew we wanted to make it to The Grand Canyon, so we found these awesome fun family adventures in Arizona to do along the way. I highly recommend all of these stops. They were each wonderful, fun, and even educational. I would do them again!
Map out your own family adventure. Rent a vehicle from the airport so you can get your family to all these fun family friendly attractions.
If your family visits any of these locations, I’d love to hear about it! Come back and leave me a comment, I’d enjoy hearing about your experiences:)
I hope you found this post on 5 Fun Family Travel Adventures in Arizona You’ll Love useful in your own family travel plans. Thanks for stopping by, I hope my tips help you with your family travel plans:)
Have a pet dog? Check out my post for tips for 7 Loving Things to do for Your Dog before Vacation.
This is the camera we own. We orginally purchased it just for family use at home and on vacation, and I’m so glad we bought this DSLR camera because I use it all the time for my blog now. I also bought a 50 mm lense recently for crystal clear up close shots, especially for food:) I’m very happy with this product for personal and professional use.
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