You could drive from Phoenix directly to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park in less than 4 hours. But you would miss some of Arizona’s most fascinating towns and the spectacular adventures they offer.
Along the way lie towns like Prescott with great lakeside activities and a lively downtown district. Cottonwood is home to an incredible state park and a vibrant wine scene as evidenced by its neat rows of deep green grapevines racing up and down dry rolling hills. From there, you can see the red rocks of Sedona. Once there, hike on Sedona’s less-crowded trails to discover why this artsy town is so memorable. Then stop in Flagstaff, a vibrant university town known for its seven natural wonders.
As you drive from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon, the soil turns red, hinting at what’s to come. Discover our top picks in this section.
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Start: Phoenix, Arizona
Get to know the cosmopolitan side of Arizona in Phoenix where there is an activity for every interest. Here are the top seven things to do.
Lost Dutchman State Park
Get a rare insider’s view of the Superstition Mountains when you hike on easy to difficult trails through this corner of the Sonoran Desert. It’s just 40 miles east of Phoenix. Plus 9 more Arizona State Parks near the Grand Canyon.
Gilbert’s Foodie Paradise
Gilbert, Ariz. has remained true to its agricultural roots, serving up some of the country’s most inventive farm-to-table cuisine. Among Gilbert’s lush green spaces is a 400-acre farm in the Agritopia neighborhood.
Desert Haven at Salt River
Located on the eastern border of Scottsdale, Ariz., you’d never guess you’re in a city when you visit the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community in the Talking Stick Entertainment District. This community is filled with small-town charm and unique attractions.
From great hiking and kayaking to a fun downtown scene, here are the top 5 reasons to explore Prescott.
Unexpected Oasis at Cottonwood
Take a stroll through this charming historic downtown packed with wine tasting rooms and restaurants before heading to a rare solitude-fueled national monument.
Get Centered in Sedona
Sedona’s Secret Seven
While everyone is hiking Sedona’s vortexes—the iconic rock formations believed to be special energy centers—we have a tip for you. Follow the locals to Sedona’s secret seven, a collection of stunningly beautiful hiking trails with all the solitude but none of the traffic of the vortexes.
Wine Tasting Near Sedona
The Verde Valley is home to a handful of winemakers. Here are three ways to experience this wine-producing area near Sedona: Alcantara Vineyards, Classic Water-to-Wine Tour and Page Springs Cellars.
Slide Rock State Park
Wear your jeans to slide down a slick natural water chute or put on your bathing suit to wade in a sparkling creek at Slide Rock State Park seven miles north of Sedona. Plus 9 more Arizona State Parks near the Grand Canyon.
Natural Getaway in Flagstaff
Surrounded by the world’s largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest, Flagstaff’s uncrowded trails offer solitude, easy social distancing, a lot of trees and outstanding views. Here are seven things to do.
Starry Nights at Lowell Observatory
Visit a legendary landmark where Pluto was discovered and scientists continue to unravel the mysteries of the universe.
Best Eco-Friendly Flagstaff + Grand Canyon Vacation Itinerary
Experience the best of the Grand Canyon while eating locally grown food, staying at eco-friendly lodging and hiking on gorgeous trails.
Bears, Brew and Trains in Williams
Williams is a southern gateway to the Grand Canyon and a historic stop on Route 66. A wildlife park, scenic train ride and a thrilling zipline adventure await.
Bearizona Drive-thru Wildlife Park
See bears, wolves, buffalo and more in this drive through park among the pine forests of north Arizona.
Grand Canyon Brewing Co.
Savor a Sunset Amber Ale at the new Grand Canyon Brewing Co. location. There’s a tasting room and restaurant with burgers, brats and pizza. Take a tour of the brewery.
Take the Train to the Grand Canyon
Park your car in Williams and take a scenic ride on the Grand Canyon Railway into the heart of Grand Canyon National Park.
Grand Canyon National Park
Stop at Grand Canyon Visitor Center
Hidden secrets await in Tusayan.
Bring the Gypsy Guide App
Enjoy the freedom of driving your own car while traveling with an entertaining guide that doesn’t take up space. Learn more at gypsyguide.com/tour/grand-canyon-south-rim/
48 Hours in the South Rim of the Grand Canyon
Get ready for adventure. Here are some of our favorite things to do while at the South Rim from biking in solitude to exploring some of the rim’s most historic treasures.
Fly Above the Grand Canyon with Maverick Helicopters
Take a helicopter tour of some of Grand Canyon South Rim’s most popular sights. View Marble Canyon and Point Imperial as you fly through the canyon and climb above the North Rim. Learn more at www.maverickhelicopter.com
A Grander Stay at Yavapai Lodge
Sleep well and sustainably about a mile from the rim. The Yavapai Lodge’s restaurant, tavern and nearby market and shuttle stop make navigating the rim easy.
Into the Deep
Read a family’s story about hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and discovering there’s more than meets the eye.