Updated Nov. 15, 2018
If you’re looking for family-friendly activities, Arizona has plenty of natural wonders that won’t disappoint. I’ve picked out a few favorites that most everyone can enjoy, regardless of age or physical ability. A quick trip to any of these Arizona wonders can help get family away from the TV and into the great outdoors.
Papago Park (Phoenix/Tempe)
Hole in the Rock is the #1 feature here. It looks pretty cool from the parking lot, but to truly appreciate it, take the short hike around the backside and venture into the belly of the hole. It’s a great spot for selfies and a unique view of Tempe/Phoenix in the valley below.
Before you pile everyone back into the vehicle, take a stroll around the nearby ponds. The kiddos will love seeing ducks and fish. Parents will love getting pics of the precious moments. You’ll find several great vantage points for family pictures here; especially on the side of the lagoons farthest from Hole in the Rock.
South Mountain Park (Phoenix)
Easily accessible from several points in Phoenix, South Mountain Park provides quick and easy access to beautiful desert landscapes. (This is the mountain with red lights blinking on the communication towers at night.) The Central Ave entrance south of Downtown Phoenix offers the most activities to satisfy the most people.
South Mountain Park activities available at the Central Ave entrance:
- Horseback riding
- Petroglyph hunting
- Scenic drive
Did you know this? South Mountain Park is America’s largest city park
Perhaps one of the most memorable experiences you can do with the whole family at South Mountain Park is drive the winding, and steep in places, Summit Road to one of several lookout points up top to watch the sunset.
Tip: The gate on the Central Ave entrance closes at 7 p.m. As long as you’re in by then, you can exit anytime.
The striking red rock surroundings of Sedona help make it a great place to take the family for sightseeing, shopping and a unique taste of the great outdoors.
Airport Mesa is an awe-inspiring Sedona hot spot with striking views of the red rock hillside nearly every direction you look.
Tip: sunsets and sunrises at Airport Mesa are out of this world.
Telaquepaque (Ta-lock-e-pock-e) is a unique artisans village on the southern edge of the heart of Sedona that really gets into the holiday spirit with music, decorations and lighting. Parking and getting around tend to be a little easier for most people than in downtown Sedona.
How could we talk about Arizona Wonders the whole family can enjoy without a mention of the greatest wonder of them all?
Unless everyone in your tribe is a hiker, you probably won’t want to venture down into the canyon. But that’s okay; there’s plenty to see and do on the South Rim. Start at the visitors center for an introductory movie about the Grand Canyon, then venture around to various lookout points for unforgettable views of the canyon itself.
4 unforgettable lookout points on the Grand Canyon’s South Rim:
- Desert View
- Yaki Point
- Mather Point
- Mohave Point
Getting there is half the fun, right? Make a day (or two) of it and do it right. Why not take the scenic route? That would be AZ 64 along the southern rim. Plan on a stop at Desert View for a restroom break, refreshments and a one-of-a-kind view from the historic watchtower. On clear days, you can see all the way to Utah.
Up for a little more adventure? Check into the train ride options from Williams, AZ to the South Rim Village. The kiddos will dig the Polar Express themed rides around the holidays.
Family time doesn’t have to mean cooping everyone under one roof trying to avoid uncomfortable moments. Break up the monotony with a quick (or long) trip to one of Arizona’s amazing natural wonders and give everyone something exciting to talk about.