4 Arizona Wonders the whole family can enjoy

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.


Map to Papago Park ⇒

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.

Sunset casts an amber hue on one of the peaks in South Mountain Park
Daytime view of the famous transmission towers atop South Mountain that blink red at night
Sunset from Dobbins Point on South Mountain

South Mountain Park activities available at the Central Ave entrance:

  • Bicycling
  • Hiking
  • Horseback riding
  • Petroglyph hunting
  • Relaxing
  • Scenic drive

Did you know this?  South Mountain Park is America’s largest city park

Map to South Mountain 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.

Views from Airport Mesa in Sedona include this captivating glimpse of Coffee Pot Rock. Millennials may not be able to pick it out.
Bell Rock is a massive and unmistakable landmark on the way into town from the south. It’s a pretty easy stroll to the base of Bell Rock.
Stunning views like this can be found virtually anywhere in the Sedona area.

Airport Mesa is an awe-inspiring Sedona hot spot with striking views of the red rock hillside nearly every direction you look.

Map to Sedona ⇒

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.

Grand Canyon

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.

First light of day blazes across Grand Canyon, as viewed from Yaki Point
Climb the Desert View tower for stunning views of Grand Canyon. On a clear day, you can see Utah. There’s an observation deck at ground level for those who can’t do stairs.

Map to Grand Canyon South Rim ⇒

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.

Related:  8 Amazing Grand Canyon experiences you can have in one day or less

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.


  1. Great post. I live the Christmas festival at Papa go park. .the music, magic, hot cider….

    I think I’ve mentioned Red Mountain to you, on the way to the Grand Canyon, NW of Flagstaff. It’s an easy hike for kids and fun to scramble around the rock formations.

    1. Thanks for the feedback. I’ll have to look into the Christmas festival at Papago. First I’m hearing of it.
      I’ll try to feature Red Mountain in the future. So much to see in that region.

      1. The Christmas festival us at the botanical garden area, I think. They line pathways with the sandbags with candles in them, have a band and other various musical acts spread out along the paths.

        Red Mountain is an extinct volcano and it’s caldrea at the side mystified geologists. I’ve seen UFO’S there and had blue glowing foot prints walking next me on the walk out at night.

      2. Correction, I have been to that one at the botanical gardens. They had all this blown glass sculptures situated around the grounds and lit up. Unforgettable!
        Many wouldn’t buy the UFO story, but I’ve had an encounter of my own so I believe it all.

      3. I was with 2 other people who saw the blue foot prints and heard some creature/being/animal? scrambling above next to us, keeping pace with us. I was with another person who saw the UFO, too.

        Glad you’ve had that experience and enjoyed the festival, too. It felt so intimate to me, sharing those various music stations with small groups.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.