Escape the heat: Discover the coolest places to visit in Arizona this summer

As someone who has lived in Arizona for many years, I know firsthand how brutal the summers can be. With temperatures regularly exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit, it can be difficult to find relief from the scorching heat. That’s why I’m excited to share some of the coolest places to visit in Arizona this summer. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, these destinations offer a welcome respite from the heat and a chance to explore the diverse landscapes and cultures of this beautiful state.

Natural rock bridge named Devils Bridge
Close up of Devil’s Bridge in Sedona, AZ

Why finding cool places to visit is important

Before we dive into the specific destinations, let’s talk about why it’s important to find cool places to visit during an Arizona summer. Not only is the heat uncomfortable, but it can also be dangerous.

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are serious conditions that can result in hospitalization or even death. By seeking out cooler destinations, you can reduce your risk of heat-related illness and enjoy your time in Arizona to the fullest.

Additionally, Arizona is home to a variety of unique landscapes and cultures that are often overlooked by visitors who only see the state as a hot, dry desert. By exploring the cooler destinations, you’ll get a chance to experience the diversity of Arizona and gain a greater appreciation for all that this state has to offer.

Cool places to visit in northern Arizona

Let’s start with the northern part of the state, which is generally cooler than the southern regions. Up next are some of my top picks for cool places to visit in Northern Arizona.

Sedona – Home of red rocks and vortexes

Sedona is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to escape the heat. Not only is the city surrounded by stunning red rock formations, but it’s also known for its vortexes, which are said to have healing and spiritual properties.

Whether you believe in the power of vortex energy or not, there’s no denying that Sedona has a unique and captivating energy that draws visitors from all over the world.

Boynton Canyon Sedona
Boynton Canyon Sedona
Want the inside scoop on more amazing places like this? Grab a copy of Arizona Bucket List Adventure Guide.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

One of the best ways to experience Sedona is by hiking one of the many trails in the area. Some of my favorites include Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, and Devil’s Bridge. If exploring nature isn’t your thing, there are also plenty of shops, galleries, and restaurants in town to explore.

Insider’s tip: When temperatures rise, locals hike to The Crack swimming hole on Wet Beaver Creek near Sedona

People lounging around on large platforms of red rock separated by a creek
You’ll know you’ve reached the Crack when you see this mass of red sandstone virtually ripped down the center by Wet Beaver Creek

Want to discover unique places? Book a guided tour with one of these Sedona area experts.

Flagstaff – Hiking and outdoor Activities

Flagstaff is another cool destination in Northern Arizona that’s perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. The city sits at an elevation of over 7,000 feet, which means temperatures rarely exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer months. Flagstaff is surrounded by the Coconino National Forest, which offers endless opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and camping.

Cliff dwelling alcove at Walnut Canyon National Monument
When you explore the cliff dwellings of Walnut Canyon National Monument near Flagstaff, naturally occurring alcoves like this one provide welcome relief from the intense Arizona sunshine.

Hundreds of hiking trails meander through and away from the city, including the Arizona National Scenic Trail, which winds 800 total miles from Arizona’s southern border (Mexico) to northern border (Utah).

One of the most popular attractions in Flagstaff is the Lowell Observatory, where you can learn about astronomy and view the stars through powerful telescopes. The city also has a vibrant historic downtown area with shops, restaurants, and breweries to explore on the nostalgic Route 66.

Grand Canyon – The Ultimate Cool Destination

No list of cool places to visit in Arizona would be complete without mentioning the Grand Canyon. While temperatures can still be warm during the day, the cool breezes and lower humidity make it a much more comfortable experience than other parts of the state. Plus, the breathtaking views of one of the world’s natural wonders make it worth braving the heat.

View of hiking trail winding through lush green foliage in Grand Canyon
North Kaibab Trail leads hikers from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to Phantom Ranch on the canyon floor.

There are plenty of ways to explore the Grand Canyon, from hiking and camping to helicopter tours and mule rides. If you’re looking for a unique and unforgettable experience, consider taking a rafting trip down the Colorado River, which offers a completely different perspective of the canyon.

Short on time? Book a tour for a Grand Canyon experience you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

Cool Places to Visit in Southern Arizona

While Southern Arizona is generally warmer than the northern regions, there are still plenty of cool destinations to explore. Next up are two of my top picks.

Tucson – Vibrant culture and scenic hiking trails

Tucson is a vibrant city with a rich cultural heritage and plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. One of the best things about Tucson is its proximity to the Santa Catalina Mountains, which offer miles of scenic hiking trails and stunning views of the city below.

In town, you can explore historic neighborhoods like Barrio Viejo, which is filled with colorful adobe homes and vibrant street art. The city also has a thriving food and drink scene, with plenty of restaurants, bars, and breweries to choose from.

Bisbee – Quirky small-town charm

Bisbee is a quirky little town in the southern part of the state that’s known for its small-town charm and artistic community. The town is built into the hillsides and features colorful Victorian homes, unique shops, and galleries. Bisbee is also home to the Lavender Pit, an old copper mine that’s been turned into a unique attraction known as the Queen Mine Tour.

One of the best ways to experience Bisbee is by taking a walking tour of the town, which will give you a chance to learn about its history and culture. There are also plenty of restaurants and cafes in town to grab a bite to eat and soak up the charming atmosphere.

Plan your cool Arizona getaway

As you can see, there are plenty of cool places to visit in Arizona this summer. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, spiritual experiences, or quirky small towns, there’s something for everyone in this diverse and beautiful state. So start planning your Arizona getaway today and escape the heat in style.

Book your cool Arizona getaway today and experience all the beauty and diversity this state has to offer.

Traveling solo? Book a tour with one of these trusted operators.

Leave a Reply

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