Things to do on Vacation in Arizona

Wondering what to do in Arizona besides visiting the Grand Canyon?
Things to do on Vacation in Arizona

There is certainly much more to do in Arizona than booking tours of the spectacular Grand Canyon…you can do everything from biking, wildlife watching and hiking to golfing, shopping and spa treatments. Below, I’ve rounded-up some of the things you wouldn’t want to miss doing while in Arizona:

Hop on a hot air balloon

One of the main reasons to visit Arizona in the first place is to explore Arizona’s enchanting desert landscapes and stunning mountain scenery, and what better way to do this than on an air balloon? You can book hot air balloon flights in the Phoenix and Sedona areas with companies such as “Hot Air Balloon Expeditions”, “Red Rock Balloons”, and “Northern Light Balloon Expeditions”.

You can expect to pay around $200 for a flight on a hot air balloon, which may seem expensive though the experience is more than worth every penny! Whoever company you go with, if you’ve never being on a hot air balloon you’ll no doubt enjoy the almost indescribable experience that it is lifting up on a hot air balloon seeing the ground move away from you!

Visit a cavern

Arizona is known for its many caves and visiting a cave is definitely, one of the coolest things to do on vacation in Arizona. If you’re basing your vacation in Tucson, you’ll find a few caverns within driving range of Tucson, which include Kartchner Caverns State Park (Benson) and Colossal Caves Mountain Park (Vail).

Both Kartchner and Colossal caverns are located under an hour’s drive and are two of the nicest caves you can tour in Arizona, especially Kartchner caverns which boasts the largest stalactite formation in the world.

Besides these, a few other caves in Arizona worth passing by are Coronado caves (Hereford), Grand Canyon Caverns and Antelope Canyon cave (Page). This last cave (Antelope) is part of the Navajo reservation and it’s truly the most amazing cave in Arizona because during the summer equinox the sunbeams enter the cave while lighting it beautifully.


Booking an ATV tour is without a doubt, one of the most enjoyable things to do on vacation in Arizona. The Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area (southwest Arizona) and San Francisco volcanic field (northern Arizona) are two of the most popular areas in Arizona to go off-roading, though Imperial Sand Dunes (near Yuma) is probably the most popular place because of blockbuster movies such as Jarhead and Scorpion King which were filmed there.

If you want to book ATV tours out of Sedona, you could book with companies such as “Pink Jeep Tours” who offers a guided tour of Broken Arrow for around $80. “Arizona ATV Adventures” also offers guided tours of the Sedona Valley for around $130. If you prefer to go the independent route, you could hire your own off-roader with companies such as “ATV Sedona” who rent out four-wheelers and buggies for around $100 for four hours.

Watch a NASCAR race

Watching car racing at the Phoenix International Raceway is hugely popular in Arizona and there’s no better way to experience a car race than during Arizona's top NASCAR racing events such as the NASCAR Spring Cup and the Nationwide Series in the first two weeks of November (Nov 10-13).

The annual Checkered Flag Run on March 2 is another annual event at the Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) worth attending because you get to watch NASCAR drivers tearing up the track during the Basha’s Supermarket 200.

Stay at a dude ranch

If you’re traveling with family or friends, one of the best things to do on vacation in Arizona is horseback riding and learning to ride.

The “Arizona Dude Ranch Association” (AZDRA) is a good starting point for finding details about dude ranch locations in Arizona. The website also has lots of good information and even a visual chart comparing dude ranches’ amenities. Saying this, to give an idea the best dude ranches in Arizona are Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch (Yucca), Rancho de los Caballeros (Wickenburg), Rancho De La Osa (Sasabe), White Stallion Ranch (Tucson), Tanque Verde Ranch (Tucson), and Flying E Ranch (Wickenburg).

Take a ride on the Grand Canyon Railway

The Grand Canyon railway is without a doubt, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Arizona and a fantastic thing to do with the kids. The Grand Canyon Railway is a real cool way to get to the Grand Canyon and because you won't have to be at the wheel of a car everyone can have a good time while enjoying the spectacular views.

By the way, whenever you plan to ride the Grand Canyon railway, be sure to do it during Arizona’s centennial celebration (Feb 14) or Christmas eve (Dec 24). During those days, the Grand Canyon railway puts into service the old steam engine and vintage carriages.

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