Family RV travel requires a certain blend of variety, accessibility, and learning opportunities as well as that wow factor around at least a few corners. We have found that Arizona is an ideal state for all of that. So load up your family of adventurers (and each of your personal water bottles), and make your way to the Grand Canyon State.
This story was created in partnership with the Arizona Office of Tourism.
Because planning a family road trip—and staying in the moment while you’re exploring—demands more than a little bit of organization, we put together some ideas and inspiration to add to your planning lists!
Few places in the world are more iconic than the Grand Canyon. Watching your kids take in its magnitude and grandeur for the first time will be unforgettable. There are more than a few ways to experience the Grand Canyon, as we personally like the North Rim, as it eases the pressure on the landmark. You get to enjoy fewer crowds with the opportunity to help disperse human impact. Find a campsite, grab your water bottles and backpacks, and take a hike or ride your bikes while you think about all the time and drops of water it took to carve the Grand Canyon.
Arizona’s parks don’t end with Grand Canyon National Park; in fact, there are many outstanding state parks across the state, most of which provide RV hookups and camping in addition to their wildlife watching, hiking, biking, and boating opportunities. Build your route based on the family’s interests—be it caving, searching for lost gold, relaxing with a podcast next to the lake—or all of the above!
To-do in Arizona
As you make your way through the landscapes of Arizona, spotting wildlife and architectural artifacts along the way, slow down and follow the principles of Appreciate AZ. It can be educational and impactful to care for these wild spaces without feeling like a chore for you or the kids to travel sustainably.
- Plan ahead & prepare
- Stick to trails
- Trash your trash
- Leave what you find
- Be careful with fire
- Respect wildlife
- Share the outdoors
In fact, you could spend an entire week practicing sustainable travel in Arizona following this itinerary.
Arizona shopping list
It’s not difficult to find unique-to-Arizona gifts to bring home from your travels, so we’ll leave you to discover local shops, artists, and restaurants as you make your way around the state. But there is another way to make sure your experiences have a positive ripple effect throughout Arizona’s communities: Guided tours.
Arizona has an astounding amount of cultural heritage. It’s one thing to walk through Monument Valley and appreciate the people who called it home long ago; it’s another to walk that landscape with one of their ancestors. If you plan on visiting the rock formations of Monument Valley, add Mystery Valley to your itinerary. Near the town of Kayenta, this desert holds ancient indigenous ruins, petroglyphs, and wildlife. Because this is a sacred area, a guide is required for access, and you can hire one at Monument Valley Visitor Center.
Enrich any Arizona experience by hiring a local guide to learn about history, culture and wildlife in your travels. Don’t forget, make memories but leave what you find.
Arizona has so much to offer, and your unique route will depend on the interests of your family. We have found that some of the best memories come from the unexpected moments on the road. Here are just a few off-the-beaten-path ideas you may not have come across in your research. Visiting lesser-known destinations is a powerful way to practice Appreciate AZ by spreading out human presence and connecting with local businesses and indigenous cultures.
- Superior, the town that has survived as an escape and a new crop of eco-minded artisans and history enthusiasts.
- Wildlife watching and more in Cochise County.
- Arizona is home to 19 dark-sky communities, places and parks, ideal for a little extra elbow room and unmatched stargazing.
- Red cliffs, cactus and yucca, a state park full of trails, and local wineries in Cottonwood.
- Sierra Vista means Mountain View, and mountains mean outdoor adventure (and hummingbirds)!
- Play outside, no matter the season, in Flagstaff.
Exploring Arizona with your family is sure to become a favorite memory. The more you experience this state’s greatest adventures, the more you understand why it’s important to do your part in preserving Arizona for generations to come.