The Arizona Association of Bed and Breakfast Inns asked the author of Frommer's Arizona guide, noted travel writer Karl Samson, to develop a set of unique travel itineraries for the Grand Canyon State.
We hope you'll find the itineraries helpful in exploring the magnificent landscape and diverse cultures of Arizona. And we hope to see you along the way.
It may come as a surprise, but Arizona is more than just the Grand Canyon. It's more than cactus and sun-baked desert, too. In fact, Arizona is a vast and varied state. There are ghost towns and Indian ruins, steamy caverns and snowy peaks, manicured golf courses and cactus-lined hiking trails. In fact, the plethora of things to see and do in Arizona can make deciding on an itinerary an almost impossible task.
Where should we start? What route should we take? What should we see? These are questions that Arizona's innkeepers have heard from countless guests. So, to make planning a bit easier for you, we've put together these 20 itineraries, which we feel cover the best that Arizona has to offer.
The itineraries address, among other things, different interests and different time constraints, and you're likely to find one or more itineraries here that focus on your particular interests or that fit the number of days you have available for your explorations of Arizona. Read a few itineraries and you might just find yourself re-planning your trip so you can take in an attraction you never knew existed.
There is, however, one aspect of an Arizona vacation that these itineraries cannot answer with absolute certainty-what will the weather be like? This question comes up more often than just about any other question that Arizona innkeepers get asked. Here's what you should know. Yes, Arizona is a desert, and yes, it can get hot enough to cook an egg on the hood of your car. However, those triple digit temperatures are a summer phenomenon, and even then, they generally only apply to the lowland desert areas. Much of the state, including the Grand Canyon's North and South Rims, actually lies at elevations with very moderate summer temperatures, and even in places such as Phoenix and Tucson, summers can seem more comfortable than say an August afternoon in Atlanta, Miami, or Houston. As they like to say here in Arizona, "Yes it's hot, but it's a dry heat." The flip side of summer's desert heat is winter's perfect weather. But don't be lulled into a false sense of security by balmy January weather in Phoenix. Up at the south rim of the Grand Canyon it can be well below freezing, and winter storms often bring sudden dumps of snow that can even close major highways. If you plan on visiting in the winter and want to visit the Grand Canyon, be sure to bring lots of warm clothing. Even in Phoenix and Tucson, nights can be quite chilly in the winter. In other words, Arizona's climate is as varied as its topography, so plan accordingly.
Basically, no matter what the time of year, there's plenty to see and do in Arizona. The only problem is figuring out how much you can pack in to your visit. Whether you're interested in gazing down into the Grand Canyon, poking around an 800-year-old ruin, or strolling the streets of Tombstone, the following itineraries should help you with your planning.
- The Whole Enchilada-
Seeing the state in two weeks
- From New West to Old West in Central Arizona-
The best of the West in Central Arizona:
- The Red Rocks and Beyond-
A Few Days in Sedona
- A Few Days in Tucson-
Into the heart of the Sonoran Desert:
- A Few Days In Phoenix-
Finding the bright spots in the Valley of the Sun
- How to Ruin a Good Vacation-
Touring the state's most interesting Indian ruins:
- Indian Country-
Exploring Arizona's Native American heritage:
- Cowboys and Indians in Southern Arizona-
Where to find the Wild West in Southern Arizona
- Navajo-land and the Hopi Mesas-
Ancient ruins, contemporary crafts and majestic landscapes:
- Central Arizona-
Yes there are things to see and do between Phoenix and The Grand Canyon
- After the Grand Canyon What Next-
Trips around Flagstaff
- Arizona in the Fast Lane-
Seeing the state in a week or less
Arizona's Territorial History Lives Here
- Old Spanish Trails-
Southern Arizona's Spanish Heritage
- Route 66 and the Colorado River-
Highlights along the historic highway and down Arizona's"West Coast"
- I've Got to Get Out of This Heat!-
Quick escapes from summer's heat:
- Of Elegant Trogons and Crested Caracaras-
The best of Arizona bird watching:
- Arizona Wildflower Wanderings and Prickly Peregrinations-
The best places in the Arizona desert to see cacti and desert wildflowers:
- Ancient Indian Trails of the Sedona/Flagstaff Region-
Ancient ruins large and small
- Cowboy and Indians from A to Z-
The Apache Trail to Zane Grey Country
About the Author
Karl Samson is, with his wife, the co-author of the guidebook Frommer's Arizona. He has been exploring Arizona for more than a decade, and in that time has sought out the very best that the state has to offer. Yet, despite his years of exploring Arizona, he continues to find new favorite places. Karl is also a regular contributor to Sunset Magazine and has written guide books to such far flung locales as the Northwest, Nepal, and Central America.