Arizona has fantastic family experiences to offer. My husband and I have taken our three boys to Arizona two times on family trips. We have family living there so it is a perfect way to combine a vacation with a family visit.
On both of our family vacations to Arizona we visited in the month of March. The weather was warm with temperatures in the seventies and eighties but not with the extreme hot temperatures Arizona is known for in the summer. The flowers were blooming, gardens were producing, and the combined aromas of the orange, lemon, tangelo, and grapefruit trees were so lovely.
After a couple of days in the warmth of Phoenix we decided to take a road trip over to the Grand Canyon. As we drove into the mountains of Arizona the temperature began to drop. Our first stop along the road trip was in the beautiful red rock cloaked city of Sedona. We rode a trolley for a tour of the city, the rock formations, and the famous Chapel of the Holy Cross church built on a rock. This location was chosen to build the beautiful church due to the natural rock formation that looks like Mary holding baby Jesus with two nuns nearby. The red color of the rock here gives a breathtaking view.
As we drove further up the mountains towards the Grand Canyon the temperature dropped even further and my kids were surprised to see snow in Arizona. We stopped and spent the night in the city of Williams on the infamous Route 66. Williams is called the gateway to the Grand Canyon.
Before we left Williams to hit the Grand Canyon, we paid a visit to Bearizona. This was an amazing experience as visitors slowly drive their cars through animal enclosures in the pine forest for more than three miles. This allows visitors to view animals in their natural habitats. The enclosures for each type of animal are surrounded by tall wire fencing with an automated gate run by staff. As a car is driven through the habitat the gate opens to the next animal enclosure. In the safety of our car we were literally a few feet away from wolves, bears, goats, deer, donkeys, bison, and buffalo. We even followed a bear walking down road in front of our vehicle. It was amazing to see the beautiful animals up close as we drove by. There is also a walk through traditional zoo portion as well where we enjoyed watching baby bears climbing up a tree and playing with each other.
The next day we drove to the amazing and wondrous Grand Canyon on the south rim. I found it spiritual yet daunting to stand on the edge of the giant canyon. I was in awe viewing the reality of the depth and width of this natural canyon. No words can illustrate its beauty, massiveness, and ever changing appearance as the sun changes its colors throughout the day. This deep mammoth beauty is both scary and gorgeous at the same time.
As a mom, I was afraid when my invincible feeling children walked right up that giant’s edge. I held my breath a few times when my oldest son went right up to the edge. I wouldn’t let our youngest get too close because he can be careless with where he walks. There are rails in some places, but not everywhere along the edge. I was a bit of a nervous mama while we were there, but it truly is a must see as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
We also rode a guided bus tour of the south rim where we were fortunate to view the canyon from several lookout points. We were fortunate to see some giant California condors flying overhead on our tour.
After our Grand Canyon visit we drove back to the Phoenix area to once again enjoy the warmth of a ninety-degree day and flower scented air. We were members at our local zoo back home which allowed us admission into the Phoenix Zoo for a discounted price. All of us enjoyed the zoo and the family bonding time together.
On our last day in Arizona we visited the Superstition Mountain wilderness for a dessert hike. The terrain was difficult for our six-year old and he kept slipping on the uneven path but our older two boys traversed the dessert path easily. My boys loved it when we spotted a tiny scorpion, but no one dared to get too close. We enjoyed the beautiful natural dessert views of rock, cactus, and plants along our hike. We snacked on our picnic under a formation of trees that made a natural cave. It was a great day of family fun that ended in a visit to an old west mining town.
I highly recommend Arizona as a place of family travel as there are many different types of family fun and sights to enjoy together. The state is beautiful and variable in its terrain and climate. The beauty and scenery changes depending on where you are in the state. We enjoyed the warmth of the dessert area and the refreshing cool mountain air all in one trip. The beauty of Arizona is rich and diverse indeed.
The following was a guest post by Julie Hoag. Julie writes about motherhood, kids, family and pets at Juliehoagwriter.com.
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