Ready for the Southwest road trip of a lifetime? Embark on an unforgettable road trip through Arizona’s diverse landscapes and vibrant culture! From the bustling city of Phoenix to the awe-inspiring beauty of the Grand Canyon, this 7 day Arizona road trip itinerary will guide you through the state’s most iconic destinations and uncover its hidden gems. So get ready to experience the best of Arizona, filled with adventures, delicious food, and unforgettable memories!
As an Arizona native, I’ll be pulling from my local experience to make sure you have the best trip possible. Let’s dive in! We’ll start with some must-know trip planning details.
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How Many Days Are Enough for Arizona?
The ideal duration for an Arizona trip depends on your travel goals and attractions of interest. While a short trip of 3-4 days covers some highlights, I recommend at least 7 days for a deeper immersion in the state’s diverse landscapes, cities, and unique experiences.
A 7-day Arizona road trip itinerary includes Phoenix, national parks like Saguaro, Petrified Forest, and the Grand Canyon, as well as Sedona, Monument Valley, and Antelope Canyon with Horseshoe Bend.
With 10-14 days, explore each location further, participate in activities like stargazing, river rafting, and off-roading, or visit additional attractions like Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, and Jerome. You can also use this time to do an Arizona Utah road trip!
At the end of the day, the length of your Arizona trip depends on your interests and preferred pace, but regardless of the duration, you’re sure to create lasting memories and discover unforgettable sights.
What is the Best Month for an Arizona Road Trip?
The best months for an Arizona road trip are spring (March-May) and fall (September-November), offering pleasant weather and moderate temperatures perfect for outdoor activities and sightseeing. Spring brings mild temperatures and blooming wildflowers, while fall provides cooler temperatures and stunning fall colors in higher elevations.
Summer (June-August) is scorching hot, limiting outdoor activities, while winter (December-February) can be cold in northern regions with snowfall and freezing temperatures at the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. However, winters are milder in southern Arizona.
In conclusion, spring and fall are ideal for an Arizona road trip, providing favorable weather to explore the state’s diverse landscapes and enjoy outdoor adventures.
Where to Start and End Your Arizona Road Trip
Start in Phoenix, Arizona, home to the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, which offers numerous flight connections. In addition, Phoenix is an excellent base for exploring the city’s landmarks and the nearby Superstition Mountains!
Choose Phoenix or Flagstaff as your ending point, depending on flight options and travel preferences. Both cities have airports with connections to various destinations.
Ending in Phoenix completes an entire state loop and allows one to revisit the city before departure. Allow approximately 3.5 hours for the drive from the Grand Canyon South Rim.
Ending in Flagstaff, just 1.5 hours from the Grand Canyon South Rim, offers a charming city experience before departure. Flagstaff Pulliam Airport provides convenient flight options.
No matter where you start and end your Arizona road trip, plan your itinerary carefully and maximize your time exploring this beautiful state!
Arizona Road Trip Itinerary (7 Days) At a Glance + Map
- Day 1: Phoenix – City Exploration and Superstition Mountains
- Day 2: Saguaro National Park and Tucson
- Day 3: Sedona – Red Rock Adventures and Spiritual Vortexes
- Day 4: Petrified Forest National Park and Canyon de Chelly
- Day 5: Monument Valley and Valley of the Gods (optional)
- Day 6: Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and Lake Powell
- Day 7: Grand Canyon National Park
Below is a map of your itinerary and the stops you’ll make along the way. You can click here for a live version of the map to use on your trip!
Since you’ll be visiting national parks and Sedona, remember to grab your America the Beautiful Pass!
The best place to start your Arizona adventure is by flying into Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, which offers numerous flights from various destinations. Try to arrive in the morning or early afternoon to make the most of your first day in Phoenix.
Upon arrival, you can explore the nearby Desert Botanical Garden, only a 15-minute drive from the airport, or visit the popular Roosevelt Row Arts District for a taste of the city’s vibrant art scene.
If you’re hungry, head to Matt’s Big Breakfast, a local favorite serving delicious all-day breakfast dishes, or indulge in authentic Mexican cuisine at Barrio Café.
Day 1: Phoenix – City Exploration and Superstition Mountains
Begin your Arizona adventure in the heart of Phoenix. If you didn’t already, Start by visiting the Desert Botanical Garden, where you’ll discover the stunning beauty of the Sonoran Desert. Next, dive into the city’s thriving art scene with stops at the Phoenix Art Museum. I also recommend visiting Scottsdale where you can even take a bike tour around the waterfront (an Instagrammable Scottsdale spot).
Coffee lover? Try Berdena’s or another Scottsdale coffee shop!
Old Town Scottsdale also has some greta places to eat if you’re hungry (I love Herbox for brunch)— you should read: The Best Day Trips from Scottsdale, AZ
After lunch, make your way east to the mysterious Superstition Mountains. This rugged wilderness area is perfect for an afternoon of outdoor adventure. Next, take on the Peralta Trail, a moderately challenging hike that rewards you with panoramic views of the desert landscape and unique rock formations.
Alternatively, you can head to Lost Dutchman State Park or the Apache Trail in the Supers— both are a great addition to your Arizona road trip 7 days! For lunch, head to one of the top-rated local eateries when hunger strikes for a delicious meal.
Consider trying the farm-to-table cuisine at FnB or the Caribbean-inspired dishes at The Breadfruit & Rum Bar.
As the sun sets, return to Phoenix for a night of delectable Southwestern cuisine. Sample the innovative dishes at Barrio Café, known for its unique take on Mexican food, or enjoy a memorable meal at Ocotillo, which offers a contemporary twist on American classics.
And of course, there are tons of food options and bars in Scottsdale that you can enjoy instead!
P.S. I recommend reading my guide on the most Instagrammable spots in Phoenix!
Rest up for the next day’s adventures at one of the area’s excellent accommodations. For an upscale experience, book a room at the historic Arizona Biltmore or the Cuban-inspired Scott Resort in Scottsdale.
However, if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, consider the stylish boutique hotel FOUND:RE Phoenix.
Day 2: Saguaro National Park and Tucson
On your second day, head south from Phoenix to Saguaro National Park, an iconic desert landscape filled with the majestic Saguaro cacti. Split into two districts, the park offers a variety of trails for all levels of hikers. Consider hiking the Valley View Overlook Trail in the Tucson Mountain District (West), offering stunning vistas.
In the Rincon Mountain District (East), the easy Cactus Forest Loop Drive presents an opportunity for a scenic drive through the park.
Spend the afternoon exploring Tucson’s unique cultural attractions. Visit the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, a combined zoo, botanical garden, and natural history museum that showcases the region’s diverse flora and fauna. Then, step back in time at the San Xavier del Bac Mission, a beautifully restored 18th-century mission church.
After working up an appetite, head into Tucson for a well-deserved meal. El Charro Café, the nation’s oldest Mexican restaurant, offers a taste of history alongside mouthwatering dishes.
Alternatively, try the innovative fusion cuisine at The Tasteful Kitchen.
As evening approaches, indulge in Tucson’s thriving food scene. Dine at the popular Mi Nidito, which offers a famous menu of Mexican cuisine.
For a more casual experience, head to the bustling Mercado San Agustín, a public market featuring a variety of food stalls and local vendors.
Budget-conscious travelers can choose the La Posada Lodge & Casitas.
Day 3: Sedona – Red Rock Adventures and Spiritual Vortexes
Begin the third day of your 7 day Arizona road trip itinerary with a scenic drive north to the enchanting town of Sedona. Surrounded by red rock formations, Sedona offers a variety of outdoor activities. Start by hiking the iconic Cathedral Rock Trail, where you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
For this hike and many others in Sedona, you’ll need a Red Rock Pass.
If you need alternative hikes, I suggest ready my guide on easy hikes in Sedona, AZ!
Sedona is known for its spiritual vortexes, which are said to be areas of concentrated energy conducive to healing and meditation. Visit the Airport Mesa, Bell Rock, or Boynton Canyon vortexes for a unique, restorative experience. Alternatively, explore more of the area’s natural beauty by hiking the West Fork Oak Creek Trail or renting a mountain bike to tackle the trails.
After your morning hike, refuel with a delicious meal at one of Sedona’s excellent eateries.
Enjoy farm-to-table cuisine at the ChocolaTree Organic Oasis, or indulge in creative Southwestern dishes at Elote Café.
As the sun sets, take a moment to appreciate Sedona’s vibrant arts scene. Browse the Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village for local artwork, or catch a live performance at the Sedona Performing Arts Center. If you’re up for hiking, there are plenty of great Sedona sunset hikes to enjoy!
For dinner, try the Italian-inspired cuisine at Dahl & Di Luca Ristorante Italiano or the eclectic menu at Mariposa Latin Inspired Grill.
For more options, check out my guide on the best boutique hotels in Sedona!
Day 4: Petrified Forest National Park and Canyon de Chelly
Rise early and head east to Petrified Forest National Park, a fascinating landscape filled with colorful petrified wood, ancient fossils, and striking badlands. Begin your visit at the Rainbow Forest Museum, where you can learn about the park’s history and geology.
Then, explore the park’s main attractions, including the Giant Logs Trail, Blue Mesa, and the Painted Desert Inn.
Continue your journey to the remarkable Canyon de Chelly National Monument, home to towering sandstone cliffs, lush valleys, and ancient Ancestral Puebloan ruins. Take a self-guided tour along the North or South Rim drives, stopping at the many overlooks for stunning views of the canyon.
For a more immersive experience, consider joining a guided tour led by a Navajo guide, which will allow you to access the canyon floor and learn about the area’s rich history and culture. While options are limited inside the park, you can pack a picnic lunch to enjoy amidst the unique surroundings.
Alternatively, head to nearby Holbrook for a bite at one of the local diners, such as Joe & Aggie’s Café or Tom & Suzie’s Diner.
As you wrap up your day of exploration, dine at the Thunderbird Lodge Cafeteria, which offers a variety of Navajo and American dishes. Relax and soak in the peaceful atmosphere of the canyon as the sun sets.
Tomorrow you’ll head closer to Utah!
Spend the night within the Navajo Nation at the Thunderbird Lodge, which offers basic but comfortable rooms. Alternatively, consider staying in Chinle at the Best Western Canyon de Chelly Inn or the Holiday Inn Canyon de Chelly.
These options provide easy access to the park and a range of amenities for a restful night.
Day 5: Monument Valley and Valley of the Gods (optional)
On day five, venture north to the iconic Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, a mesmerizing landscape of sandstone buttes and mesas featured in countless movies and photographs. Start at the visitor center to learn about the area’s geology and Navajo culture. Then, embark on the 17-mile Valley Drive, a self-guided tour that winds past some of the park’s most famous landmarks, such as the Mittens, the Three Sisters, and John Ford’s Point.
Next up you have an optional adventure!
For a more off-the-beaten-path experience, consider heading to the nearby Valley of the Gods. This lesser-known destination features striking sandstone formations and a serene atmosphere, perfect for hiking or taking a scenic drive.
While it lacks the amenities of Monument Valley, the Valley of the Gods offers an opportunity to connect with the breathtaking beauty of the Southwest in a more intimate setting. Savor a meal at The View Restaurant, which offers a variety of Navajo and American dishes, along with stunning panoramas of the valley.
Alternatively, pack a picnic lunch to enjoy amidst the dramatic scenery.
Return to Monument Valley and take in the unforgettable sight of the sandstone formations glowing in the warm hues of the setting sun. For dinner, enjoy a traditional Navajo meal at one of the nearby trading posts, such as the historic Goulding’s Trading Post.
Tomorrow you’ll be exploring some of the nearby, photogenic attractions, so pack your camera!
Spend the night in Monument Valley for a truly immersive experience. The View Hotel offers comfortable rooms with unparalleled views of the iconic landscape.
Alternatively, opt for a unique stay at a traditional Navajo hogan, like those offered by Tear Drop Arch Bed & Breakfast or Monument Valley Tipi Village.
Day 6: Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and Lake Powell
Begin day six with a drive to Page, Arizona, home to the mesmerizing Antelope Canyon. This slot canyon, famous for its smooth, flowing sandstone walls and dramatic shafts of light, can only be visited via guided tours. Choose between the Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon, each offering a unique experience.
Be sure to book your tour well in advance, as spots fill up quickly!
Continue your day of exploration by visiting the breathtaking Horseshoe Bend. A short hike from the parking area leads you to an overlook with awe-inspiring views of the Colorado River as it winds around the distinctive rock formation.
Afterward, head to Lake Powell, a vast reservoir offering endless opportunities for water-based activities, such as boating, fishing, and swimming. After your Antelope Canyon tour, head to one of Page’s local eateries for a satisfying meal.
Big John’s Texas BBQ and the Blue Buddha Sushi Lounge are popular options, offering a variety of flavors to suit any palate.
As the day comes to a close, dine at one of Page’s delicious restaurants. Enjoy a hearty meal at the State 48 Tavern or savor Italian cuisine at the family-owned Bonkers Restaurant.
Tomorrow, you’ll be driving down to Grand Canyon National Park for the next part of your 7 day Arizona road trip!
Budget-conscious travelers can choose the La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Page at Lake Powell or the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Page – Lake Powell Area.
Day 7: Grand Canyon National Park
On the final day of your Arizona road trip, set out early for the grand finale: the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon National Park. Enter the park through the South Rim, where you’ll find the visitor center, numerous overlooks, and trailheads. While you’re here, I also recommend reading my Phoenix to Sedona to Grand Canyon itinerary blog!
Make sure you have your America the Beautiful Pass!
Start your day with a stroll along the Rim Trail, which offers unparalleled views of the canyon and is suitable for all fitness levels.
After lunch, explore more of the park’s natural wonders by hiking part of the Bright Angel Trail or the South Kaibab Trail. Both trails descend into the canyon, offering unique perspectives on its grandeur.
Remember to allow ample time for your return hike, as the ascent can be challenging. If you want to see a great view, stop at Ooh Aah Point on South Kaibab Trail!
If you prefer a more leisurely activity, take a scenic drive along the Desert View Drive, which features multiple viewpoints and the striking Desert View Watchtower. For a memorable dining experience, consider having lunch at the historic El Tovar Dining Room, which offers a variety of dishes and panoramic views of the canyon.
Alternatively, grab a bite at the Bright Angel Lodge or the Maswik Food Court.
As the sun sets on your unforgettable Arizona adventure, find a spot along the rim to take in the breathtaking sight of the canyon bathed in the warm glow of the setting sun. Reflect on the incredible experiences and memories you’ve created throughout your journey.
Tomorrow, you’ll head to your departure location!
Spend your final night in Arizona at one of the South Rim’s lodgings. For a historic experience, book a room at the iconic El Tovar Hotel or the rustic Bright Angel Lodge. Other options within the park include the Kachina Lodge, Thunderbird Lodge, and Maswik Lodge.
On the final day of your adventure, plan to depart from either Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport or Flagstaff Pulliam Airport, depending on your travel preferences and flight options. If you’re flying out of Flagstaff, consider exploring the charming downtown area and grabbing a bite at Tourist Home All Day Café or Diablo Burger before your departure.
If your departure is from Phoenix, make sure to allow enough time for the approximately 3.5-hour drive from the Grand Canyon South Rim. You can stop in Sedona or Flagstaff along the way for a meal and a chance to reminisce about your unforgettable 7 day Arizona road trip itinerary!
If you have more time, check out Edge of the World, Flagstaff before you leave!
And that concludes your trip!
Arizona Road Trip Add-Ons
If you want to extend your Arizona itinerary 7 days, consider adding these extra destinations and activities. From exploring neighboring Utah’s national parks on a road trip to discovering additional hidden gems within Arizona, there’s no shortage of incredible experiences to make your trip even more unforgettable.
By adding these extra destinations and activities to your Arizona road trip, you’ll be able to explore more of the region’s diverse landscapes and delve deeper into the rich history and culture of the area.
Vermilion Cliffs National Monument: Located in northern Arizona, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is a lesser-known gem with stunning sandstone formations, including the famous Wave. A permit is required to hike to the Wave, and it’s a challenging, off-the-beaten-path adventure.
Utah National Parks: Extend your road trip to visit Utah’s “Mighty 5” national parks: Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, and Canyonlands. These parks offer breathtaking landscapes, unique geological formations, and thrilling outdoor activities such as hiking, canyoneering, and scenic drives.
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument: Situated near the Arizona-Mexico border, this national monument showcases the unique beauty of the Sonoran Desert. Drive the scenic Ajo Mountain Drive or hike one of the many trails to admire the diverse cactus species and desert landscapes.
Jerome: A historic copper mining town, Jerome offers a glimpse into Arizona’s past. Perched on the side of Cleopatra Hill, the town is filled with art galleries, museums, and eclectic shops. Don’t miss a visit to the Jerome State Historic Park for insights into the town’s mining history.
Kartchner Caverns State Park: Explore the fascinating underground world of Kartchner Caverns, an extensive limestone cave system with guided tours showcasing its stunning stalactite and stalagmite formations.
Tonto Natural Bridge State Park: Discover the world’s largest natural travertine bridge at this state park near Payson. Hike the park’s trails to witness the impressive natural bridge and surrounding lush vegetation, or enjoy a peaceful picnic in the park.
Whether it’s extending your trip to Utah or venturing into Arizona’s lesser-known attractions, these add-ons will create a truly unforgettable experience!
Final Thoughts on Arizona 7 Day Road Trip Itinerary
Embrace the beauty, culture, and adventure that this desert state has to offer in this epic 7-day Arizona road trip. From exploring the mysteries of the Superstition Mountains to marveling at the grandeur of the Grand Canyon, this itinerary will provide memories that last a lifetime.
As you journey through this breathtaking state, don’t forget to indulge in the local cuisine and immerse yourself in the spirit of the Southwest. Happy travels!