If you’re planning a trip to the Southwest United States and looking for some fantastic things to do, visiting Arizona should definitely be at the top of your list.
Whether it’s soaking in the unique culture and stunning landscapes of major cities like Phoenix or Tucson or taking in the awe-inspiring beauty of Grand Canyon National Park’s rugged terrain, there is something to see around every corner.
If you’re wondering what is the best time to visit this incredible state, read on- we’ve got all your questions answered.
With our comprehensive guide, find out how temperature changes throughout the year so you can plan ahead and make sure you have an amazing visit.
The best time to visit Arizona:
Arizona is a state with diverse topography and a wide range of attractions. The best time to visit Arizona is from April through June when the weather is at its most favorable.
The temperatures during these months are generally warm and pleasant, with an average high of around 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
The nights tend to be comfortably cool, allowing visitors to enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and camping.
Visitors can immerse themselves in the cultural traditions of the state by attending festivals like the Scottsdale Culinary Festival, the Phoenix Film Festival, or the Tucson Folk Festival.
Things to consider:
The weather in Arizona during the spring and early summer can be unpredictable, making it essential to research and plan your trip accordingly. Here are some things you need to keep in mind before visiting Arizona.
Arizona is known for its hot and arid weather, but in the spring and early summer months, the temperature can swing from the 50s to the 90s. So, make sure you check the weather forecast and pack accordingly. Layers are essential for keeping warm during colder parts of the day and shedding them as the temperature increases.
Hiking and Outdoor Activities:
If you’re planning on hiking, biking, or ATVing during your trip, consider starting your day early in the morning when it’s cooler. The midday sun can be intense and dangerous, causing dehydration and sunburns. Don’t forget to take plenty of water, sunscreen, and a hat to protect yourself.
Arizona has several lodging options, from resorts to Airbnb and camping spots, but since this is a peak season, book your accommodations early, especially during the weekends. If you intend to camp, some sites require prebooking and have limited availability.
Grand Canyon Visits:
The Grand Canyon is an Arizona icon and draws millions of visitors every year. However, during peak season, the crowds can be overwhelming, and parking can be a challenge at best. If you’re staying nearby, consider exploring the canyon during the early morning or late afternoon when the crowds are minimal.
Spring Training and Festivals:
Arizona is home to several spring training camps for various baseball teams, attracting fans from across the country. If you’re a baseball enthusiast, plan your trip around the spring training season, which runs from mid-February to March. Additionally, Arizona hosts several festivals during the spring and summer months, like Phoenix Film Festival, Scottsdale Culinary Festival, and Tucson Folk Festival. Check the dates, and participate in the events that interest you.
Arizona has a diverse fauna, and you might encounter animals like snakes, scorpions, coyotes, or even bobcats in the wild. Research the flora and fauna of the areas you intend to explore, and take appropriate precautions, like keeping your distance from venomous animals, carrying a first aid kit and a flashlight, and wearing protective shoes.
Day Trips and Travel Distances:
Arizona’s best attractions are scattered throughout the state, so plan your travel times and distances accordingly. It can take up to 5 hours to drive from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon, and stops in between can add to the time. Consider doing day trips, prioritizing the attractions that matter to you, and staying nearby.
Arizona experiences a monsoon season between July and September, which brings heavy rains, flash floods, and lightning. If you’re planning a trip in June, the monsoon season may start during your stay, so check the weather forecasts, avoid hiking near washes, and watch for sudden and severe weather changes.
Best things to do in Arizona:
From the depths of the Grand Canyon to the vibrancy of Phoenix, there are countless things to do and places to see in Arizona.
Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures or vibrant city life, look down some of the best things to do in the state.
Explore the Grand Canyon National Park
The Grand Canyon is one of the most awe-inspiring natural wonders on the planet.
With its majestic landscape and breathtaking views, visitors from all over the world come to marvel at its beauty.
The park offers hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities for every skill level, and you can explore the canyon by foot, bike, or even helicopter.
For an unforgettable experience, take a tour of the canyon at sunrise or sunset.
Visit the Musical Instrument Museum
If you’re a music lover, visiting the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix should definitely be on your bucket list.
With over 15,000 instruments from over 200 countries, this museum is the world’s largest collection of its kind.
There are interactive exhibits and performances that allow visitors to experience music from around the world.
Don’t miss the Experience Gallery, which enables you to play a variety of instruments yourself.
Go to Jerome
Jerome is a historic mining town situated atop a hill in central Arizona.
Once a thriving copper mining town, it is now a popular tourist destination with galleries, shops, bars, and restaurants, all housed in old wooden buildings.
The town has a colorful past, and you can learn the history at the Jerome State Historic Park. Don’t miss the Verde Canyon Railroad, which takes you on a scenic ride through the canyon.
Sedona is an incredibly picturesque city in central Arizona known for its iconic red rocks and stunning landscapes.
The town has a thriving arts community, with numerous galleries and studios for visitors to explore.
You can drive, bike or even do a hot-air balloon ride to take in the spectacular scenery. The town also has mystical energy vortexes, which are believed to have spiritual properties.
Many visitors come to Sedona to experience these powerful energy spots.
Take a Hike in the Superstition Wilderness
The Superstition Wilderness is one of the most popular hiking destinations in Arizona.
Located east of Phoenix, it is a wild and rugged landscape that offers amazing views and trails for all skill levels.
The most famous trail is the Peralta Trail, which offers spectacular views of Weaver’s Needle, a prominent rock formation in the Superstition Mountains.
Best places to stay in Arizona:
With so many places to explore, choosing the right location to stay can be a difficult decision. Take a closer look at the best places to stay in Arizona and the reasons why they’re worth a visit.
Known as the “Valley of the Sun,” Phoenix is the ideal base for exploring all the different attractions in Arizona. From world-class restaurants and bustling nightlife to hiking trails and golf courses, there’s something for everyone in Phoenix.
Just a few miles away from Phoenix, Scottsdale is the perfect place to stay if you’re looking for a more relaxed vibe. With its luxurious spas, high-end shopping, and stunning desert landscapes, Scottsdale is the perfect destination for anyone looking to recharge their batteries.
Sedona is known for its stunning red rock formations and spiritual energy. With a range of bed and breakfasts, resorts, and vacation rentals, this is the ideal place for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
If you’re looking for a mix of history and adventure, then Tucson is the perfect place to stay. With its rich Native American and Mexican history, Tucson is the ideal location to explore the many historic sites in the area, including the Mission San Xavier del Bac.
For outdoor enthusiasts, Flagstaff is the ultimate destination. Surrounded by the Coconino National Forest, this is the perfect location for hiking, mountain biking, and stargazing.
Of course, no visit to Arizona would be complete without a visit to the Grand Canyon. Whether you choose to stay at one of the lodges in the National Park or at a nearby town like Williams or Tusayan, there are plenty of options for exploring this natural wonder.
Lake Havasu City:
If you’re looking for a beach vacation in the desert, then Lake Havasu City is the perfect place to stay. With its crystal clear waters and almost 60 miles of shoreline, Lake Havasu is the perfect destination for water activities like boating, fishing, and swimming.
Bisbee is a small town in southern Arizona that is known for its artsy vibe and quaint charm. With colorful Victorian homes and a thriving arts scene, Bisbee is the perfect location for anyone looking for a unique and off-the-beaten-path experience.
Best restaurants in Arizona:
With its diverse cultural heritage and unique cuisine, Arizona has something to offer everyone. Here are some of the best restaurants in Arizona that you should definitely check out during your visit:
Cafe Monarch –
Located in Scottsdale, this European-style restaurant offers luxurious seating and an unforgettable dining experience. The menu is composed of delicious dishes such as the seared foie gras, pan-seared duck breast, and mushroom risotto with truffle essence.
Little Miss BBQ –
This Tempe BBQ spot serves up some of the most mouth-watering smoked meats in the state. Their brisket, pulled pork, and sausage plates are simply out of this world, and their side dishes such as mac and cheese are the perfect complement.
FnB Restaurant –
Led by Chef Charleen Badman, this Scottsdale fixture has been ranked repeatedly as one of the best restaurants in the entire country. Its farm-focused menu changes often, but you can expect dishes such as the grilled lamb shoulder, grilled octopus and burrata cheese to be on offer.
In the Gila River Indian reservation near Chandler, you can find Kai, which is one of the most amazing fine dining establishments you will ever sample. They offer a seasonal, Native-American-inspired tasting menu which features dishes such as slow-braised elk, smoked bison loin, and spiced duck and foie gras.
Pizzeria Bianco –
This Phoenix pizza icon has been the talk of the town for years. Its wood-fired pies are made with the freshest ingredients, such as house-made mozzarella and locally sourced vegetables. The Margherita and Wiseguy pizzas are two of their most famous dishes that you cannot miss.
Iron Chef Jose Garces owns this modern take on Mexican cuisine in Scottsdale. The highlight of the menu is their tacos, but do not omit their flavorful ceviches, tableside guacamole, or their grilled elote.
Chevys Fresh Mex –
Located in Mesa, Chevys Fresh Mex offers traditional Mexican dishes such as fajitas, tacos and quesadillas. It is perfect for family dinners or events with a lively atmosphere that makes it a great place for margaritas and socializing.
The Mission –
This trendy restaurant with locations in Scottsdale and at the Kierland Commons focuses on contemporary Latin cuisine. They offer a variety of innovative dishes, from raw bar shellfish platters to the Peruvian-inspired ceviches to the outstanding mole braised short rib. Every dish is an extraordinary dining experience, and don’t forget to try one of their signature margaritas.
Planning a trip to Arizona can be a blast, but it’s important to pick the right time of year.
April through June is the best time, as the temperatures are comfortable and you get plenty of sunshine while avoiding scorching heat.
The dry air also means that outdoor adventures can be enjoyed without getting stuck in the rain. Whether you’re looking to take in Saguaro National Park, explore some ghost towns, or just soak up some sun by the pool–these months will provide with the ideal backdrop.
Before you plan on purchasing airline tickets, double check to make sure you’ll have perfect weather for your stay and know what all you want to do prior to arrival as there’s simply too much beauty and too many activities within Arizona to cram into one visit. Enjoy your stay.
What is the best time of year to visit Arizona?
The best time to visit is from April through June, temperatures are comfortable and there’s of sunshine. This also avoidsching heat and offers dry air for outdoor activities.
How many days do you need in Arizona?
Depending on what you plan to do, at least 3 days is usually enough time to explore the state. However, longer trips are recommended if possible so that you can truly take in all of the beauty and activities that Arizona has to offer.
What cities should I visit in Arizona?
There are numerous cities in Arizona worth visiting, including Flagstaff, Sedona, Phoenix, Tucson, and Scottsdale. Each city has its own unique beauty and attractions that you won’t want to miss.