51 Top Things To Do in Arizona With Kids (2024)

Table of Contents
Top Things to Do in Arizona with Kids: Northern Arizona 1. Petrified Forest National Park — Holbrook 2. Slide Rock — Sedona 3. Horseshoe Bend — Page 4. Lowell Observatory — Flagstaff 5. Bearizona Wildlife Park — Williams 6. Route 66 — Various Cities 7. Lava River Caves — Flagstaff 8. Arizona Snowbowl — Flagstaff 9. Pink Jeep Tour — Sedona 10. Meteor Crater & Barringer Space Museum — Winslow 11. Canyon Coaster Adventure Park — Williams Family-Friendly Hotels and Restaurants in Northern Arizona 12. Hyatt Residence Club — Sedona 13. High Country Motor Lodge — Flagstaff 14. The Toasted Owl Cafe — Flagstaff 15. Pine Country Restaurant — Williams Top Things to Do in Arizona with Kids: Phoenix & Scottsdale 16. McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park 17. OdySea Aquarium 18. Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) 19. Papago Park 20. Splash Pads 21. Old Town Scottsdale 22. Heard Museum 23.Children’s Museum of Phoenix 24. Crayola Experience 25. Go Swimming 26. Golfland Sunsplash 27. Cactus League Baseball Family-Friendly Phoenix Restaurants and Hotels 28. Old Town Tortilla Factory 29. Organ Stop Pizza 30. Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch 31. Westin Kierland Resort & Spa Top Things to Do in Arizona with Kids: Tucson 32. Old Tucson 33. Horseback Riding 34. Children's Museum Tucson 35. Reid Park Zoo 36. Colossal Cave Mountain Park — Vail 37. Mount Lemmon 38. University of Arizona 39. Sabino Canyon Great Tucson Hotels and Restaurants for Families 40. Pinnacle Peak Steakhouse & Saloon 41.Little Anthony's Diner 42. Loews Ventana Canyon Resort 43. The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain Top Things to Do in Arizona with Kids: TheGrand Canyon 44. Grand Canyon Railway 45. Hiking 46. Skywalk 47. Tribal Experiences Family-Friendly Places to Stay and Eat at the Grand Canyon 48. Kachina Lodge 49. Grand Canyon/Williams KOA 50. Arizona Steakhouse 51. El Tovar References

Regardless of when you visit Arizona, always carry water bottles. It's very easy for kids (and adults) to become dehydrated, even when indoors. The same goes for sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses: Your family will probably spend time at the pool or atop mountain trails, and it's important to protect skin from the harsh Arizona rays.

Now, let's get to the fun stuff...

Top Things to Do in Arizona with Kids: Northern Arizona

Northern Arizona is a great place to bring kids, regardless of the season.Like many local children, I saw falling snow for the first time in my life during a winter trip to Flagstaff; and my family and I escaped Phoenix's brutal summer weather by completing the two-hour drive many weekends. In fact, Flagstaff is typically 20 to 30 degrees cooler than Phoenix year-round. (FYI: We're giving the Grand Canyon its own special section.)

1. Petrified Forest National Park — Holbrook

My girls adore the Painted Desert within Petrified Forest National Park near Holbrook. Upon entry from I-40, enter the visitors center (make sure your kids get Junior Ranger booklets) and check out the gift shop. Then drive along the paved roads, and get out at marked spots to discover more beauty on foot, including the mystifying petrified logs. Maybe you'll even spot a fossil! Join a guided tour, backpack, or even horseback through the area.

2. Slide Rock — Sedona

Slide Rock is the coolest water slide in the country! Kids love riding down this natural water feature in Sedona's Oak Creek. This 80-foot-long, sandstone slide plunges adventurous kids and adults into cold water. Keep in mind: Slide Rock is VERY slippery, so wear proper water shoes and gear if you are just crossing the section and aren't planning on riding the rock.

3. Horseshoe Bend — Page

Horseshoe Bend, located within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area,is an extremely popular viewpoint due to itsincredible geological views. The stroller- and wheelchair-accessible hike is only 1.5 miles round-trip over a hardened path, making it easy to tackle with kids.

4. Lowell Observatory — Flagstaff

Get closer to the heavens by visiting the famed Lowell Observatory, the site that discovered Pluto. Get an all-day admission pass and enjoy exhibits, science talks, stargazing (obviously), tours, and more. Check out the public telescopes on the Giovale Open Deck Observatory, as well as the massive Clark Refractor, Dyer Telescope, and more.

RELATED: Our 100 Best Family Vacation Destinations

51 Top Things To Do in Arizona With Kids (1)
View wildlife in spacious, natural environments at Bearizona Wildlife Park. Photo courtesy of the park

5. Bearizona Wildlife Park — Williams

Drive across more than three miles of the Ponderosa Pine Forest to see native animals in their natural habitats when visiting Bearizona. In addition to the drive-through feature, visiting families can walk through park exhibits and experience special animal encounters. Animals you may see at Bearizona include black bears, bison, wolves, reindeer, bobcats, and much more.

6. Route 66 — Various Cities

Maybe this one has more significance for the grown-ups, but everyone, including kiddos, will get their kicks on Route 66! Drive along the famed Mother Road and make stops along the way at fun shops, odd attractions, and famed signs. There's even a Route 66 road challenge from the Arizona Office of Tourism—visit and photograph famed landmarks and attractions along the road with the mobile passport and win prizes.

7. Lava River Caves — Flagstaff

Located in the Coconino National Forest, these "lava tubes" were formed approximately 700,000(!) years ago by molten rock that erupted from a volcanic vent. Visitors can carefully enter these underground caves and follow the path of the molten rock that once flowed and now features stone icicles and fascinating patterns. Note: The lava tubes are open to visitors in summer only.

8. Arizona Snowbowl — Flagstaff

Families visiting the state during the winter months can catch some fresh powder at Arizona Snowbowl. Though it may seem like an impossibility for such a warm place, families can fit in some exciting skiing at this famed Arizona site. Located on the western slope of the highest point in the state, Arizona Snowbowl offers ski lessons for families, Family Fridays specials, and more.

9. Pink Jeep Tour — Sedona

Kids who love big vehicles, Barbie pink, and rock collecting will have the best day taking a Pink Jeep Tour. Go off road aboard these signature pink Jeeps that traverse the gorgeous red rocks of the Sedona landscape. Make sure to check how rugged the various tours are if you prefer a more mild experience.

10. Meteor Crater & Barringer Space Museum — Winslow

My kids love digging and discovering holes, and the Meteor Crater's gaping hole (550 feet deep and a mile across) will wow even the hardest-to-impress kids. A massive iron-nickel meteorite slammed into Earth over 50,000 years ago, leaving this giant thumbprint of the impact, where families can walk the rim and learn more about the area.

RELATED: Colorado Springs with Kids: 35 Best Things To Do in Colorado Springs, CO

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Take a thrilling ride on a mountain coaster at Canyon Coaster Adventure Park. Photo courtesy of the park

11. Canyon Coaster Adventure Park — Williams

Control the speed aboard this mountain coaster that follows a mile-long track. Depending on the time of year you visit, kids can also enjoy summer mountain tubing or winter mountain tubing. The former option allows families the chance to slide down the summer slope on an inner tube (with the help of uphill conveyor lifts); the latter welcomes kids to zip down snowy hills.

Family-Friendly Hotels and Restaurants in Northern Arizona

12. Hyatt Residence Club — Sedona

This hotel is within walking distance of great restaurants and activities and features a fitness center, adult and kiddie pools, and a recreation center with family activities. The Kids Camp offers fun activities for children.

13. High Country Motor Lodge — Flagstaff

Located off Route 66, this vintage-style hotel offers a taste of the past with modern amenities. The on-site General Store features a game room, fire pits, poolside movies, lawn games, and more.

14. The Toasted Owl Cafe — Flagstaff

With two locations in Flagstaff (and one now in Phoenix), this quirky restaurant welcomes families of all sizes. Kids will love the colorful design, delicious food, odd knickknacks, and just the overall vibe.

15. Pine Country Restaurant — Williams

Pie-loving families need to visit Pine Country Restaurant. We literally can't include the sheer number of homemade pies this eatery makes, but we're sure there's one (or five) your family will love.

RELATED: Sedona with Kids: Best Things To Do in Sedona, Arizona

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Stop by the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park for all things train-related.

Top Things to Do in Arizona with Kids: Phoenix & Scottsdale

The epicenter of family activities in Arizona is Phoenix and its surrounding cities, including Scottsdale. I only have room to include my top 10 favorite places to visit in Phoenix, so make sure to check out even more awesome spots by in our lists ofthings to do with kids in Phoenix and things to do in Scottsdale with kids.

16. McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

I literally have never stopped in Scottsdale without visiting McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park (you'll hear locals call it the "train park"). Here kids can ride on a vintage train and classic carousel, explore the train museum, break free on one of the playgrounds (there are two!), and use circuits to operate the train sets running through a miniature replication of metropolitan Phoenix.

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Gaze at the marine life as you ridedown the Deep Ocean Escalator at OdySea Aquarium. Photo courtesy of OdySea Aquarium

17. OdySea Aquarium

This aquarium is a must-visit—where else are you going to see penguins, sharks, and otters in the desert? OdySea is part of the Arizona Boardwalk, which also houses kid-friendly attractions like Butterfly Wonderland and Pangaea, as well as Ripley's Believe It or Not!, the Museum of Illusions Scottsdale, Cyber Quest Arcade, Laser + Mirror Maze, and the UFO Experience.

18. Musical Instrument Museum (MIM)

Kids (and adults) from anywhere in the world can speak the universal language of music at MIM. The museum features more than 7,500 musical instruments from over 200 countries. Check out theMIMKids programs, which introduce children of all ages to the power of music.

19. Papago Park

On the border of Phoenix and Scottsdale, beautiful Papago Park housesDesert Botanical Garden and the Phoenix Zoo, a golf course, hiking trails, fishing ponds, and more. You'll see the notable park's buttes from quite a distance!

20. Splash Pads

Splash pads are perfect for the spring and summer—a miraculous reprieve from the sweltering heat. Both thefree water playgrounds at area parks and shopping centers and the fancier paid splash pads are great spots to pass the time and cool off. In fact, Scottsdale is so hot in the summer that your kids will probably dry off by the time they get to the car.

21. Old Town Scottsdale

This charming town showcases Scottsdale's rich history of cowboy culture, with many original buildings and storefronts, old saloons, sculptures, and monuments. Old Town Scottsdale is also chock full of shops, restaurants, museums, and more. I especially love bringing my kids to Old Town Candy & Toys, an adorable candy and toy shop.

RELATED: Best River Rafting Trips for Kids of All Ages

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Take in American Indian art at the Heard Museum. Photo byScotwriter21, CC BY-SA 4.0

22. Heard Museum

The Heard Museum is dedicated to American Indian art. I loved visiting this museum on field trips as a child and grinding corn in the atrium. The museum's amazing collection of art celebrates the beauty and achievements of various American Indian tribal cultures across the region.

23.Children’s Museum of Phoenix

The Children's Museum of Phoenix offers an art studio, building blocks, a pretend grocery store, a fort-building section, Noodle Forest, an indoor climbing center, and more. New parents will appreciate the dedicated baby zones in each of the exhibits, as well as the toddler-size furniture and bathroom fixtures. Review thetip sheetson the website to guarantee a good time for everyone.

24. Crayola Experience

Add a little color to your world by visiting the Crayola Experience in Chandler. This vibrant attraction offers fun activities like naming and printing your own crayon wrapper, melting and molding crayons, creating spin art, transforming 2D drawings into animated scenes, and much more.

25. Go Swimming

Swimming in Phoenix isn't just a luxury, it's a necessity. The summer's brutal heat is the main driving force to let the kiddos go wild in the pool. Phoenix has tons ofpublic pools to splash around in for free during the summer months.

RELATED:Best Outdoor Water Parks in the US

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Zoom down the water slides at Golfland Sunsplash. Photo courtesy of the park

26. Golfland Sunsplash

Whenever it's hot outside—which isoften in Arizona—jumping into the pool just feels right. But who said jumping is the only way to enter the water? Golfland Sunsplash features more than 30 rides and attractions, many of which include thrilling water slides. And the mini golf can't be beat!

27. Cactus League Baseball

Catch a baseball game if visiting during MLB's annual spring training. There are 10 stadiums where many MLB teams practice leading up to opening day. These stadiums are smaller versions of the teams' in-season major-league counterparts, making for a more manageable day out at the ballgame for families with young kids. Check out the special children's areas at some of the stadiums.

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The atmosphere is as special as the food at Old Town Tortilla Factory. Photo courtesy of the restaurant

Family-Friendly Phoenix Restaurants and Hotels

28. Old Town Tortilla Factory

This beloved restaurant serves delicious Southwestern specialities like tacos, enchiladas, and pollo margarita chicken.

29. Organ Stop Pizza

Organ Stop Pizza employs talented musicians to play The Mighty Wurlitzer (the "O" part of OSP) and entertain the crowd while they fill up on pizza.

30. Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch

This resort features a state-of-the-art spa and swim-up bar for adults, a rock-climbing wall, and a massive water playground complete with pool, a sandy beach, and a three-story water slide. The pool complex reopens in late February 2024 after a renovation.

31. Westin Kierland Resort & Spa

We've already mentioned that playing in the water is one of the best things to do in Arizona, especially in the summer. Westin Kierland's Adventure Water Park is a great place to do that. Ithasa flow-board simulator, a lazy river, a water slide, poolside cabanas, and more water features.

Top Things to Do in Arizona with Kids: Tucson

I am a proud University of Arizona graduate, so Tucson holds a special place in my heart. This Southern Arizona city, sitting among the lush landscape of the Sonoran Desert, offers great activities and attractions for kids. Go Wildcats!

32. Old Tucson

Go back in time to the Old West during a visit to Old Tucson. This famous spot served as a Wild West set for many beloved movies and shows, and has now become a family theme park with immersive experiences, special events, and tours.

33. Horseback Riding

Some of the best things to do in Arizona include taking in the state's beautiful surroundings. Taking a horseback riding tourof the Sonoran Desert is a great way to do that. There are many options to choose when finding the right horseback tour, so ask locals or your concierge for recommendations.

34. Children's Museum Tucson

If the weather gets too hot or you just need a break from the sun, bring the family to the Children's Museum Tucson in the downtown area (there's another location in Oro Valley). Kids can have fun and learn about the human body, electricity, gravity, STEM, art, and so much more!

35. Reid Park Zoo

Make friends with the animals at Reid Park Zoo. Open every day, this zoo offers a glimpse into regions around the world and offers kid-friendly programs like Dr. Zoo, where visitors live a day in the life of a zoo vet.

36. Colossal Cave Mountain Park — Vail

Hone your inner Batman and head to Colossal Cave for a totally unique Arizona experience. Book an underground cave tour with three options: Classic (great for younger kids, half-mile long, 40 minutes), Ladder (ages 12 and older, 1.5 hours, climb ladders through narrow passages), and Wild Cave (ages 16 and older, 3 hours, rugged and unlit passages and tight squeezes).

37. Mount Lemmon

Located about an hour from Tucson, towering Mount Lemmon is a favorite among locals for its magnificent views of the Santa Catalina Mountains. This is a favorite spot among talented mountain bikers, so make sure to look both ways along any paths. And download the Mt. Lemmon Science Tour app to discover secrets of the peak. Bonus: Reward all that physical work with a giant cookie from the Mt. Lemmon Cookie Cabin!

38. University of Arizona

Obviously I may be biased as a UofA alum, but visiting the college campus is a great way to spend a few hours. Depending on the time of year, attend a Wildcats basketball game or a gymnastics meet, visit the Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium, catch the monthly storytime for ages 2-5 at UA Bookstores, and show your kids where you used to party. Oops, scratch that last one.

39. Sabino Canyon

Get close to nature in Coronado National Forest's Sabino Canyon. This magical place is a great way to see Arizona's natural vegetation and wildlife up close by walking, hiking, and biking. Stop by the visitor center to talk with the Canyon's experts and get helpful maps. On a walk during one of my visits to Sabino Canyon, I saw a rattlesnake... and promptly ran the rest of the way back.

Great Tucson Hotels and Restaurants for Families

40. Pinnacle Peak Steakhouse & Saloon

Enjoy real Western food set in an authentic Old West atmosphere at Pinnacle Peak. This fun restaurant is known for its mesquite-grilled cowboy steak and its cute ambience. No need to overthink the jeans and boots—you'll definitely fit in. But leave the stodgy tie at home—you've been warned!

41.Little Anthony's Diner

Take a step into the past at this retro diner, serving milkshakes, blue-plate specials, and a huge kids menu. Besides the comfort food, Little Anthony's hosts classic car shows, live entertainment from Elvis and Marilyn, and more fun.

42. Loews Ventana Canyon Resort

Besides gorgeous rooms, Loews Ventana Canyon offers a fun pool, the Window Walk Nature Trail, a koi pond, and an activity guide for visiting families.

43. The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain

Nestled in the quiet mountains of Marana, Arizona, this Ritz-Carlton features the Dove Mountain Ritz Kids Rangers program, as well as three swimming pools (one with a 235-foot water slide).

Top Things to Do in Arizona with Kids: TheGrand Canyon

Obviously we need to include the Grand Canyon in a list of the best things to do in Arizona (also known as The Grand Canyon State). Sitting on 278 miles atop the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon offers uncomparable views, and this natural rock formation is the prime example of erosion.

Visitors can check out the views from either the South Rim (most popular, lots of places to shop and dine) or North Rim (closed during the winter). Kids can complete various requirements by the National Park Service, then be sworn in as a Grand Canyon National Park Junior Ranger and receive a certificate and badge.

44. Grand Canyon Railway

The Grand Canyon Railway offers a fun way to explore the area, with daily trains departing Williams, Arizona for the Grand Canyon. This entertaining train ride features Western musicians, cowboy characters, vintage rail cars, and even a Wild West shootout! Every winter, the train morphs into the Polar Express, and lucky passengers experience the magic of the season with special holiday treats.

45. Hiking

Adventurous families and skilled outdoorsy types can head down to the canyon floor by hiking (plan to camp overnight). Ride mules, raft the white waters, tour by helicopter, and bike the rim trails to get closer to the surrounding rocks.

46. Skywalk

Be daring and take a walk on the wild side by visiting Skywalk, one of the largest cantilever glass bridges in the world. Located on the edge of the Grand Canyon's West Rim, Skywalk is a horseshoe-shaped glass bridge that's 10 feet wide, extends 70 feet out over the rim, and looks down 4,000 feet to the canyon floor.

47. Tribal Experiences

Grand Canyon National Park associates with 11 federally recognized tribes. Learn more about the canyon's indigenous people through cultural demonstrations, theDesert View Inter-tribal Heritage Site, and the Heritage Days annual event.

Family-Friendly Places to Stay and Eat at the Grand Canyon

48. Kachina Lodge

This lodge features a contemporary design and sits directly on the Grand Canyon's rim.

49. Grand Canyon/Williams KOA

Get into the spirit of the Grand Canyon by camping out during your visit.

50. Arizona Steakhouse

Located on the Grand Canyon rim, this tasty restaurant offers great steaks and amazing views.

51. El Tovar

This fine-dining establishment is constructed of native stone and pine, and offers a menu influenced by Southwestern flavors.

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51 Top Things To Do in Arizona With Kids (2024)


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