Are you looking for a little family escape from Phoenix over a weekend but don’t want to go too far? Or maybe you want a special day trip to be the highlight of school break or one of those random days off? Here are three family day trips around Phoenix for you to explore this fall!
1. Sedona: Perhaps one of the most well known day trips around Phoenix, Sedona is just a few hours up the 17 highway and once there you can enjoy a fun day in the gorgeous red rock town. There are so many options for hiking- from the inescapable Instagram favorite of Boynton Canyon to the quieter, more kid friendly trails such as the Easy Breezy Trail at Cathedral Rock Trailhead. I recommend looking at an app like All Trails to find the addresses of various trailheads and give you a good idea of how long or difficult your planned trail is to be sure it is a good match for your family. After working up an appetite, enjoy the views from uptown Sedona, or head down to my favorite family-friendly winery, Page Springs. Not only is it beautiful, but it has lawn games, plenty of picnic style seating, and even has access to Oak Creek.
2. Boyce Thompson Arboretum: My daughter’s first preschool teacher recommended this magical day trip around Phoenix to us and we have tried to go at least once a year since then. Located in Pinal County, the arboretum is the largest botanical garden in Arizona. It has beautiful outdoor activities for all ages and if you bring a picnic lunch it could certainly fill your whole day. My family loves to hike the trails there and to spend some time at the children’s garden. My husband could spend all day in the Eucalyptus Forest. I definitely recommend checking out their website for more information on events like bird walks and special tours. If you have a flexible schedule, free tickets are currently available October through May on the first Tuesday of the month- but be sure to check their website for more details.
Located at: 37615 E Arboretum Way, Superior, AZ 85173
3. Tonto Natural Bridge State Park: Arizona has so many wonderful state parks that work well for day trips around Phoenix, it was hard to pick just one for this post! I think I could write a spotlight on each of them. My family’s favorite, however, is Tonto Natural Bridge State Park. This state park, located in Powell county, is incredibly beautiful and I happen to find it extra gorgeous in the fall. The Natural Bridge itself is stunning, but be aware that very young kids may find the path under the bridge to be a little slippery or challenging! You may want to babywear or to stick to the easier trails if your little one is not used to hiking. Luckily, there is an incredible waterfall trail that is mostly stairs and has lots of railings to hold on to, and the entire area is truly beautiful with some walking paths that give a great view of the bridge, no challenging trails required. I definitely recommend getting there early enough to beat some of the school groups as this seems to be a popular field trip destination. After spending your morning in this beautiful state park, you can stop by Payson on your way back to Phoenix and grab a bite to eat at one of their many great restaurants like Pinon Café then visit the Common Grounds Rim Country museum before heading back home. This is an especially budget friendly day trip for my family because, if you’ve read my past articles you might know that I’m obsessed with the library, and the past few years we’ve been able to score a parks pass from the Phoenix Library’s summer reading program.
I hope you get to enjoy one of these family day trips around Phoenix and that you have a blast exploring different parts of our beautiful state!