As temperatures soar in the Valley of the Sun, a trek to the northern, cooler part of our state may be on your mind. Fortunately, there are more reasons to pack up the car than lower temps – especially if you’re into hiking, archeological sites, trendy boutiques and wineries or unique, historical locales, there are diverse northern Arizona activities to experience. Here are 10 destinations that are must-sees:
1. Grand Canyon
The Visitor’s Center and Maher Point Outlook is an easy first stop if you’re approaching the Grand Canyon from the south. In addition to offering an overview of the landmark’s history, you can learn about hiking trails and other points of interest. From the center, it’s a short walk to Maher Point Outlook to take in the sheer majesty of the Grand Canyon. You can also try out the steel, glass-floored skywalk to get a completely different view of the canyon.
2. Havasupai Falls
Located in the Grand Canyon, this attraction in northern Arizona provides uniquely beautiful blue-green waterfalls and requires a 10-mile hike both ways, as well as a pre-arranged reservation in order to visit the falls. If you’re an experienced hiker, Havasupai Falls is a premier destination.
This historic mining town is known as much for its elevation as it’s ghostly residents. Stories circulate about unexplained happenings – including the ghosts at the Haunted Hamburger stealing tools or the doors opening and closing on their own in the Jerome Grand Hotel. Are they tall tales or fact? Decide for yourself as you take in Jerome from their wine tasting room, historic mine or while on a stroll among the downtown boutiques.
4. Old Town Cottonwood
Just eight miles away from Jerome, Cottonwood offers another opportunity to explore a small, historic town’s unique vibe. While there, you can stop in to enjoy a modern wine tasting, meals and music along Main Street at the Main Stage and the Old Town Center for the Arts. If you’d prefer to explore the great outdoors, pack a picnic and head to the Verde River Greenway or Dead Horse Ranch State Park (it’s more beautiful than it sounds!) to enjoy natural trails and scenery.
5. Verde Valley Wine Trail
You may be surprised that among the things to do in northern Arizona are touring the seven premium vineyards. The Verde Valley Wine Trail is between Cottonwood, Jerome and Sedona. As you drive between the towns, stop into a vineyard’s visitor center or tasting room, or head to one of the eight independent wine tasting rooms in the region. The wineries produce some of the best Arizona wines, including Page Spring Cellars, Alcantara Vineyards and Oak Creek Vineyards.
Equal parts artistic, rustic and mystic, Sedona’s one-of-a-kind personality offers a unique experience among Northern Arizona towns. In one afternoon, you can indulge in gourmet meals, med-spa services and shopping for high-end jewelry, and engage an energy or tarot reader, take a pink jeep tour and hike among the red rock.
7. Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village
On the banks of Sedona’s Oak Creek and under the expansive branches of sycamore trees, this beautiful retail collective offers a serene setting to slow down and take a rest or recharge with espresso and high-end retail therapy. Don’t miss the one of a kind hand-crafted art.
8. Oak Creek Canyon
Located in the Coconino National Forest, Oak Creek Canyon’s 11-mile scenic drive is one of the more beautiful northern Arizona attractions. In addition to a beautiful drive, you can take advantage of lakes, hiking trails and clearings that are ideal picnicking areas. The Coconino National Forest is between Sedona and Flagstaff.
Although a confirmed winter destination for snowboarders, skiers and students of Northern Arizona University, visitors can also enjoy summertime attractions in northern Arizona. Flagstaff is near the highest peak in Arizona, Humphries Peak, which offers outstanding opportunities for day hikes. If you need to refuel after a long hike, historic walking tour or an afternoon spent antique shopping in the downtown area, there are plenty of breweries, cafes and restaurants to choose from in this cool college town.
10. Lake Powell
The second largest man-made lake in the U.S., Lake Powell is a major summertime destination because of its more than 2,000 miles of shoreline and cooler climate. The lake is part of the Grand Canyon recreation area and the southern dock is in Page, Arizona. While you’re there, you’ll find many things to do in northern Arizona, like renting a houseboat and other water rides, take a short hike to Glen Canyon Dam Overlook from Page in the breath-taking sights of Antelope Canyon, the Vermillion Cliffs or hop on a helicopter ride to get a birds-eye view of area.
Protect Your Vision While Enjoying the Outdoors
While traveling anywhere in Arizona, always remember your SPF protection for your skin and UV blocking shades for your eyes. Barnet Dulaney Perkins Eye Center is committed to helping you manage your eyes’ health so you can continue to enjoy all that Arizona has to offer.