Summer is winding down while going back to school is gearing up. Families are juggling schedules, doing back-to-school shopping—and traveling for the moment may be put on pause. Why not consider a family day trip to Northern Arizona for the weekend where you can float down a river in a kayak, experience the wild, traipse through the wildflowers or do a little ghost hunting. From Phoenix, take a ride up I-17 and visit a few places along the way that the whole family will enjoy.
Kayaking down the Verde River
Spend your day floating down the Verde River and enjoy all of the beautiful greenery, passing ancient ruins and staying cool with Sedona Adventure Tours. There are a variety of activities such as kayaking, tubing and paddle boarding that will get your adrenaline pumping. And it’s fun for the whole family. This destination is a short 30 minute drive from Sedona and most trips last two to three hours with varying prices depending on the trip and amount of people. Sedona Adventure Tours firmly believes that everyone has a fundamental need to connect and play in our world and what better way than spending a day out on the water. Give them a call to reserve your spot at (877) 673-3661 or visit them online at www.sedonaadventuretours.com
Enjoy the floral wonderland of the Arboretum
As you enter the Arboretum at Flagstaff, you’re greeted with an myriad of beautifully colored wildflowers and plants native to the Colorado Plateau. This is the perfect destination for families to wander for the day with a packed picnic or attend one of the many events and tours the Arboretum offers. Some of the events for the month of August include a fragrant Wildflower Walk, learning about sustainable gardening in their Composting 101 class, attending the Mountain Melodies Concert, painting the day away with a Watercolor Class and many more activities for the whole family! There are also camps and field trips for children ages 5-11 for a fun, educational experience learning about nature and plant life in Arizona. With all the activities taking place through the month, there’s plenty of opportunity to take a day trip and experience the flora of Northern Arizona. For more information, call (928) 774-1442 or visit www.thearb.org
Lions and tigers and bears – lots of bears!
Experience some of the great wildlife that lives in Northern Arizona at Bearizona Wildlife Park.
The whole family will enjoy seeing animals in their natural habitat. This wildlife park includes the perfect mixture of self-guided driving tours and walking tours. Make a stop by the Bearizona Barnyard petting zoo or indulge in a Mine Shaft Experience which houses nocturnal animals and creepy crawling creatures. Bearizona is open daily at 8 a.m., with the last car to arrive by 6 p.m. Bearizona is about 30 minutes west of Flagstaff, at the intersection of I-40 and US Hwy 64 (Historic Route 66) in Williams, AZ, which makes it a manageable drive from anywhere in Arizona. All of the experiences at Bearizona guarantee an up close and personal view of the lions and tigers and bears – oh my! For more information, call (928) 635-2289 or visit www.bearizona.com
A quirky town filled with Arizona lore
Is your family interested in feeling completely and utterly spooked to the core? Then a day trip to the rumored ghost town of Jerome is perfect for you. This collection of buildings in the mountains has a past life as a copper mining town, with enough legacy and lore to feel a little chill run down your spine. Stop by the Jerome Grand Hotel, which was a hospital back in the day, and has had many people attest to seeing ghostly figures, floating spheres of light and other paranormal activity throughout their facility (especially on the third floor). In addition, there are thrilling ghost tours, chilling spirit walks, the historical Jerome State Historic Park Museum and a to-die-for restaurant called the Haunted Hamburger. Spend a hair-raising spooky day at this amazing ghost town located 45 minutes southwest of Sedona and two hours north of Phoenix. For more information, call (928) 634-7943 or visit www.jeromechamber.com