things to do around Flagstaff Arizona

Things to do around Flagstaff, Arizona

Flagstaff is a great base to be able to explore many of Arizona’s national parks, monuments and other popular attractions in the area. Not only is Flagstaff a great base, but you can take many short day trips to a variety places around Arizona that are an easy drive to do from Flagstaff. Following are some of the popular things to do around Flagstaff, Arizona and places to explore within Flagstaff’s historic district and outlying areas.


Things to do around Flagstaff, Arizona Wupatki National Monument


What to see and to do around Flagstaff

Flagstaff as a base area to The Grand Canyon National Park


Things to do around Flagstaff Arizona –  a base for exploring the Grand Canyon

Flagstaff is a perfect location and base for visiting the Grand Canyon. It’s a relatively short drive (approximately 74 miles one way) and an affordable alternative to staying in the Grand Canyon area. The Grand Canyon is the most popular national park to visit in Arizona and staying in Flagstaff is so easy. There are many airlines that fly into Flagstaff and you can easily rent a car to drive to and explore the national park or you can also sign up for tours offered and pick up directly from the Flagstaff area.  For inspiration on planning a drive, do some short hikes, check out my short guide to explore the rim trail  and areas around the South and East Rim of the Grand Canyon.



Flagstaff as a base area to The Grand Canyon National Park


Checking out the Grand Canyon Village in the South Rim


Grand Canyon village and attractions





things to do around Flagstaff Arizona Sedona, Arizona

Visiting Sedona with Flagstaff as a base

It’s a really nice road trip from Flagstaff on Highway 89A through the striking Oak Creek Canyon and into Sedona. The short 30 mile trip only takes less 45 minutes to cover over beautiful landscape, canyons and mountain views until you get into the central district of Sedona (unless you stop at some of these magnificent vista points along the way). While your visiting Sedona, you can visit and check out the major Sedona attractions and landscapes and even explore some of the most picturesque and best places to photograph Sedona if your looking for amazing views and landscapes. There’s a lot to explore and enjoy outdoors around Sedona and you can easily do a variety of day trips from Flagstaff to enjoy different parts of Sedona and saving on expensive hotels and dining in the Sedona area. If you decide to stay over night or a few days, here are some of my recommendations of places to stay in Sedona and what to expect.


Tip – you can also drive down the main highway I 17  and bypass the slower highway 89A, either route offers beautiful views arriving into Sedona area.


things to do around Flagstaff Arizona Sedona, Arizona





things to do around Flagstaff Arizona Walnut Canyon National Monument


Things to do around Flagstaff Arizona  – a trip to Walnut Canyon National Monument

Less than 9 miles or 15 minutes east of downtown Flagstaff, Walnut Canyon National Monument brings you directly into the ancient cliff dwellings of the Sinagua people who lived along the cliffs of Walnut Canyon from 600 to 1400 AD. It is a wonderful national park to explore and you can easily hike down stairs and short trails directly to the main cliff dwellings that were carved and facades built of local stone and mortar and survived the harsh conditions in the region. You can check out more images and story about these ruins of Walnut Canyon National Monument here for more information and details about visiting the park.

Tip – There is a fantastic visitors center and movie to watch about the area and Sinagua people, also rangers can give you information on what to see and trails to explore at the park.


things to do around Flagstaff Arizona Walnut Canyon National Monument




 things to do around Flagstaff Arizona Wupatki National Monument


Things to do around Flagstaff Arizona – visiting Wupatki National Monument

Wupatki National Monument is just a short drive north of Flagstaff about 12 miles north on Highway 89. You take exit Wupatki  loop road which is over 34 miles and winds through some of the most scenic areas in the Northeast sector of Flagstaff. The loop road goes around the Wupatki National Monument and the Sunset Crater National Monument which is filled with historic pueblos, rugged landscape and the lava rock landscape of the crater which is black and different from the surrounding red soil and rocks in the region that is typical of the Wupatki area and monuments.

You can check out more images and story about visiting both parks and other indian pueblos on my Wupatki and Sunset Crater post here for more details about visiting these attractions.


things to do around Flagstaff Arizona Wupatki National Monument


Things to do around Flagstaff Arizona  – Sunset Crater National Monument

Along the main Wupatki loop road that also covers Wupatki National Monument, the loop goes through the area foothill areas skirting the Sunset Crater National Monument. Even though there are no visitors center open, there are a few trails that are available to explore the black cinder cone and black lava formations and flows in the surrounding area. For more images and story check out this post here for details about visiting this scenic area north of Flagstaff.



things to do around Flagstaff Arizona Montezuma castle and

Things to do around Flagstaff Arizona – Montezuma Castle and well

To visit the Montezuma Castle, well and pictographs from Flagstaff, it is a quick thirty minute drive down the main highway I 17 to get to the main exit at 293. These historic national monuments feature where the ancient Sinagua people lived and created agricultural communities in the region. Montezuma’s Castle is a national monument with a fantastic visitors center to get familiar with the history, culture and landscape. The tour around the main site is easy and flat along with a round trip walk to the stream areas fronting the cliff dwellings.  Montezuma well is a further drive from the Castle and is a free park to explore with a small visitors center staffed by guides who share information again about the Sinagua people and culture.

You can check out more images and story about visiting both parks and the Sinagua pictographs on my Montezuma post here for more details about visiting these attractions.



things to do around Flagstaff Arizona Montezuma castle and





Things to do around Flagstaff, Arizona

Visiting Flagstaff attractions and historic district

When you base yourself in Flagstaff, make sure to spend some time to explore the wonderful city and its quirky attractions. First place to explore is the historic district downtown with a variety of striking architecture, art and craft galleries and other places of interest in the downtown area.


Working train station and museum at Flagstaff

Working train station and museum at Flagstaff


Things to do around Flagstaff, Arizona

Visiting the impressive Museum of Northern Arizona and the impressive tribal indian collections from the regions around Flagstaff



Where to stay around Flagstaff

There are many affordable hotels and inns around Flagstaff that make this an easy place to be based when exploring the areas and attractions around Central Arizona. Here are some suggestions of where to stay in the immediate area around Flagstaff.


Little America Hotel Flagstaff – 3.5 star accommodation close to downtown and airport area with large comfortable rooms, safe, wifi, outdoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi

Double Tree Hilton Flagstaff – In Flagstaff with shuttle service, wifi, outdoor pool, tennis courts and Jacuzzi, spacious rooms and restaurant on site.

Drury Inn & Suites – 3 star accommodation 10 minute drive to airport, wifi, free complementary breakfast, 24 hour front desk service, conference rooms and gym

Comfort Inn Flagstaff – wifi, conference service, pool and 24 hour front desk, modern bedroom with small kitchenette and in house restaurant service

** For more Flagstaff locations to choose from, check out the latest prices and availability here for updates

Car rental agencies in Flagstaff

There are a few car rental agencies to choose from with offices at the airport or downtown Flagstaff to pick up your rental car. Check out the availability and prices on the sites below.

Check prices on Hertz rental locations at the Flagstaff airport or downtown Flagstaff

Check prices and availability on Travelocity at Flagstaff airport or downtown

Check out the daily deals on Expedia here


Flying into Flagstaff

Flagstaff Pullman airport flights current prices and availability through these aggregators

Travelocity check here for current ticket prices and schedules

Expedia check here for current ticket prices and schedules

CheapAir here for booking daily cheap flights specials



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Things to do in Flagstaff, Arizona


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20 Responses to things to do around Flagstaff Arizona

  1. Gokul Raj July 11, 2017 at 7:59 pm #

    Such an isolated landscape. Would love to practice my photography skills in here.

  2. Megan Jerrard July 9, 2017 at 4:17 pm #

    We love Flagstaff and just as you suggest, it’s a wonderful base for exploring the Grand Canyon. This was our go to base when we were living in Phoenix – loved the weekend roadtrip!

  3. Mei from Travel with Mei and Kerstin July 9, 2017 at 10:30 am #

    As always: your photos are stunning, Noel! Thank you so much for sharing this post. I’ll be visiting my nephew in Arizona next year, and I can’t wait to explore Flagstaff and its surrounding area!

  4. Arnav Mathur July 9, 2017 at 7:43 am #

    Looks like there is a lot that can be done ,keeping Flagstaff as base, including a visit to the Grand Canyon or a trip to anyone of the national monuments mentioned in the post.
    Definitely pinning it for later, as its going to come in handy when am in Arizona

  5. Tripti July 9, 2017 at 4:52 am #

    Great information. With so many activities and attractions around, Flagstaff is definitely a must visit. I can’t get over your photography. Amazing job. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Karla July 9, 2017 at 4:27 am #

    Arizona is one of my faves especially when it comes to nature. I went to a lot last year but still need to go to more. This is definitely part of it. A road trip in this area is just lovely.

  7. Shruti Prabhu July 9, 2017 at 2:17 am #

    Flagstaff does seem like a perfect location and base for visiting the Grand Canyon. Grand Canyon is on our bucket list. Did not know about the Montezuma Castle. Looks quite interesting. Wouldn’t mind walking around the historic district downtown as well.

  8. Hugo Cura July 9, 2017 at 1:33 am #

    Visiting the Grand Canyon is a dream of mine. What a stunning place!

    Really interesting finding out more about Flagstaff (looks amazing!) and more things to do in and around the canyon. Definitely visiting it on my next trip to the USA!

  9. Marilyn Jones July 8, 2017 at 11:51 am #

    Excellent article on all the fantastic places you can visit while staying in Flagstaff, Arizona. I like to stay in one place and explore instead of packing up every day. Very interesting and as always, your photos rock!!

  10. Susan R July 8, 2017 at 10:29 am #

    I’ve never been to Arizona but Flagstaff sounds like a great base to visit the area. Why did people move out of places such as Montezuma Castle? The Grand Canyon is definitely on my bucket list

  11. Bilyana | OwlOverTheWorld July 8, 2017 at 4:56 am #

    Great post as most of the people (including myself) would only consider visiting the Grand Canyon and there are obviously other awesome things to do in Arizona. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Indrani July 7, 2017 at 11:03 pm #

    Mind blowing captures! Such a lot of possible activities there.
    The walking tours would be great. Hopefully I can make it there some day.

  13. Anita @ No Particular Place To Go July 4, 2017 at 11:43 pm #

    Once again Noel, I’m blown away by your photos of this spectacular region. It’s been years since I’ve visited Arizona but we’ve been talking about doing a road trip in the southwest next time we visit the US. Looks like Flagstaff or Sedona would be great bases but we’ll definitely skip a summer tour. Hmmm, maybe next spring … 🙂

  14. Charles McCool July 4, 2017 at 5:21 am #

    Gorgeous photos, like always! So nice that you bring attention to the other things to do near the Grand Canyon and around Flagstaff. Don’t forget Winona. Oh, don’t mind me, I am singing the song in my head now after seeing Flagstaff!

    • Noel July 4, 2017 at 6:17 am #

      Lol, now you have me singing that same song, probably all day.

  15. Rhonda Albom July 3, 2017 at 7:59 pm #

    Arizona is beautiful and interesting with its colorful rock formations, the Grand Canyon, and ancient Native American Indian dwellings.It’s hard for me to pick which is my favorite place to visit.

  16. Doreen Pendgracs July 3, 2017 at 3:53 pm #

    I have been to Flagstaff. Your photos do it justice, Noel. Thx for sharing.

    • Noel July 3, 2017 at 4:09 pm #

      Thanks so much, it is a nicer city to explore even with so many wonderful parks and outdoor venues to go to in the area.

  17. Janice Chung July 3, 2017 at 12:40 pm #

    I stopped in Flagstaff 14 years ago on my way to the Grand Canyon. I had no idea Montezuma Castle on the way from Phoenix to Flagstaff and wish I had stopped. Your photos brought back great memories of that trip. Loved the Grand Canyon and Sedona. Guess I need to go back.

    • Noel July 3, 2017 at 1:01 pm #

      Yes there are so many cool places to visit close to Flagstaff including Montezuma’s castle and well. I love how convenient and affordable it is here.

I look forward to hearing from you and continuing our discussion with any comment you would like to add

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