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.
What to see and to do around Flagstaff
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.
Checking out the Grand Canyon Village in the South Rim
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 – 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 – 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 – 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 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.
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
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 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
Check out these other Arizona posts below
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