Are you looking for the best Arizona road trip itinerary? Well, you are in the right place! We did this road trip as a family of six ranging in age from 16 to 60 [after all, family is one of the best parts of being in a relationship!], so our route is tried and true to please travelers of all ages.Before we talk about the actual itinerary, it is important to note how you are going to actually get to Arizona, where to rent your car from etc. So buckle up, bookmark this page, and start planning your Arizona road trip!
Where To Fly Into
Begin your Arizona road trip by flying into Las Vegas because it is centrally located to all the cool places you are going to want to visit. Phoenix is often much more expensive to fly into and Las Vegas, although not in Arizona, has tons of affordable flights from everywhere on the planet each and every day! Las Vegas is the perfect starting point for your road trip to Arizona.
Which Company To Rent Your Car From
Since our Arizona road trip doubled as a family vacation, we knew we needed something large enough to carry six people, but affordable enough that we didn’t break the bank. After much research, we ended up booking with Sixt Rent-A-Car at the Las Vegas Airport. The booking process with Sixt is very easy and check-in was a breeze. Sixt’s website is straightforward and they even offer 25% off if you pay upfront. Paying upfront is something we often do for rental cars when traveling, but most rental companies only offer 10% off!
We booked a SUV big enough for an adult family of six and ended up with a GMC Yukon XL. Let us tell you, that isn’t the kind of car you drive, that is the kind of car that drives you! The price came out to around $650 for 7 days. When split between 6 people, the price became very reasonable for the size and luxury the car provided. Whether you are traveling as a group or alone, it is worth it to upgrade to a more comfortable car if you will be putting a lot of miles on it!
We are very thankful Sixt gave us such a huge care because many hours on the road with six people and all that luggage means we needed a lot of space. The thing we were most surprised about by the car was the extremely good gas mileage it provided! We drove for about 8 hours and the car only went down to half a tank! We were absolutely shocked and impressed that they truly don’t make SUVS like they used to!
Finally, Sixt offers a variety of insurance packages and roadside assistance. Although we don’t normally opt for insurance, this time we did, and during our road trip, a big truck kicked up a pebble and chipped our windshield! This became a huge crack that spanned half the windshield and we have never been more happy to have decided on insurance!
The Ultimate 5 Day Arizona Road Trip Itinerary
Day 1: Las Vegas to Flagstaff
If you can, try to catch an early morning flight into Las Vegas. This is the easiest and cheapest way to make Las Vegas the starting point for your Arizona road trip itinerary. Once you pick up your rental car [from Sixt, if you are like us], take a quick drive down the Las Vegas Strip and plug in “Flagstaff” into your GPS.
Stop 1: The Hoover Dam
While you are on your way from Las Vegas to Flagstaff, you may as well stop off and see the famous Hoover Dam! The Hoover Dam spans both Nevada and Arizona, so it is the gateway to your Arizona road trip anyway! The drive from Las Vegas to the Hoover Dam only takes about 50 minutes so it is an easy and fun first stop. Once you arrive, you can simply drive over the dam, or park and get out and walk around. Parking costs about $10. There is the option to take a tour of the dam for an additional cost as well, but walking the dam was fun too!
Stop 2: Flagstaff
You will end your first day in Flagstaff. The drive from Las Vegas to Flagstaff is such a fun part of your Arizona road trip because of the elevation change! Flagstaff is high in the mountains and is surrounded by beautiful trees and fresh mountain air. It is a quaint and lively city with plenty of restaurants and bars. It takes about 3 hours and 45 minutes if you drive to Flagstaff straight from Las Vegas without stopping and you are going to want to spend two nights here.
Where to stay in Flagstaff
In case you didn’t know, we love staying in Airbnbs when we travel! We always suggest it to users because it is a great way to connect with locals and get huge homes for much cheaper than a regular old hotel room! You can use our Airbnb code and get $40 off your booking! If you are looking for where to stay in Flagstaff, we suggest booking the “Gorgeous Rustic Mountain Home” on Airbnb! The home is especially good if you are road tripping with friends or family as it accommodates eight people and there are no extra charges for additional guests. It is a four bed four bath modern cabin in the middle of the woods in Flagstaff.
The cabin was ultra secluded, but less than two miles away from every store you could imagine. We loved this perk because it felt like you were in the middle of nowhere but a short drive down the road lands you in the middle of the city! If you are traveling with a group of people, you can go out to the store and purchase ingredients and then make all meals at home. Once you set foot in the cabin, you won’t even want to leave to go out to eat!
The check in and check out process was very simple and John, our host, was very responsive to messages. You enter the cabin with a key code provided by John so you don’t have to coordinate meeting times between you and him. This is great because anything can go wrong when you are road tripping and you may end up being later than expected! We had such a great time at Johns Airbnb in Flagstaff that we truly recommend it to anyone traveling with a group!
Day 2: Flagstaff To The Grand Canyon
Day two of your Arizona road trip itinerary will focus on the Grand Canyon. You will basically drive in a big loop from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon, and then back to Flagstaff for another night. The fact that the entire drive is a big loop is really cool because you don’t have to backtrack! Depending on what time of year you go, we suggest leaving a little later in the day so you end up at the last stop of the Grand Canyon for sunset! There is nothing quite like a sunset over this magnificent landscape!
If you want a more detailed breakdown of the Grand Canyon road trip, check out the article we wrote here. It is entirely possible to see the Grand Canyon and appreciate it in just a few hours and that is what we explain in the article!
Day 3: Flagstaff To Sedona
After the last two days, this is the part of your Arizona road trip itinerary where you can take a breather! The drive from Flagstaff to Sedona takes under an hour, so you go from one beautiful place to the next! During your day in Sedona, you can choose one of the many hikes or tours offered!
We suggest keeping it simple and hiking to a view of Cathedral Rock and feeling the power of some of Sedona’s vortexes. These hikes are more like walks and will be the perfect way to get into the Sedona spirit! Many people try to drive from Sedona to the Grand Canyon, but it is much better to stay in Flagstaff for that and explore all Sedona has to offer on its own! Our Arizona road trip itinerary has days with a lot of driving and also days with less driving for rest and exploring like Day 3 and 4!
Where To Stay In Sedona
When booking a place to stay in Sedona, you will want a centrally located home with space and a view. For our family of six, we stayed at “Your Sedona Vacation Home” which was perfect because it had two master bedrooms! Jen, our host, was very responsive and checking in and out was super easy. We loved that she had a lock box outside so we could get the key and enter on our own. The home came complete with a very helpful guide created by Jen regarding information about the home and what to see and do in Sedona. We went out to eat to a yummy restaurant per her suggestion!
The home is a few blocks away from major grocery stores and restaurants, and we walked to the grocery store one morning to get food to cook for breakfast. The view from the back porch features Sedona’s red rocks and was a relaxing way to enjoy a morning coffee. If you stepped into the driveway, you could see another set of looming red rocks right over the road in the neighborhood as well! As with many things in Sedona, “Your Sedona Vacation Home” was surrounded by beautiful red rocks!
The home features four bedrooms and three bathrooms, including two master suites, and a full laundry room. This place is perfect if you are a group of friends or a family traveling together because everyone has their own privacy and there are great common areas, such as the living room and beautiful back porch, for when everyone wants to gather together. If you are planning on visiting Sedona, check out Jen’s place and don’t forget to use our code to get $40 off your Airbnb stay!
Day 4: Explore Sedona
During the fourth day of your road trip in Arizona, you will spend time hanging out in Sedona and hiking! You can drive your car down one of the many roads in Sedona and receive breathtaking views at every turn! We highly recommend driving to see the Church of the Holy Cross which is built into the red rocks and overlooks Sedona. It is stunning and an easy drive from downtown!
If you are a little more adventurous, we suggest hiking to Devil’s Bridge. The hike is actually a very easy four miles round trip. The only hard part is about the last 1/4 of a mile where you have to climb up one of the red rocks for the final view of Devil’s Bridge. The hike is considered “moderate,” although it should really be marked as easy for 80% and intermediate for 20%. The view is well worth the effort! You can adventure as little or as much as you want during this part of your Arizona road trip itinearay.
Day 5: Sedona To Las Vegas
The good part about this section of your Arizona road trip itinerary is you are now able to stop at any spots you missed along the way! If you saw something crazy cool that you passed up in a hurry, now is the time to leisurely make your way back to Las Vegas to drop off your rental and catch your flight.
A lot of airlines fly red eye flights late at night from Las Vegas, so leaving Sedona in the morning and getting back to the airport in the afternoon isn’t a problem at all! Keep your eye out for beautiful stops along the way and don’t forget to pick some place local for lunch!
Don’t Forget To Pack These 5 Things For Your Arizona Road Trip
1: Sunscreen. Holy heck can Arizona get hot at times so packing sunscreen is a must! Even if it isn’t hot, the sun still beats down and you may get a burn! Play it safe and do not forget to pack sunscreen because you will be in the desert!
2: Reusable filtered water bottle. Save the earth and travel with a water bottle you can reuse. We love our Bobble water bottles because they cost under $7 and come with filters so we can drink clean water anywhere. They are perfect for hiking or just road tripping in the Arizona heat.
3: Gopro. If you are looking for an easy way to capture great photos and videos during your road trip in Arizona, a GoPro should top your packing list. You can invest in a GoPro that is top of the line or stick with an older model like the GoPro Hero 3 which is what we travel with. GoPros are durable and waterproof and perfect to pack for an Arizona road trip.
4: Hat. We don’t care if you like baseball caps, sunhats, fedoras, whatever, you just need to make sure you pack a hat for your Arizona road trip! Stay safe and skin cancer free!
5: Daypack. For when you aren’t driving, you are going to want a small backpack or daypack to carry snacks, water, sunscreen, and anything else you may need when exploring. We love this daypack by Venturepal because it is lightweight and costs just $20!
What do you think about our Arizona road trip itinerary? Have you road tripped this great state? If so, what did you do and where did you go? Let us know in the comments!
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Please note, this post may contain affiliate links which means we may make a small profit from items you buy at completely no extra cost to you. This allows us to continue to run our website and provide you with content! Special thanks to Sixt Rent-A-Car for providing us with a rental for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are our own.