Family travel to Arizona combines culture, adventure and kids. Visit a Native American Indian Reservation. Explore one of Arizona's many archaeological sites. Discover dinosaur tracks. Spot wildlife or watch birds. Marvel at the Grand Canyon. Hike, horseback ride or take a mule pack trip. And during the winter holiday season, take a train trip to the North Pole on the Polar Express. Whether you camp under the stars or relax in luxury at a destination resort there are countless things to do in Arizona with kids. Situated just north of Mexico, Arizona shares more than a border, or corner, with five U.S. states - New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Colorado and California. It shares the 'Old West' and Southwest cultures with several of its neighbors. Yet there is much to Arizona that is unique.
Arizona's rich cultural heritage dates back more than 11,000 years when the Clovis people, a Paleo-Indian tribe, traveled through what is today Southeastern Arizona. But it wasn't until AD 400 and the arrival of the pueblo cultures - Hohokam, Anasazi, Mogollon and Salado - that the state was actually settled. Today, twenty-one Native American tribes, each with its own distinct culture and traditions, call Arizona home. Tour a pueblo ruin or visit an Indian reservation on an Arizona vacation and learn more about this corner of the American Southwest.
The history of Arizona is also tied to the Wild West. Gold diggers and mountain men were attracted to this once inhospitable U.S. State. A family trip to the frontier towns situated in Northwestern Arizona provides an opportunity to introduce the kids to times past.
A family trek from corner to corner is a trip across seven of Merriam's Life Zones. Watch closely and take in each transformation along the way. And the change isn't limited to the vegetation; the wildlife also varies with the altitude and latitude. Don't forget your binoculars on a family vacation in Arizona!
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is Arizona's main airport with non-stop flights to/from most U.S. locations and direct service to/from London, England as well as several cities in Canada and Mexico. Travel to the much smaller Tucson International Airport will likely require a connection for most U.S. and international travelers.
Arizona travel is tantamount to a family road trip. Arizona is the 6th largest U.S. state and, aside from a few scenic train trips, there is little alternative to the car. Traversing the Phoenix metro area alone takes more than an hour!
The best time to visit Arizona truly depends on where you plan to visit and what you intend to do. Overall spring (March and April) is the best time to visit most areas of the state. Wildflowers are in bloom and a great variety of bird species can be seen. Seasonal rains are heaviest in July and August. While winter is pleasant in many parts of Arizona, you are likely to find snow at higher elevations from December through March.
Nature and the elements are potential hazards for families intending to make the most of the great outdoors. Take plenty of water when hitting the trail and don't get caught out in a storm, in the mountains they can be severe. Crime is an issue in downtown and central Phoenix. Arizona law requires children under 5 years of age be properly secured in a U.S. government approved child safety seat. Booster seats are encouraged for children under the age of 8 or less than 4 feet 9 inches (144 cm) tall. Children under 12 are encouraged to sit in the back seat and must buckle up.