Best Time to Visit Arizona

When Is the Best Time

Knowing the best times to visit the different regions in Arizona can make or break your next vacation in this gorgeous state. We put together the expert knowledge of three Arizona destination experts and combined it with our own Arizona travel experience.

You will find everything you need to know before visiting Flagstaff, Grand Canyon, Phoenix, Tucson, and Arizona’s national parks during different times. We provide you with clothing and activity tips for each of the four seasons.

The best time to visit Arizona is in the spring and autumn. During both seasons, the temperatures are pleasant throughout the state. The best months with mild weather and lower crowds in the fall are October and November.

For the best times to visit Arizona’s popular attractions like Antelope Canyon, The Wave, and Havasu Falls, check our complete and detailed guides for each destination: More Arizona Best Time Guides (opens in a new tab). For everything else, check our tips below.

 

5 Hand-Picked Arizona Tours for Every Season

All five activities you can see above are hand-picked by us. We did all of these tours and they are not only amazing experiences but also worth every penny! My personal favorite is the hot-air balloon ride in Phoenix.

 

SPRING | March-May

Arizona in spring is an excellent time to visit. You’ll find more mild temperatures at this time around the state than during other periods. Crowds will vary depending on the region you visit, with some spots busier than others.

Flagstaff | Grand Canyon (Mogollon Rim Country)

Crowds

Spring is not the most popular for this region. Instead, you’ll find July/August to be packed as well as wintertime here.

Spring offers more affordable hotel rates and lower crowds, especially around late spring. This is a great time to visit if you’re seeking more mild temperatures.

Weather

Flagstaff averages between 50°F – 69°F during the spring. The Grand Canyon averages higher temperatures of 74°F – 93°F at this time.

Arizona offers dry heat so prepare for that before heading here. Expect to drink more water than normal. Also, lotion will need to be applied more regularly.

What To Wear

Depending on if you’ll be in Flagstaff or The Grand Canyon, you will want to wear slightly different clothing.

In Flagstaff, you’ll want to wear more layers at the beginning of spring when the snow is melting. Temperatures can drop below freezing at night.

Wear pants, comfortable shoes, a lighter top (for daytime), and a combination of light/heavy layers. This includes thick and thin jackets and perhaps even a coat.

In the Grand Canyon, it is still great to bring additional layers during these months. However, for a slightly different reason. You’ll want layers during the daytime to shield you from the sunlight.

We know it’s no fun getting a sunburn on vacation! The evenings are not quite as chilly as in Flagstaff, so light jackets, pants, long-sleeved shirts, and sneakers should be sufficient.

Things To Do/Great Time To

Spring is the best time to see blooming flowers in this region. As the snow melts away, the flowers begin blooming.

Grand Canyon: At the Grand Canyon, you will want to hike and explore the area. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a ride on a donkey down to the bottom of the canyon. As it’s not as hot during March, April, and May, this is ideal for this activity. Also, it’s less popular in the spring, which makes spring an even better time for hiking.

You can also start taking rafting tours in the Grand Canyon in March. Although, the water is still pretty cold at this time; so you may want to wait until May.

Flagstaff: In Flagstaff, there is still snow sometimes through April. You can hit the local resort and ski or snowboard during this time.

There are also events throughout spring like a battle of the bands and a film festival at NAU.

Phoenix | Tucson | Saguaro National Park (Central/Southern Deserts)

Crowds

Crowd levels are high for Phoenix, Tucson, and Saguaro National Park for springtime in Arizona. To escape the high heat temperatures of the summer, people enjoy visiting during the spring.

As Phoenix, Tucson, and Saguaro National Park are popular destinations in this state; people flock to these cities regularly. You won’t find an unbusy spot during these months.

Weather

Phoenix and Tucson have similar temperatures to the Grand Canyon during March, April, and May. Both Tucson and Saguaro National Park have high temperatures ranging from 75°F – 91°F. Phoenix’s temperatures range from 77°F – 94°F.

While these temperatures are pretty hot, they are still mild compared to 100°F+ that you will find in the summer days. This makes it ideal for participating in outdoor sports like hiking and fishing during these months.

What To Wear

With the hot sun and hot temperatures, you will want to protect yourself from sunburn. This calls for a sun hat. It is also a good idea to bring hiking boots or comfortable shoes.

Opt to bring breathable layers like cotton shirts/dresses or convertible items like hiking pants that zip into shorts. You may want to consider bringing electrolytes with you as it can be easy to get dehydrated. This is true even for those who are not hiking or exercising outside.

Things to Do / Great Time To

Spring in the central/southern deserts is the best time to see the desert flowers blooming. This is a beautiful site to see, especially after the wintertime. Springtime also brings more outdoor music to listen to. There are both events and local restaurants that offer this.

With more mild temperatures, it’s also the best time to hike and explore outdoors. You’ll find many people heading to the deserts in spring for this purpose.

The end of spring (May) is the best time to visit for cheaper hotel rates. With temperatures starting to increase, fewer people are visiting this area.

Phoenix: In Phoenix, springtime brings with it baseball games. Head to a training game to watch MLB players.

Head to the Desert Botanical Garden for exquisite nature walks featuring desert cactuses and wildflowers. Events are offered throughout the year. You can also check out the spring butterfly exhibit here. It occurs every year from February to May.

There are multiple spring festivals that can be attended in Phoenix, including the Arizona Taco Festival and the Festival of The Arts. Both offer very different activities, meaning there is something for everyone.

Tucson: Suppose you’re planning to visit Tucson during spring break. You can find offerings, including the Spring Artisan Market. Picture a farmer’s market filled with handmade goods like jewelry and paintings.

Saguaro National Park: Saguaro National Park is touted as one of the best spots to see spring flowers while hiking.

Not only that, but you can also view some running waterfalls along the trails in the spring. Try heading to the Douglas Springs Trails to view Ernie’s Falls.

Saguaro National Park regularly holds events throughout the spring, such as night Walks every Friday of March. You will be led on a guided tour through the park for two hours in the evening.

Other available activities include garden tours, bird watching, and even cooking instructions/classes for food items found in the desert.

Sedona | Petrified Forest National Park (North/Central Arizona)
Campout at Devils Playground Petrified Forest National Wilderness Area NPS/Jacob Holgerson by PetrifiedForestNPSCC (BY)
Crowds

Sedona is considered to be the most popular tourist destination. Spring offers medium amounts of crowds for both Sedona and Petrified Forest National Park. You’ll be able to avoid the busy season and get decent hotel/accommodation rates during the spring.

Normally, July/August is the busiest time for Sedona and June/July for Petrified Forest National Park. You may start to see crowds increasing during May for both spots, though they will be tolerable.

Weather

Springtime in Sedona offers temperatures between 65°F – 82°F. In comparison, Petrified Forest National Park offers temperatures of 64°F – 79°F. These are additional amazing spots to hike or bike on trails and provide lower temperatures than the Grand Canyon.

Sedona is another desert area so expect dry heat when heading here. If you’re used to more humid environments, it may take time to adjust.

Petrified Forest National Park is located in the Northeastern part of Arizona, which tends to be much windier. Winds can hit up to 40 MPH in this area allowing dust to circulate in the air. Avoid this by heading here in the morning, as guests don’t usually hit until the ground warms up in the afternoon.

What To Wear

When temperatures are in the sixties in Sedona and Petrified Forest National Park, you’ll want to wear light pants (like cargo pants or thinner jeans), light tops, and light jackets during the early springtime. Evenings may require heavier jackets as temperatures can dip.

For Petrified Forest specifically, you’ll want to bring a windbreaker and sunglasses to help shield yourself from the dust in the air. This is only for those venturing to the park in the afternoon.

During the later part of spring (May), you will want to wear t-shirts, shorts, and maybe even a breezy dress. This can help you stay cool as the temperatures rise. However, be careful of the sun and make sure to apply sunscreen avidly.

Things To Do/Great Time To

Spring is the best time to see the yellow, purple, and orange flowers sprout up in Sedona. Of course, most spots offer flowers in springtime. However, these blooms are bright and sprout around the red rocks area.

This is also the best time for jeep tours. These tours allow you to see the city without as much physical activity.

Sedona: Sedona is known for its rough terrain. It has been featured in many western movies because of this. Now, this city is home to many different art galleries and offers a respite for artists.

There are plenty of Native American sites/ruins and rock carvings that can be visited in this area. You can also live out your western movie dreams by checking out the Bell Rock and Coffee Pot Rock.

Of course, there are ample areas for hiking as well. Red Rock State Park is in this city and features tall, red rock formations jutting out of the ground. This is an excellent spot to visit for nature lovers.

Spring is excellent for any outdoor activities as you can enjoy the sun and the sights without getting overheated. Check out local events like the Illuminate Film Festival and the annual chili cook-off.

Petrified Forest National Park: This park is very child-friendly. In spring, they offer many activities for children, such as the Junior Ranger and Junior Paleontologist programs.

Adults can participate in wildflower walks as well as geocaching and educational, cultural demonstrations. These demonstrations run through the month of May each year and offer arts, stories, and skills throughout the day. These events are free to the public.

 

SUMMER | June – August

Arizona’s summer months are hot and dry. During the day, at the hottest temperatures, most crowds thin out.

Flagstaff | Grand Canyon (Mogollon Rim Country)

Crowds

June brings increasing crowds, while July and August are some of the most crowded months at Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon. Expect hotel rates to be high since this is the busiest season.

While the college students have left for the summer, many travelers head to Flagstaff in the summer months. It can be hectic as people from neighboring towns head here for slightly cooler temperatures. Avoid crowds as much as possible by doing activities during the week instead of the weekend.

Weather

Flagstaff averages between 79°F – 80°F during the spring. The Grand Canyon averages higher temperatures of 103°F – 107°F at this time.

If you need a break from the heat in the Grand Canyon, consider spending a day or two in Flagstaff. Temperatures in the Grand Canyon get very hot during these months. Head out early in the morning to avoid the heat.

What To Wear

While in Flagstaff, you’ll be comfortable wearing a t-shirt, shorts, and comfortable shoes as many activities are outdoors. In the evenings, it can drop to the 40s or 50s. Consider bringing a jacket and pants to change into at night.

The Grand Canyon’s temperatures can make it difficult to dress. If you plan on hiking all day long, consider light and breathable layers (like cotton) to help keep you protected from the sun.

In the evening, temperatures are in the 70s, so stick with shorts and a t-shirt to help stay cool.

Things To Do/Great Time To

Summer is the best time to do outdoor activities in Flagstaff, including hiking and checking out the arboretum.

Summertime at the Grand Canyon is the best time to learn about the history of the area. With more people visiting, more rangers are working at the canyon, providing fantastic knowledge.

Grand Canyon: Make sure to get up early to catch the sunrise at the Grand Canyon. During the summer, the sunlight lasts longer, allowing for more time to be spent outdoors. Plus, this will help you avoid the heat that the afternoon brings.

The current exhibit running from June until September is surrounding the Kolb Brothers at the Kolb Studio. You can watch their explorations of the Grand Canyon as well as look at their antique camera collection.

Flagstaff: During the summertime, you can take a ride on the Scenic Skyride Chairlift, which offers views of the Grand Canyon from afar. This is also an excellent time to check out the arboretum, which is open May through October each year.

Learn about the history of the area by checking out the Hopi and Navajo Festival of Arts and Culture in Arizona in July and August.

Phoenix | Tucson | Saguaro National Park (Central/Southern Deserts)

Crowds

Phoenix, Tucson, and Saguaro National Park experience their light/less crowded season after May until November. Summer is an excellent time to visit to avoid the crowds. It’s also the best time for lower accommodation rates.

Head to these locations for more mild weather in the summer and excellent hotel rates. You’ll also be escaping the crowds that the Grand Canyon sees in the warmer months.

Weather

Tucson and Saguaro National Park offer a slightly lower temperature in the summer than the Grand Canyon. Both Tucson and Saguaro National Park have high temperatures ranging from 98°F – 101°F.

Phoenix offers similar temperatures during the summertime as the Grand Canyon. Phoenix’s temperatures range from 104°F – 106°F.

Head out in the early morning for these locations or later afternoon to avoid the heat. If it’s necessary to be out during the day, make sure to stay hydrated. Don’t forget to take breaks in the shade and in the air conditioning.

What To Wear

With temperatures as hot as they are, it’s best to wear clothing that keeps you cool and helps you avoid too much sun. Bring a sun hat with you, if possible, for any outdoor activities.

Again, you’ll want light, breathable clothing that offers protection from the sunlight. This could mean a long sleeve cotton shirt and pants. If you opt for shorts and a t-shirt or tank top, be prepared to reapply sunscreen every few hours.

Things to Do / Great Time To

Summertime in the central/southern deserts is the best time to enjoy low hotel rates. With the heat and most people focused on the Grand Canyon, you’ll beat the crowds and reap the rewards.

Arizona summers in Phoenix, Tucson, and Saguaro National Park are also the best time to seek out waterparks and other activities that help you stay cool during the day.

Phoenix: Summer months in Phoenix are usually spent at the waterparks – as mentioned above. You can also check out the Arizona Science Center. This provides an educational activity while at the same time offering a respite from the heat during the day.

June through August, the botanic garden provides flashlight tours in the evenings. It might sound like an odd activity. However, the desert flowers are magical at night.

A not-to-be-missed event is Light Up The Sky, which occurs on July 1. This family-friendly event offers live music, entertainment, and fireworks.

Tucson: You’ll also want activities that help avoid the temperatures in Tucson. Head to a pinball arcade with classic games. Bring your kids and show them which games you grew up with.

Another notable spot is the Tucson Museum of Art. Check it out on the first Thursday of the month for free entry.

If you’re visiting in August, check out the World Margaritas Championships. You can taste over 20 margarita recipes from local spots.

Saguaro National Park: Hiking is a popular activity during the summer months for Saguaro Park. Head to the Cactus Gardens for interesting landscapes. Avoid the heat by starting a hike either very early or later in the afternoon – then you can catch the spectacular sunset views simultaneously.

For those who plan to stay for longer, Saguaro National Park offers a summer camp for children. This camp teaches kids essential tips for hiking and outdoor activities.

Grab your family and head to one of the educational events that provide information on the local wildlife. Events surrounding mountain lions, lizards, and the kangaroo rat are available in July.

Sedona | Petrified Forest National Park (North/Central Arizona)

Crowds

Sedona and Petrified Forest National Park are busy during the month of June – expect it to be the busiest month for each. July and August offer higher numbers of people, though they decrease as the weather moves towards fall time.

If you’re planning to visit during the summertime, aim for August to avoid the crowds. You’ll still see a good amount of people. However, it won’t be quite as crazy as the month of June.

Hotel rates will be higher in June due to popularity and also decrease in July/August.

Weather

Arizona summer weather in Sedona sees temperatures between 96°F – 100°F. Petrified Forest National Park offers lower temperatures of 90°F – 93°F.

Sedona and Petrified Forest National Park typically have monsoons in July and August. Expect heavy rainfall during these months and prepare to find indoor activities during the rainy weather. The early mornings tend to be clear, while late mornings bring the wet weather.

What To Wear

With the daily highs and lows varying so much (60s in the evening), you’ll want to be prepared with multiple outfit choices and layers. Daytime outfits should consist of caps, cotton long-sleeved t-shirts, and leggings or other pants with thin material. Evenings will need a light jacket or sweater to go over the daytime outfit.

During the rainy months, consider bringing a rain poncho. Since it will be very windy as well, it’s not advised to grab an umbrella as it may be pulled away or broken.

Things To Do/Great Time To

In Sedona, the best time to visit Slide Rock State Park is in the morning during the summertime. Otherwise, you might not be able to get in due to crowds.

Summer is the best time to see breathtaking views in Petrified Forest National Park. The rain offers a different vibe than the normal dry weather.

Sedona: During the summertime in Sedona, most people can be found swimming to avoid the heat. There are multiple outdoor water holes that can be visited.

Take the Red Rock Scenic Byway drive to keep out of the heat, or stop by the shops/art galleries for some cool fun.

Head to the Sedona International Film Festival, which occurs annually from July 30 – August 5. Multiple films are played at the Mary D. Fisher Theater. This is another excellent way to escape the temperatures.

Petrified Forest National Park: During the summer it’s often either very hot or rainy. Thus, we recommend starting outdoor activities in the morning and finish them before noon.

After midday, when it’s often unpleasant outside (either too hot or rainy), is a great time to explore the indoor exhibits and museum. Learn about the history of Petrified Forest in the Rainbow Forest Museum. Learn about fossils or take a tour of the Painted Desert Inn. Both events are available throughout the months of June, July, and August.

 

Fall | September – November

Fall in Arizona weather brings more mild temperatures, especially in October and November. During this time, fewer crowds can be seen, and hotel rates decrease.

Flagstaff | Grand Canyon (Mogollon Rim Country)

Crowds

Besides springtime, fall offers decreased crowds in Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon. It is one of the slower seasons that this area experiences every year. If you’re looking to avoid a massive number of people, head to this region during September, October, and November.

As the demand is down for accommodations during this season, you’ll find the rates are also reasonable and much lower than in summer/winter. Book trips during this time for you and your family – you’ll still be able to enjoy the outdoors during the fall time.

Weather

The weather in Flagstaff during the fall time ranges from 71°F (September) down to 51°F in November. The average rainfall during these months ranges between 3-5 days, so you’ll be able to avoid the rain as well in this area.

The Grand Canyon stays on the warmer side even through the fall months. Expect the temperatures to stay between 96°F (September) and 69°F (November).

Rain is even more scarce here, with an average of 2-3 days per month. This is an excellent time to do outdoor activities without overheating – especially in October/November.

What To Wear

As the temperature begins to decrease in Flagstaff, you’ll want to include light to medium jackets during the daytime. In September, you can get away with a light jacket both during the day and at night.

Once you hit November, expect to need a thicker jacket and more layers – especially at night as the temperatures drop to the 20s. Plan on bringing thicker pants like jeans, long sleeve shirts, and boots or thicker closed toes shoes. At the beginning of fall, you’ll want to wear lighter pants (like cargo pants), t-shirts, and sneakers.

With the temperatures in Grand Canyon staying higher, you can continue to dress in t-shirts and shorts throughout the fall time. The evenings are, of course, a bit chillier so bring a sweater and pants to change into on the colder nights.

Things To Do / Great Time To

September-November is the best time to see fall colors in Arizona. Yellow hues cover the trees and provide excellent scenery.

Fall is the best time to visit the Grand Canyon with fewer crowds and warmer weather. There will still be some crowds as it is a popular destination. However, it will be closer to ½ the number of people who visit in the summer.

Grand Canyon: Grab a spot on a helicopter tour in the fall. With fewer crowds, you’ll find more availability to do this activity. There is also higher availability for van, airplane, and bicycling tours during this time.

If you’re visiting in September, head to the Annual Celebration of Art. This is hosted each year at the Grand Canyon and features art surrounding the location. The event is free to attend and benefits an art shop in the South Rim.

October brings the Fall Sustainability Fair. If you’re traveling with children and are interested in having them learn about protecting the environment, you’ll love this event.

Flagstaff: With the beautiful fall colors in Arizona being present, it’s a great time to hike around Flagstaff. You’ll be able to view both amazing flowers and bright foliage. Head to Wilson Meadow for both as well as shorter trails that are perfect for kids.

The end of September features the Flagstaff Star Party, which features night sky sights and workshops. You’ll also be able to learn more about the stars via presentations.

In October, you can check out the popular Sacred Spaces event. This takes place in the NAU Ardey Auditorium and is sponsored by the army. It features videos and music of the Grand Canyon.

Phoenix | Tucson | Saguaro National Park (Central/Southern Deserts)

Crowds

Fall time in Phoenix, Tucson, and Saguaro National Park offers low crowds making it an excellent time to visit these locations. This is the time of the year to grab great accommodation rates.

Crowds will start increasing in Tucson/Phoenix in November and hotel room rates due to the pleasant winter season. Aim to travel here in September/October.

Weather

Phoenix weather stays between 100°F and 76°F as it shifts into the colder season. Tucson and Saguaro National Park offer temperatures of 95°F – 74°F. The weather tends to stay dry for these three locations through the fall, with only a few days of rain each month.

If these temperatures are still too warm for you – aim for evening activities. Or, make sure to take breaks by stopping in stores/restaurants every few hours.

What To Wear

With the high temperatures through the fall season, you’ll want to wear items that both block the sun and keep you cool. This includes UV blocking shirts (long sleeves if available), shorts or light cotton pants, and hats.

Temperatures dip down to the 50s in these areas during the nighttime, so it’s best to bring jackets, sweaters, and hoodies at night. Prepare to wear lighter clothes during the day and layers in the evenings.

Things to Do / Great Time To

Fall is the best time to visit these areas. The hotel rates are low, and crowds have dispersed.

This is also the best time to do outdoor activities like hiking. You’ll be able to enjoy sunny weather for the most part without the staggering heat of the summer.

Phoenix: Ride above Phoenix by hot air balloon. You’ll be able to see the scenery from a new perspective in the fall. It’s also a great time to participate in fall activities like visiting a pumpkin farm.

Desert Botanical Garden offers fun exhibits in the fall. Check out the monarch butterfly exhibit or the annual ofrenda exhibit. Both will wow you and your family.

If you’re a fan of folk-rock music, check out the Outlaw Music Festival that occurs in October. Expect to see big names like The Avett Brothers.

Tucson: Fall in Tucson brings multiple pumpkin patches for the kids and fresh produce at each pumpkin farm. This is a great way to entertain the kids while viewing the changing fall colors.

Film Fest Tucson runs for four days in October and features more than 30 films. You’ll be able to catch documentaries of varying lengths during this event.

The Tucson Fall Fine Arts Festival is a must-see during November. It has been ongoing for 60+ years and features art from local artists, crafters, and unique ethnic foods to try along the way.

Saguaro National Park: Fall is an excellent time to learn about the bugs, animals, and cacti in the Saguaro National Park. Each Wednesday in October, a short update is provided on what can be seen in this park.

Attend the Sonoran Secrets To Desert Survival event for information about how plants/animals survive here. Not only will you learn the survival tactics of the local critters, but you’ll also gain information on how you can stay safe in the heat.

Sedona | Petrified Forest National Park (North/Central Arizona)

Crowds

Crowds are high in Sedona during the fall. This is due to a combination of the more mild temperatures available and the beautiful fall colors. You can expect hotel rates to be high in the fall, just like during the spring months.

Petrified Forest National Park has an average amount of crowds/visitors during this time. Fall is not the least or most crowded season for this spot. Expect the surrounding hotels to be at a somewhat reasonable price.

Weather

The weather in Sedona and Petrified Forest National Park is fantastic during the fall. Sedona offers temperatures of 88°F to 65°F. Petrified Forest sees slightly lower temperatures ranging from 84°F to 60°F.

During the fall months, it is common to see some rain as well. The majority of the days will still be sunny though about 3-5 days will have rainstorms.

What To Wear

As the temperatures are within a few degrees between the two locations, you can safely pack the same clothing items for each location. For earlier fall trips, you can opt for skirts/shorts, t-shirts, and sneakers. Later fall will have you wanting to wear jeans and long-sleeved shirts.

Of course, it gets chillier in the later parts of the day, especially in November. There is a small chance you will see snow in November, just in case, bring some boots and a coat.

Things To Do / Great Time To

Fall is the best time to see the foliage near the red rocks in Sedona. The contrast in colors between the yellowed leaves and the red sand offers quite a picturesque sight.

This season is the best time to bring your dog to Petrified Forest National Park. The milder temperatures allow for a safer time to explore the park without fear of your furry friend overheating. Of course, make sure you bring enough water even though the temperatures are lower.

Sedona: Take your family for apple picking in Sedona during the fall. September/October brings many family-friendly activities. It’s the perfect time for a weekend trip here.

Red Rocks Music Festival is not to be missed. It occurs every year in October and offers group and solo performances by a chamber orchestra.

Bike lovers can enjoy the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival, which runs for three days in November. You’ll find new gear here, live entertainment every night, and bike demos. It’s a perfect event for adventure lovers and bike enthusiasts.

Petrified Forest National Park: Beyond hiking in this park with your family and dog, there are excellent activities and events during the fall season. The junior park ranger activities continue through the end of December. If you’re planning on an extended stay – these are a great option for children.

In November, there is a guided backcountry hike that leads through Blue Mesa Walkabout. This is a free event and is geared towards intermediate to advanced hikers. You’ll be hiking off-trail for about 6-6.5 miles.

Winter | December – February

Winter in Arizona brings with it snow (in some areas) and cooler weather in others. The areas that have snow bring large crowds for winter sports.

Flagstaff | Grand Canyon (Mogollon Rim Country)

Crowds

Flagstaff in winter tends to be more crowded than Spring/fall. With the large availability of snow, winter sports enthusiasts head here from December through February. You can still find decently priced accommodations as not everyone wants to fight the winter weather.

For the Grand Canyon – crowds are the lowest during the winter season here. In January/February, you can expect to see minimal amounts of people due to snow. Hotel rates will be lower this season.

Weather

Flagstaff, Arizona winter weather provides temperatures of 64°F to 47°F. There is a good amount of snow that piles up during these months. There have been years where 100 inches of snow have dropped.

In the nighttime, temperatures can dip into the teens, so prepare for very cold evenings.

The Grand Canyon stays in the 58°F to 65°F range during December through February. There tends to be a higher percentage of precipitation during this time. This is not surprising as often, there will be snow in the North Rim area.

What To Wear

Bring your winter gear when visiting Flagstaff. You’ll need a winter coat, boots, sweaters, scarves, gloves, and thick pants. This is especially true if you plan to do any outdoor activities.

If you’re visiting the Grand Canyon, you’ll still want to bring warmer clothing options. Thick sweaters, jeans or thicker pants, boots, and jackets should keep you warm during the day. In the evening, you should plan to need an extra layer when the temperatures drop.

Things To Do / Great Time To

Flagstaff winters offer the best time to hit the slopes. There’s a reason so many snow-loving people head here in the colder months.

Winter is the best time to hike the South Rim at the Grand Canyon. There are fewer crowds during this time so you can enjoy the area more fully.

Grand Canyon: Winter sunsets in the Grand Canyon are unrivaled. You can see swirls of purple, pink, and orange over the canyon walls. Avoid the North Rim as it is often closed in wintertime due to snow.

Did you grow up watching The Polar Express? Get in the holiday spirit by riding The Polar Express Train from Williams, Arizona, through the Grand Canyon. Visits with Santa, candies and hot chocolate are provided during this event that lasts through the end of December.

Flagstaff: As mentioned above, the winter season is the time for winter sports here. Grab your snowboard or skis and head to the slopes. Be careful as it can get quite icy in the winter.

If you’re staying in Flagstaff through New Year’s Eve, you will want to check out the Great Pinecone Drop. It’s similar to the ball drop in New York, with a Flagstaff twist. It has been celebrated since 1999 and includes a firework display afterward.

Phoenix | Tucson | Saguaro National Park (Central/Southern Deserts)

Crowds

Winter in Phoenix, Arizona, Tucson, and Saguaro National Park brings with it the highest level of crowds all year, specifically for December/January. The sunny weather and the lack of snow make this an excellent spot for those avoiding the surrounding colder areas.

Winter in Phoenix also brings high golf rates. All three locations will have high accommodation rates if you visit during this season. If you’re looking for a warmer area in the winter – head to these spots.

Weather

Phoenix winters provide temperatures of 68°F to 72°F. Tucson temperatures stay between 66°F and 70°F, very similar to the weather in Phoenix during this season.

Saguaro National Park also has similar temperatures, though a few degrees cooler. The temperature range for this area will be between 65°F and 69°F.

There is a small amount of rain that typically occurs each month in Tucson and Phoenix. Otherwise, the temperatures are very pleasant during the day. Phoenix is one of the best Arizona vacation spots in winter.

In the nighttime, temperatures can dip into the 40s and even high 30s in some areas, so prepare for chillier evenings.

What To Wear

Since the weather in Phoenix, Tucson, and Saguaro National Park is so agreeable in winter, you can get away with wearing short sleeve shirts and shorts during the day. With the temperatures dropping so much in the night, make sure you bring thicker sweatpants and jackets/hoodies to keep you warm.

Depending on your chosen activity, you can wear sandals (during the day), sneakers, or hiking boots. Or, if you choose to go golfing, grab your best pair of golf shoes.

Things to Do / Great Time To

Winter in Phoenix is the best time to get to know the locals. Most local people in the area have been staying in the cool air conditioning for the hotter months. December through February allows for them to leave their homes and spend time outdoors.

The best time to enjoy the weather for Phoenix, Tucson, and Saguaro Forest National Park is in the wintertime.

Phoenix: Since the weather is so pleasant in the wintertime, you can enjoy the outdoors during this season. Grab your golf clubs and hit the green or go swimming. Either are excellent options.

Desert Botanical Garden hosts the annual Devour Culinary Classic in February. James Beard Award-winning chefs and local cooks and brewers join this event to provide the ultimate foodie experience.

Zoolights runs each year through January 7. This family-friendly activity offers sightings of animals during the evening with pretty lights strung around the zoo. It is put on each year at the Phoenix Zoo.

Tucson: Tucson promotes many seasonal activities in the winter months. The Sonoran Desert in Tucson is a great place to visit in winter. In December, lights are placed around the garden and can be viewed at night.

Head to the Jazz Festival in January for music from orchestras, soloists, and groups. This event lasts from January 14 to January 23 and allows you to enjoy all different types of jazz music.

The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show in February is a highly anticipated event. Over 80 exhibits are featuring different gemstones and minerals. This event is a great way to learn about gems and minerals more in-depth and support organizations for mineral and earth sciences.

Saguaro National Park: Hiking is the main activity performed at Saguaro National Park in the winter. December is the best winter month for this as you’ll beat the hot summer heat.

Other available activities include scheduled sunset hikes and moonrise hikes. These are unforgettable experiences that offer incredible views.

Join the Cooking With Prickly Pear event in December to gain tips and tricks on cooking with this cactus flower. You’ll even learn how to collect prickly pears yourself.

Sedona | Petrified Forest National Park (North/Central Arizona)

Crowds

Winter in Sedona and Petrified Forest National Park offers the fewest crowds year-round. This also means that hotel rates are low and affordable.

Crowds are especially low in January/February for Petrified Forest. With the snow and chilly temperatures, it’s not surprising that this spot clears out in the winter months.

Weather

Sedona, Arizona winter temperatures fall in the 60°F to 64°F range. Petrified Forest National Park sees lower temperatures between 49°F to 55°F during the daytime.

Sedona offers perfect daytime weather for outdoor activities during the winter with minimal. Both Sedona and Petrified Forest Park see snow in the winter months. It tends to be a light amount, so it is not enough for snow sports.

What To Wear

Since temperatures are warmer in Sedona, you will want to wear long-sleeve shirts (blouses even for nicer events), lighter pants are okay like cargo or cotton, and hiking boots. Evenings can get chilly so bring a thick sweater, a scarf, and tights or long johns to layer under your pants.

Petrified Forest requires a bit more layers in order to stay at an ideal temperature. During the day, you can get away with a light sweater or a light to medium jacket, thicker pants like jeans, and boots.

Evenings can get very cold – bring a thick jacket or coat and a scarf. It will help you stay warm through the night.

Things To Do/Great Time To

Winter in Sedona and Petrified Forest National Park is the best time to avoid crowds and score low hotel rates.

Sedona: Sedona is noted as a romantic spot to visit during the winter months. The snow on the red rocks creates a pretty contrast. During the day, go for a hike. In the chilly evenings, cuddle up near a fire with your significant other.

Winter in Sedona means many holiday-related events and festivals. Grab your family and ride on the Canyon Christmas Train. Or, check out the strung-up lights and search for carolers.

If you plan on traveling here after the holidays, you can stop by the VegFest. Learn about and try the different vegetarian and vegan fare. This festival runs annually in January.

Petrified Forest National Park: Winter is the perfect time to bird-watch. Multiple birds can be found here in the winter, including Burrowing Owls, Sparrows, and Dark-Eyed Juncos. This is a great spot to bring your family and learn about the area. Keep an eye out for any other wildlife that may appear.

Geocaching is available in the park throughout the full year. You can also tour different trails during the winter months. Be prepared to wear multiple layers, so you don’t get chilly.