Things to See Between Los Angeles and Austin by State: Arizona

After living in Los Angeles for over a year, I decided to make a big life change: move back to Austin, Texas to focus on my creative side and my travels! We decided to expand the 2-3 day journey into a week in order to explore places we’d never seen before. We are travelers after all, right?

This guide series will enlighten you on stops to make while driving from Los Angeles to Austin starting with stops in California. Keep following the series for further information on stops in the other states.

Arizona

Phoenix

This unique, desert of a city is beautiful with surrounding landscape lush with cacti and mountains.

While in Phoenix, definitely hit up a Diamondbacks game. The Diamondback’s ballpark is notorious for some interesting food, so make sure you show up hungry! You must try the chicken and funnel cake sandwich, and the Sonoran dog. Only 1300 calories, but who’s counting? 

If you’re driving through in the Summer months, it’s going to be hot. And it doesn’t cool down in the evenings. Some casual bars to stroll into for a cold drink are Mother Bunch Brewing, The Rose and Crown Pub, and FilmBar, a bar which has a small movie theater tucked in the back and plays indie films! We enjoyed watching The Little Hours — highly recommended for adults; it’s hilarious. 

Tuscon

If you’ve been to the Grand Canyon before and want to check out something different, Tuscon is a cool little city that’s worth visiting. Just go east on I-10 instead of north towards Sedona.

Here, you can check out museums and national parks, such as the Saguaro National Park, and end on a relaxing note in Tuscon’s local bars/cocktail lounges.

Sedona 

Driving up from Phoenix, you’ll be blessed with breathtaking views of massive red rocks.

This little resort town is not only stunning with scenery, but the community is vibrant with arts and restaurants.

If you have time on your trip, then check out Slide Rock State Park where there lies a natural water slide and a creek where those looking to cool off from the heat can swim.

Helicopter rides are also only about $50. To me, this is worth it to catch some aerial views of this wonderful landscape.

Grand Canyon

If you have not feasted your eyes upon America’s beautiful, vast canyon, you’re in for a treat.

Arriving to the canyon may seem overwhelming at first, but there’s plenty of abundant parking(even if you may have to park a little further from everything). I prefer to park closer to Bright Angel Lodge.

If you don’t normally hike, I would say to stick along the South Rim Trail where you’ll still receive exquisite views. If you want to brace a hike, I’d say start with Bright Angel trail for those who don’t want anything too strenuous(it will still beat the hell out of you), and for those who want the next step up, check out the Kaibab trail, which is a little more steep.

Note: It will take you TWICE as long to come up the trails as it did to go down them. DO NOT surpass your hiking capability.

There’s also the North Rim, which is on the complete opposite side of the canyon, but provides even more amazing views.

If you’re not spending the entire day hiking, head over to El Tovar and have a cocktail outside with the painting-like landscape in front of you. You can watch the sunset here, or walk down the South Rim trail which provides a colorful scene.

Flagstaff

Not only a small town, but a college town, Flagstaff is a lot more “happenin'” than one would think. We stayed about 7 miles north from downtown, where we had stellar views from our valley farmhouse Airbnb.

Flagstaff is contrasting to other Arizonan cities such as Tuscon and Phoenix. It’s much more green and lush with plant life. It even snows!

We spent the morning having breakfast at a diner called Mike & Rhonda’s The Place and then got onto I-40 (once Historic Route 66) to make our way to New Mexico.

Which stop in Arizona seems most interesting to you?

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