If you’re looking for things to do in Flagstaff with kids we have you covered. You can enjoy all four seasons and a gorgeous night sky in Northern Arizona’s largest city. It is located along historic Route 66 only 80 miles from the Grand Canyon. Flagstaff is a great central location to stay in to see so much of the Southwest’s most iconic outdoor sites. Nearby Flagstaff there are two national parks, eight national monument sites, as well as Navajo Nation tribal parks like Antelope Canyon. 

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We’ll give you ideas for things to do in and around Flagstaff with kids and then all the trip details to plan a great trip. In addition, the Historic Downtown Flagstaff area has restaurants, breweries, art galleries as well as self-guided walking tours. Get more information at the Flagstaff Visitor Center. Now for all the best national parks, hikes and outdoor adventure stops near Flagstaff every season.

Great Day Trips from Flagstaff

There are so many great day trips from Flagstaff it’s easy to fit in seeing a lot this area has to offer.

Grand Canyon National Park

80 miles northwest of Flagstaff to the South Rim Entrance (via route 180) Hours and Details
The Grand Canyon is a must-see stop and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. It can be seen in a day trip from Flagstaff but depending on when you’re going crowd levels can make or break the trip so planning ahead is important.

Grand Canyon Daytrip from Flagstaff
Grand Canyon in December

Grand Canyon National Park’s South Rim is open all year and is the most easily accessible entrance. The North Rim is only open seasonally from May 15th through October 15th each year and is 207 miles from Flagstaff.

During the summer and holiday periods, the park entrance lines can extend for miles and can be up to a two-hour wait. Here are all of our tips for things to do in the Grand Canyon — the Secret to Fewer Crowds.

GuideAlong Audio Guide is a great audio tour that teaches you about the park as you drive and shares what stops not to miss. The best part is the audio begins from Williams, Flagstaff, or Cameron so if you’re staying in these areas you’ll get to learn about the park on your drive-in. Download the app before you begin and it will tell you about what you’re seeing and so much more as you enter the park. Kids love it!

Tips for beating the crowds at the Grand Canyon

  • Ride the train to the Grand Canyon: depart from Williams, Arizona (36min from Flagstaff) and ride Grand Canyon Railway to the South Rim. This eliminates any wait at the entrance gate and inner park shuttle buses are widely available to the popular locations.
  • Visit in the Winter: visiting the Grand Canyon in the winter can be quieter, with surprisingly great hiking conditions and fewer crowds.
  • Buy Entrance or Annual Pass in Advance: if you have purchased a pass in advance – stay in the left lane as you approach the South Entrance Station and enter through lane 1 (far left). While you’ll still have to wait in most of the line it still can save time.

Avoiding Grand Canyon Crowds

If making a Grand Canyon day trip from Flagstaff during peak summertime, take the “long way in” by taking US 89 from Flagstaff north to Cameron, Arizona, then west on State Route 64 to enter the park through the East Entrance at Desert View. This allows for shorter wait times at the entrance station and then you can take the shorter way back out through the south entrance and it makes for a nice loop.

Meteor Crater in Windslow, AZ

40.3 miles east of Flagstaff  Hours and Fees
This is an easy stop on the way to Petrified Forest National Park. It is a privately owned meteor crater site and learning center that our kids loved. Included with admission are an interactive 4D ride, look-out viewpoints, and a movie theatre experience. This wasn’t a planned stop, but our kids enjoyed it so much and it’s easily grouped with the national park. 

Meteor Crater near Flagstaff AZ
It’s hard to say no to stopping at a Meteor Crater this big!

Petrified Forest National Park 

108 miles SW of Flagstaff  Hours and Details
This is a very underrated national park where you can see petrified wood that has been fossilized and formed over 200 million years. Each piece of petrified wood is like a giant crystal, sparkling as you hike through the trails so kids love this national park. You can also see an ancient village and petroglyphs at the Puerco Pueblo area in the park. Our kids’ favorite trail was the Historic Blue Forest trail. This hike is amazing and gives allows you to see so much of what the park offers in one hike. Stop in the visitor center to get a turn-by-turn map as routing can be tricky. Kids love this hike because it feels like you’re on another planet and there’s so much for them to explore.

Petrified Forest National Park with kids
Views from the Historic Blue Forest trail
Petrified Forest National Park with kids
The incredible petrified wood you will see throughout the park.

National Monument Sights Near Flagstaff that are fun with kids

There are eight National Monument sights in the Flagstaff area. We will share the three we fit in during a recent road trip with our kids, but you can find the others here. They are listed in order here when driving from Flagstaff and the mural project is a fun extra stop nearby Wupatki. It’s easy to make a day of these four stops.

Walnut Canyon National Monument 

11.4 miles east of Flagstaff  Hours and Fees 
There are two hiking trails at Walnut Canyon. The Rim Trail is an easy, paved, and fairly flat 0.7-mile round-trip trail with two overlooks of the canyon. The Island Trail is a 1-mile round trip trail that descends into the canyon to view a series of 25 different cliff dwellings.

Walnut Canyon things to do with kids in Flagstaff
Walnut Canyon

We recommend the Island Trail so you can see both the canyon and cliff dwellings as long as everyone in your group is ok with stairs. This hike includes 700+ stairs but is gradual and we did not find it difficult with school-age children. 

Sunset Crater Volcano near Flagstaff AZ

Sunset Crater Volcano

20.4 miles from Flagstaff Hours and Fees
This is the youngest of around 600 volcanic features in the San Francisco Volcanic Field, which is a large volcanic area around the San Francisco Peaks in northern Arizona. The eruption that formed Sunset Crater occurred about 1000 years ago and it’s an amazing sight to see. There is a visitor center and several trails where it’s easy access from the parking. It’s easy to drive the Sunset Crater-Wupatki Loop Road and experience both National Monument sites in one visit.

Wupatki National Monument 

30 miles from Flagstaff  Hours and Fees 
Out of all three of these national monument sites, this one was our favorite. Walk the easy .5 mile round trip, Wupatki Pueblo Trail is located right behind the visitor center. This trail is partially accessible/stroller friendly and is a great space to allow kids to run, although they do need to stay on the trail. From the trail, you can view the 104-room pueblo, unique geologic wonders, and a scenic overlook. Discovery guided tours can be found here.

The Painted Desert Mural Project

42.7 miles north of Flagstaff on Hwy 89 Cameron, AZ 86020

This is not a national monument but is very close to the Wupatki Monument so we’ve included it here. The Painted Desert Project connects public artists with communities through mural opportunities on the Navajo Nation. You’ll see the murals on Highway 89 north of Flagstaff as they add a splash of color to the desert landscape.

The Painted Desert Mural Project near Flagstaff AZ

Great Hikes Near Flagstaff

There are so many great hiking trails and outdoor adventures in and around Flagstaff. Check out these hikes or the many more in nearby Sedona.

Picture Canyon Natural and Cultural Preserve

Trailhead: 3920 N El Paso Flagstaff Rd Flagstaff, Arizona
Tom Moody Trail – 2.8 miles, loop trail that is easy and great for kids. This area is named for its multitude of petroglyphs carved by the Northern Sinagua tribe. This is a 478-acre nature preserve featuring hiking, biking, and horseback riding. The Tom Moody trail leads to a waterfall at Picture Canyon and you can see numerous petroglyphs as well.

West Fork of Oak Creek Trail

19.3 miles south of Flagstaff
Hiking Details: 6.5 mi, Elevation gain 564 ft, Out & back, Moderate
Parking/Trailhead: West Fork Oak Creek Trailhead
This is a great hike if you’re going in the warmer months as there are 13 creek crossings. This is one of the best hikes in the area and can be found between Flagstaff and Sedona.

Huckaby Trail and Midgley Bridge Trail

Huckaby Trail Details: 5.7mi, 902 elevation gain, out & back, Moderate
Midgley Bridge Details: 1.2 mi, elevation gain 55 ft, out & back, Moderate

Parking/Trailhead: Both are accessible from the Midgley Bridge small parking lot.

This is a great hike that provides views of Sedona as well as the Midgley Bridge. Hiking to the creek is fun but the crossing may not be possible in the winter/spring or when the water is high.
Check out other easy hikes near Sedona.

Midgley Bridge Hikes in Sedona and Flagstaff
Midgley Bridge

Lockett Meadow and the Inner Basin

Inner Basin Trailhead, Unnamed Road, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Trail Details: 3.4 mi, elevation gain 839 ft, loop, easy/moderate
Great hike to see fall color in Flagstaff. This is a popular trail that rests between the San Francisco Peaks. It’s famous for its groves of aspen trees, clear snowmelt ponds, and beautiful fall colors. It can be slippery so poles and shoe traction can be helpful if it’s snowed. The drive up the mountain to the trailhead can be difficult depending on weather and the access road to the trailhead can have closures due to crowds so get there early.

Lockett Meadow and the Inner Basin near Flagstaff with kids
Inner Basin Trail

Sedona is only 30 miles away from Flagstaff and has over 200 named hiking trails. Check out our Best Easy Hikes in Sedona for easy day trip ideas from Flagstaff.

Lava Tubes

If you’re traveling to Flagstaff with teens or others who are adventurous, check out the lava tubes. Find more information and plan your adventure to explore these lava tubes here. Wearing a helmet, having a headlamp, and two other sources of light are recommended.

Things to do in Flagstaff in the Summer
with kids

Slide Rock State Park 

22 miles south of Flagstaff  Hours and Fees
The main attraction here is Oak Creek, where visitors can ride down an 80-foot-long natural red-rock slide and take a dip in one of the swimming areas. Bring an inner tube to float downstream, but be careful during high water times as the current can be swift and rocks slippery so bring water shoes. This park is located on a 43-acre historic apple farm in Oak Creek Canyon. It is a nature preserve with lots of wildlife spotting, picnic areas, over 300 apple trees, trout fishing, rustic cabins, and three hiking trails. Good year-round for a nice walk along the creek but it can be very crowded in the summer.

Slide Rock State Park with kids in Flagstaff AZ

Grasshopper Point Swimming & Picnic Area

27.7 miles south of Flagstaff Hours and Fees
Oak Creek Canyon is a large cliffside swimming hole known as Grasshopper Point. This area is not as well known if Slide Rock is busy. The swimming area is shaded and can be a nice break from the summer heat. There is cliff jumping, fishing, picnicking, and hiking in the area. The Allen’s Bend Trail starts from the picnic area and runs parallel to the creek. The Casner Trail starts at the end of Allen’s Bend Trail and offers excellent views.

kids jumping at Grasshopper point in flagstaff

Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course

Brigade Rd, Flagstaff, AZ 86005  Hours and Details
This is an elevated obstacle course set in a beautiful ponderosa pines forest. Best for kids 7 years and older this park offers an active, fun way for kids to challenge themselves while completing obstacles, ziplines, and ladders. Located in the Historic Fort Tuthill County Park.

Summer Skyride at SnowBowl

14.4 miles from Flagstaff   Hours and Fees
In the summer the ski lift turned Sky Ride provides an easy way to get to the highest point in Arizona with amazing views. The triple chair takes you to the top of Agassiz Peak at 11,500 feet. Here you can see the Grand Canyon’s North Rim over 80 miles away, as well as view the dormant volcano field surrounding Flagstaff. Kendrick Peak, Wild Bill Hill, and Wing Mountain are also prominent landmarks that can be spotted.

Things to do in Flagstaff in the Winter
with kids

Northern Arizona is known for being the Southwest’s most spectacular winter destination for locals and tourists alike. At close to 7,000 feet elevation, Flagstaff averages over 100 inches of snowfall in a year. It’s a great place for winter recreation like skiing, crossing country skiing,  hiking, or just for a visit for some snow play amongst the world’s largest ponderosa pine forest.

Snow Play Spots near Flagstaff

If you’re coming to Flagstaff to enjoy the snow with kids here are some great snow play spots to consider.

Flagstaff Snow Park at Ft. Tuthill County Park

3 miles south of Flagstaff  Hours and Details
They have snow tubing, fire pits, and other winter fun for families. Must buy tickets online, they have tube rentals in advance. The season generally runs mid-December to the End of February.

Flagstaff City Parks

Local parks are a great option for free snow play and sledding: Foxglenn Park, Thorpe Park, or Buffalo Park.

Oak Hill Snow Play Area

30 minutes from Flagstaff off 1-40 heading toward Williams
It is located on the site of an old alpine ski area operated during the 1950s. There are two separate sledding runs; one is long and steep (900ft) and the other shorter and easier (400ft).

Ski at SnowBowl Ski Resort

9300 N Snow Bowl Rd, Flagstaff, AZ 86001 Hours and Fees
This downhill ski area has eight chair lifts with access to 40 trails with runs ranging from beginner to advanced. The resort offers rentals, lessons, and childcare. The Snowbowl usually opens in early December and remains open until mid-April. The best part is kids 12 and under ski free.

Snow Shoeing in Flagstaff

What could be better than snowshoeing through a beautiful pine forest? Here are some great trail locations to check out that are fun with kids and those of all ages.

Arizona Nordic Village

The scenery features views of the pines, yurts, and meadows as you hike in and out of dense forests. The trails are groomed on a regular basis so the hiking is fairly easy, perfect for kids or first-timers. Rentals are available.

Kendrick Park

This park is a great area to snowshoe with views of meadows that overlook Kendrick Peak to the west and the San Francisco Peaks to the east with very little elevation gain. Located north of Arizona Snowbowl off of Highway 180. This park also has the Kendrick watchable wildlife trail that is great in all seasons and accessible for strollers/wheelchairs.

Arizona Nordic Village Yurts and Cross-Country Skiing

16848 U.S. 180 Flagstaff, AZ 86001 Hours and Details
Nordic Village is tucked within the Coconino National Forest. It offers snowshoeing, traditional cross-country skiing, skate skiing and so much more. Find lessons, rentals, and trails on-site to easily enjoy all that winter has to offer. They also have numerous yurts, cabins, and campsites available year-round.

Lowell Observatory 

1400 West Mars Hill Rd Flagstaff AZ, 86001  Hours and Fees 
This is a privately owned, 125-year-old astronomical research institution located in Flagstaff. The Lowell Observatory is best known for the discovery of Pluto and where the astronauts trained before first visiting the moon. They have public telescopes, exhibits, and educators to create a great experience for families and kids. Flagstaff was designated the first International Dark Sky Place in 2001. 

Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff things to do with kids
Photo: Lowell Observatory

Things to know when planning a trip to Flagstaff

When to go

The great thing about Flagstaff is there are truly four seasons and so much to enjoy throughout the year. We were there in December and got to enjoy some snow play as well as national park visits with no problem. A visit in the summer or warmer months also has so much to offer as it rarely gets above 80 degrees Fahrenheit which can be a nice break from the desert heat.

How to get to Flagstaff

Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (FLG) – small local, regional airport
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) – 2 hr 15 min (144.3 mi)
McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas (LAS) – 3 hr 51 min (251.4 mi)

A car is necessary to see most of the area’s attractions. If you’re looking for a lower-cost car rental check out our Things To Know Before Booking with Turo.

Where to stay in Flagstaff

We love staying in vacation rentals when traveling with kids to provide more room and a kitchen. Find great vacation rentals in Flagstaff here. We stayed in this VRBO and loved its cozy mountain vibe, lots of fun games and activities for kids, and close to everything.

Staying in a hotel has it’s benefits and if you want a pool or other amenities it’s a great option.
Hotels in Flagstaff and nearby.

Arizona Mountain Inn and Cabins is a great small, family-owned business with cabins and an Inn on 13 acres of land that can feel secluded yet close to it all. 

As you can see there are so many things to do in Flagstaff with kids. It is such a great central location to stay to experience so much that the Southwest has to offer. From national parks, easy day trips, to unique hikes in all seasons. Flagstaff is a great family-friendly vacation that offers so much to see. Find us on Instagram or comment below to share your favorite things to do in Flagstaff.

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  1. I’m legitimately looking at flights to Arizona now. It’s too cold in Canada and these photos look so warm and so fun!

  2. I love that there are so many fun, outdoor activities near Flagstaff! I loved visiting the Grand Canyon, and I’d really like to visit Meteor Crater – it looks so cool.

  3. I stayed in Flagstaff when I visited Grand Canyon a couple years ago. Next time I go, I will need to visit some of these other great sites!

  4. Such a great introduction to Flagstaff and a fantastic round-up of things to do! My son would absolutely love to visit the Lowell observatory, so it’s good to read all of your tips on that.

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