Road Trip From Phoenix to Las Vegas

Arizona to Nevada via Sedona, Flagstaff & Grand Canyon

A road trip from Phoenix to Las Vegas passes through the red rocks of Sedona and the south rim of the Grand Canyon, before reaching the neon lights of infamous Vegas!


Situated in Arizona’s Valley of the Sun and serving as the state capital, Phoenix is known for its perfect year-round weather—assuming, of course, that your vision of perfect weather includes hot and sunny. Spend your day at 1 of the luxury spas in the area, or out on 1 of the many stunning golf courses. It doesn’t matter how you fill your time, because when the weather is this ideal, time in your Phoenix vacation rental will move just a little bit slower than it does anywhere else on earth.

The city of Phoenix is situated in the southern part of the state of Arizona and is the natural starting point of many road trips, as it is served by Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. A two-hour drive north of Phoenix, just off I-17, is the red rock country of Sedona; from Sedona, take route 89A north, through Oak Creek Canyon to reach Flagstaff. Leave Flagstaff on I-40 west and take a side trip to the south rim of the Grand Canyon, before continuing onto the Hoover Dam and the bright lights of Las Vegas!

Tee off on the golf course or doze off on the massage table

Thanks to the consistently nice weather, outdoor activities are king in Phoenix, whether it’s hiking, biking, or golfing. Hit the trails at Piestewa Peak or Camelback Mountain, and if you feel daring enough, pay respects to the The Praying Monk rock formation. Take a hot air balloon ride for views from above, or stay grounded and hit a few rounds of golf at 1 of the upscale courses nearby. Cap it all off with an afternoon of shopping or an evening of drinks downtown, or sneak away for some adults-only time at the spa.

Phoenix museums than rainy days

Phoenix is full of museums well worth exploring, from the Phoenix Zoo to the Arizona Science Center to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, which features interactive and engaging exhibits for kids. Travelers looking for a more traditional experience will enjoy the Phoenix Art Museum or the Musical Instrument Museum, or even a visit to the Desert Botanical Garden. This spot is known for its ornate displays of cacti and other native plants, so you can plan to impress your travel buddies with your newfound knowledge back at your Phoenix vacation rental.

As the locals say, “at least it’s a dry heat”

Arizona boasts hot weather for most of the year, with temps in the 90s and 100s from late spring through early fall. Low humidity keeps things bearable, but travelers averse to intense heat may be happier in November through March, when the mercury drops to the 60s and 70s. With an average of only 8 inches of rain and 36 wet days per year, Phoenix is a fabulous winter sun destination. Spring and autumn bring pleasant days with cooler nights, so consider a Phoenix vacation rental in April or October.

Stick to downtown if you prefer avoiding rattlesnakes

Nestled in the Salt River Valley in south central Arizona, Phoenix is largely comprised of flat, desert terrain. It’s set against the dramatic backdrop of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve, which includes the summits of both Piestewa Peak and Camelback Mountain. The preserve offers an easy escape from the city, as do the lakes and the Superstition Mountains bordering Phoenix to the east. These areas also offer visitors the promise of getting up close and personal with local wildlife, including tortoises and rattlesnakes. Hikers and bikers, beware!

The Red Rock Country of Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona is a relatively small town but is popular with visitors because of the natural beauty of its location. Sedona is surrounded by red rocks which can be explored by hiking, riding, and touring the trails and roads around Sedona by a number of modes of transport, including foot, jeep, and mountain bike.

Sedona is also well known for some world-class resorts and spas; in addition, it has a large number of art galleries and boutique style stores. Throughout the year, Sedona plays host to a number of events and festivals including an International Film Festival, Jazz on the Rocks, and Plein Air Arts Festival.

Oak Creek Canyon Between Sedona and Flagstaff

The drive through Oak Creek Canyon from Sedona to Flagstaff is one of America’s most scenic drives. View spectacular Oak Creek Canyon from a scenic viewpoint, fish or swim in the creek, camp in one of several campsites or hike one of Oak Creek Canyon’s trails. Oak Creek Canyon is extremely popular in summer and it is advisable to both book and plan ahead for accommodation at this time.

Things to Do in Flagstaff, Arizona

Flagstaff is situated several thousand feet higher than Sedona; at an elevation of 6,900 feet, Flagstaff has pleasant summer temperatures and snow in winter. Flagstaff is also a natural outdoor adventure place with the option to hike in summer or ski in winter. In addition, Flagstaff is home to Lowell Observatory and the Museum of Northern Arizona. Flagstaff is a university town with art galleries, spas and boutique stores. A meteor crater and Native American Indian ruins are also nearby.

Visiting the South Rim of the Grand Canyon

The south rim of the Grand Canyon is approximately 80 miles from Flagstaff, and is a small side trip from I-40 on the way to Las Vegas; however, allow at least a day to visit the Grand Canyon, especially in summer. The Grand Canyon has many scenic overlooks, accessible by car, but has outdoor activities too, such as hiking, taking a mule ride and helicopter tours. Accommodation at the Grand Canyon is often booked up to a year in advance, so plan ahead accordingly.

Hoover Dam on the Arizona/Nevada State Border

The Hoover Dam is situated 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas; U.S. Route 93 passes over the top of Hoover Dam and therefore the dam is seen by visitors driving to and from Las Vegas. However, the Hoover Dam Bypass is currently under construction to divert traffic away from the Hoover Dam, due to the threat of terrorist attacks and the narrow, winding road, with frequent hold-ups, that serves the dam.

The Hoover Dam straddles the Arizona/Nevada state border and, depending on the time of year, there may be an hour’s time difference between the two sides of the dam. It is possible to visit the Hoover Dam from the top and inside (for a fee) to view the engineering construction of the dam.

Sin City – Las Vegas, Nevada

The road finally leads to Las Vegas, also known as “Sin City” due to its flamboyant reputation for all things sinful. However, apart from the strip clubs and the more seedy side of Las Vegas, the city is now becoming known for some world-class spas and hotels and spectacular shows and musicals. The lights and glamor of Las Vegas entice many visitors – but the road trip to reach Vegas can be just as much fun as the final destination.


Arizona Family Vacations – Arizona for Kids

Route 89A – Flagstaff to Sedona, Arizona


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