Tonto Natural Bridge is a natural arch in Arizona, USA, that is believed to be the largest natural travertine bridge in the world. It is astonishing to see. Make your way to the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park which is an area of natural beauty in its own right. Start off at the visitor’s center where you can browse the museum and also pick up a trails map. There are four short trails for hiking, all relatively easy. It is the Ann Mae Trail that leads to the arch and we highly recommend you do this; the arch is impressive. If the weather is good, take swimming costumes as there is river swimming in Pink Creek, just downstream from the bridge. They’re pretty strict about picnicking so please stay in the marked areas only. Refreshments are for sale too.
This is a fantastic day trip and the little town of Flagstaff will keep your heart forever. Flagstaff is high up in the mountains and although it is a tourist mecca it has somehow retained its small town charm and personal. Flagstaff is filled with interesting and creative people, there are tons of art galleries and craft stores, the Jewellery shopping is amazing with beautiful silver and turquoise, you can buy fab cowboy hats, boots, belt buckles and moccasins, and mostly, wandering around and looking, chatting and meeting the locals is divine. Flagstaff is at the heart of art and culture of Northern Arizona and is filled with cultural diversity. Visit a museum or two to learn about the history of the town, hang out at the Tlaquepaque Arts and Craft Village and then head to the town square, order a drink and a sandwich and just hang out and people watch. You can also be active in Flagstaff as there are ski slopes nearby, the Grand Canyon is close enough and there are rives for white water rafting. If you’re going for the day, just take a good pair of walking shoes, your wallet and a sense of fun!
We wouldn’t usually recommend a day trip where it takes over 3 hours to get to the place but this is the Grand Canyon we’re talking about. If you leave at daybreak you can be in the Grand Canyon in time for breakfast. The Grand Canyon is one of the seven wonders of the World and is well worth the trip. The Canyon is a natural formation distinguished by layered bands of red rock, enormous in scale, 10 miles across and a mile deep along its 277-mile length. On arrival make your way to the Visitor’s Centre where you can pick up a map and then, do what all visitors do. Walk straight and stand over the rim and marvel. It really is astonishingly magnificent You can walk around the rim for several viewpoints or you can hike down into the canyon. You can reach the bottom and come back up again in a few hours or you can choose to just do a small section. Get something to eat and then wander a little more. You can also book tours, get from one rim to the other by bus, white water raft on the Colorado River if you have time, and of course, spend the night if you choose. There are plenty of restaurants and the small town is fun to explore too.
We always read about meteors crashing on earth but are never quite sure where they land or what happens. You can visit Meteor Crater to find out! This is where a large meteorite crashed into Earth approximately 50 thousand years ago! The crater site is almost three hours from Phoenix but just half an hour from Flagstaff so you could combine a Flagstaff / Meteor Crater visit. Meteor Crater is an enormous round depression in the ground, almost a mile across and over 500 feet deep and absolutely enormous and mind blowing to think it happened so long ago. Visitors come from all over the world and we recommend that you visit too. There is an on-site discovery center with 24 interactive exhibits giving information about stars, planets, and meteors. You can do your own self guided tour or you can join a guided tour. Don’t forget to visit the gift shop and buy a few souvenirs on the way home. There are refreshments for sale and quite a few restaurants in the area. Remember, you can stop in Flagstaff on the way in our out.
Don’t forget your swimming costume, sunblock and hat. This beautiful park is located in Oak Creek Canyon, and takes its name from a natural water slide formed by the slippery bed of Oak Creek. The park is just 7 miles north of Sedona, so you could combine this trip with a day trip to Sedona. The natural waterslide is brilliant for all ages and you can swim, slip and dive into the various swimming holes and pools here. Slide Rock is named after the slippery chute of the creek that forms a natural slide, ending in a waist high pool. There’s also a cliff for cliff jumping with a deeper pool nearby. Slide Rock State Park gets super busy in summer so get there early to find a shady spot or take your own sun protection shade umbrella or tent. You can picnic easily, also do some hiking or fishing, and there are refreshments on sale. On the way home, visit the historical Pendley Homestead and get a divine chocolate ice!