Lindsey Harrison

Flagstaff is the perfect place for a change of landscape.

Choose your adventure: A day in Flagstaff

Guides for day-trip adventures in Arizona

Flagstaff is an energetic little college town and the perfect destination for escaping the heat. It’s a longer drive to get there, but it’s always worth it, even if you’re just going for the day.

Make sure to check the traffic before taking off; if there’s a big NAU event, the drive will be a mess, and you might want to consider rescheduling. As long as everything goes smoothly, the drive to Flagstaff should take about two and a half hours.

Pack sunglasses, a light sweater (it might get chilly!), and a tote bag. Wear comfortable shoes for adventuring and wandering around town. Download an audiobook, playlist, or movie to keep you entertained on the way up. Don’t forget to pack a few snacks and wear comfortable clothes (if needed, you can change when you get to Flagstaff).

If you need to take a break in Camp Verde, the best bathroom is in the Starbucks. If you are looking for food, Flew the Coop is worth the stop. They have Nashville Hot chicken with giant portions and amazing flavor (be careful in the car, it’s very messy but very worth it.) Order ahead online so you don’t have to wait.

Once you get to Flagstaff, it’s time to decide whether you will spend time downtown, exploring the outdoors, or a little bit of both.

In Downtown Flagstaff, the vibes are immaculate. Busy college students, local families, and tourists alike mill around the streets and sidewalks. There are plenty of shops, boutiques, and live events to keep you busy all day. Be sure to check out Crystal Magic and the Old Town Shops, tucked away in the middle of downtown. Babbitt Brother’s has everything you could need for an outdoors adventure. A myriad of murals and brick walls means you can take perfectly instagrammable photos to your heart’s content.

If you’re more of the outdoorsy type, make sure to check out Fort Tuthill. Here, there’s a bike park, mountain biking and hiking trails, and the Flagstaff Xtreme Adventure Course. The ropes course is a fun and challenging activity for all ages. If you decide to do the course, make sure to block out a good chunk of time because it will take a few hours to complete. While you’re up there, make sure to check if they have any concerts going on in the Pepsi Amphitheater.

If you’re looking for a hike, the Lava Tubes are a must-see. The hike is relatively easy (families with small children do it all the time) and is an awesome experience. Be prepared to do a little bit of crawling and don’t forget to bring water and a flashlight. You might also want thick-soled shoes as a majority of the hike is over uneven gravel.

After all this exploring, you might start to get hungry. Lucky enough, Flagstaff has some really great local restaurants. If you’re looking for a pick-me-up or snack, look no further than Late for the Train Coffee. This coffee shop has been a Flagstaff staple since 1993 with popular drinks such as the Coconino Mocha. Bun Huggers has great, classic burgers and a fun casual environment. In the mood for pizza? NiMarco’s is the place to be with delicious pizza and locations all around the Flagstaff area.

Before heading home, snap at least a few photos in the picture-perfect pine trees and take one last deep breath of fresh mountain air. Get in the car and head back home with new memories from the day.

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