Like a Snowbird: Arizona Getaways from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon

Flocking south for the dry heat and a hint of outlet shopping in the dead of winter seems to be an unmistakable habit of many Canadians.

Snowbirds make an annual tradition of their southbound migration while others simply can’t resist the “flight over fight” instinct after the first snowfall of the season.

Where to this winter? The Grand Canyon State! Here we show you that Arizona is not all desert and golf courses — though there is plenty of that to spare if you please. A long desert drive starting at sunrise and ending with a gorgeous sunset over Saguaros or a day spent exploring museums are the start to your Arizona travel plans this winter.

Phoenix Winter Getaway

Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix brings you right into the centre of Arizona with direct flights to all major Canadian airports as well as Kelowna, Saskatoon and Winnipeg. At just a short two-hour drive in any direction, the temperatures and scenery fully change and you’re able to discover a plethora of Arizona travel treasures known only to those of us who have lived here our entire lives — or are lucky enough to hide out here for half of the year. Catch a Cardinals game, visit a museum or feed giraffes at the Zoo then take a drive through the Sonoran desert for fantastic views of Saguaros you’ve only seen in epic Western movies.

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Where to stay in Phoenix: Hyatt Regency Phoenix

Arizona is riddled with gorgeous resorts and spas, but if you’re planning to stay in the downtown Phoenix area, the Hyatt Regency Phoenix gives you walking access to the many attractions and views of the city. The very top of the hotel is the Compass Room, a rotating room with a full-service restaurant and panoramic views of the city. Many proposals happen here and dining reservations are highly encouraged.

Hyatt Regency Phoenix

Top rated
9.0 Excellent (3674 reviews)

Grand Canyon Winter Getaway

A fall or spring getaway to the Grand Canyon is a no-brainer. There’s a reason it’s celebrated as one of the world’s most incredible natural wonders with around 4.5 million visitors making a stop every year. Go during the fall or spring to avoid some of the more oppressive heat you’d otherwise get during a summer vacation.

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Where to stay near the Grand Canyon: Best Western Premier Grand Canyon

Hotels are scarce in and walking distance to the Grand Canyon. An affordable, comfortable option would be the Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn at just eight kilometres from the south rim.

Squire Resort At The Grand Canyon, Bw Signature Collection

Top rated
8.8 Excellent (9090 reviews)

Globe Winter Getaway

Just a two-hour drive from Phoenix, Globe is situated along the Historic Old West Highway. The drive itself is an Arizona wonder through mining towns with a fabulous view of the operating copper mine nestled in the canyon. Rich in copper history, Globe was founded in the 1880s and currently has a population just over 7,000. Globe is home to many antique stores and the best hometown Mexican food. I happily make the two-hour drive from the city to my old hometown just for the enchilada-style burro with a side of rice from Chalos.

Where to eat in Globe

The best Globe-Miami restaurant is a highly debated topic amongst former and current residents. The style of each Mexican restaurant is similar yet each has their own treasured family recipes making them stand out.

A day in Globe wouldn’t be complete without a stop by Chalos for lunch but my mom will you tell you a gollo burro from La Casita downtown is her favourite. Guayo’s on the trail makes the most amazing cheese crisps but my husband can’t stop talking about Burger House’s regular burros wrapped in orange paper. Just make sure you don’t order a “burrito” and call it a “burro” or you’ll quickly be outed as a tourist.

What to do in Globe

Stroll the streets of downtown Globe and observe the captivating architecture. The Globe Downtown Historic District includes the Gila County Court House built in 1906 and the oldest church in the county. Drive to the Pinal mountains or Roosevelt Lake for a full change of scenery and different look at this iconic mining town.

Where to stay in Globe: Apache Gold

Stay at the Apache Gold resort where you will have access to the casino and buffet breakfast that will help fuel your exploration of this wonderful mining town.

Apache Gold

8.4 Very good (471 reviews)

Bisbee Winter Getaway

Another mining town treasure, Bisbee is also highly known for their haunted hotels. The late 1800s brought many miners to the area and over the last century, the residential community in the mountains quickly transformed into an active travel hotspot. Seen on many ghost hunter television shows, Bisbee’s impressive architecture is well-preserved with hotels claiming to be haunted by friendly, and some not-so-friendly guests. The eclectic town has a vibrant nightlife and stellar creative community sharing their work in studios lining the narrow streets.

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Where to stay in Bisbee: Copper Queen

If spirited visitors don’t scare you, book a stay at the Copper Queen Hotel. You’ll feel like you’re stepping into the early 1900s and just might see or hear visitors from that time as well during your stay. The Copper Queen is known as one of the most haunted hotels in the town so bypass it if you’re easily spooked.

Copper Queen

7.7 Good (2183 reviews)

Tucson Winter Getaway

Home to the University of Arizona, Tucson has an airport to easily connect to major US airport hubs on your journey into Snowbird territory. The Spanish colonial history and Mexican culture are embraced and evident in the architecture, restaurants and art scene. With activities varying from hiking the Anza Trail, the same trail the Spanish took to colonize California, to a day spent at the Biosphere 2, the Earth’s first self-contained biome, you’ll leave Tucson with a great appreciation for Arizona.

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Where to stay in Tucson: The Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain

The Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain is just far enough away from the city to feel like you’re truly alone in the Sonora Desert. If you’re travelling with children, go for the in-room tent experience. The resort offers guides for hiking trails, biking, and many outdoor activities along with excellent dining options and onsite amenities.

The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain

Top rated
9.4 Excellent (1123 reviews)

Sedona Winter Getaway

The red rock formations of Sedona are a natural wonder that you could easily spend an entire weekend exploring. The desert landscape has a bit of elevation to it and the crisp fall air feels refreshing. Jeep tours and hot air balloon rides are popular activities when visiting. From Sedona, you can also board a train that will take you on an Arizona adventure through the mountains.

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Where to stay in Sedona: The Ridge on Sedona Golf Resort

The Ridge on Sedona Golf Resort is a desert oasis surrounded by natural splendour and gorgeous red rock formations. You can opt for a relaxing retreat or an adventurous getaway in the backcountry, perhaps even try taking on the challenging onsite golf course. Whatever you choose, you’ll have no shortage of sunshine to play in.

Hilton Vacation Club Ridge on Sedona

8.3 Very good (2235 reviews)

Camp Verde Winter Getaway

Camp Verde is less than an hour from Phoenix and Flagstaff situated along the free-flowing Verde River, making it the perfect destination for outdoor recreation. The Montezuma Castle National monument is a collection of preserved cliff dwellings occupied in 700 AD and definitely should be seen during your fall weekend getaway. An indoor shooting range, wildlife park, and state historic park are just some of the activities you might do while visiting this small Arizona town.

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Where to stay in Camp Verde: Verde Valley RV & Camping Resort

In true Snowbird fashion, we are listing an RV park, folks. Verde Valley RV & Camping Resort is a great way to explore the outdoors with an overnight stay in a cabin. A variety of cabins sleep up to six with some accommodating pets.

Verde Valley Rv & Camping Resort

9.2 Excellent (693 reviews)

Flagstaff Winter Getaway

Snow chains are generally recommended for safe travelling in Northern Arizona winters (not the Snowbird dream), but fall and spring are a wonderful time to drive north and experience vastly different landscapes from the Arizonan desert. Flagstaff is marked as the inspiration for art and music because of its location along the iconic Route 66. Since 1921, artists and musicians have stopped in this charming city on their way to California, including Jackson Browne who wrote the Eagles, “Take it Easy” from this Arizona destination. Flagstaff is also home to Northern Arizona University and Snowbowl, our ski resort popular during the winter months.

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Where to stay in Flagstaff: Weatherford Hotel

The Weatherford Hotel is rich in history and is located in the heart of Flagstaff. The historic restoration has created an incredible hotel deep in Arizona history.

Weatherford Hotel

7.8 Good (674 reviews)

Williams Winter Getaway

Close to Flagstaff but with enough activities to be a destination of its own, Williams is coined the “Gateway to the Grand Canyon®” and is the home to the Grand Canyon Railway and hotel where the Polar Express begins running in the fall. A day exploring the historic buildings, diverse shops and Arizona memorabilia are sure to send you home with souvenirs exclusive to this Northern Arizona town.

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Where to stay in Williams: Grand Canyon Railway Hotel

The Grand Canyon Railway Hotel is directly next to the train depot so it’s a perfect location if you’re planning to ride the train. It has an outdoor playground for children and excellent pet resort if you’re travelling with pets.

Grand Canyon Railway Hotel

Top rated
8.9 Excellent (2321 reviews)

Lake Havasu City Winter Getaway

Although Arizona is known for the beautiful Desert, the state has some incredible lakes with water activities and sports as well. Lake Havasu City is a destination for the thrill seekers.

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Where to stay in Lake Havasu City: Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch

Lake Havasu City has it all from overnight boat campsites to lakeside resorts. The Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch is a short drive away but gives you a real Old West experience. This dude ranch is set up like a real Western town and will be everything you imagined in a true Arizona Western travel experience.

Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch

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Lake Havasu City
8.9 Excellent (29 reviews)