Don’t let Arizona’s arid landscapes and plentiful sunshine fool you: It can get cold in winter, particularly at night. With this being said, winter temperatures in Arizona are among the warmest in the country, with an average February high of 71ºF in Phoenix.
No matter where you want to visit in Arizona, or which sorts of temperatures are your favorite, the Grand Canyon State is your way out of winter.
THE GRAND CANYON WITHOUT THE CROWDS
Speaking of the Grand Canyon, Arizona’s most famous tourist attraction is a great reason to visit in winter—you avoid the crazy crowds of spring and summer.
The temperatures, however, are perfect: They’re not nearly as cold as most other places in the country, but not too hot to prevent you from taking your time, whether you enjoy a hike along the canyon rim, or have a picnic lunch overlooking the Colorado River.
SEDONA’S TIMELESS TREASURES
If you’ve ever thought the desert was boring, you need to head to Sedona. Even if you don’t believe the hype about spiritual currents said to be flowing through here, you can’t deny the sheer beauty of the desert, which manifests itself in every color of the rainbow.
Nights in Sedona can get somewhat chilly, and because of Sedona’s iconic status, it won’t necessarily be uncrowded or cheap at this time of year. But then again, timeless never goes out of style.
CULTURE AND NIGHTLIFE IN PHOENIX
Although Phoenix’s skyline is modest, thanks to an ordinance that limits the height of buildings, it’s the anchor of a metro area with more than 3 million people. As a result, culture and nightlife are the main attractions here, particularly during winter, when nighttime temperatures are much cooler than during the day.
Catch a musical at the Arizona Broadway Theatre, watch your favorite band perform at the Crescent Ballroom, warm up with a craft cocktail at Bar Crudo, or simply enjoy the sparkling of the city lights from the balcony at your Phoenix hotel.
YUMA’S HORRIFIC HISTORY
The most recent ubiquitous cultural reference to the city of Yuma, Arizona was the 2007 film 3:10 to Yuma, which was brutal, to say the least. While contemporary Yuma is a rather pleasant place to visit, particularly in winter, its history, unfortunately, aligns with the movie, which manifests itself in the city’s tourist attractions.
Put yourself in the shoes of jailbirds at Yuma Territorial Prison Historic State Park, or tease ghosts and goblins at the Castle Domes Mine Museum and Ghost Town.
LAKE POWELL IN THE LOW SEASON
Like the Grand Canyon, majestic Lake Powell is best visited during the winter months, before the throngs of spring and summer tourists descend upon it. The most convenient place to stay for your visit to Lake Powell is at a hotel in Page, Arizona, a city that unfortunately doesn’t offer much else besides a good base for travelers.
Of course, Arizona is as much about the journey as the destination, with hundreds of miles of scenic interstate that are usually snow- and ice-free during the winter. Why not connect all of these Arizona destinations with an amazing winter road trip?
We have recently written a Southwest road trip guide. Check it out!