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How to Spend 3 Days in Phoenix

How to Spend 3 Days in Phoenix

Phoenix is an ideal base for desert adventures and day trips to Sedona or the Grand Canyon. From land tours to aerial sightseeing, there are many ways to enjoy three days in and around Arizona’s largest city—including shopping and dining in nearby Scottsdale. Here’s what you need to know to plan the perfect 3-day Phoenix itinerary. 

Day 1: Metro Phoenix in Your Pocket

Get to know downtown Phoenix, aka the Valley of the Sun, with a half-day sightseeing tour of landmarks such as the State Capitol, Camelback Mountain and Wrigley Mansion. Alternatively, visit the fashion outlets or head to the boutique shops of Old Town Scottsdale. When you’ve worked up an appetite, set off on a food-tasting tour of its culinary delights. For a bit more adventure, zip around on a Segway or zoom around the desert on an ATV with a guide to show you the way. If temperatures are too hot, cool off at the Sea Life Arizona Aquarium for a family-friendly afternoon with the kids. As night falls, discover the underbelly of Phoenix on a Murder & Mystery tour! If serenity is what you seek, ride the skies in a hot air balloon at dusk and toast the sunset with Champagne. 

Day 2: Further Afield

With so much to experience beyond metropolitan Phoenix, spend your second day outside of town. A driving tour through the Sonoran Desert takes you to the red rock country of Sedona via the Navajo Nation. You can soar across much of Arizona on a Monument Valley air and Jeep tour. Or follow the Apache Trail on a tour through the legendary Superstitious Mountains to the former mining town of Goldfield and then cruise Canyon Lake aboard a steamboat to get a sense of Arizona’s Old West. Ride a Hummer into the desert in search of nocturnal creatures at Tonto National Forest, home to bighorn sheep and other wildlife. Or float past desert cliffs and canyons on a scenic boat ride across Saguaro Lake. There are options to suit everyone, including quiet stargazing through a telescope for budding astronomers. 

Day 3: The Grandest Canyon of All

The proximity of Phoenix to the Grand Canyon is hard to beat. From full-day tours and flights to multi-day explorations, there are all kinds of ways to experience the national park, counted among the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. To get there quickly with top-down views, plan a combo tour by land and air, with your choice of helicopter or airplane tour narrated from above by the pilot. You soar over the emerald ribbon of the Colorado River, or view Tonto National Forest and the Red Rocks of Sedona by flying direct. Fly over the South Rim and explore the highlights on a scenic drive around the canyon. Or combine a West Rim helicopter flight with a stroll on the breathtaking Skywalk. 

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11 Tours and Activities

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Centipede Tour - Guided Arizona Desert Tour by ATV
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Centipede Tour - Guided Arizona Desert Tour by ATV

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492
Spend time aboard a single-rider ATV during a thrilling off-road tour in the Sonoran Desert. Ride on rugged and rocky trails in the scenic Bradshaw Mountains and cross the Aqua Fria River during the scenic journey. Your guide is knowledgeable about the region's plant life, wildlife, and history, with plenty of stories to share.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$99.00
From
$99.00

Small-Group Deluxe Grand Canyon Day Trip from Phoenix

Small-Group Deluxe Grand Canyon Day Trip from Phoenix

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1327
Journey through stunning Arizona landscapes on this full-day tour from the Phoenix-Scottsdale area. Visit the Grand Canyon and explore Route 66 with an expert guide who handles all the driving and logistics, leaving you free to soak in the incredible scenery. Explore highlights of the Grand Canyon, and drive through the Sonoran Desert on this small-group tour. With numbers limited to 13 participants, you can enjoy a more intimate experience of the Southwest's natural beauty. Choose between a small-group or private option.
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  • 13 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$204.00
From
$204.00

Salt River Kayaking Trip

Salt River Kayaking Trip

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942
The Tonto National Forest is the largest in Arizona and the Lower Salt River runs right through its heart. On this tour, admire the natural scenery from the water on a thrilling kayaking excursion. Set out from Saguaro Lake, paddle along the Salt River, and look out for native wildlife, including the park’s herd of wild horses.
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  • 2 hours
From
$54.21
From
$54.21

Small Group Grand Canyon Helicopter and Ground Trip From Phoenix

Small Group Grand Canyon Helicopter and Ground Trip From Phoenix

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326
This Grand Canyon day trip combines sights from both land and sky. After departing Phoenix, take a scenic drive including a stop along Route 66. Enjoy a scenic helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon, which follows the Colorado River. Then have plenty of time at legendary Grand Canyon National Park, including a canyon rim driving tour before returning to Phoenix by luxury van. Choose between a small-group or private tour.
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  • 13 hours
From
$474.00
From
$474.00

Apache Trail and Dolly Steamboat Tour
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Apache Trail and Dolly Steamboat Tour

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Ride the old fashioned Dolly Steamboat through the slot canyon at Canyon Lake and then hit the Apache Trail through the Sonora Desert on this tour from the Phoenix area. After your narrated cruise, visit the small town of Tortilla Flat, taking in views of the rare desert landscape along the way.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$135.00
From
$135.00

Sonoran Desert H1 Hummer Adventure
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Sonoran Desert H1 Hummer Adventure

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The rugged landscape of the Superstition Mountains is not easily conquered, but accessing the dry, cactus-laden desert trails is no problem if you’re riding in a Hummer H1. This extreme adventure gives you a serious adrenaline rush as your guide hurtles you down the Bulldog Canyon trail, enjoying the unspoiled beauty of the desert back country.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$219.61
From
$219.61

SEA LIFE Aquarium Arizona Admission Ticket

SEA LIFE Aquarium Arizona Admission Ticket

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Visit SEA LIFE Aquarium Arizona in Phoenix with these guaranteed Low Price admission tickets. Step in out of the hot Phoenix weather to immerse yourself in the fascinating world of undersea creatures. Learn about different types of sea life, from tropical sharks to simple sea stars. See the carefully constructed displays, crafted to mimic the animals' natural habitats. Get close-up views of fascinating marine life that typically exist at the bottom of the ocean.
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  • 1 to 2 hours
From
$16.62
From
$16.62

Phoenix Murders and Mysteries Ghost Tour

Phoenix Murders and Mysteries Ghost Tour

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37
This is a bus tour through the underbelly of Phoenix's darker history. You will hear about and visit the sites of some of Phoenix's most infamous crimes. Each stop was also hand chosen for their haunted reputation as well. Your guide will show you pictures along the way of the crimes as well as some of the paranormal caught on camera. If you're a fan of true crime and the paranormal, this is the tour you've been waiting for!
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  • 2 to 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$75.00
From
$75.00

Downtown Gilbert Food Tour

Downtown Gilbert Food Tour

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The foodie fun begins with a stop at the Gilbert farmers market, where you can purchase a few locally-made goods and soak up the scene. Then, let the tastings begin! Visit five establishments, each of which serves a different type of cuisine. Sample craft pizza, barbecue, an Asian fusion delicacy, Mexican street tacos, house-made taffy, and a freshly baked dessert. Cocktails are included to add to the adventure.
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  • 3 hours
From
$85.00
From
$85.00

Afternoon Hot Air Balloon Flight Over Phoenix

Afternoon Hot Air Balloon Flight Over Phoenix

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The Sonora Desert is at its best light at sunset. See the desert beauty from above with this sunset ride in a hot air balloon under the skilled guidance of your FAA certified pilot. Be treated to views of the desert plants and wildlife as day changes into night. Following the trip, land in the desert and celebrate your adventure with champagne and hors d’oeuvres.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$219.00
From
$219.00

Canyon & Cliffside Kayaking on Saguaro Lake

Canyon & Cliffside Kayaking on Saguaro Lake

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240
Immerse yourself in Arizona’s natural landscape on a self-guided kayak rental through Saguaro Lake. Booking a rental allows you to explore at your own pace and linger at locations with the best views of the river and wildlife. In addition to free parking, the tour includes a kayaking and safety orientation for all skill levels.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$54.21
From
$54.21