Thank you to Wyndham, Flagstaff for hosting us. All opinions are my own.
Frolic in the snow and check out budget friendly things to do in Flagstaff, Arizona with the family like visit downtown Flagstaff, grab some coffee , check out some National Monuments or take a hike.
We recently went to Flagstaff, Arizona with the boys. Growing up in Phoenix, I had many friends went to Northern Arizona University, a public research university. I also went to the well known ski resort, Snowbowl as a teenager and later I had friends move there. Of course, the snow was always alluring, but it was more alluring when I moved back from Florida with kids.
They were so excited to play in the snow but other than that, we weren’t sure what kind of activities we were going to do but we wanted to discover Flagstaff. Because of the weather, we had to prepare a bit.
It’s amazing that you can go from wearing a tee shirt in Phoenix to snow boots and winter clothes in just 2 hours. This is a great reason to live in Arizona. The weather in different areas is so versatile.
There are so many things to do in Flagstaff, Arizona. Just up the road and only 85 miles away is the Grand Canyon National Park. Other natural landmarks include Sunset Crater Volcano, Walnut Canyon National Monument, the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert. There are also some Native American ruins to explore.
Table of contents
- Where to Stay in Flagstaff, Arizona
- Hiking in Flagstaff
- Downtown Flagstaff
- Thorpe Park
- Coffee Houses
- Coconino national forest
- Arizona Snowbowl
- Visitor Center
- Riverside Park
- Riordan Mansion state Historic Park
- Moqui Cave
- Mountain biking
- Lava river cave
- Lowell Observatory
- San Francisco Peaks
- Ponderosa Pines
- Wupatki National Monument
- Check out a Guided Tour
- The Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
Where to Stay in Flagstaff, Arizona
The most important thing we had to consider was how to pick a hotel or resort in Flagstaff. Where ever we chose, we knew we had to stay at a family friendly and budget friendly resort. Preferably a place where the kids could find activities if stuck inside because of the snow.
Considering all this led us to realize that the best place for us would be a vacation rental. We’ve stayed in vacation rentals in Sedona, Az., Anaheim and Oceanside, California and after seeing all the benefits it was hard to go back to staying in a hotel.
The boys haven’t learned to ski yet, so Snowbowl would have to wait until next time. Since it was cold in Flagstaff, we had to rely on indoor activities for the most part. It was too cold for outdoor activities, except when it came to playing in the snow!
Whenever we travel though, we always make sure that places we stay and the activities we do are family friendly and easy on the wallet. For instance, a vacation rental usually has a full kitchen for us to cook at home and a kid friendly activity center.
That doesn’t mean to say that everywhere we go has to be cheap or free. We were hoping to find free things to do in Flagstaff but we also like to just prioritize and see how we can get more bang for our buck.
We stayed at the Wyndham Flagstaff with Extra Holidays. We love staying in Vacation Rentals because they have so much more to offer than hotels.
This spacious vacation club suite is located at Club Wyndham Flagstaff, a 2,200-acre retreat surrounded by gorgeous views of the Flagstaff, Arizona landscape and the onsite golf course, Continental Country Club.
Two-bedroom Resort Suite
This spacious two-bedroom resort suite comfortably sleeps four to six guests and range from 460 to 963 square feet. Suites feature one king bed in the master bedroom, two twin beds in the guest room and a sleeper sofa in the living area.
Whether you’re traveling with extended family or a smaller party, you will appreciate the privacy of separate bedrooms, the economy of a fully equipped private kitchen, and the convenience of a washer/dryer in each suite. Plus, a whirlpool tub, full dining room, and TVs throughout are comforts you just won’t find in an average hotel room.
We loved the huge kitchen, equipped with everything, including a breakfast table and chairs for the bar. The fireplace and comfortable living space give you a welcoming feel.
Bear Paw Recreation Center
Club Wyndham Flagstaff is the ultimate Flagstaff, Arizona playground that is packed with exceptional vacation amenities to complement any age and lifestyle including Bear Paw Recreation Center.
I was so excited to find out that I could get Starbucks coffee there! Even though the kitchen has a coffee pot and coffee, I really wanted Starbucks.
The kids enjoyed Dryer’s ice cream and snacks while playing video games (PlayStation 4) and billiards.
We also rented a couple of movies and the kids really enjoyed popcorn while watching the movies in the living room.
The kids had so much fun playing mini golf.
18-hole championship golf course
The onsite 18-hole championship golf course, 12-acre driving range and par 3 chip and putt course is sure to be a hit among golfers of all skill levels.
Swimming pools and Recreation
The two outdoor swimming pools are the perfect spot to splash the afternoon away. Basketball courts, billiards tables and eight tennis courts offer action-packed days of recreation.
The Oakmont restaurant
There is also a resort restaurant; The Oakmont which features casual dining and has daily happy hour specials. You can relax with a view of the golf course
With so much to do at the Wyndham Flagstaff and all the amenities it has to offer, staying in a vacation rental is the way to go.
Hiking in Flagstaff
If you’ve never hiked before, the Fat Man’s Loop is a great beginners hiking trail. It is a 2.4 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Flagstaff, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate.
There are different activities on the trail and it is dog friendly as long as they are kept on a leash. It free which is a bonus.
Downtown Flagstaff offers the charm of the old West with a diverse collection of boutiques, shops, cozy restaurants, and eateries. We stopped to explore the art galleries and shops, took a short stroll along the railroad tracks, and then spent some time at Flagstaff’s Heritage Square.
We came across Thorpe Park while just driving around. We checked out Snowbowl but were not prepared to go skiing or spend the money. We passed by Thorpe Park and saw people sledding.
So, since we came unprepared we went to Big Five and got a cheap sled. It was the highlight of the trip for the kids. I would literally drive to Flagstaff for the day just to hear the joy in their giggles while sledding. Plus, it’s free!
We stopped by for a stress free, kid friendly lunch at the Flagstaff Brewing Company. It’s casual and friendly and in the heart of downtown Flagstaff. The food was good but the best part? No, not the beer.
The table tennis in nestled in the back of the restaurant. My husband and I were able to relax and enjoy our food while the kids played table tennis.
We walked out of a couple of places before we found the Toasted Owl. It was recommended to us but like most tourists we wanted to discover and find out for ourselves. So, by the time we found it, we were starving.
We had the most delicious breakfast ever. I had almond flour pancakes with bacon and blueberries and my husband had a Shrooming Owl Burger. Besides the food and service being amazing, we discovered two things that would make up drive two hours back and forth for the day. First, they had $3 Mimosas (my husband had one or two and I drove, lol) and second we had the most ridiculous cinnamon bun ever.
I don’t even like cinnamon buns so I was just going to taste it. It was so good, we got one to go.
Let’s face it, you can’t’ spend too much in a coffee house, especially with kids. I didn’t expect Flagstaff to have so many coffeehouses!
This cute little coffee shop has the best coffee, which you can also refill for free all day. They also had awesome cookies!
The cute little drive through wasn’t open but I picked up a coffee and a delicious cookie.
This cute coffee shop is way more than a coffee shop. By day it looks like a coffee shop but as you walk deeper into the spot you pass a bar and find a backroom that looks like it’s dedicated to bands.
The coffee was fantastic and the kids had a delicious coconut macaroon.
We stopped by Macy’s as it was highly recommended. We wanted a sit down breakfast with servers so we did not order full breakfast or lunch but we had a coffee.
The kid’s enjoyed a muffin and I had coffee, which was very good.
There are lots of other coffee shops in Flagstaff like Wicked AZ Coffee, Stronghold Coffee Company, Steep, Cedar House Coffee Shop, and White Dove Coffee Shop. Flagstaff really knows how to run coffee shops and they are a great place to hang out, by yourself or with the kids.
A day of outdoor adventure is a perfect way to spend time in Flagstaff. The Coconino National Forest covers 1.8 million acres and offers activities like camping, hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing, and more.
The forest is filled with breathtaking landscapes that range from desert-like to evergreen forests filled with meadows of wildflowers and snowcapped mountains. From the top of the San Francisco Peaks you can see Flagstaff and its surrounding views that are sure to leave you in awe! The Coconino National Forest also provides educational programs so you can learn more about the wildlife and plant life in this gorgeous forest.
Arizona Snowbowl is a great place to go for those looking for winter fun. There are 14 chairlifts, 2 terrain parks, and the Arizona Terrain Park which offers freestyle snowboarders and skiers a place to hone their skills. For those who don’t want to ski or snowboard you can try out tubing or eventer’s chairlift rides. The view of the San Francisco Peaks and Flagstaff is breathtaking and worth the trip!
Last but not least, don’t forget to visit the Flagstaff Visitor Center. This is a great place to get information on all of the attractions and activities in Flagstaff. The center will also provide you with maps and brochures so you can plan your trip accordingly.
Riverside Park is a great place for families to enjoy nature and spend quality time together. The park offers plenty of activities like biking, picnicking, fishing, playgrounds, and more. There are also bike trails that run along the riverbank which gives you plenty of opportunities to explore the area.
The wildlife in Riverside Park is amazing. It is home to a variety of wildlife including deer, elk, coyote, bald eagles, and more. You can also find a wide array of birds such as cardinals, blue jays, warblers, and woodpeckers. It’s the perfect place to get up close and personal with nature!
Riordan Mansion State Historic Park is a beautiful historic home that was built in 1904. The mansion is filled with artifacts and antiques from the early 1900s which provides visitors with an amazing glimpse into Flagstaff’s past. The Riordan Mansion offers guided tours, educational programs, and event rental facilities.
Last but not least, Moqui Cave is a great place to explore. This cave was once inhabited by the ancient Anasazi people and provides visitors with an opportunity to learn about the history of this area. You can explore passageways filled with stalactites and stalagmites, as well as Native artifacts that Cave has to offer.
Flagstaff is well known for its amazing mountain biking trails. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, there are plenty of trails to choose from. The city has designated some trails specifically for mountain bikers and these offer spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. For those looking for a more challenging experience, the steep climbs, and rocky terrain of the inner-city trails will provide an adrenaline rush.
The Lava River Cave is an incredible natural formation that was created by molten lava. This cave has numerous chambers, passages, and tunnels that extend over a mile in length. It’s a great place to explore and learn about the geology of the area.
Lowell Observatory is a great place to explore the night sky. The observatory was founded in 1894 and has since been a leader in astronomical research. You can take educational tours, visit the planetarium, or even do some star gazing! Whether you’re an amateur astronomer or just looking for something fun to do, Lowell Observatory is the perfect spot.
At an elevation of 12,633 feet above sea level, the San Francisco Peaks are Flagstaff’s highest point. This stunning natural formation offers breathtaking views of the surrounding area and is a great place to hike or go camping.
For those looking for more adventure, the San Francisco Peaks also offer skiing and snowboarding opportunities.
The Flagstaff area is home to an abundance of ponderosa pines which offers visitors the perfect opportunity to get out and explore nature. Numerous hiking trails wind through the forest and offer stunning views of the surrounding area.
For those looking for a bit more adventure, the pines provide great camping spots as well.
Wupatki National Monument is an ancient ruins site that was once home to the Anasazi people. It features numerous ruins, artifacts, and petroglyphs that provide visitors with a unique glimpse into Flagstaff’s past. You can also explore the many trails and camping spots that it has to offer.
Check out a Guided Tour
If you’re looking for an easy way to explore the area, there are various guided tours available. These tours will take you to all of the top attractions in Flagstaff and provide you with a unique insight into its history and culture.
The Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
The Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument is a landmark volcanic field that was created over 800 years ago. The monument has numerous trails and overlooks that offer fantastic views of the surrounding area. It’s also a great place to learn about the geology of this area and explore its lava flows.
These are just some of the family-friendly activities that Flagstaff has to offer. From outdoor adventures and sightseeing to cultural attractions, there is something for everyone in Flagstaff! No matter what you choose to do, a day or weekend spent exploring the city will leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed.
There are a lot of budget friendly and free things to do in Flagstaff. What are your plans?