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Are you planning a trip to Arizona, but worried about your budget?

You’re not alone!

When my husband and I were planning our 3rd wedding anniversary trip we wanted it to be special, but we also didn’t want to spend a fortune.

Sound familiar?

We fell in love on our visit to Arizona, it’s the perfect place for a budget-friendly and romantic getaway for couples!

Now, just because you’re on a budget that doesn’t mean your trip can’t be fun, relaxing, and luxurious.

It just means you’ll need to get creative and strategic about what activities you choose.

So in this post, I’ll give you a wide range of activities that will get you outside so you can explore the beauty of Arizona by going on a romantic hike or sipping wine at a vineyard.

If you’re a couple interested in history, visiting Tumacácori National Historical Park or touring the historic Route 66 is right up your alley!

Some of the links contained in this post are affiliate links, meaning that at no cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

1. Hiking in Sedona

Location: Sedona, Arizona

My husband and I don’t consider ourselves experienced hikers but it’s the best and most affordable way to discover a new place.

Whether you’re a beginner or an avid hiker there’s no better way to explore Arizona than hiking in Sedona.

Arizona has amazing hikes, but we love Sedona for the blend of red rocks, vineyards, and scenic drives.

Here are some recommended hikes:

  1. Devil’s Bridge Trail:
    • Location: Devil’s Bridge Trailhead, off Dry Creek Road.
    • What to Expect: This hike is considered moderate difficulty. It’s a 4.2-mile round-trip hike.
  2. Cathedral Rock Trail:
    • Location: Cathedral Rock Trailhead, off Back O’ Beyond Road.
    • What to Expect: Cathedral Rock Trail is a short but considered moderate difficulty level due to it’s steep hike. It’s only a 1.5-mile round-trip trail but it gives you unparalleled views.
  3. West Fork Trail:
    • Location: West Fork Trailhead, off State Route 89A.
    • What to Expect: This is for couples that are a little bit more serious about hiking! This hike is moderately strenuous and is a 7-mile round-trip hike.
Devil's Bridge in Sedona, Arizona, showcasing the natural red sandstone arch against a clear blue sky with green shrubbery in the foreground.
Devil’s Bridge in Sedona, Arizona

2. Exploring Wine Trails

The only thing better than red rocks and desert is adding rolling vineyards and wine tasting!

Arizona is filled with stunningly beautiful wine country and it’s perfect for the couple looking to relax and soak in the scenery.

I consider exploring wine trails a budget-friendly activity because there are usually no requirements for entry and you can try a variety of wines by opting to share a tasting.

Here are some favorite wine trails in Arizona:

  1. Verde Valley Wine Trail:
    • Location: Cottonwood, Sedona, and Jerome.
    • What to Expect: The Verde Valley Wine Trail will take you through Northern Arizona.
    • Our favorite thing to do is stroll through vineyards, order meat gourmet cheese, and listen to live music.
  2. Sonoita Wine Trail:
    • Location: Southern Arizona, near Sonoita and Elgin.
    • What to Expect: The Sonoita Wine Trail explores Arizona’s oldest wine-growing region.
    • It’s known for its high-altitude vineyards. Sonoita Vineyards was the first winery established in the area, with several great local wineries in the area.
  3. Willcox Wine Trail:
    • Location: Southeastern Arizona, near the town of Willcox.
    • What to Expect: The Willcox Wine Trail has fabulous family-owned wineries like Flying Leap Vineyards and Bodega Pierce.
    • We love how the tasting rooms are in various historic buildings and renovated barns.
A serene vineyard under a clear blue sky, with rows of grapevines stretching towards a hill in the distance at Page Sprigs Wine Cellars in Sedona Arizona
Page Springs Wine Cellars in Sedona, Arizona

3. Visiting National Parks

Arizona is home to 3 national parks, each with its own unique features and elements.

Whenever we visit a new state, we make an effort to explore at least one of its national parks or sites.

Many sites are free to visit, but the designated National parks will have a modest entry fee.

In some cases you will need to make a reservation which can also cost a few dollars.

But there are ways to make it cheaper by purchasing an entrance pass (if you’re planning to visit several within one year), qualifying for a discount, or planning to visit on a free entrance day.

Grand Canyon National Park

Location: Located in northern Arizona, near the town of Flagstaff.

The Grand Canyon is one of the world’s most awe-inspiring natural wonders.

We opted for a small group tour from Phoenix, but you can venture out to the park on your own and save money on booking a tour.

There are also many tours developed in partnership with the national park that you can check out.

Petrified Forest National Park

Location: Located in northeastern Arizona, near the town of Holbrook.

Petrified Forest National Park preserves one of the largest and most colorful concentrations of petrified wood in the world.

The park’s Painted Desert has vibrant colors of red, purple, and orange. Very cool!

Saguaro National Park

Location: Located in southern Arizona, near the city of Tucson.

Saguaro National Park is named for the iconic saguaro cactus, which dominates the park’s landscape symbolizing the beauty of the Sonoran Desert.

The park is divided into two districts, the Rincon Mountain District (East) and the Tucson Mountain District (West), each has its own distinct scenery and outdoor activities.

The Rincon Mountain District is located to the east of Tucson, while the Tucson Mountain District is located to the west.

Both districts have visitor centers with information on park activities, trails, and ranger-led programs.

A couple stands together on a snowy overlook with a misty view of the Grand Canyon in the background.
Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona

4. Exploring Historic Downtowns

Arizona has no shortage of historic downtowns where you can explore the history, architecture, and cultural significance.

We really enjoy strolling through a downtown area with quaint shops, eateries, and coffee shops.

Here are some must-visit historic downtowns in Arizona:

Flagstaff

Location: Mountains of northern Arizona, along Interstate 40.

Flagstaff’s historic downtown has a lively, eclectic vibe, with a mix of Victorian-era buildings, murals, and local shops.

A visit to Flagstaff is not complete unless you check out the galleries like Coconino Center for the Arts and Artist’s Gallery.

Don’t miss out on the craft breweries and farm-to-table restaurants.

For a dose of history, you can take a self-guided walking tour of downtown’s historic landmarks, including the Flagstaff Train Station and the Weatherford Hotel.

Prescott

Location: Located in central Arizona, about 100 miles northwest of Phoenix.

Prescott’s Whiskey Row is historic with Wild West history spots like saloons and shops selling everything from cowboy boots to handmade jewelry.

Check out the Palace Saloon, Arizona’s oldest bar, or the Hassayampa Inn.

Be sure to visit the Sharlot Hall Museum, where you’ll find Prescott’s pioneer heritage and Native American culture.

Jerome

Location: Central Arizona, overlooking the Verde Valley.

Jerome is an old mining town known for historic buildings and stunning panoramic views.

Don’t miss the chance to visit the Jerome State Historic Park, which preserves the town’s mining history and offers guided tours of the Douglas Mansion.

A woman in casual attire smiles while seated on a red rock wall with a backdrop of lush foliage and red rock formations at Red Rock State Park in Sedona Arizona

5. Enjoy the Desert Botanical Garden

Location: Phoenix, Arizona

The Desert Botanical Garden is a serene and relaxing way to enjoy nature among a collection of desert plants, there are scenic trails.

I don’t know if it’s because we’re from flat South Florida, but we really enjoy a desert landscape.

The garden has two restaurants where you can enjoy lunch or dinner.

It’s a great way to spend the day!

Cost: General Admission for adults is $16.95 per person.

6. Stargazing at Kitt Peak National Observatory

Location: Kitt Peak, about 56 miles southwest of Tucson, Arizona.

The Kitt Peak National Observatory offers various stargazing programs and events.

I would recommend checking out their daytime and nighttime tours where you’ll peer through a telescope to see things like planets, galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters.

Cost: Varies on the tour, I’ve seen them start at $19.95 per person.

7. Touring Tumacácori National Historical Park

Location: Tumacácori, Arizona, approximately 45 miles south of Tucson.

As you enter Tumacácori National Historical Park, you’ll be greeted by the imposing adobe walls of Mission San José de Tumacácori, a centuries-old Spanish colonial church dating back to the late 18th century. Begin your exploration at the park’s visitor center, where you can learn about the history of Tumacácori and the significance of the Spanish missions in the region through exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays.

Embark on a self-guided tour of the mission grounds, wandering among the weathered adobe walls, crumbling archways, and tranquil courtyards of this historic site.

Follow the Anza Trail to the nearby Tumacácori Museum, where exhibits explore the park’s natural and cultural history, or hike along the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, which retraces the footsteps of Spanish explorers and early settlers.

Founded by Spanish missionaries in the late 17th century, Mission San José de Tumacácori served as a center of religious and cultural life for the local O’odham and Yaqui communities for over a century.

Today, Tumacácori offers visitors a rare opportunity to explore the remnants of this once-thriving mission complex, from the towering church facade to the remains of the convent and cemetery.

8. Relaxing at El Dorado Hot Springs

Location: 41225 Indian School Rd, Tonopah, AZ 85354

Arizona is home to several natural hot springs that are in remote and pristine locations.

It’s an affordable way to relax and rejuvenate among the serenity that Arizona has to offer.

El Dorado Hot Springs is about 50 miles west of Phoenix and features several natural hot spring pools surrounded by desert flora and fauna.

There are private and shared pool options. The hot springs are available seasonally from October – June.

Cost: Private Pool $20-$40 per hour or Shared Pool for $15 per person per hour.

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9. Exploring Ghost Towns

If you and your partner are into the spooky, Arizona has what you’re looking for!

Check out these Ghost towns in Arizona.

Jerome

Location: Located in the Verde Valley, about 100 miles north of Phoenix.

Jerome used to be a copper mining town, but the mine closed in the 1950s so most of the population left.

Now, it’s just an eerie place with a lot of abandoned buildings. But you’ll find some quirky shops!

Tombstone

Location: Located in southeastern Arizona, near the town of Sierra Vista.

Tombstone was once a mining town infamous for gunfights and lawlessness.

Like other old mining towns, once the mine closed the population declined.

Now it’s a charming Wild West town with saloons, museums, and gunfight reenactments like the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

Oatman

Location: Located in western Arizona, along historic Route 66.

Oatman was a gold mining town in the early 1900s.

It also has staged gunfights, and souvenir shops, and you can get a taste of the Old West along Route 66.

10. Scenic Drives

There’s nothing more relaxing and romantic to me than taking a scenic drive through mountains, canyons, forests, or lakes.

Arizona has no shortage of scenic drives to enjoy!

Sedona Red Rock Scenic Byway (State Route 179)

  • Location: Sedona, Arizona
  • What to Expect: Take State Route 179, also known as the Sedona Red Rock Scenic Byway for towering red rocks like Bell Rock and Cathedral Rock.

Apache Trail (State Route 88)

  • Location: Phoenix to Roosevelt Lake
  • What to Expect: The Apache Trail, also known as State Route 88 starts on the outskirts of Phoenix and winds through the Superstition Mountains, passing Canyon Lake and Apache Lake.

Coronado Trail Scenic Byway (US Route 191)

  • Location: Clifton to Alpine
  • What to Expect: Take the Coronado Trail Scenic Byway, also known as US Route 191.
  • It stretches over 120 miles through eastern Arizona’s Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.

Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Drive (State Route 89A)

  • Location: Sedona to Flagstaff
  • What to Expect: Take Oak Creek Canyon, also known as State Route 89A from Sedona to Flagstaff.
  • Make sure you stop at Oak Creek Vista and other scenic vistas along the way.
The iconic Route 66 sign at the Williams 1881 Gateway to the Grand Canyon, with a red round sign against a wooden backdrop.

11. Tour Historic Route 66

Location: The Route 66 Visitor Center is located in Kingman at 120 W Andy Devine Ave, Kingman, AZ 86401, right in the heart of the historic downtown area.

Also known as the “Mother Road,” The historic Route 66 traverses Arizona and stretches approximately 401 miles from the Arizona-California border.

We stopped at the visitor center on our way to the Grand Canyon. It’s so nostalgic and a unique opportunity to experience America’s most famous highway!

Cost: No admission fees, so it’s free!

12. Visit Meteor Crater

Location: Northern Arizona, near the town of Winslow.

The Meteor Crater is one of the best-preserved meteorite impact sites on Earth.

It is nearly a mile wide and over 550 feet deep.

Guided rim tours provide insight into the crater’s formation, its scientific significance, and the ongoing research conducted at the site.

Visitors can also enjoy interactive exhibits, a museum, and a gift shop featuring meteorite specimens and educational materials.

Cost: Typically around $18-$22 for adults, with discounts available for seniors, military personnel, and children.

Expansive view of a large crater in Arizona with stratified rock layers under a bright blue sky, showcasing geological formations and desert vegetation."
Meteor Crater in Arizona

13. Visit Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Location: Southern Arizona, along the U.S.-Mexico border, about 150 miles west of Tucson.

The Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is a stunning desert expanse of saguaro cacti, organ pipe cacti, and other desert flora.

The park is great for scenic drives, hiking trails, and exploring the rugged wilderness. It’s also great for stargazing because of it’s remote location away from urban light pollution.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument also holds cultural significance as a UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve and a designated Dark Sky Park.

Cost: Typically around $25 per vehicle for a seven-day pass.

Individual entry fees may apply for pedestrians, cyclists, or motorcyclists.

Annual passes and America the Beautiful passes are also accepted.

14. Discover Tumacácori National Historical Park

Location: Southern Arizona, near the town of Tumacácori and about 45 miles south of Tucson.

The Tumacácori National Historical Park although not designated as one of the National Parks is a National Historical Park and offers a glimpse into the colonial past of the region.

There are three historic Spanish mission sites where you can explore ruins: Tumacácori, Guevavi, and Calabazas.

The centerpiece of the park is the Tumacácori Mission, founded by Jesuit missionary Eusebio Francisco Kino in the late 17th century.

There are guided tours and self-guided walks through adobe walls, church ruins, and restored gardens.

Cost: Entrance ranges from $10-$15 per vehicle for a seven-day pass.

Individual entry fees may apply for pedestrians, cyclists, or motorcyclists.

Annual passes and America the Beautiful passes are also accepted.

15. Visit the Titan Missile Museum

Location: Sahuarita, Arizona, about 25 miles south of Tucson.

We’ve always been fascinated by U.S. history and the Titan Missile Museum is a unique and interesting activity in Arizona for couples like us.

It sits atop the former Titan II missile silo, which was once part of the United States’ nuclear deterrent during the Cold War.

Guided tours are available taking you deep underground, where you can explore the launch control center and view the actual Titan II missile on display in its silo.

Cost: prices will range from $15-$20 for General Admission, but discounts are available for seniors, military, and children.

If you only want to visit the topside of the facility admission is $7.

Hot air balloons preparing for flight in the early morning, with one aloft in the golden sunrise over a desert landscape in Phoenix Arizona
Hot Air Balloon Rides near Phoenix Arizona

Ready for a Romantic Getaway in Arizona?

The bottom line is that it is more than possible to plan a budget-friendly couples trip to Arizona.

If you’re planning a romantic trip to Arizona chances are you’re interested in its scenic beauty, I mean it’s stunning.

You’ll have no shortage of outdoor activities like hiking and National Parks to explore.

For those couples who appreciate the natural beauty, but prefer to be more relaxed, the wine trails and the scenic drives are a great way to explore a new place with your partner.

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