Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park

The Best Times to Visit Arizona for Max Savings

We’re often asked, “When should I visit Arizona?” The answer, of course, is always! But, if your plan is to maximize your vacation on a minimal budget, the best time to visit Arizona is during the off-season when the crowds are low and the deals plentiful.

Thanks to Arizona's diverse geography—which ranges from snow-covered mountains to sunny desert landscapes—its different cities can experience wildly different weather during the same season. During the height of summer, travelers looking to escape the heat head north; and in winter, the reverse happens as tourists and residents alike seek to warm up in the southern parts of the states.

As the visitor counts rise, so do the prices at hotels, restaurants and attractions, which fill up due to the surge in demand. To travel during the “off-season” then means to take advantage of those times when a city is less likely to have an influx of visitors. Fewer guests mean those same businesses that were booked to the brim during “peak season” are more likely to offer discounts, packages or other budget-friendly incentives. Plus, you’re less likely to fight the crowds for the best spots or photos at your favorite attractions.

Read on to discover the best times to visit Arizona during the off-season.

Fall savings in Arizona

The Best Times to Visit Arizona for Max Savings
Inner Basin Trail, Flagstaff


Canyon de Chelly National Monument and Navajo National Monument, both in the Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona, are admission-free parks with gorgeous sculptural canyons that preserve American Indian history and culture. Try one of the scenic rim drives or book a guided hike with an authorized Navajo guide or a park ranger. If you’d like to stay within Canyon de Chelly, the only lodging option is Thunderbird Lodge, a cozy adobe-style motel. In the fall, the lodge often cuts rates by almost 40 percent, with room rates that start in the double digits.

Surrounded by the Navajo Nation, you’ll find the lands of the Hopi Tribe. Members of the Hope community are renowned for their handicrafts, such as jewelry and traditional Katsina doll carvings, many of which can be found at galleries and shops located along the Hopi Arts Trail. If your stay includes additional nights in the area, check out the Moenkopi Legacy Inn & Suites near Tuba City. As a special bonus, agents here can help book full-day tours of the nearby Hopi mesas with authorized guides.


At about 7,000 feet in elevation, Flagstaff sits beneath the state's tallest mountain range, the San Francisco Peaks where swaths of golden aspen trees drape the peaks in fall. Make the drive and hike to Lockett Meadow, part of Coconino National Forest, to enjoy spectacular alpine scenery. (Find autumn color updates courtesy of the LEAF-ometer from Discover Flagstaff.) Live your best fall fantasy with cozy cafes, autumn colors and hotel rates that dip by at least 10 percent each fall and winter.

Winter savings in Arizona

The Best Times to Visit Arizona for Max Savings
Grand Canyon National Park


With summer crowds gone and trees covered in fresh snow, the Grand Canyon's South Rim feels like a vastly different place, quiet and still. Roads are less congested and some, like scenic Hermit Road, are open to private vehicles during winter. Usually full hotel rooms are readily available and at lower rates.But it's the canyon that transforms. The brilliant hues of the cliffs become even more dazzling when framed by the snowpack. Because of the clear skies, visibility is highest this season—with some mountain peaks as far away as 200 miles able to be seen. Walk from Mather Point to the Canyon View Information Plaza to get your bearings, then enjoy a short hike to the Yavapai Geology Museum, where you'll learn about the canyon's geology. For a glimpse of early Pueblo Indian life, visit the Tusayan Museum and walk to a ruin.Bonus: For longer vacations, check out nearby towns, such as Williams and Flagstaff, or the Route 66-favorites, Seligman and Winslow.

Experience the Old West in Oatman

Explore the Arizona legends and lore of cowboys, outlaws, miners and other Wild West characters. Oatman, in northwestern Arizona on Route 66, has its own rootin' tootin' gold mining history. In winter, snow and cooler temperatures keep the crowds at bay, leaving you free to roam the historic Main Street, photograph the town's wild burros (descended from miners' pack animals) or watch mock gunfights in the middle of the street.

Oatman is only about three hours southwest from the Grand Canyon, so make it a weekend road trip of Arizona's historic and natural highlights.

Spring savings in Arizona

The Best Times to Visit Arizona for Max Savings
Cave Creek Canyon. Credit: Jill Richards


Spring in Sierra Vista, with its abundance of wildflowers and migrating birds, is technically the high season. But you can take advantage of the wild beauty of this Southern Arizona destination without breaking the bank. That's because the Friends of the San Pedro River organization offers free interpretive walks through lush riparian zones, where cottonwoods and willows attract hundreds of migrating and nesting bird species.

After, head toward the "Yosemite of Arizona"—Cave Creek Canyon. Accessed through the small town of Portal, the canyon is a birder's paradise for five months of the year. The rest of the time, it's just paradise. Spend some time relaxing in nature, and when you're ready to rest and eat, head to the Portal Peak Country Store & Lodge for inexpensive lodging and food.


About the same time that Major League Baseball's Cactus League Spring Training gets underway in metro Phoenix, there's still a deep base of snow on the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff, with each new storm adding a layer of fresh powder. Arizona Snowbowl Winter Resort stays open through the end of April and often runs specials and deals to entice visitors. You'll enjoy less-crowded lifts and wide-open skiing lanes under crisp morning skies.

Summer savings in Arizona

The Best Times to Visit Arizona for Max Savings
Credit: Sedona Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau


It's no secret—summer in the desert gets hot—and it's in the desert where you'll find two of Arizona's largest cities, Phoenix and Tucson. The upside, though, is that fewer people vacation here that time of year. To attract guests, five-star resorts throughout Central and Southern Arizona offer summer deals for savvy travelers.

Enjoy lavish accommodations, amenities and service, even luxury spas, at a fraction of the cost. And here's the beautiful part: Thanks to the wonders of air conditioning, room temperatures stay just as comfortable as in the winter. Get in a round of morning golf, take a dip in the pool, schedule an afternoon massage, do some shopping and then take time to marvel at a monsoon-touched sunset with a wall of clouds ablaze in hues of red and gold.


The winter visitors who flee sunny Yuma in April don't know what they're missing. Picture this: an inflatable tube, a lazy river and a cooler full of cold beverages. What else do you need? The Colorado River can be feisty in the upper canyons, but the Yuma portion is gentle and languid, making for a relaxing summer day. Tube down the river from April 1 through September 30 with Yuma River Tubing. They provide tubes, coolers and a shuttle ride up the river. All you have to do is just drift back downstream to your starting point.


Perched at 4,500 feet elevation, Sedona's summer climate offers relatively cool mornings and evenings, with high heat hitting during the afternoon. While the warmer temperatures aren't for everyone, for travelers seeking summer savings, a Sedona getaway provides plenty to do at bargain prices. Resorts and hotels offer reduced rates, and many of the tour companies and attractions provide discounts after Sedona's busy spring season. When looking for a Jeep tour, vortex tour, helicopter ride, hot air balloon flight, tee time or mountain bike rental, ask about the available summer deals.

6 Tips to Save on Your Vacation

  • Book early: Booking 60 to 90-plus days in advance can land you deep discounts, especially if you're willing to prepay for your stay—more so if you’re certain you won’t cancel and can take the “no refund” rate.
  • Book late: If you’re more of a last-minute type, you may get lucky calling a hotel for a same-day booking when no-show or cancellations are likely to have surfaced. Hotels would rather book a room at a reduced rate than leave it vacant.
  • Sweeten the deal: Resorts may be willing to waive resort fees, comp breakfast or offer other perks such as free room upgrades or parking, or discounted spa treatments. All you have to do is ask nicely.
  • Get social: It pays to "like" or "follow" your favorite destinations and businesses on their social accounts like Facebook, Instagram or Tik Tok for potential insider savings. Likewise, sign up for email newsletters and text alerts from your favorite spots to receive news about special offers or contests for free event tickets and more.
  • Travel midweek: Most of us are more likely to travel on the weekends when rates are higher. But if you are flexible with your plans, you can score significant deals and enjoy more privacy and attention during the Sunday - Thursday lull.
  • Don't fear the monsoons: Starting in July, Phoenicians and Tucsonans are treated to cooling monsoon showers, which bring much-needed, sweet-smelling rain (that's the creosote) and spectacular lightning storms. This time of year also yields late-season bargains. Even if you've researched deals in May or June, check back in July and August for special offers.

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About the Author

Arizona Office of Tourism

These articles are brought to you by the staff of the Arizona Office of Tourism, and occasionally local tourism organizations around the state.

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