Arizona may come as a surprise to many. Beyond the Grand Canyon, the most famous of the state's attractions, there's so much to see and explore: artistic towns, a vast metropolis, red rock landscapes and lakes which make the perfect watery playground. This suggested self-drive itinerary focuses solely on this beautiful state giving you the chance to scratch below the surface.

INDEPENDENT TOUR

Suggested route & duration

12 nights round trip from Phoenix

• Phoenix: 1 night

• Lake Havasu: 1 night

• Grand Canyon Village: 1 night

• Page/Lake Powell: 1 night

• Monument Valley: 1 night

• Flagstaff: 1 night

• Sedona: 2 nights

• Tucson: 2 nights

• Scottsdale: 2 nights

Recommended highlights

PHOENIX Your Arizona self-drive begins with a night in the state's largest city, Phoenix. On arrival you'll have some time to explore the downtown region, visit one of its many museums and enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.  

LAKE HAVASU Begin your journey as you travel north westwards towards Lake Havasu city which sits on the shores of the man-made lake of the same name. The city is probably most famous amongst us Brits as the site of the original London Bridge. It was built in the 1830s and once spanned the River Thames. In the 1960s it was purchased by the an American entrepreneur and each exterior brick was relocated to this lesser-known spot on the western edge of Arizona. It's a odd sight to see a typically British piece of architeture in a typically American city and surrounded by desert landscapes.

GRAND CANYON VILLAGE Probably the most famous of the United States’ natural landscapes, the Grand Canyon exhibits millions of years of geological history exposed by the power of the Colorado River. During your time here – whether you are staying in the National Park itself or the nearby city of Williams – you can hike into the canyon or along the rim, drive or catch the shuttle to a number of incredible viewpoints or just enjoy the busy atmosphere in the village.

PAGE/LAKE POWELL The drive from the Grand Canyon to the city of Page takes you along the eastern rim of the Grand Canyon, passing a number of incredible viewpoints, and through the Painted Desert towards the Arizona-Utah state line. From Page you can witness a variety of natural and man-made landscapes including the winding Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon Dam.

MONUMENT VALLEY There's nowhere quite like Monument Valley. It has an almost alien landscapes with towering red rock buttes and mesas rising sharply up from the valley floor, wild mustangs grazing the desert scrub and traditional Navajo hogans built out of the terracotta-coloured earth dotting the landscapes. You'll stay at the appropriately named hotel, The View, which perches at the edge of the valley and looks over the iconic Mittens and Merrick buttes. Waking for first light (at 5:30am in mid-June and 7am in mid-December) is a an absolute must. There'll be a blanket in your room which you can take out on the balcony to keep you warm as you watch the sun rise. We also highly recommend joining a Navajo guide and following the 17-mile scenic road to get a different perspective on the unrivalled landscapes.

FLAGSTAFF Full of the relics of its railroad past, backed by glorious forest-covered mountains and with a cool university town atmosphere Flagstaff – or just Flag as it known locally – is a real jewel in northern Arizona's crown. It's often overlooked for the state's more famous destinations but its a great place to stop a while and slow the pace a little. You can follow the trails in the San Francisco Peaks during the summer or ski in the winter, explore ancient ruins in nearby national monuments or just chill out in the historic downtown area.

SEDONA This arsty and spiritual destination is close to the top of the list of the USA's most scenically spectacular cities. It's surrounded by beautiful red rock cliffs, mesas and canyons. Whether you're here to hike the trails, browse the art galleries or feel the positive of the area's reputed vortexes, you'll come away from your stay here with a renewed outlook on life and an appreciation for the natural world. A few of our favourite things to do include hiking in Red Rock State Park, heading to a yoga class and visiting the Chapel of the Holy Cross which is built into a rocky outcrop.

TUCSON The city of Tucson, which is located in the deep south of Arizona, is surrounded by desert landscapes scattered with saguaro cacti and has a mix of Pueblo, Old West and Mexican architecture. The city is sunkissed (about 340 days out of 365 are sunny) and it has a vibrant and youthful atmosphere. Visit the nearby Saguaro National Park, explore the historic downtown region and feel the cooler temperatures as you follow the 150-mile network trails on Mount Lemmon, which is also the city's closest ski resort once the winter rolls around.

SCOTTSDALE Sitting adjacent to Phoenix but with a completely different vibe, Scottsdale is the perfect place to end your tour of the Grand Canyon State. The city is best known for its spas, its mountainous backdrop and cacti-covered surroundings, Western ambience and its many golf courses. There's no better place to enjoy a little me time.