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Do Your Bucket List a Favor & Plan Your Next Group Trip to Arizona

photo: The Venue Report

Anyone who has planned a group trip knows it’s more like herding cats than executing a perfectly designed itinerary: plans change, people run late, and there are only so many hours in a day. So, how do you plan a fail-safe trip for your friends or family that’s sure to deliver on thrills, sights, food, and stays? Arizona. From the painted skies of the Grand Canyon to the warm and welcoming city atmospheres, there is quite literally something for everyone that is uniquely Arizona. 

Do you foresee the road trip of the ages in your trip planning crystal ball? Or maybe selecting one destination to leave no figurative stone left unturned is more your crew’s speed? No matter your traveling style, needs, or biggest wishes, this list to Arizona’s best places to stay, spots to eat and drink at, and breathtaking sights to behold is your guiding light to your next group getaway, Arizona edition. 

Reporter: Heather Ash

Created in partnership with our friends at Visit Arizona

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From the Grand Canyon to Scottsdale, Arizona is no stranger to unique and beautiful hotels set against dramatic backdrops. Looking to go glamping near the Grand Canyon? There’s a spot for that. Looking to chill at a trendy poolside, cocktail in hand? There’s that too. Looking for a family-friendly hotel with activities for everyone? We’ve got you covered.
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Under Canvas Grand Canyonlearn more

Since opening in 2018, Under Canvas Grand Canyon is the spot to stay if you’re planning on exploring the South Rim for more than one day (which you definitely should). Situated just 30 minutes from the Grand Canyon, the glampsite is an eco-friendly, completely chic “camping” experience decked out in West Elm furniture and accented by fiery sunsets and starry nights. Good for groups: each heated tent can accommodate 2-4 people, ideal for friends and families alike.
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3 / 22
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Loews Ventana Canyon Resortlearn more

Located at the base of the Catalina Mountains, Loews Ventana Canyon Resort feels like it’s in its own world but just a 30 minute drive from Tucson. Despite calling the Saguaros and foothills your neighbors, there’s no roughing it here: spend your days lounging by the two pools, playing golf, sampling the unique onsite food offerings, or recharging at the spa. Good for groups: Loews Ventana is equally suited for friend groups and families, and know each room comes standard with stunning skyline or mountain views.
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4 / 22
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$189 avg. room rate
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The Saguaro Scottsdalelearn more

A Scottdale fan favorite, The Saguaro pops with color against its muted desert surroundings. Bold, fun, and margarita ready, this hotel is the perfect homebase for groups looking to explore Scottsdale’s vibrant art scene – the Arts District is just steps away. Return from a day of exploring the neighborhood for happy hour or Taco Tuesday at La Señora, the onsite cantina. Good for groups: friend groups, girl groups, and couples groups will all love the hip energy of this stay.
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5 / 22
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The Brexleylearn more

Get a taste of the luxe life at The Brexley in Scottsdale, a private property that sleeps up to eight across four bedrooms. The minimalist architecture and neutral design offers a cool retreat on the hottest of Arizona days set amongst a high-walled, lush garden. Good for groups: bachelorette parties, friend groups, and wedding parties will love the exclusive nature of The Brexley.
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6 / 22
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$539 avg. room rate
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The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Resort, Scottsdalelearn more

A sleek and sexy stay, The Phoenician rises up out of the desert like a mirage. The luxury hotel is washed in rich textures and warm tones, playing off the golden sunsets of Scottsdale while the multi-level pool offers a refreshing retreat from the scorching sun. The experiences offered at this 5-star resort are nothing short of magical: book a hot air balloon ride in the cooler months, embark on a guided hike of Camelback Mountain, or try your hand at a trapeze class. Good for groups: families and discerning groups will appreciate the attention to detail and unique offerings here.
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7 / 22
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$114 avg. room rate
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Hotel Adelinelearn more

What do you get when you infuse funky desert eclecticism with old school southwestern? You get Hotel Adeline: a modern stay in Old Town Scottsdale that hasn’t lost touch with its roots. Here’s your daily itinerary for your group: grab a poolside cabana for daytime festivities, dine al fresco as the sun goes down, and head to Straight Up for a speakeasy-style night cap. Good for groups: rooms can easily accommodate up to four, so request rooms next to each other.
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Many locations in Arizona may be hot with a capital “H” but restaurants here are all about bringing the outdoors in. Remember that Arizona doesn’t abide by Daylight Savings Time meaning days are consistently longer and patios are consistently more enjoyable. From wine tasting in the foothills to listening to live music, Arizona’s dining scene is all about maximizing your time and having fun while you’re at it.
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Wine Tasting at The Windmill Winerylearn more

About an hour outside Phoenix lies The Windmill Winery in Florence where daily wine tasting takes place. Open during the afternoon on weekdays and until 9pm on Saturdays, the “tasting room” is more like your hippest friend’s backyard complete with string lights, picnic tables, and a rustic, covered pavilion. Good for groups: arrive with a stay-all-day attitude to experience the sunset and live music every Saturday night.
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Photo:The Henry
10 / 22
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The Henrylearn more

While the dining room of The Henry is lovely, you’re here for the al fresco patio outfitted with string lights, bistro tables, and a massive fireplace – a charming setting to say the least. This Phoenix eatery offers a wide range of menu items from Mediterranean halloumi to southwestern tacos to Korean steak so everyone in your group can find their favorite. Good for groups: the extensive menu is prime for trying a little bit of everything, and don’t miss happy hour.
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11 / 22
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Olive & Ivylearn more

Olive & Ivy is the Mediterranean day-to-night spot we can all get behind: the gallery dining room has soaring ceilings and windows, decked out in rustic-elegant ambiance while the outdoor lounge is shaded by breezy trees and complete with firepits and cozy couches. Good for groups: the menu here is designed for groups so try the seasonal charcuterie board to start along with a pitcher of sangria.
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12 / 22
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Flying V Bar & Grill at Loews Ventana Canyon Resortlearn more

Part of Loews Ventana Canyon, Flying V Bar & Grill offers two dining experiences: the rustic dining room accented by a cozy fireplace or the outdoor patio overlooking the cascading waterfall. The southwest-inspired menu takes things up a few notches with their resident “guacamoliere,” a guac expert who mixes up fresh table-side guacamole. Keeping with the southwest theme, Flying V boasts over 70 tequila varieties – just ask the team to guide you through the menu. Good for groups: the experiential nature of the restaurant is group ready, perfect for a birthday party or night on the town.
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13 / 22
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Culinary Dropout at The Yard - Phoenixlearn more

Phoenix’s Culinary Dropout is just as much about the food and drinks as it is the fun and games – try your hand at ping pong or cornhole, or watch others games unfold from the comfort of an Adirondack chair. The indoor-outdoor space also has live music on Fridays and Saturdays, so your evening plans are sorted. Good for groups: the gastropub-inspired menu is full of passable, dippable bites for the table.
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Cool places to stay and dine are great and all, but you can find that anywhere. What you can’t find anywhere else are some of the experiences exclusive to Arizona: like the Grand Canyon, one of the wonders of the world, or Saguaro National Park, home to the country’s largest cacti. The natural beauty and grandeur of Arizona is hard to rival, and a deserving line item for all bucket lists.
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Grand Canyon Railway

Yes, there’s a train that takes you through the desert and forests of Arizona to the Grand Canyon, and yes, it’s bringing all the Westworld vibes. Departing from Williams, the ride to the Grand Canyon is about 2 hours each way and takes you through some of America’s most beautiful scenery. Good for groups: book the luxury observation dome or luxury parlor for your group and enjoy cocktails, snacks and, of course, unparalleled views.
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Group Hot Air Balloon Rides with Hot Air Expeditions

Phoenix & Tucson, Arizona
Find us a person who doesn’t have hot air ballooning on their bucket list, we’ll wait. Hot Air Expeditions, in both the Phoenix/Scottsdale area and Tucson, offers group rides high above the Sonoran Desert – all you have to do is gather twelve or more people to claim your own private basket. Inside tip: select the Soar & Savor package that can accommodate eighteen people at once for a special balloon ride followed by a desert dinner under the frame of a teepee.
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Cloth & Flame Pop-Up Dinner

Arizona based pop-up dinner club, Cloth & Flame creates temporary venues and culinary experiences in remote locales across the state (and beyond!). Book your spots at one of their coveted dinners in locations like the Sedona Red Rocks or the aspen trees of Flagstaff knowing that it will be an experience like no other. Inside tip: book a private event to accommodate all of your friends and family for a special surprise.
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Visit Saguaro National Park

Tucson, Arizona
Located just beyond Tucson, Saguaro National Park is as beautiful in photos as it is in real life. Home to the country’s largest cacti, Saguaros to be exact, the park is filled with towering “kings,” some growing as tall as 50 feet and living to be 200 years old. Inside tip: opt for a guided tour so your group can learn about the rich history of this stunning park.
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Visit Monument Valley Tribal Park

Oljato-Monument Valley, Arizona
On the border of Arizona and Utah, Monument Valley is a photographer’s playground offering one-of-a-kind vistas across mars-like terrain. The dramatic red-rock plateaus continually shift their shadows and colors as the sun moves throughout the day. Inside tip: planning to take your own version of the iconic portraits of the valley? Arrive well before sunrise on weekdays to ensure you have the valley (relatively) to yourselves.
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Grand Canyon Roadtrip

Basically, any trip to the Grand Canyon can be considered a road trip so here’s what you’re going to do: rent an RV and load it up with all of your gear and people, arrive at the South Rim for some light hiking (or major, up to you), and make sure you stay through sunset to catch the most dazzling display of color you’ve ever seen. Inside tip: bring blankets, snacks, and bevvies to have a little sunset picnic on the canyon’s edge.
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Health & Wellness Getaway at The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Resort, Scottsdalelearn more

The three-story spa at The Phoenician is filled to the brim with health and wellness goodies to get your group reset and recharged after a vacation filled with excitement and adventure. Partake in harmonic bowl healing, tarot, or hypnotherapy to relax and connect with the mysticism of the desert. Inside tip: take advantage of the onsite nail salon and Drybar before a big event or night out.
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Arizona Frank Lloyd Wright Tours

Design buffs will definitely want to add one of the eleven Frank Lloyd Wright sites to your group’s agenda. Purchase tour tickets for the Arizona Biltmore Hotel or Taliesin House West to get a first-hand look into the masterpieces of FLW or swing by ASU to check out the Gammage Auditorium, free of charge. Inside tip: traveling with a bunch of architectural nerds? Create a road trip itinerary to see all of FLW’s Arizona creations.

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