Visiting Arizona in December offers a unique blend of outdoor adventure and serene landscapes, all under the magical winter sky. Whether you’re drawn to its dramatic canyons or tranquil desert expanses, there’s no shortage of captivating experiences.
Here’s your go-to list of the absolute best things to do in Arizona in December — it’ll be a trip you’ll never forget.
1. Explore the Upper Antelope Canyon
December is the off-season for the stunning Upper Antelope Canyon, making it an ideal time for a visit. As the sunlight filters through the narrow passageways, the rock formations take on lovely hues. The smaller crowds mean a more intimate experience with this natural wonder. Check out my detailed comparison of Upper vs Lower Antelope Canyon to pick the right adventure for you.
2. Take a White Pocket Tour
If you’re looking to escape the crowds, consider a surreal journey to White Pocket. Located in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, its swirling rock formations and vibrant colors are otherworldly. December’s cooler temperatures make a stop here even more enjoyable. After all, exploring this natural wonder entails walking around in full sun — not a great pick for a summertime visit!
3. Hike to Havasu Falls
The chilly December weather makes the challenging hike to Havasu Falls a bit easier. Experience the awe-inspiring turquoise waters, which form a stark contrast against the surrounding red rocks. (Before you go, be sure to check out my full guide on the Havasu Falls hike.) Keep in mind that it will be far too chilly to swim at Havasu Falls this time of year…unless plunging into the cold waters miles away from civilization is your thing. You do you!
4. Stargaze in Sedona
With its clear December skies, Sedona offers some of the best stargazing opportunities. It’s a designated Dark Sky City, meaning minimal light pollution interferes with the celestial display. Bundle up, though, as the desert night can get quite chilly!
5. Ride the Grand Canyon Railway’s Polar Express
For a delightful family experience, hop aboard the Grand Canyon Railway’s Polar Express in Williams, Arizona. The train journey takes you through the snow-clad wilderness of Northern Arizona to the “North Pole.” Enjoy hot cocoa, cookies, and a reading of the classic Polar Express…