Connected by a lovely scenic drive, Wupatki and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monuments make for a great half-day trip out of Flagstaff, AZ. Wupatki appeals to those with an interest in anthropology, archaeology and nature, while Sunset Crater Volcano has a couple of short hiking options and appeals to those with an interest in geology and nature.
As first-time visitors to Death Valley National Park, we seriously underestimated the scale of America's hottest, driest and lowest national park. A day-trip to the largest national park in the lower-48 is barely enough time to get a sense for the dramatic and varied landscape and definitely not enough time to get out to do much exploring on foot. If we ever make a return visit to Death Valley NP, we'll plan for an overnight stay in the park, for more boots on the ground hiking time plus opportunities for sunrise and night photography.