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15 Amazing Things To Do In Arizona

by Pankaj Upreti
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THINGS TO DO IN ARIZONA

Home of the great Grand Canyon, Arizona is the sixth largest state of the United States of America
Arizona | Photo Credit – Courtney Rose

Home of the great Grand Canyon, Arizona is the sixth largest state of the United States of America which is best known for its diverse weather and geography. From the hot desert climate of Southern Arizona to the forests of Northern Arizona, Arizona will offer its visitor a natural experience in forests, towering mountain ranges, and rocky canyons.

The climate here provides a reprieve to travelers who want to enjoy a late taste of summer in the chilling winters. While cities and towns like Phoenix and Sedona make great vacation destinations, you can head beyond the urban centers to discover Native American cliff dwellings and remnants of ancient cultures, along with historic ghost towns from the mining days.

With a terrain perfect for outdoor activities, bustling historic monuments, museums and art galleries, vibrant artistic communities, and charming towns and cities, one will never run out of fascinating sights in the state of Arizona. 

Before heading off on a trip to Arizona in the American Southwest, let’s plunge into the list of 15 things to do in Arizona that will make your stay memorable.

The Grand Canyon:

If you ask anyone about what Arizona is known for, the most expected answer will be the Grand Canyon.
The Grand Canyon | Photo Credit – Scott Taylor

If you ask anyone about what Arizona is known for, the most expected answer will be the Grand Canyon. Famous all over the world, the Grand Canyon is almost a 300 miles rocky stretch along the banks of the Colorado River. Visitors of this amazing natural formation have exclaimed to feel insignificant and astonished while looking across the canyon. 

The Grand Canyon is marked by the presence of red rock in layered bands that archive millions of years of the geological timeline in its cross-section.

The Grand Canyon National Park attracts about five million tourists per year. From sight-seeing, rafting, hiking, running, skydiving, camping, to helicopter tours, there are a lot of things that visitors can indulge in. The South Rim of the Canyon has many elevated lookout spots from where one can experience many fulfilling sights. Check out the information about services provided in the park here to plan your visit.

Phoenix:

Phoenix | Photo Credit – foundin_a_attic

The Phoenix is the capital of Arizona. It is known for its sunny and warm climate, dispersed multi-city metropolitan area in the Valley of the Sun, high-end spa resorts, golf courses designed by Jack Nicklaus, and vibrant nightclubs. Phoenix can be a great base for exploring the nightlife of the state of Arizona.

Scottsdale and Mesa have great shopping spots, dining places, along with hiking, biking, and camping trails, dotted with some outstanding attractions like the Desert Botanical Garden.

The Desert Botanical Garden is home to native plants like cacti, so it is the most popular among flora lovers. There is a wildlife sanctuary and a natural science museum in the Heard Museum where an entertaining day can be planned.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West is a must-visit spot for people who are fans of the great American architect.

Day trips from Phoenix to historic ghost towns like Goldfield in Apache Junction can make up for an interesting day. Check out more interesting and must-do things in Phoenix here.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area:

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area | Photo Credit – Paxson Woelber

The Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is an incredible region that has stone walls surrounded by blue water and desert scenery. Its peculiar landscape makes it an ideal spot for land-based and water-based recreational activities.

It is home to one of the largest manmade lakes of the United States, Lake Powell. Lake Powell has the largest Marina known as Wahweap Marina.

A visitor can start exploring the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and surrounding region from the town of Page. Another biggest tourist attraction of this region is the Antelope Canyon. Authorized guided tours are available for exploring the Antelope Canyon, bookings for which can be made here

Check out the information about services provided in the park here to plan your visit.

Tucson:

Tucson is the second-largest city surrounded by mountains and located in the Sonoran Desert of the county seat of Pima County, Arizona
Tucson | Photo Credit – Bill Morrow

This is the second-largest city surrounded by mountains and located in the Sonoran Desert of the county seat of Pima County, Arizona. The University of Arizona is situated here. It is home to many vibrant cultural attractions and historic sites. So if visitors are someone who appreciates history and cultural diversity, Tucson is a must-visit site for them.

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Saguaro National Park, El Presidio Historic District, and Old Tucson Studios are a few of the most talked-about attractions of this city. Not only history lovers, nature lovers will also be able to indulge them with long, peaceful hikes and trails in the surrounding mountains and canyons.

Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway to Tucson provides scenic driveways. Day trips to Tombstone and Bisbee are also advised by fellow members of the traveling community. 

Make sure to check out things to do, places to stay and dine at in Tucson here, if you are planning to visit the city.

Hoover Dam:

Hoover Dam | Photo Credit – Airwolfhound

The Dam is a spot for all engineering and architectural enthusiasts. It is an arch-gravity dam made of concrete in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River. Located on the border of Nevada and Arizona, it is 726 feet high and 1,244 feet long.

It is home to Lake Mead which is the largest artificial lake in the USA. Visitors can take a free drive on the dam or take a guided tour of the dam.

There’s also a visitor’s center that provides relevant information via exhibits about the dam and a cafe to recharge the energy. Check out more information about the Hoover Dam here.

Sedona:

Sedona is another desert city of Arizona
Sedona | Photo Credit – John Harwood

This is another desert city of Arizona. Home to a vibrant arts community, Sedona is surrounded by beautiful red-rock mountains and has a cooler climate than any other city of the state. Around an hour and a half drive away from Phoenix, Sedona courtiers to diverse visitors.

From nature lovers, shopaholics, to art lovers, there’s something for everyone in Sedona. Uptown Sedona on the main street (89A) is dotted with small shops of jewelry, pottery and prints, spas, New Age shops, crystal sellers, art galleries, and restaurants. Uptown Sedona is a great place to spend your afternoon with a date, friends, or family.

Red Rock State Park is situated on the outskirts of Sedona. Here, people can indulge themselves in bird-watching, hiking, and picnicking. The Village of Oak Creek is another spot where you can enjoy Arizonian scenery.

History lovers can explore remnants of ancient Native American settlements in Sedona while sporty people can enjoy skiing at Arizona Snowbowl.

A scenic drive from Sedona to Flagstaff and Jerome is also highly recommended. Make sure to check out things to do, places to stay, and dine in Sedona here, if you are planning to visit the city.

Monument Valley:

Located on the border of Arizona and Utah
Monument Valley | Photo Credit – Pedro Szekely

Valley Tribal Park is the favorite destination for people who are into extraterrestrial theories. Its landscape is marked with sharp rock formations, stone spires, buttes, and large sand dunes.

Located on the border of Arizona and Utah, it is home to Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. It is a national park. Mystery Valley and Hunts Mesa are areas of the Monument Valley that are accessible only by guided tour.

Photographers can explore one of the most photographed regions of the world by taking various photography walks around this site.

Havasu Falls:

It is a great place to cool off in Arizona.
Havasu Falls | Photo Credit – Sean Hagen

The Havasu Falls are beautiful falls that have paradisiac pools of turquoise water at their bottom. The fall is 100 feet high and appears to be two falls during heavy rainfalls. It is located in Havasu Creek.

Havasu Creek Canyon is the dwelling place of the Havasupai Indians. It is a great place to cool off in Arizona. It can be accessed by making authorized reservations and taking a long scenic hike or helicopter. 

Click here to make the reservations at the campgrounds of Havasu Falls. 

Tombstone:

Tombstones | Photo Credit – David Stanley

Tombstone is a historic town in the southeastern region of the state. It is known for exhibiting a modern look at its Wild West history. Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park hosts exhibits like replica gallows, staged gunfights, characters walking the historic streets in original period costumes.

The historic sites like O.K. Corral on Allen Street and Boothill Graveyard are popular among tourists. O.K. Corral is an outdoor theater company. Outlaws are the local townsfolk who are buried at the Boothill Cemetery.

After visiting this town, any visitor will become a Wild West history enthusiast. Even the restaurants and shops here are designed to make visitors aware of the Wild West history. 

Make sure to visit the official website of Tombstone to be updated about the exhibits and events of the town at the time of your visit. 

Petrified Forest National Park:

Petrified Forest National Park. Arizona
Petrified Forest National Park | Photo Credit – Andrew Kearns

The Petrified Forest National Park is known for having a natural exhibit of colorful logs of petrified wood, and even fossilized plants, fish, and reptiles. It is located in the Painted Desert.

Nature and science enthusiasts will have the time of their lives in this national park. The roads leading to the park are short trails from where a plethora of incredible sights can be seen. 

One of the most photographed places in Arizona, this park offers many opportunities for outdoor recreational activities like sightseeing, hiking, backpacking, animal watching, and photography.

Many historic archaeological sites and artifacts are also available here from early civilizations. Its visitor’s center has exhibits that provide information about the ecology and geology of the park. It serves as a good base for exploring the park.

Check out the information about services provided in the park here to plan your visit.

Canyon De Chelly National Monument:

Best THINGS TO DO IN ARIZONA
Canyon de Chelly | Photo Credit – Rennett Stowe

The Canyon De Chelly National Monument is known for being home to incredible Native American dwellings. It is a cliff along steep-sided canyons lined with walls as high as 1,000 feet. The White House is among the key attractions of the park.

It is famous among historians as a home to more than one hundred cliff dwellings. On the South Rim, from the White House Overlook, a self-guided hike trail emerges that leads to the White House Ruins. This is the only self-guided tour of the park. Other attractions include Antelope House and Mummy Cave, etc. 

Driving along the North and South Rim Drives is allowed after permissions. The drives are marked with several strategic lookout points from where one can pinpoint ruins on the distant walls. Check out the information about services provided in the park here to plan your visit.

The Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument:

Wildflowers and Cactus Plants at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona
Organ Pipe Cactus | Photo Credit – Jeff Hollett

Organ Pipe Cactus is an exotic wilderness area in Arizona. The park is home to several breeds of cacti. It is located on the border between Arizona and Mexico in the Sonoran Desert.

The presence of organ pipe cacti is a characteristic of the park. It’s one of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve because it is rich in flora and fauna.

Hiking, conversing with park rangers to know more about species of plants and animals of the site, photography, etc., are few things that any visitor can indulge in here. It is an ideal spot for nature lovers.

Check out the information about services provided in the park here to plan your visit.

Tumacacori National Historical Park:

Tumacacori National Historical Park, Arizona
Tumacacori National Historical Park | Photo Credit – Ken Lund

The Tumacacori National Historical Park is a few hours of scenic drive away to the south of Tucson. It is home to the colonial past of this area. There are ruins of 3 early Spanish colonial mansions on these 47 acres of land. San José de Tumacácori, Los Santos Ángeles de Guevavi and San Cayetano de Calabazas were abandoned because of Apache raids and terrible winter.

Spend your day absorbing the history and beautiful sights of this area. Don’t miss out on trying the local cuisine and shops present around this national monument.

Check out the information about services provided in the park here to plan your visit.

Prescott:

Prescott is an exceptional city in central Arizona
Prescott | Photo Credit – dev2r

The Prescott is an exceptional city in central Arizona. The rare incredibly scenic sites of tall Ponderosa pine trees, lakes, and occasional snow make Prescott a place for rare experiences in Arizona. At 5,300 feet, this small city has more defined seasons. It also offers opportunities for outdoor recreation in the form of hiking, kayaking, and camping.

The vibrant bustling Downtown is home to historic Whiskey Row which has many charming bars and live music venues.  Downtown’s old courthouse and the Elks Theatre is a place where all performing arts enthusiasts can get a taste of the history of this place.

The Sharlot Hall Museum is another attraction of this city. This museum portrays the region’s pioneer-era history. Nature lovers can have a peaceful day at Watson Lake where several bird species along with scenic trails and granite boulders will make one forget all their worries.

Cuisine to explore in Arizona:

Arizona’s cuisine | Photo Credit – WordRidden

Arizona’s cuisine is influenced by many factors like its rich desert terrain, its rich history, and its geographical location at the Mexican border. It is home to diverse communities like 20 different Native American tribes and immigrants from around the world.

These communities have played a key role in shaping the food culture of Arizona. It is said that the best way to explore the history and culture of a place is by exploring its cuisine. This statement becomes more true for a place like Arizona which has a vast history and diverse cultural 

Navajo fry bread, prickly pear margaritas, chimichangas, Sonoran hot dogs, etc. are strictly Arizonian dishes that a visitor must try.

Click here to know about the food history and best places to eat the food of Arizona in the state.

Also, read about 15 Best Things To Do In Alabama.


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