If you’re looking for a fantastic vacation destination, look no further than Arizona. This beautiful state is home to some of the most popular tourist attractions in the country, including the Grand Canyon.
However, there is so much more to this great state than just its most famous attraction! There’s something for everyone in Arizona, from families looking for a fun-filled getaway to outdoor enthusiasts who want to explore all the state offers.
In this ultimate guide to the best things to do in Arizona, we’re covering everything from the biggest attractions in the state to some of the smaller hidden gems. Pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable trip to Arizona.
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Things to Do in Arizona
1. Grand Canyon National Park
No trip to Arizona would be complete without visiting the Grand Canyon. This unique natural wonder is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States, and it’s easy to see why.
The massive canyon is breathtaking and was carved over millions of years by the Colorado River. Visitors can hike down into the canyon, raft through its waters, or enjoy the view from one of the many lookout points.
Several historic landmarks, including the Grand Canyon Lodge and the Grand Canyon Railroad Depot, located within Grand Canyon National Park, make it one of the best places for adventure seekers and history buffs.
Every year, millions of people from all over the world experience the canyon. So whether you’re looking for a simple day trip or an extended vacation, visiting Grand Canyon National Park is an unforgettable experience.
2. Desert Botanical Garden
The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona, is a must-see for anyone interested in the desert landscape. The Garden features a variety of desert plants, including cacti, succulents, and wildflowers. Visitors can stroll through the gardens to get up close and personal with the plants and learn more about the desert ecosystem.
The Desert Botanical Garden also features a butterfly pavilion where visitors can learn about the metamorphosis of these fascinating creatures. In addition, the Desert Botanical Garden hosts various special events throughout the year, including concerts and educational programs.
The Garden is open year-round, and there is always something new to see, making it an ideal destination for locals and tourists alike.
3. Canyon de Chelly National Monument
Canyon de Chelly National Monument is a stunning natural wonder in northeastern Arizona on the Navajo Nation. The canyon is home to a dazzling array of cliffs, canyons, mesas, and ruins, as well as an abundance of plant and animal life.
Spider Rock, a 750-foot sandstone spire, is the most recognizable formation in the canyon.
Visitors can explore the canyon floor on foot, horseback, or by Jeep with a Navajo guide. No solo hiking is allowed. The exception is the White House Ruin Trail which is open to unaccompanied hikers. Canyon de Chelly will leave you with lasting memories regardless of how you explore it.
4. Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is one of the country’s most scenic and geologically diverse areas. The park offers something for everyone, with over 1.2 million acres of land and water to explore.
Lake Powell, created by Glen Canyon Dam, is located in the recreation area and is one of the largest man-made reservoirs in the United States. It is a popular destination for boaters, anglers, and watersports enthusiasts.
The recreation area also features hiking trails with spectacular views and opportunities for camping. Glen Canyon is also home to wildlife, including bighorn sheep, bobcats, mountain lions, mule deer, and bald eagles. Some folks come for an entire day; others stay for a week to explore.
Whether you’re looking for an adventure or just a place to relax and enjoy the scenery, a visit to the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is one of the top things to do in Arizona.
5. Visit Flagstaff
Set among the ponderosa pines of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff is a beautiful mountain town with a laid-back vibe. Flagstaff is home to Northern Arizona University and offers various activities and attractions for students and locals.
From hiking and camping in the nearby national forests to stargazing at Lowell Observatory, there’s something for everyone in Flagstaff. Thanks to its high elevation (6,900 feet), Flagstaff enjoys cooler temperatures than many other parts of Arizona.
If you’re looking for an escape from the heat or a chance to engage in some outdoor adventures, Flagstaff is the perfect place for family fun.
6. Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park is one of the most iconic places in the American Southwest. The park is home to the biggest saguaro cacti in the country, and these massive plants are a sight to behold.
Saguaro National Park also features stunning desert landscapes, hiking trails, and opportunities to see wildlife such as turtles, bobcats, and javelina. Whether you’re looking for a place to hike or simply admire the natural beauty of the desert, Saguaro National Park is an excellent choice.
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7. Petrified Forest National Park
There is no shortage of national parks in Arizona, but Petrified Forest National Park is one of the most unique among them. The park has a vibrant landscape of red, orange, and yellow rock formations.
In addition to the park’s signature attraction, petrified wood, you can also see amazing views of the Painted Desert.
There are plenty of things to do in Petrified Forest National Park, from hiking and picnicking to wildlife watching. The Petrified Forest National Park has two visitor centers with exhibits on the geology and history of the area. The park is a fantastic place to explore a true one-of-a-kind landscape.
8. Antelope Canyon
Antelope Canyon is a popular tourist destination in Arizona. Located near Page, AZ, Antelope Canyon is home to gorgeous twisting sandstone walls carved out by wind and water over millions of years.
There are two canyons, Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon, and both offer a similar experience. Most people are looking for the famous “beam of light” that shines through the canyon at noon (on clear days).
The only way to visitors can explore the canyon is with an authorized tour company.
The slot canyons are especially popular with photographers from all over the world to capture the unique beauty of the landscape. So, whether you’re an experienced hiker or a first-time visitor, Antelope Canyon will surely leave you mesmerized.
9. London Bridge Lake Havasu
Lake Havasu City, Arizona, is home to one of the most famous bridges in the world, the London Bridge. The bridge was initially built in the 1830s and spanned the River Thames in London, England. In 1968, the defunct bridge was bought by entrepreneur Robert P. McCulloch and transported to Lake Havasu, where it was rebuilt.
Today, the bridge is a major tourist attraction for visitors worldwide. London Bridge is a must-see for anyone visiting Lake Havasu, thanks to its unique history.
10. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is located in southern Arizona and is home to various cacti and other desert plants. The monument was established in 1937 to protect this unique ecosystem and its many cactus species, including the organ pipe cactus named after it.
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is also home to various animals, including desert bighorn sheep, javelina, and mountain lions.
Visitors to the monument can enjoy hiking, camping, and ranger-led programs. With its abundant plant and animal life, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is a must-see for anyone interested in the desert Southwest.
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11. Visit Sedona
There’s no place quite like Sedona, Arizona. The red rocks and other natural features draw many people who enjoy outdoor activities. In addition, the town has many art galleries, restaurants, and shops catering to tourists.
From hiking and biking to horseback riding and jeep tours, there’s something for everyone. But, of course, don’t forget about the world-famous red rock Vortexes. Sedona is a great place to visit if you’re looking for some beautiful scenery and some fun things to do outdoors.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing vacation or an adventure-packed getaway, Sedona is the perfect destination.
12. Frank Lloyd Wright – Taliesin West
The Scottsdale community is home to many impressive architectural feats, but one structure that truly stands out is the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed complex known as Taliesin West.
Nestled in the foothills of the McDowell Mountains, Taliesin West was initially built as a winter retreat for Wright and his students from the Taliesin Fellowship.
Today, it serves as the main campus of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and is open to the public for tours and events. Visitors can also see Wright’s former residence, which has been carefully preserved.
With its stunning setting and rich history, Taliesin West is one of Scottsdale’s most treasured landmarks.
13. Tumacácori National Historical Park
Tumacácori National Historical Park is located in southern Arizona, close to the Mexican border. The park is home to important historical and archaeological sites, including the ruins of a Spanish mission. Today, the park is a popular destination for tourists who learn about the area’s history and see the beautiful landscapes.
The park also offers a variety of activities, such as hiking and guided and self-guided tours. Tumacácori National Historical Park is an integral part of American history and a truly unique place to visit.
14. Phoenix Art Museum
The Phoenix Art Museum is one of the largest art museums in the Southwest. It has a collection of approximately 20,000 objects on display. The museum also has a wide range of educational programs, including lectures, films, and workshops.
In addition, the museum hosts a variety of special events throughout the year, such as concerts and performances. The Phoenix Art Museum is great for learning about art and culture.
15. Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Lake Mead National Recreation Area is popular for boating, fishing, and hiking and was created by the Hoover Dam. Visitors can enjoy stunning views of the mountains and canyons that surround the lake, and there are plenty of opportunities to see wildlife, including bighorn sheep and desert tortoises.
In addition to the lakeshore, numerous coves and beaches are perfect for picnicking or simply relaxing in the sun.
With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder that Lake Mead National Recreation Area is one of the most popular destinations in Arizona.
There’s no shortage of things to do in Arizona, with its year-round sunny weather and numerous parks and outdoor activities. Arizona is the perfect destination whether you’re looking for a relaxing vacation or an adventure-packed getaway.
This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks.
About the Author
Steve is the owner of Paddle About, a blog that’s all about helping people get out and enjoy nature. He loves to kayak, camp, hike and spend time outdoors with his wife and two kids. When he’s not out exploring the great outdoors, Steve enjoys writing about his adventures and sharing tips for getting the most out of your outdoor experiences. He has a lot of interesting stories to share, and he’s always happy to help others get more out of life.