Arizona is a sunny state that brims with natural and cultural attractions. While it's famously part of the American Southwest, the state also brims with Western and mountain charm. The 48th state admitted to the union, Arizona continues to be home to as many as 27 federally recognized Native American tribes. The state also attracts a wealth of tourists who enjoy Arizona’s many things to see and do.
For sheer natural grandeur, nothing tops the Grand Canyon. This extraordinary landmark is 277 miles long and was originally carved by the mighty Colorado River. Visitors marvel at the canyon’s millions of years of exposed geology. When visiting, tourists have the option of witnessing the canyon from the South Rim or its less-crowded North Rim. Some visitors opt to hike into the canyon while others choose to raft down the river into the canyon grounds. Even if you’re just passing through Northern Arizona, you definitely want to make a stop to see this visually astounding site.
The Hoover Dam has been a popular Arizona attraction since it was constructed in 1935. The dam is an engineering marvel on the Colorado River. Visitors can either drive or walk across the dam that stretches across the river for 1,244 feet. Regarded as one of the greatest engineering wonders of the world, Hoover Dam is a popular destination for people visiting Northern Arizona as well as Las Vegas. If you have time, be sure to take one of the guided tours of the dam to witness its grandeur up close.
With its red rock mountains and buttes, the city of Sedona is one of the most scenic areas of the Southwest. About an hour and a half north of Phoenix, Sedona is a popular tourist destination for its stunning landscapes, spiritual activity, UFO sightings, and artsy shops and galleries. There are plenty of places around Sedona to enjoy hiking and camping. If you’re an outdoor and culture lover, you definitely want to check out this postcard-worthy city.
Bustling Phoenix is the capital of Arizona, so it’s not surprising that it's filled with a wealth of urban attractions. When exploring this city and its surrounding communities, be sure to set aside time for the Desert Botanical Garden, the Phoenix Art Museum, Papago Park, South Mountain Park, the Phoenix Zoo, and the Heard Museum. You’ll find a wide array of restaurants, shops, sports arenas, and concert venues in the city.
Whether it's summer or winter, Flagstaff is always bursting with adventure and charm. For the outdoor fanatics, Humphreys Peak is a snow-covered beauty amidst desertic landscape, and the highest natural point in Arizona, with an elevation of 12,633 feet. Northeast of the city is Picture Canyon, a cultural preserve named after its petroglyphs, carved by the Northern Sinagua people. To explore the brightest night skies, you must visit one of the oldest observatories in the U.S. The Lowell Observatory is nationally famous for its investigations on Pluto’s discovery and life on Mars. The city’s restrictions on light pollution allow it to be the perfect stargazing spot.
Home to Lake Powell and dramatic Southwestern landscapes, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is a great place to sightsee and spend quality time outdoors. Visitors enjoy activities on both land and water. There are various marinas on the lake as well as campgrounds. The recreation area is family-friendly but also attracts nature enthusiasts and photographers from all over the country.
Antelope Canyon is a famous slot canyon located near Page, Arizona on Navajo lands. The canyon’s sandstone formations are easily one of the state’s most picturesque natural wonders. Photographers from all over the world come to witness the canyon’s natural beauty. The only way to visit the canyon is by reserving space on one of the tours. There is a danger in visiting the canyon during the rainy season due to the risk for flash floods, so touring with a licensed operator is a must.
Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park is famous for its colorful terrain and, of course, its petrified wood. People who visit the park enjoy hiking, backpacking, and photography. The fossils of the fallen trees date back millions of years and are the backdrop of the area’s unique landscapes. The park encompasses about 230 square miles of land, so there’s plenty to explore.
Famed for its resident Saguaro cacti, Saguaro National Park is an amazing place to experience the desert landscape of the Southwest. The park is unique in that it sandwiches the city of Tucson with its east and west sides. Both parts of the park feature hiking trails and similar flora and fauna. If you prefer, you can even enjoy horseback riding on the park’s many trails.
The city of Tucson is home to the revered University of Arizona and is the county seat of Pima County. Tucson is just 60 miles from the US-Mexico border and features a long history that stretches back for 12,000 years. In fact, one of the earliest settlements in the Tucson area dates to 2100 BC. When it comes to contemporary times, Tucson is the state’s second-largest city and home to a myriad of shopping centers, restaurants, galleries, and cultural attractions. If possible, try to explore the amazing desert landscapes that surround this captivating Arizona city.
For natural enchantment, plan a visit to Arizona’s Havasu Falls. This stunning waterfall is located on Havasu Creek near the Grand Canyon. Owing to the high calcium carbonate in the water, the falls and the pool below boasts a dazzling shade of blue. Some people choose to hike to the falls or enjoy some swimming. If you’re looking to witness one of the state’s most postcard-worthy settings, be sure to set aside time to see Havasu Falls.
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