Arizona Top 20 Attractions

Arizona may have been the last of the 48 contiguous United States, but it offers plenty of options for visitors from near and far. The fame of the Grand Canyon draws in visitors, but the remaining natural features, museums, and family attractions encourage them to stay longer.

You can enjoy outdoor adventure, play a round of golf, relax in a spa, go shopping, appreciate Native American culture, or catch your favorite sports team in action. Arizona offers attractions for families and individuals alike, making it the perfect option for groups of any size and all ages. Here is an overview of the top places to visit in Arizona.

1: Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/faunggs photos

Grand Canyon is one of the most famous and visited attractions in Arizona. This vast natural formation, often considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, is actually a gorge carved out of the region's sandstone bluffs by the Colorado River.

Visitors can access the Grand Canyon on either the North or South Rim; the former is more remote, and the latter provides tourists with a variety of ways in which to take in this breathtaking formation.

Mule rides are a popular way to experience the Canyon, though visitors also enjoy the many hiking trails that are available.

Address: Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

Accomodation: Where to stay near Grand Canyon National Park

Also Read: Top 10 Things To Do In The Grand Canyon National Park

2: Sedona

Sedona
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Mitch Heider

People flock from all over the world to experience Sedona's gorgeous sandstone formations. In the rosy glow of sunrise and sunset, the rocks appear even more brilliant.

Combined with the arid desert atmosphere, Sedona's environment lends itself to spiritual practices and draws thousands of people each year for yoga festivals and synchronized meditation.

More conventional spirituality resides in the Chapel of the Holy Cross, a chapel built into the surrounding rocks. There are also a variety of music festivals, including bluegrass, jazz, and chamber music, held each year.

Address: Sedona, AZ

Accomodation: Where to stay in Sedona

Also Read: Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Sedona, Arizona

3: Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park

Make some memories at Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park in Arizona! This is a red sandstone National Park that has become a fond Arizona staple mark over the years.

Here you can hike through golden red sand formations and explore a national park entirely unique from anywhere else in the world. It is also a Navajo reservation, which means that it is well maintained sight of respect.

To really get the most out of your hike through Monument Valley, check out the visitor’s center and maybe opt for a guided tour. There is so much to see in this tribal park, that you’re going to want someone experienced to tell you what the must see items are.

Here you can find hikes that take you all the way up the inclines to look out over the area, or simple footpaths that wind and steep through the beauty of Arizona.

Address: US-163, Monument Valley, UT 84536

Accomodation: Where to stay in Monument Valley

Website: www.navajonationparks.org

4: Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Mobilus In Mobili

This feat of modern engineering was constructed in 1931 and completed during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was constructed as a means by which to contain the flooding of the Colorado River, as well as to provide water to the desert inhabitants surrounding it.

There is no shortage of impressive trivia regarding this structure. It contains enough concrete to run a two-lane road across the entire United States from Seattle to Miami, is thicker at its base than two American football fields put end-to-end, and stands taller than the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.

Address: Mohave County, AZ

Accomodation: Where to stay near Hoover Dam

5: Phoenix Zoo

Phoenix Zoo
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Martin Ely

This privately owned non-profit zoo is the largest of its kind in the United States. Animals in the zoo's collection hail from various regions of the world, including Africa and the tropics, and even featuring a section dedicated to the animals of Arizona.

Visitors experience these different regions via trails that make up 2.5 miles of walking area throughout the zoo. Arguably the zoo's most famous resident, Ruby the Elephant gained a reputation in 1973 for her ability to paint with a brush and canvas.

Address: 455 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008

Accomodation: Where to stay in Phoenix

Website: www.phoenixzoo.org

Also Read: Phoenix, Arizona Top 10 Attractions

6: Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/shilo2006

This striking waterfall stands nearly 100 feet high, cascading down from blood-red sandstone into a beautiful blue pool. People who come to visit Havasu can explore the site on their own or avail themselves of one of the many guided tours around the park.

The nature of the sandstone means that the falls are subject to a greater degree of change when floods and rains occur. The park's website features a picture of the falls when it was known as Bridal Veil, and a picture of its current appearance. No matter how it changes in the future, it is always a beauty to behold.

Address: Havasu Canyon, Supai, AZ 86435

Accomodation: Where to stay near Supai

7: Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Joe Parks

Divided into two districts, this national park prominently features its namesake cactus, the saguaro, as well as many other species native to Arizona. A variety of other flora and fauna, including coniferous forests and endangered species of bat and owl, can also be found here.

The Tucson Mountains and the Rincon Mountains both reside within the borders, which also features 150 miles of hiking trails. Backcountry campsites are available to hikers wanting to spend more time in the arid beauty of this gorgeous park.

Address: Tucson, AZ

Accomodation: Where to stay near Saguaro National Park

Website: www.nps.gov

8: Canyon de Chelly National Monument

Canyon de Chelly National Monument
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Ken Lund

This breathtaking canyon epitomizes the American West. Its sandstone walls contain evidence left by ancient indigenous people, making it a prized piece of history.

The most striking feature here is known as Spider Rock, which figures into Navajo folklore as being the home of Spider Woman, the creator of the world. Whether or not you believe it, the area reverberates with energy.

Take a tour deep into the park and explore Mummy Cave, featuring different types of structures built at various points throughout history.

Address: Chinle, AZ 86503

Accomodation: Where to stay near Canyon de Chelly National Monument

Website: www.nps.gov

9: Arizona Science Center

Arizona Science Center

Explore the world of science like never before! Arizona is the proud home to one of the best science museums in all of the the U.S.! Do more than just educate: explore! Here interested parties can immerse themselves in the wide worlds of mummies, flight, planetariums and everything in between.

It is truly a family fun paradise as all of the exhibits find new and interactive ways to engage with patrons of all ages. No one can be bored as you stroll through the halls of history, and point out some things you’ve never seen before. The Arizona Science Center is proud to be one of a kind.

Generally, tickets for adults are $19.95, children between the ages of 17 and 3 are $14.95, and anyone under 2 is free. However, there are a couple different ways to save money here. Firstly, buy online! Here adults pay $18 and children are $13.

There are also special events hosted during off times that drastically reduce the price. For example, Mummies After Hours and Lunchtime Express are two events wherein you can save money by attending the museum for special exhibits.

Otherwise, the Science Center hours are every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. No matter what time you enter, you’re sure to leave with a newfound passion for all things spectacular science.

Address: 600 E Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

Accomodation: Where to stay in Phoenix

Website: www.azscience.org

Also Read: Phoenix, Arizona Top 10 Attractions

10: Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Jöshua Barnett

Visitors to this part of the United States who are eager to learn more about the area's native wildlife would do well to visit this museum. Comprised of an aquarium, zoo, botanical garden, natural history museum, and art gallery, it is a comprehensive collection of the flora and fauna of the surrounding desert and its various climates, assembled for visitors to examine and understand more completely.

Big cats, raptors, and reptiles are on display, and there is a cave in which to explore fossils and geological features. A trip to this museum is a fine complement to your visit to the desert.

Address: 2021 N Kinney Rd, Tucson, AZ 85743

Accomodation: Where to stay in Tucson

Website: www.desertmuseum.org

Also Read: Tucson, Arizona Top 10 Attractions

11: Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is a must-visit destination during your trip to Arizona to witness one of the most beautiful natural sites. Located near Page, the recreation area designates the Glen Canyon as a public outdoor recreation space. It’s a popular attraction because of the colorful desert scenery and fun.

The site has incredible views of the vast Lake Powell surrounded by elevated canyon cliffs. The lake perfectly reflects the red rocks and blue sky to create a picturesque environment.

Fishing is a top activity at Lake Powell. Visitors can enjoy fishing from the thousands of miles of shoreline or rent a boat to take out onto the water. Bass is the most common species in the lake with a chance to catch a variety of types.

Visitors can camp at the park at one of the few campgrounds available.

It’s no wonder that more than four million people visit the park every year.

Address: 691 Scenic View Drive, Page, AZ 86040

Website: www.nps.gov

12: Meteor Crater Natural Landmark

Meteor Crater Natural Landmark

About 50,000 years ago, a meteor crashed into what would become northern Arizona. Evidence remains of the impact with a giant meteor crater – the crater is a favorite place to visit for tourists.

It’s not every day that you get to see an actual meteor crater. The crater is an impressive sight with a diameter of approximately 4,000-feet and depth of 560-ft.

The site is privately owned and developed for tourism. The crater achieved natural landmark status in 1967 and now features several facilities onsite to create a fun visitor experience.

Be sure to stop by the visitor center to check out the museum. Explore the interactive exhibitions to learn more about meteorites and other space-related topics. There are various artifacts collected from historic space missions and a film screening in the theater.

You’ll have the best views of the crater from the observation decks. Guided tours are also available to trek along the crater rim.

Address: Interstate 40, Exit, 233, Winslow, AZ 86047

13: Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Photo Courtesy: Dreamstime/Jiawangkun

Arizona is home to the largest national recreation area in the US and a favorite place to visit. Lake Mead National Recreation Area is over one million acres of the desert landscape – it's covered with mountains, valleys, lakes, canyons, natural landmarks, and an extensive wilderness area.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area has plenty of things to do for visitors to enjoy recreational activities. Lake Mead is a park highlight where visitors can enjoy a variety of water sports – swimming, boating, biking, and fishing.

Hiking is also an everyday activity. The desert landscape is perfect for going on a leisure walk to some landmarks or park viewpoints. A panoramic view of the desert will reward you after a hike to a mountain summit.

Every year, several millions of visitors come to Lake Mead. It’s a great way to explore the outdoors and see some of the preserved desert environment.

Address: 601 Nevada Way, Boulder City, NV 89005

Website: www.nps.gov

14: Petrified Forest National Park

Petrified Forest National Park
Photo Courtesy: Dreamstime/MNStudio

Over half-million people visit the Petrified Forest National Park while visiting Arizona, so you should add it to your itinerary. The large fossilized wood remains will surely be one of the unique sites you've ever seen.

Petrified Forest National Park was established in 1962 for the preservation of the petrified logs. The former forest is now a desert and badland landscape covered with colorful log remains. It’s among the top photography spots in Arizona to capture to color spectrum emerging from the wood.

Many people enjoy outdoor recreation at the park – a few of the top things to do are sightseeing, hiking, and backpacking.

The park is known for its biodiversity. Hundreds of plants and animal species exist in the area that you can spot while going on guided tours through the forest. Other sights include archaeological sites with artifacts leftover from early civilizations.

Address: Holbrook, AZ 86028

Website: www.nps.gov

15: Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
Photo Courtesy: Dreamstime/Anton Foltin

Take the opportunity while visiting Arizona to see the exotic Organ Pipe Cactus. It only grows native in the US in the area designated as the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Arizona has lots of cacti, and there’s plenty to see in the park.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is in southern Arizona on the border with Mexico. It’s a region of the Sonoran Desert and officially wilderness area. You’ll get to enjoy the natural landscape experience with excellent sights and activities.

You’ll see tons of organ pipe cacti once you enter the park limits. It’s recognized as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve because of the abundant plant and animal life. The best way to see the beauty of the park attraction is by hiking.

Visitors can spend upwards of an entire day exploring the national monument. Expert park rangers are onsite to provide any information you need about the best spots to check out in the park and where to see the biggest cacti.

Address: 10 Organ Pipe Dr, Ajo, AZ 85321

Website: www.nps.gov

16: Tumacácori National Historical Park

Tumacácori National Historical Park
Photo Courtesy: Dreamstime/Richard Semik

Pick one of the three sections of the Tumacácori National Historical Park to start your visit to a famous Spanish mission site. The park is a fun day trip destination in the Santa Cruz River Valley to see the preserved architecture and learn about the mission’s history.

Tumacácori National Historical Park is a collection of communities established for Spanish missions – it includes the oldest mission in the region. Although most of the sites are in ruins, some buildings are restored and converted for tourist visits. You'll be impressed by the authentic Mission Revival-style architecture.

The park complex includes a visitor center, museum, and National Historic Landmarks. The museum provides exhibits about mission history and art.

Reserve a slot for a guided tour at the visitor center to get an informational walk through the ruins. You can also do a self-guided tour to walk the ruins at your own pace or take advantage of photo opportunities.

Address: 1891 I-19 Frontage Rd, Tumacacori, AZ 85640

Website: www.nps.gov

17: London Bridge

London Bridge
Photo Courtesy: Dreamstime/Meinzahn

You might not expect to see the London Bridge in Arizona, but it wasn't originally planned to end up there either. London Bridge crosses a canal in Lake Havasu City. The unexpected attraction is always worth a stop for photos or to learn more about history.

London Bridge was built in 1830 in London, where it was installed to cross the River Thames. After selling the bridge, it was transported and reconstructed in Arizona in 1976. The bridge maintains its original appearance with iconic arch design.

There are many myths and rumors surrounding the bridge and how it ended up across the ocean in the desert. Some say that it was mistaken for the real London Bridge; others have haunting tales about the bridge.

It’s cool to see the remaining plaques and name markers on the bridge. It’s a popular photo opportunity or a serene place to relax while watching boats pass below.

Address: 1340 McCulloch Blvd, Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403

18: Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend
Photo Courtesy: Dreamstime/Silva Krajnc

Horseshoe Bend is one of the most beautiful sights in Arizona - it’s a highlight attraction of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The natural landmark is a breath-taking view that you won’t want to miss.

Horseshoe Bend is a horseshoe-shaped curve of the Colorado River. The river flows at the bottom of the canyon, creating a perfect horseshoe shape. The views of the phenomenon are must-see.

To reach the famous bend, you’ll take a short hike from the parking lot – it’s easily accessible for everyone. The walk takes less than a half-hour, where you’ll see the magnificent sight emerging before you.

It’s no secret that Horseshoe Bend is one of the most photographed tourist attractions in Arizona. If it’s crowded, you’ll have to line up to snap the perfect photo in the center of the bend.

The most popular time to visit is during sunset, where the lighting creates an unimaginable scene at the bend.

Address: Mile Marker 545, Highway 89, Page, AZ 8604

19: Desert Botanical Garden

Desert Botanical Garden

Take a stroll through the Desert Botanical Garden to see exotic desert plants showcased in an elegant display. Located in Phoenix, the large botanical garden covers more than 140 acres – you have lots of ground to cover during your visit.

Desert Botanical Garden was founded in 1939 to showcase the Sonoran Desert’s plants. It since expanded to over 50,000 plants – there are over 4,000 species of native and foreign plants. The gardens even have endangered or rare species.

It’s fun to visit the gardens and walk between the different vegetation zones. The entire garden is sectioned into themes, and you’ll see plants that grow native to that environment.

Depending on when you visit, you might catch an event happening. The Desert Botanical Garden hosts seasonal concerts, art exhibitions, festivals, light shows, and more. It’s also a popular volunteer place, so check for local opportunities during your visit to get involved.

Address: 1201 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008

Website: dbg.org

20: Heard Museum

Heard Museum
Photo Courtesy: Dreamstime/Joe Sohm

The Native American heritage is an essential part of the Arizona identity; you can learn all about Native American art at the Heard Museum. The museum features art made or influenced by American Indians. Your visit helps continue to push the awareness of Native American art forward.

Heard Museum is one of the largest museums highlighting American Indian art. It opened in 1929 to display a personal collection and now grew to holding over 40,000 objects. You can see all kinds of Native American art at the museum, from traditional pieces to more contemporary works.

Over a quarter-million visitors walk through the doors of the Heard Museum every year. You’ll get to see to talent and craft up close of Native Americans, both past and present. Explore the exhibits that showcase art about Native peoples, native jewelry, and various temporary exhibitions. Don’t forget to check the gallery upstairs!

Address: 2301 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004

Website: heard.org

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