Prepare to be amazed by Arizona! Arizona is one of the best destinations in the United States. This state has an abundance of biomes to enjoy, endless acres of public land to roam, and far more than its share of national parks. If you want to see the wild and free side of the U.S., then put Arizona on the top of your list. There are literally thousands of interesting attractions in the state, but you’ll have to set priorities if you want to see the best of the best. Here are the top 10 best things to do in Arizona!
The city of Page is located on the shore of Lake Powell and the border of Utah. There’s a lot to see here, but the most coveted experience is a trip to Antelope Canyon. Antelope Canyon is a very narrow slot canyon that was formed by flash floods. Years of weathering have smoothed the walls of this canyon, creating beautiful layers of orange rock. If you visit at the right time, you can get stunning photographs of sunlight beaming through the top of the canyon. It’s little wonder Native tribes have regarded this as a sacred place! Be sure to plan ahead for this trip, since it entails various permits and a Native American tour guide.
Even if you’ve seen the Grand Canyon before, you’ve never seen it like this! The Grand Canyon Skywalk is a glass walkway that is suspended over the plummeting depths of the canyon. You’ll literally be walking above the Colorado River! This is an unforgettable experience, and one that isn’t for the faint of heart.
Glen Canyon is one of the most spectacular portions of the Arizona wilderness. This is exactly what you think of when you picture the West, complete with fascinating rock structures, old homesteads, and crystal-clear rivers. When you visit this region, be sure to make time for all the best stops. If you’re coming from the south, start with a trip to Lee’s Ferry, where you can fish, pick apples, or check out the abandoned homestead. Next, head to Horseshoe Bend, a photo-worthy lookout at a striking portion of the Colorado River. Finally, make your way up to Lake Powell, where you can ski, fish, or swim.
This national park is so far away from civilization that most people skip it altogether. Don’t be one of them! This park has more than just some old wood. It will take you at least a good four hours to see everything here. You’ll be able to check out ancient Native American ruins and petroglyphs, a historic train station, and Route 66 monument. Of course, the biggest attractions in the park are the petrified wood and the Painted Desert! This is a classic Arizona stop for a Southwest road trip.
Address: 1 Park Rd, Petrified Forest National Park, AZ 86028
This old town seems to house all the ghosts and legends of Arizona. After the mining community in Jerome faded away to almost nothing, Jerome was reduced to a ramshackle ghost town. In recent decades, however, it has been reborn into a bustling historic center complete with shopping, history tours, and haunted hotels!
If you want to escape the burning heat of Arizona, head to Lake Mead! This lake is split between Arizona and Nevada, so you can hit two states at once when you visit. This is one of Arizona’s most popular places to enjoy watersports of all types. Paddle off in a canoe, zoom away on skis, or just hang around and wait for the fish to bite.
This state park is often forgotten by tourists, but it’s one of the best destinations in Arizona. Drive away from the busy, expensive Sedona downtown area to find red rock views that are just as stunning and even more rugged! If you look closely, you’ll find many unique activities to do here. My favorite is a tour of Palatki National Monument, which is the site of two ancient pueblos and an incredible volume of petroglyphs. There are also countless pueblo ruins accessible by hiking. Take a short drive to Oak Creek Canyon for lovely natural views and fishing.
Surprise! The London Bridge is in Arizona. And no, it is not falling down. You can see the real deal when you visit Lake Havasu City. The community purchased the bridge and shipped it all the way from the U.K. in order to add a taste of the exotic to their man-made lake and resort town. Stroll across the bridge and imagine all the history that has passed over its stones!
Address: 1550 London Bridge Road, Lake Havasu City, Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403
The Arizona desert is anything but flat and lifeless. In fact, the rising hills in the Phoenix area add character and adventure to the city. Phoenix is famous for having the best urban hiking in the United States! While you won’t have time to conquer all the peaks, you can take the trek up to the highest point in the city: Camelback Mountain. There are two trails you can take, and both are pretty challenging despite the well-kept trails. Expect to spend a few hours for the entire hike. The top is worth it—you’ll get awesome views all year and even butterflies in the spring! Here’s a local tip: the parking for Camelback is very confusing. Don’t get frustrated! For the southern trail, you just park on the street in the neighborhood. At the northern trail, there is a small parking lot that fills up quickly.
Of all the museums in Phoenix, the best is Heard Museum. There aren’t many other museums like this anywhere! It is dedicated entirely to Native American history with a focus on Arizona tribes. You’ll get a whole new view of Arizona Natives’ experience and learn many interesting facts about Native history. Every tribe has contributed a display to the museum, so you can get a broad range of perspectives.