The Best Arizona Attractions – Things To Do
In the center of the American west lies Arizona. It is full of vibrant cities, natural wonders, and beautiful small towns. The Grand Canyon is only one of the attractions that draw people from all over the world, but if you’re willing to take a deeper dive into the state, you’ll find interesting and unique attractions. Even though cities like Sedona and Phoenix are great destinations for a vacation, you can head beyond these urban cities to explore Native American attractions.
The attractions will remind you of forgotten cultures and ghost towns that were a part of America in the mining days. The state’s landscape is perfect for outdoor activities since you will find several lakes, mountains, deserts, waterfalls, and even a volcano. These factors combine to make Arizona one of the best places for a vacation.
Best Arizona Attractions and Activities
Things To Do in Arizona by City
Don’t believe us? Here are some of the best attractions in Arizona.
The Grand Canyon
Stand on the rim of the Canyon and gaze over the endless ridges beneath you. You’re going to catch glimpses of deep ravines and walls of cliffs, and it’s almost impossible not to be inspired by the beautiful sights. The canyon glows under the afternoon sun, which will reveal magnificent hues of yellow, red, and everything in between.
The Grand Canyon is easily one of the most popular attractions in America, and you must visit the state of Arizona to appreciate its beauty. It was carved after centuries of flowing water (Colorado River) which you’ll be able to see in the distance. The sheer enormity is breathtaking, attracting several tourists from all walks of life.
Most visitors that visit this attraction head towards the Southern Rim of the Canyon, where they can find lookouts all along the road. You can also find walkways that run along the canyon and offer magnificent views. The Northern Rim, however, provides a different perspective altogether. Even though you’ll enjoy the sights, you won’t be able to visit them in the winter. Moreover, depending on the year you decide to visit the canyon, the Northern edge may not even be an option.
If you’ve seen those famous images of a glass bridge over the canyon and want to visit that spot, you’ll have to make your way toward Eagle Point. This bridge is called The Skywalk, and it is a 2.5-hour drive from the city of Las Vegas. If you’re interested in a closer look, you can also opt for hiking trails that will give you access to incredible lookouts over the canyon and pathway towards its floor. However, if you want to avoid physical activity, you can also opt for a helicopter ride that’ll give you an aerial view of the canyon.
All in all, the canyon is easily one of the best attractions in Arizona.
Surrounded by beautiful buttes and red rock mountains, Sedona has some of the most beautiful sights in Arizona. It’s about a 1.5-hour drive away from Phoenix, and it has become a popular attraction amongst the people living in the city. There are several other attractions in Phoenix because your trip should last way longer than 1.5 hours. The drive towards Sedona from the south will begin in the Village of Oak. It’s an incredible experience that will compel you to enjoy the scenery that you see along the way.
The main street in Sedona (89A) is full of exciting spots for tourists. It has restaurants, galleries, and shops because of which it is the best way of spending your afternoon. Moreover, Sedona is also one of the best places to visit in Sedona if you’re looking for mountain biking trails or hiking trails in Arizona. You’ll also be able to find several excellent golf courses in Sedona; however, if you’re looking for something more relaxing, consider spending a day in the spa resorts.
Jeep tours are one of the most popular things inside Sedona, too. They provide you with an easy way to enjoy the landscape, and in the surrounding, you’re going to find several Native dwellings that you can also visit as a part of your tour. According to many travelers, Sedona is considered a spiritual spot because of the energy vortexes.
You can find these across several sites around the town. Downtown, you’re going to several unique opportunities and new shops. Be it UFO tours, aura readings, crystal sellers, or psychics, the town has it all. Some popular destinations within reach when you visit Sedona are Jerome and Flagstaff. The scenic drives you’ll take towards these towns will make them worth the trip; however, you can also fill your day by exploring these cities.
Looking for more fun things you can do in Arizona? Consider taking a deep dive into pre-Colombian history. Take time and appreciate the beauty and culture that native citizens have left behind. One of the most revered attractions inside Arizona is the ancient cliff homes hewn into canyon walls. Walnut Canyon is one of the best attractions in Flagstaff. It used to be home for the Sinagua people, but this location was suddenly abandoned by its people one day.
When you consider that Sinagua was thriving as an economy and was environmentally friendly, trying to decipher why its natives vanished is a confusing mystery. When the site opened to visitors, solving this mystery became a game for the several people who visited it. If you do consider visiting, try to make all of your guesses without contacting your surroundings.
If you’re interested in taking on the role of an archeological detective, visit Walnut, and you’re going to have the time of your life!
Upon arriving at the Glen Canyon, you’ll find a stunning region of blue ocean water, breathtaking stone walls, and a desert landscape. Inside the canyon, you’ll find Lake Powell, one of the largest man-made lakes in America, and this area is renowned both for its water-based and land-based recreational activities. The damn that you’ll find here was constructed between 1954 and 1964 to block the gushing water from the Colorado River.
A 15-mile section flows downstream, stretching from the damn till Lees Ferry. The town of the page is the canyon’s base which lets you explore the surrounding region and the recreational area. You’re also going to find the largest marina on the lake (Wahweap Marina), only seven miles away from this location.
However, one of the foremost attractions of Glen Canyon is the slot canyons that you’ll find in Antelope Canyon. Depending on the section of the canyon you’re visiting, you can either walk through a narrow passage with small shafts of light entering through the top, which illuminate the walls, or walk down into the canyon.
You’re often going to find photos of Antelope in galleries and postcards as well. Don’t feel like doing all the exploring yourself? Get a guided tour and let them tell you exciting stories about the canyon!
Set on a mountainside many meters above the desert floor, Jerome used to be an old mining town that was lively in the days it was actively used. Since then, it turned into a ghost town, after which it soon became a popular tourist attraction for people worldwide. One of the town’s main streets is a steep hill with switchbacks. It is lined with many stores and restaurants, and the views from the streets to the shops are amazing.
Even though most of the older structures in this town have been renovated and now stand firm, some are still in their original condition. A glance at these buildings will take you back in time, and once you look at the newer buildings, you’ll be transported back to reality. This interesting dynamic is just one of the reasons people love visiting Jerome. To truly appreciate the town’s history, you can make your way toward the King Mine Museum and the Historical Park. This town is only a day trip away from Flagstaff, Sedona, Phoenix, or Prescott.
If you’re yearning to spend the night, you can also find some fancy accommodation options. While others may call this town quirky, we can gladly say it is unique. The Sliding Jail that you’ll see was built in 1928. It was built on a clay slick, and it soon began sliding. Now, it sits 2,500 feet away from its location. Even though Bartlett Hotel was one of the top hotels in Jerome, today, it stands in ruins. On the other hand, the Jerome Grand Hotel was built back in 1927, and it is the tallest building in Verde Valley. You’re bound to get some breathtaking views from this spot.
Canyon De Chelly
Canyon De Chelly has been home to American cliff dwellings that you’ll find on the canyon’s steep walls. These walls are up to 1,000 feet high and are some of the main attractions inside the canyon. You’re also going to find the White House ruins built in 1050 but discovered in 1849. Out of the hundred dwellings that you’ll find inside the canyon, the White House is easily one of the most popular ones. The park has one self-guided hike that leaves from the overlook of the White House, and it then descends 600 feet into the ruins of the White House.
Some other dwellings inside the canyon are Mummy Cave (mummies were found here) and Antelope House. Most of these ruins are inaccessible, but they were occupied between AD 350 and 1300. You can also take a tour of the site by driving along the South and North Rim Drives. Just remember to stop at pullouts so you can get a good view. Even though you’ll be able to see the ruins nearby, several lookouts have scopes that can let you see the ruins close to the walls.
You can join a free hike led by a ranger or take a private tour inside the canyon from spring to fall. Undoubtedly, Canyon De Chelly is one of the best attractions in Chinle.
Are you looking for some of the best attractions in Page? You’ll love this spot.
It can be hard to scroll through all of the things you can do in Arizona and not come across beautiful photos of Horseshoe bend. It’s truly a sight to behold. This is where the Colorado River makes an absurd 270-degree turnaround, an escarpment made out of the sand. As you may have guessed, it’s a popular spot for budding photographers in Arizona, and you’re going to enjoy the views just as much. The sight of the green water next to the red tanned sandstone is something you don’t see every day.
Interestingly enough, the masses were relatively unaware of this location’s whereabouts. But since Instagram became a thing, social media and many factors have contributed to its popularity. With a mushroomed significance in recent years, it has become one of the must-see places in Arizona. Now, more than two million people visit it each year. You can take a 1.5-mile round trip along the rock to get an aerial view of this location. You’re not going to find any safety precautions over here other than a fence.
If you want to walk right towards the edge, you can at your own risk.
In the southeast corner near the border of Mexico, you’re going to find one of the best-kept secrets of the state. Bisbee used to be a thriving mining town but is now a secluded community located amongst the mountains. After the mines stopped operating, this location became a ghost town, and it gradually became a haven for hippies and artists. Now, Bisbee is a happy town that has a diverse population.
It has all kinds of restaurants and unique shops, and the historic downtown of the location is still lively. There are many exciting things to do and see, so make sure you take sufficient time for this location. You’re going to find several homes that belong to former miners on the hills and surround the downtown of Bisbee. Most of these houses are only accessible by the long set of stairs that will lead you to the center of the town.
The views from the upper hillside and the street are unique, and from this spot, you can look at New Mexico. Moreover, on these hills, you’re also finding many hiking trails that you can enjoy with your friends or family. Bisbee is only a day trip away from Tucson and its surrounding areas, and people often combine this with a stop at Tombstone.
Flagstaff is one of the most popular stops on the historic Route 66. This town has a plethora of well-preserved streets and buildings that are bound to leave you speechless. Take some time and start going around the renovated downtown area. If you’re visiting this spot at night, you’ll get to see the bright neon signs that can easily be seen from a distance, too.
However, Flagstaff is a lot more than history. Now, it’s a young town surrounded by mountains and is blessed with gushes of fresh air. Several students of the Northern Arizona University go on to make their living in this town. The active environment of the city ensures that you have access to quality restaurants and entertainment. It’s approximately 7,000 feet above sea level but has the perfect climate. Its temperature is close to that of Phoenix since it is only a couple of hours away from the city.
This also means that it can get slightly chilly here in the winter. Snow falls not only on Flagstaff but also on resorts located only a few hours away. All in all, Flagstaff is the perfect place to go and retire. It has a vast collection of monuments and national parks. You’ll be close to the Grand Canyon, Sunset National Monument, Walnut Canyon, and the Wupatki Monument.
Whether you’re visiting the state for a week or a month, there’s no shortage of the things you can do in Arizona. While our list has some of the most popular spots on paper, it’s also important to consider that traveling is an inherently subjective experience that can be vastly different for everyone. What you might like may not be popular amongst other travelers, but it will still get you an experience that you will truly remember!
But that said, if you’re not in the mood to build a highly personalized itinerary for your trip to Arizona, our list serves as a great starting point. Use it to begin your journey, and who knows? You may find several spots that are worth your attention.