The Wildest, Coolest, Most Exciting Things to Do in Arizona
Arid Arizona is a land of almost unbelievable beauty. From north to south and east to west, the state is decorated with red-rock formations, deep canyons, strong rivers and cacti-filled deserts.
It's also home to spa destinations, Wild West towns and exciting metropolises. Plus, its long border with Mexico translates to one of the most compelling food scenes in the country.
Don't try to worry about seeing everything the state has to offer — you'd need a hundred lifetimes. Instead, focus on these 10 best things to do in Arizona. Trust us, you won't regret it.
See the Grand Canyon
If you see one single thing in Arizona, it has to be the Grand Canyon. No dissenting opinions allowed.
The indisputable gem of the state is also one of the most incredible places in the country — heck, the world! It's one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and casts a spell on anyone who sees it.
Prepare for deep canyon walls carved with care by the Colorado River as well as steep hikes and views beautiful beyond imagination.
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Hike Antelope Canyon
Another place that seems to belong in another world, Antelope Canyon is known for its fluid rock formations. The red and purple walls look as if they were underwater, courtesy of the frequent monsoon floods of yore.
This ethereal landmark has openings above through which light filters in. During the summer, some spots are hit by perfect beams. It's something that you have to see to believe. Note: You'll need to join a guided tour since entering on your own is not permitted.
Pamper Yourself in the Spa Capital of the U.S.
Phoenix, the state capital, is a great city with many activities. But its suburb, Scottsdale, steals the spotlight as a perfect Arizona destination.
Known for its numerous spas and luxurious resorts, Scottsdale is the place for anyone looking to relax and indulge in good food, golf courses and rejuvenating treatments.
Feel Jealous of Frank Lloyd Wright
While in Scottsdale, make time in between spa appointments to visit one of the most beautiful houses in America: Taliesin West. This Frank Lloyd Wright house was not only designed by the famed architect, but it was also his winter residence. He used the house from 1937 to 1959 when he passed away.
Protected by UNESCO and named a National Historic Landmark, Taliesin West is a perfect example of Lloyd Wright's architectural vision. Natural materials like stone or wood help create this geometric house, which perfectly blends with the surrounding environment.
Go to Saguaro National Park
Head south to Tucson to see a much-ignored yet amazing national park: Saguaro. Named after the gigantic cacti that rise from the desert floor, the park protects a unique ecosystem that you won't find anywhere else.
You'll feel like a Lilliputian as you stand next to the cacti, which are 40 feet tall on average. Look for the spiral petroglyphs of the Hohokam people as well as wildlife like coyotes.
Hang Out With Artists in Sedona
Another incredible city in Arizona, Sedona is a gathering place for hippies, artists and other alternative folks. This is thanks to the purported "energy vortexes" surrounding the area.
Whether you believe in the vortexes or not, Sedona is a fantastic city. You'll be at the foot of the imposing Red Rocks, which provide opportunities for ATV tours, rock climbing, horseback riding and hiking. And after a day of enjoying the outdoors, you can book a treatment in one of the city's numerous spas.
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Visit Horseshoe Bend
People often confuse Horseshoe Bend for the Grand Canyon. But while they are relatively close, this photogenic bend on the Colorado River is not part of the national park. It's actually part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
We still think everyone should make the drive here, especially if they're already at the Grand Canyon. Just keep in mind that you won't be able to hike around — this is more of a lookout point than a recreational one. But the view is very much worth it. Then, you can spend the rest of the day having fun in Glen Canyon.
Travel Back in Time to the Wild Wild West
If you've ever wondered what it would've been like to live in the Wild West, come over to Tombstone. Time does not seem to have passed in this town. Yes, people have phones, TVs and internet, but you'll also see horsedrawn carriages and working saloons.
Don't worry; duels are one thing that was left in the past — real ones, at least. But you should definitely see a re-enactment of the famous O.K. Corral shootout, one of the most famous in the period's history.
Stand in Awe of Monument Valley
Though on paper Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park sounds like other places in the state (red rock formations in a desert), the site is immediately recognizable.
It's hard to believe the "monuments" were made by chance and the whim of time and nature. Their intricate forms, detailed walls and bright-red color leave people in awe. Used as the backdrop for countless films (mostly westerns), the park is one of the state's biggest sources of pride.
Complete the Arizona Wine Trail
Everyone talks about California wine, but Arizona also has three thriving wine regions. Make it a point to visit wineries in towns like Cottonwood, Jerome and Camp Verde to get a taste of each region's unique terroir.
Even if you don't get to visit wineries, make it a point to seek out locally produced wines at restaurants or grocery stores.