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10 Best Things to Do in Arizona

Suny Errot

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Look what we have here – the state ranked as the 6th largest in the United States of America. Given the vast territory, you’re probably already thinking about the best places to visit and the best things to do in Arizona. Sure, people would almost automatically visualize the desert and terrains. After all, this is home to the Grand Canyon. But here’s what you should know, Arizona offers many unique sites for tourists to explore. People who love outdoor activities and natural formations would appreciate this state for its wildly diverse structures. Here are the 10 best things you need to do in Arizona:

1. Hike and Enjoy the Sunset in Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is known to be one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World carved by natural forces through the Colorado River. It has been around for almost 5 to 6 million years. It is around 227 miles long and ten miles wide and is heavily considered to be one of the best places for canyoneering and hiking. Take time and appreciate the picturesque view of the Grand Canyon especially during the sunset!

2. Visit Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park
Source: Saguaro Flower | Arizona Daily Star, Doug Kreutz

Saguaro Cactus Flower is the state flower of Arizona. It is a huge cactus that does not grow with natural means unless situated in the first Sonoran Desert. This Saguaro National Park preserves this famous cactus, which is a representation of the whole state. Currently, it is divided into two parts, Rincon and Tucson Mountain District. Rincon Mountain District is available for camping but visitors should first need to secure a permit. On the other hand, Tucson Mountain District does not allow camping activities.

3. Get a Permit to See ‘The Wave’

The Wave
Source: The Wave | DreamlandTours

Anything familiar about this place? The Wave’s popularity got a major boost when it became a desktop wallpaper for Windows. While understandable that you would want to visit this attraction, you better come prepared. The Wave is strictly controlled because of its sensitive nature. Being a natural creation, it is susceptible to damage if not taken care of properly, so chances of visiting can be pretty slim. For the more persistent travelers, the good news is that you can get a permit! There is a maximum of 20 slots per day, with 10 being given through online lottery and the other 10 slots for walk-in.

4. Book a Guide to Go to Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon
Source: Antelope Canyon | Viator

Antelope Canyon is a sandstone slot canyon created through erosion, flash flooding, and other natural processes. The canyon is known for its bright reddish color, with a structure looking like water waves. The best time to visit Antelope Canyon is during summertime so that its color would be vibrant and visually appealing. The Upper Antelope Canyon showcases a famous light beam effect that would project nicely on pictures using your mobile phone (Traveler’s Tip: Cameras and tripods are not allowed). On the other hand, the Lower Antelope Canyon is more spacious and is less crowded than the Upper Canyon. You cannot go to Antelope Canyon by yourself, but you can book a local guide since the visits there are exclusive tours.

5. Drive to Monument Valley and Watch the Sunrise

Source: LoveThesePictures

The Monument Valley is a famous shooting location for driving scenes in films. If you’re driving all the way here, the best view to catch is when the sun is just about to rise. It will surely help with the dramatic flair. People who want to visit Monument Valley would have to pay for a fee and the drive throughout Valley would cover approximately 27 kilometers, which could take around 2 to 3 hours.

6. Ride a Horse

MacDonald's Ranch
Source: Horseback Riding at MacDonald’s Ranch | MacDonald’s Ranch

Arizona offers amazing wildlife and wallpaper-worthy landscapes so horseback riding in this state just feels right. 

Try visiting these places:

  • MacDonald’s Ranch – will give you views of the McDowell and Camelback Mountains
  • Koli Equestrian Center – the 60-90 minute trail rides will take you to the front seat of Arizona’s extraordinary scenery 
  • Sprucedale Guest Ranch – enjoy the scenery of Arizona’s alps, meadows, and streams
  • Cowboy Way Adventures – saddle up and stroll around Wickenburg
  • Goldfield Livery – go back to the time of the Old West

7. Hike to Piestewa Peak Trail

Piestewa Peak Summit
Source: Piestewa | Anchored in the Evergreens

This trail is for the determined individuals, and definitely a go-to destination found in every “best things to do in Arizona” lists. A lot of hikers fail to reach the top because the trail is a bit more complicated than it seems. During summertime, the temperature could reach 40°C and may cause dehydration. It’s best to stock up on energy gels and water when hiking the 3rd highest peak in Phoenix, Arizona. Go figure!

8. Ride a Boat in Tempe Town Lake

Tempe Town Lake Boat Ride
Source: Tempe Town Lake Boat Ride | Downtown Tempe

Tempe Town Lake is a famous man-made water reservoir, with the water coming from Salt River, Indian Bend Wash, and Colorado River. Enjoy the breeze exploring the lake by riding a boat. You can also do other activities by walking, jogging or simply hanging out! Don’t forget to check out some other awesome things to do in Tempe.

9. Take a Dip in Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls
Source: Havasu Falls | Finding the Universe

Be in awe of the crystal blue waters of Havasu Falls! No one leaves this place without falling in love! The trail going to the falls can be strenuous, but swimming in the waters under the Havasu Falls can freshen you up right away. The water is cold, the place has shade, and your view is a sight to behold. If you want to make the most out of your swimming activity, you can also camp out.

10. Be Amazed at the Sight of the Meteor Crater

Metepr Crater of Arizona
Source: Meteor Crater | Smithsonian Channel

The world’s best-preserved meteorite impact site on Earth is no stranger to movies’ filming locations. Just the fact that a meteorite came crashing from the sky is enough to make us visit this 50,000-year-old site. Don’t forget to check out this Meteor Crater (Giant Barringer Meteor Crater) as this is one of the best roadside attractions you’ll see in a lifetime

 

In Arizona, you’ll always be looking forward to exploring the great outdoors!

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