Discover Unforgettable Things To Do in Arizona

From road trips and outdoor thrills to rejuvenating resorts and authentic local cuisine, Arizona teems with exciting travel adventures.

You can experience the unforgettable exhilarating scenery, including the majestic beauty of the Grand Canyon National Park and the Sonoran Desert. Hit the links at a championship golf course. Taste wine from local vineyards and explore a variety of culinary delights. With more than 325 days of sunshine a year, you can always plan on perfect weather.

Grand Canyon National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Grand Canyon National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Arizona’s cinema-ready canyons and deserts have long served as the backdrop for movies, including “Raising Arizona,” “Jerry Maguire” and “Thelma & Louise.” Whether it’s the sparse landscapes punctuated by red rocks or alpine forests opening to hidden lakes, the view is enchanting, sobering, and demands to be noticed, but is also accessible for hiking, biking, boating, and other adventures. Take a four-wheel drive tour, stay on a houseboat at one of the magnificent lakes or skydive over the desert.

Experience the Old West by visiting the ghost towns and boom towns—shoot-out at the OK Corral reenactment, anyone? —that established it. Tour a mining museum or enjoy a Western-themed amusement park, then savor a steakhouse dinner. You’ll find the American Indian influence everywhere, from rock petroglyphs to silver and turquoise jewelry in high-end shops; that’s because 22 tribes call Arizona home. Some Native American reservations, particularly Aztec and Navajo, are open to the public.

Meeting a herd of Navajo sheep and sheepherder along the White House train at Canyon de Chelly. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Meeting a herd of Navajo sheep and sheepherder along the White House train at Canyon de Chelly. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Sheer cliffs rise on either side of a flat-bottomed, sandy ravine, an area created much the way uplift and water formed the Grand Canyon. Though only a fraction of the Grand Canyon’s size and majesty, Canyon de Chelly offers more than a rugged landscape. Native Americans have worked and lived there for thousands of years, and today Navajo people still call it home.

Canyon de Chelly’s blend of landscape and cultural heritage allows a glimpse at an area originally inhabited 4,000 years ago and which still sustains people today.

Peridot Mesa on the San Carlos Apache Reservation about 20 miles east of Globe-Miami along U.S. Highway 70. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Peridot Mesa on the San Carlos Apache Reservation about 20 miles east of Globe-Miami along U.S. Highway 70. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The vast majority of travelers who drive for hours to reach this remote canyon are perfectly happy to drive along the rim, taking the occasional snapshot. That’s fine, and there are wonderful shots. But you’re missing the chance to meet a sheepherder or weaver and find out what life is like at the bottom of a canyon if you don’t hike the White House Trail.

The community of Globe-Miami is rich in copper, culture, and a pleasant climate. Globe was named from the legend of a 50-pound “globe” shaped silver nugget. Numerous antique shops and art galleries are situated in historic downtown Globe. Located in the foothills of the Pinal Mountains at an elevation of 3,500 feet, Globe-Miami enjoys cooler summers than its metropolitan neighbors while still having sunny, pleasant winters.

There is much to see and experience, as the area’s mining history, Old West traditions, and Native American culture offer a wide-ranging Southwestern experience. The historic downtowns, copper mining, the neighboring San Carlos Apache Reservation, and abundant outdoor recreation throughout the Tonto National Forest combine to make Globe-Miami much more than the sleepy community many expect to find.

Magnificent Monument Valley: Where God Put The West © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Magnificent Monument Valley: Where God Put The West © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Average number of annual visitors to the Grand Canyon: 4.5 million+. Why you should be one of them? How can anyone compile a list of unforgettable Arizona “things” and not include the Great Canyon?

It’s arguably the holiest of all natural formation tourist mecca holy of holies, the great gouge in the earth that’s spurred a million family road trips. It’s easy to see why it may feel like an overhyped destination, but once you actually make it there and take in the landscape with your own eyes, it’s suddenly not a surprise why seeing it is the top item on so many people’s bucket lists. It will blow your mind.

Elsewhere, Monument Valley has been scientifically proven to be where cowboys’ souls go when they die. On Arizona’s B-sides—the Superstition Mountains, the Petrified Forest, Lake Powell, the areas around Flagstaff and Sedona—would alone make it to the top of the list.

Located at the base of Oak Creek Canyon, another scenic destination, Sedona is renowned for its stunning rock formations such as Cathedral Rock. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Located at the base of Oak Creek Canyon, another scenic destination, Sedona is renowned for its stunning rock formations such as Cathedral Rock. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

And don’t sleep on one of the most dramatic terrestrial features anywhere: the 560-foot-deep meteor crater that, befitting so much of Arizona’s look, literally came from elsewhere in the solar system

Worth Pondering…

The wonders of the Grand Canyon cannot be adequately represented in symbols of speech, nor by speech itself. The resources of the graphic art are taxed beyond their powers in attempting to portray its features. Language and illustration combined must fail.

—Major John Wesley Powell, Exploration of the Colorado River and its Canyons

Leave a Reply