Over a third of the state belongs to Native Americans, including the Navajo Nation, so Arizona also makes for a great place to get cultural. Visit Monument Valley, technically not a part of the United States because it belongs to the Navajo. See the Ancestral Puebloan ruins, and the Canyon de Chelly. Or maybe opt for some time spent with the Hopi people who live in villages atop mesa rocks.
Most people live in southern Arizona, where you’ll find lively cities like Phoenix and Tucson. Both destinations are great for foodie travellers and for those looking for a little luxury treatment after spending time in the desert. Whatever you choose to do in Arizona, you won’t regret your time spent in this beautiful state.
Places to Visit in Arizona
- Grand Canyon
- Colorado River
- Canyon de Chelly
- Monument Valley
Unique Things to See and Do in Arizona
- Hike the Grand Canyon
- Take a boating trip on the Colorado River
- Camp out with the Navajo in Monument Valley
- Meet the Hopi natives in their villages
- See the Ancestral Puebloan ruins
- Visit Lake Powel, one of the largest manmade lakes in the country
- Visit the Hoover Dam
- See the incredible Havasu Falls
Arizona is a blend of Native American, Mexican, and frontier influences. Europeans didn’t start infiltrating the area until the 14th and 15th centuries, when the Spanish came over from Mexico to colonize or do missionary work. After the Mexican-American War in 1847, the United States controlled the area under New Mexico. Eventually Arizona became separated as a confederate state during the civil war, but it didn’t become an official state until 1912.
In the 17th century, the mining industry took off. Arizona took on the “wild west” culture in the early 1900′s when cotton, copper, and ranching became hot commodities. During the Great Depression, it was tourism that saved the state – people were just starting to come to the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River, and it quickly became Arizona’s most prized destination.
Thanks to its rich multicultural heritage, Arizona is one of the most unique states in the country. Its capital, Phoenix, is home to desert landscapes, gorgeous natural landmarks, and Mexican culture. For a real taste of the culture, you must eat local – you’ll find many delicious Western and Mexican blends. Mexico’s influence is everywhere, and you’ll pick up some lovely handmade crafts along the way.
Visitors are very much welcome to tour Native American settlements while visiting. The most famous site is Monument Valley, governed and owned by the Navajo Nation. If you hire a local Navajo guide, you can camp out overnight in the valley underneath the stars, or in a traditional hogan. Most of the Native American population will be happy to share their culture with you!
Did you know…?
The Grand Canyon covers a whopping 5,000 square kilometre area.
Did you ALSO know…?
It’s illegal for donkeys to sleep in bathtubs. Yes, we’re just as confused as you.
Getting Around Arizona
Arizona is one of the largest states, and as such, getting around can take some time. Renting a car is your absolute best option for making the most of your trip around Arizona. However, it can be pricey. To save time, you can also fly between cities.
If you want to get around by train, Amtrak runs through Arizona. Visitors can buy multi-use passes. Otherwise, there are public bus services like Greyhound. In major cities like Phoenix and Tucson, public transit options include light rails and public buses. Most services are very efficient, quick, and reliable.
Best Time of Year to Travel to Arizona
Arizona can be visited year-round. In the desert areas like Phoenix and Tucson, the high season is from October to May. Car rentals and hotel rates are highest in January to April. The Grand Canyon is busiest during the summer months.
Autumn and spring both make for an excellent time to visit, when temperatures are cooler and there aren’t really any extremes. If you’re visiting in July or August, be sure to stay alert for thunderstorm warnings.
Ready to plan your visit to Arizona? Check out these popular guides and trips.