One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World—and the only one located on U.S. soil—the Grand Canyon is surprisingly accessible to explorers. You can hike, ride a mule or even take a helicopter to the canyon floor, which opens up even more adventuring possibilities, like rafting the Colorado River or camping at historic Phantom Ranch.
Other places to explore:
There are few drives as iconic as Route 66. Running nearly the full width of Arizona’s northern half, Route 66 takes travelers on a journey through quirky small towns, historic roadside attractions and motels, and breathtaking scenery courtesy of nearby parks, the Petrified National Forest and the Grand Canyon.
Get your kicks at these stops along the way:
Photo by John Lutz
More than 20 American Indian communities call Arizona home: each with its own distinct heritage and artistic traditions. Explore one of the many American Indian museums, ancient ruins or cultural centers throughout Arizona to gain a deeper understanding of the tribes’ history and impact on the Southwest. Or shop for beautifully handcrafted items, such as jewelry, pottery, baskets and weavings available at numerous trading outposts or through certified dealers.
Dig deep at:
Photo by Tony Demin
From ancient American Indian cliff dwellings to mid-century modern marvels, designed by none other than Frank Lloyd Wright, Arizona’s architecture wows visitors with its variety. The Mission San Xavier del Bac, south of Tucson, is the oldest European structure in Arizona, combining the native culture of the nearby Tohono O’Odham Nation with the Mission’s Catholic heritage.
Other places to explore:
Welcome to the aptly named “Land of Standing Up Rocks,” also known as the Chiricahua National Monument, outside of Willcox in Southern Arizona. A volcanic eruption 27 million years ago formed these 100-feet tall surreal rock spires known as hoodoos, but hikers needn’t fear any residual lava while they explore the monument’s 17 miles of trails and views.
Don’t miss out some of the otherworldly sites nearby:
Photo by An Pham
Arizona has more International Dark Sky communities than anywhere else in the world. Flagstaff was the world’s first designated community, and it has since been joined by Sedona, the Village of Oak Creek, Fountain Hills, Camp Verde, and the Thunder Mountain Pootseev Nightsky community on the Kaibab Paiute Reservation.
Take in the sights and gaze up at the stars with help from the following:
Photo by Andrew Paffrath