Scenic desert drives, water sports, skiing, hiking, site-seeing, professional sports and camping are just the tip of the iceberg of things to do in the great state of Arizona, which offers one of the most diverse landscapes in the United States. Picking the top 10 tourist attractions while on vacation in Arizona is very difficult, to say the least. When traveling through Arizona it’s a must to buy a detailed map of the area you plan on visiting, because Arizona has numerous hidden treasures within the desert.
Outlined below is a list of the biggest attractions that the state of Arizona has to offer. It’s a must that you are prepared when you plan a road trip through this beautiful state. The demands of American life usually only afford us so many annual vacations, you’re going to get short changed anyway during your stay. But if for some reason you have a couple of weeks to work with, there will be no shortage of things to do during your travels through Arizona.
1. Grand Canyon National Park – The Grand Canyon speaks for itself; this is Arizona’s pride and joy. The Grand Canyon is located in the northwest part of the state. Carved out by the Colorado River over millions of years. One of America’s natural wonders and first National Parks, its one thing you must see during your lifetime; it’s also one of the Seven Wonders of the World. River rafting, hiking and the skywalk on the West Rim are good starters…just to name a few. While in the Grand Canyon area, be sure to check out the Reindeer Farm west of Flagstaff.
2. Hoover Dam – A lot more than just a big stack of concrete, the mere size of Hoover Dam is awe-inspiring. Constructed in the 1930’s, Hoover Dam is located in northwest Arizona sharing a border with Nevada. Named after former president Herbert Hoover, Hoover Dam was one of the biggest projects of it’s time. During your visit to Hoover Dam make sure that you visit Lake Mead.
3. Sedona AZ- Located south of Flagstaff, in Red Rock country, is another one of Arizona’s not so best kept secrets. Sedona is home to some of Arizona’s and Hollywood’s elite; Sharon Stone and Al Pacino have homes in Sedona, so does John Travolta. Sedona also has some of the most beautiful sunsets and scenic drives in the country. Numerous hiking and biking trails dominate the colorful red rock sandstone landscape. Must-sees when you travel to Sedona include the Solid Rock church and Slide Rock Park. Kill an entire day sliding down natural rock formations. While in the Sedona area make sure that you check out Jerome and Prescott as well.
4. Monument Valley Park – Located in the northeastern part of the state, Monument Valley is famous for the legendary battles between the Roadrunner and Wiley Coyote (Warner Brothers cartoons), and the popular desert scene in National Lampoon’s ‘Vacation’ movies. Dominated by colorful plateaus and mesas, in some respects Monument valley is the face of the Southwest. The most popular landmarks of Monument Valley are located on the Navaho Tribal Park on the Utah border. While in the area, make sure that you check out the Utah side of Monument Valley.
5. Lake Havasu, AZ – Lake Havasu City is home of the London Bridge. Brought over from England in the 1960’s, the London Bridge put Lake Havasu on the map. The English Village surrounding the bridge, and is just one of the oddities you’ll find in this desert paradise. Water sports, lake tours, off road driving, spring break and enjoying sunsets, to name a few, are very popular in this desert oasis. While in Lake Havasu City make sure that you check out Parker Dam, which is located about 30 miles south.
6. Lake Powell Arizona- Lake Powell is a manmade reservoir located in northern Arizona, sharing a border with Utah. Made famous for its “bath tub” ring around the lake and its beautiful moon-like landscape, canyons, and towering rock formations. Here, you will find that camping and renting a houseboat are also tourist favorites. Rent a houseboat and get lost beneath the stars while at Lake Powell Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
7. Havasupai Falls – Havasupai Falls one of the most scenic travel locations in Arizona, period. Located deep in the Grand Canyon, there are four sets of falls: Mooney Falls, Havasu Falls, Navajo Falls and Beaver Falls. The blue-green water caused by high mineral content turns the falls and its natural pools into a tropical lagoon-style setting. Most of us will need to hike to get there, although helicopter rides are available.
8. Painted Desert – Located near the south rim of the Grand Canyon, the Painted Desert’s precedes its name. Its multicolored landscape is breathtaking. Viewing the Painted Desert at sunrise is a must. The Painted Desert sits between the Grand Canyon and the Petrified Forest, so make sure to hit all three during your travels. Meteor Crater is also a must-see.
9. Tombstone, AZ – Dubbed “The town too tough to die,” Tombstone is the most notorious of the old mining towns from the Wild West. Made famous from the fight at the OK Corral, along with some of its legendary residents, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holladay, Tombstone’s story has been told in numerous books and movies. While in Tombstone, do yourself a favor and visit Saguaro National Park.
10. Oatman, AZ- Another old mining town that rarely gets the recognition that it deserves is Oatman, Arizona. Located south of Bullhead City, Arizona, lies this old mining town. Its current population is roughly 100. This quaint town consists of only novelty shops that cater to tourists. But its main attraction is the donkeys that wonder the streets and the popular gunfight shows. Most of the stores sell carrots to feed to the donkeys, which have no problem eating them from right from your hands. If you have kids and want to experience a taste of the old west, Oatman is a must-see.