Top 23 Attractions & Places to Visit in Arizona
Places to Visit in Arizona + Arizona’s heart of the American Southwest is full of natural wonders, vibrant cities, and charming small towns.
The Grand Canyon attracts tourists worldwide, but those who venture deeper into the state will find unique and exciting places to visit. (Attractions & Places to Visit in Arizona)
While cities and towns like Phoenix and Sedona make great vacation destinations, you can go beyond urban centers to discover historic ghost towns as well as Native American rock dwellings and remains of ancient cultures from the days of mining.
Arizona also has a perfect landscape for outdoor adventures. The state is home to a volcano with deserts, lakes, mountains, slot canyons, saguaro cactus, buttes, waterfalls and even downhill skiing, all of which offer a world of possibilities for travelers.
Before your trip, read our list of Arizona’s best places to visit.
Standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon, overlooking colorful rock walls and endless streaks of deep canyons, it’s impossible not to be inspired by this natural wonder.
The canyon glows in the late afternoon sun, revealing orange, red, yellow, and everything in between.
One of the biggest attractions in America, and certainly in Arizona, the Grand Canyon is a place that has to be fully appreciated.
Carved over centuries by the Colorado River, which can be seen in the distance far below, the immensity of this natural wonder is captivating.
Most visitors head to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, where walkways that run along the road and the canyon offer incredible views.
The North Rim offers a different view, but the road is closed in the winter. Depending on the time of year you visit the canyon, the North Rim may not even be an option.
If you’ve seen pictures of the glass bridge over the Grand Canyon, it’s from Eagle Point. The Skywalk, known as the bridge, is at Grand Canyon West, about a 2.5-hour drive from Las Vegas.
For those who want a closer look, hiking trails offer incredible lookouts and a path to the valley floor. If you want less physical activity, try a helicopter flight over or inside the Grand Canyon.
Surrounded by stunning Red Rock mountains and buttes, Sedona is one of the most beautiful settings in Arizona.
About a 1.5-hour drive north of Phoenix, Sedona is a popular day trip from Phoenix, but the city deserves much more than just a few hours.
The drive into Sedona from the south, starting at the village of Oak Creek, is stunning, and the pullouts along the way allow you to stop and enjoy the scenery.
Sedona’s Main Street (89A) is filled with exciting tourist shops, art galleries, and restaurants and is an easy place to spend an afternoon.
This city is one of the best places to visit in Arizona if you are looking for hiking and mountain biking trails. You can also find many good golf courses and golf resorts in Sedona.
If you want something a little more relaxing, consider staying at one of Sedona’s spa resorts.
Jeep tours, one of the most popular things to do in Sedona, offer an easy way to get out into the landscape. Also in the surrounding area are several historic Native American residences, which you can visit on your own or as part of a tour.
Sedona is considered by many to be a highly spiritual place. It is known for its energy vortices in many places around the city.
You’ll also find new-age shops and unique opportunities downtown, from UFO tours and aura readings to psychics and crystal vendors.
Popular day trip destinations within easy reach of Sedona include Flagstaff and Jerome. The scenic drives from Sedona to both cities make them well worth the trip, but you can quickly fill a day exploring the either place. Skiers can also find downhill skiing at Arizona Snowbowl just outside Flagstaff.
- Monument Valley
Some of the most iconic images of the Southwest are the sandstone buttes that dominate Monument Valley.
Spanning the border between Arizona and Utah, the region includes jagged rock formations, stone spires and buttes, and dunes.
At the heart of the canyon is Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, where you’ll find an impressive visitor center and a 17-mile self-drive route along a one-way gravel road through the park.
You can also take a guided sightseeing tour to see the area better. If you don’t have time to visit the park, you can appreciate some of the views from the highway.
Phoenix is an excellent base for exploring Arizona, but it’s also a prime destination for golfers and sun seekers in the winter who want to enjoy a stay at a resort or spa and spend a little time in the desert heat.
In the Phoenix metropolitan area, which includes Scottsdale and Mesa, you’ll find great shopping, dining, golf courses, desert parks with hiking trails, biking trails, campgrounds, and some excellent attractions.
Topping the list of places to visit around Phoenix are the Heard Museum and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West.
If you’re looking to spend some time in the area, some fantastic day trips from Phoenix will take you to cliff dwellings, historic mountain towns and ghost towns, and even the Grand Canyon.
- Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam is one of America’s great engineering marvels. This massive structure, built in 1935, crosses the Colorado River connecting Arizona and Nevada. It is 726 feet high and 1,244 feet long.
Lake Mead, held back by the Hoover Dam, is the largest artificial lake in the United States. It is 110 miles long and equals the two-year flow of the Colorado River.
You can drive or walk across the dam for free, although there is a parking fee. Another option is to visit Hoover Dam or the power plant.
The visitor center provides information about the dam and tours, and there is a cafe with some basic dining options. (Places to Visit in Arizona)
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is a stunning area of blue waters, desert landscapes, and dramatic stone walls.
Home to Lake Powell, one of the largest artificial lakes in the United States, the area is known for both land-based and water-based recreational activities.
Glen Canyon Dam was constructed between 1956 and 1964 to block the Colorado River and create Lake Powell. Glen Canyon A 15-mile section of Glen Canyon, downstream from the dam, extends to Lees Ferry.
The town of Page is a good base for exploring Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and the surrounding area. The largest marina on Lake Powell, Wahweep Marina, is located just 7 miles north of Page.
One of the biggest attractions in the area is the nearby slot canyons of Antelope Canyon.
Depending on the section of the canyon, you can either walk through a narrow slot canyon with shafts of light running through the top and illuminated red walls or opt to retreat into the canyon.
Photos of Antelope Canyon are often found on postcards or in fine art galleries. You can visit Antelope Canyon on a guided tour. (Places to Visit in Arizona)
Tucson is a beautiful city in the Sonoran Desert and surrounded by mountains. As the second largest city in Arizona, it has many cultural attractions, historical sites and natural areas.
Some highlights include the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Saguaro National Park, the El Presidio Historic District, and the Old Tucson Studio.
Nature lovers will find excellent hiking trails and campsites in the city and the surrounding mountains and valleys.
The Mount Lemon Scenic Byway is a popular driving route outside Tucson, offering excellent views. You can also take day trips from Tucson to nearby destinations like Tombstone or Bisbee.
Although the hot and dry climate, Tucson is slightly warmer than Phoenix and generally slightly cooler. The altitude is just under 2,400 feet. (Places to Visit in Arizona)
Perched on a hill above the desert floor, Jerome is an old mining town turned ghost town that has become a tourist attraction.
The main road through town is a steep hill with switchbacks, lined with intriguing shops and restaurants.
The views from the streets and some of the shop windows are amazing. Most old buildings have been renovated, but some still stand as ruins, creating an exciting dynamic.
The city’s history can be appreciated at the Gold King Mine Museum and Jerome State Historic Park.
The city is a popular day trip from Sedona, Prescott, Phoenix or Flagstaff. Accommodation is available for those who wish to spend the night.
Jerome is unique, but some might call it bizarre. The Sliding Prison in Jerome was initially built around 1928.
Built on an earthen crater, it soon began to slide and is now 2,500 feet from its original location. The Bartlett Hotel was once one of Jerome’s most OK but is in ruins today.
The Jerome Grand Hotel, built in 1927, is the tallest public building in the Verde Valley and offers breathtaking views. (Places to Visit in Arizona)
Canyon de Chelly National Monument
Canyon de Chelly National Monument is home to spectacular Native American cliff dwellings dotted with steep-sided canyons whose walls rise 1,000 feet high.
In the main canyon, some major attractions are the White House ruins, constructed around 1050 and discovered in 1849, and Spider Rock. The White House is the most famous of the more than one hundred cliff dwellings.
The only self-guided hike in the park, which takes in views of the White House on the South Rim, descends 600 feet to the White House ruins.
Other cliff dwellings include Antelope House and Mummy Cave (in which the mummies were found) in Canyon del Muerto. Most of the ruins, mainly inaccessible to visitors, were occupied from around 350 to 1300 AD.
You can tour the site by driving along North and South Rim Drives and stopping at pullouts. Although you can quickly see nearby ruins, many lookouts also have areas that let you point ruins at distant walls. (Places to Visit in Arizona)
You can join a free ranger-led hike or take a private canyon tour from spring to fall.
It’s hard to scroll through the things to do in Arizona and not fall into a fascinating picture of Horseshoe Bend.
This stunning view, where the Colorado River makes a dramatic 270-degree U-turn around a sandstone escarpment, is a hot spot for photographers visiting Arizona.
The view of the green waters of the river lined with tan sandstone in an incredible natural formation is simply breathtaking.
Until recent years, Horseshoe Bend was relatively overlooked by the public. Still, with the age of Instagram and other photo-sharing services, its popularity has soared, and it is a must-do when visiting Arizona. Today more than two million people visit annually.
Count on the 1.5-mile round-trip walks along the Rock Walkway to the overlook. There are no fundamental security features here except for the lookout area with fences. If you wish to walk straight to the shore, you are free to do so at your own risk. (Places to Visit in Arizona)
In the far southeast corner of Arizona, near the Mexico border, lies one of Arizona’s most exciting cities and possibly one of its best-kept secrets. The former mining town of Bisbee is a unique little community high up in the mountains.
After the mines closed, Bisbee became a ghost town, and squatters took residence. Eventually, the city became a haven for artists and hippies.
Today, it is a thriving small town with an eclectic mix of historic downtown residents, unique shops and restaurants, and many exciting things to see and do.
Homes, many of which are former miners’ cabins, line the hills surrounding the historic downtown area. Many of these accommodations are only accessible via a long set of stairs that lead down to the city center.
The views from the upper streets and mountain houses are incredible, looking at Mexico over the mountains. There are many informal hiking trails in the hills above the city.
Bisbee is a popular day trip from Tucson and surrounding areas, often combined with a stop at Tombstone. (Places to Visit in Arizona)
Near Supai on the Havasupai Indian Reservation is the 100-foot Havasu Falls. The pool at the base of Havasu Falls has a bluish-green color to the water, and the falls are prickly, appearing to form two falls when the river is flowing heavily.
In the valley of Havasu Creek, a tributary of the Colorado River, about 450 people of the Havasupai tribe (“people of the blue-green water”) lead a solitary life, exist on their modest farming activities, but are now mainly dependent. Huh. Tourist trade.
Havasu has created several waterfalls and valleys carved into the travertine rock that create attractive bathing pools in this paradisiacal valley.
Day hiking is not allowed here. You must make a reservation, obtain a permit, and pay the fee. Access is via hiking, horseback or mule, or helicopter. (Places to Visit in Arizona)
Lake Mead National Recreation Area
The Lake Mead National Recreation Area spans 177 miles of the Colorado River and includes Lake Mead and Lake Mohave. The area’s 1.5 million acres are spread across southern Nevada.
The area offers opportunities for boating and water sports, camping facilities, fishing, and hiking.
Mohave Lake is 67 miles long, making it the smaller of the two major lakes in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Like its counterpart, Mohave Lake is an artificial body of water held back by Davis Dam.
Willow Beach is a small resort town on the Colorado River with accommodations, restaurants, a marina, and a fish hatchery. (Places to Visit in Arizona)
Tombstone gives a modern look to Old West Town. Gunfights staged in the streets and characters roaming the city in period costumes recreate the glory days of this small Arizona town.
Every shop, restaurant, and attraction has been designed for tourists. However, you can still see some of the city’s history in the historic sites, including the famous O.K. Coral and Boothill Cemetery.
Also of note is the Tombstone Courthouse State Historical Park, housed in the original courtyard, which is now a museum. (Places to Visit in Arizona)
One of the main stops on Historic Route 66, Flagstaff, is home to many well-preserved buildings and streets.
Take some time to walk around the restored downtown area, and if you find yourself on the town at night, check out the impressive neon signs.
However, Flagstaff, or the flag the locals call it, is not all about history. Today, it is a young, dynamic mountain town with a vibrant air, driven by many Northern Arizona University (NSU) students.
This active set ensures you will find entertainment and a good variety of restaurants throughout the city.
Because it elevates about 7,000 feet, Flagstaff enjoys a more moderate climate than Phoenix, just a few hours down the road.
That means it gets cold here in the winter, and snow falls not only in the city but at the Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort, located a short drive from downtown.
Flagstaff is the perfect place to base yourself if you’re considering visiting some national parks and monuments nearby, including the Grand Canyon, Walnut Canyon, Wupataki National Monument, and Sunset Crater National Monument. (Places to Visit in Arizona)
Petrified Forest National Park
Large pieces of petrified wood, along with fossilized plants, fish and reptiles, have appeared in significant numbers in the Petrified National Forest in the Painted Desert.
The park access road runs through several highlights, and short interpretive trails allow for a closer look at various unique sites.
The visitor centre provides insight into the ecology and geology of the park and is an excellent place to start before embarking on a drive. (Places to Visit in Arizona)
Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park is a great place to experience Tucson’s desert landscape and see the famous saguaro cactus up close.
The park has two sections, an east and a west section, located on the east and west sides of Tucson, approximately 30 minutes away.
Both sides of the park offer excellent opportunities to see desert flora and fauna, along with roads and hiking trails.
Hikes range from easy walking to challenging trails that lead to high mountains, reaching elevations of up to 8,000 feet. (Places to Visit in Arizona)
You can visit both parts of the park on the same admission ticket or park pass.
On the antelope valley
Seen in countless photographs in galleries throughout Arizona, Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon located just off Page.
As you pass through the canyon, sculpted, twisted sandstone walls rise around you, breaking shafts of light from the narrow opening above.
On a guided tour, you can visit Upper Antelope Canyon, Lower Antelope Canyon, or both. Upper Antelope Canyon is the easier option, perfect for anyone with mobility issues or those who prefer flat ground and solid feet, but it still offers stunning views.
Photographers will not be disappointed! You are given plenty of free time to explore independently and at your own pace. The valley lies within the Navajo Nation Reserve boundary. (Places to Visit in Arizona)
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is an International Biosphere Reserve located in southwestern Arizona on the border with Mexico.
The monument’s main feature is the eponymous organ pipe cactus, but the area is stunning, with beautiful sunsets over the mountains and desert.
Along the area are three distinct desert vegetation zones and about 30 different species of cactus. Organ pipes grow up to 23 feet tall and bloom from May to July. Due to the often extreme heat of the day, it opens its flowers only after sunset.
The area can be explored on various roads and hiking trails, but Ajo Mountain Drive and Puerto Blanco Drive are the two main scenic drives of note. You can access hiking trails from both these roads.
The Bull Pasteur / Estes Canyon Loop Trail is one of the top hiking trails in Arizona. This is just one of the climbs in the park.
The park is one of the best places to camp in Arizona, and given that the main attractions in the park are far from the nearest cities and hotels, camping here is a great option. (Places to Visit in Arizona)
One of Arizona’s most idyllic small towns, Lake Havasu is an oasis in an otherwise dry and dusty desert. Created when the Colorado River was dammed, Lake Havasu today is a beautiful place to enjoy the waters at the beach, on a pleasure boat, or a lakeside patio.
The town around the lake has two personalities: In winter, it’s home to snowbirds from the northern states, and Canada is fleeing the cold. It is home to local Arizonans who want to escape the heat in the spring and summer.
A walk on the London Bridge is the highlight of any trip to Lake Havasu. The bridge, parts of which date back to 1831, was moved from London, England and installed at its current location in 1971.
A fun fact about the bridge is that it was rebuilt on dry land in the middle of a farm. Later a canal was dug under it. (Places to Visit in Arizona)
Prescott is an unexpected find in Arizona, with tall ponderosa pine trees, lakes, and the occasional splash of snow. At 5,300 feet, this small town has more defined seasons. It is also incredibly scenic and offers hiking, kayaking and camping opportunities.
The city is also the former capital of the Arizona Territory. The charming city is home to many tourist attractions and historic sites, including the old courthouse and Elks Theater.
Stop at one of the city’s restaurants for lunch or spend the night at one of the beautifully restored bed and breakfasts or hotels. (Places to Visit in Arizona)
The city of Yuma is closed on its own in the far Southwest of Arizona and is a stop-off point for people traveling to and from Mexico.
Here, you’ll find some interesting historical sites, one of the most important of which is Yuma Territorial Prison State, Historical Park. Tour the park, dating from 1876, and step into the chambers where the robbers were kept.
Another must-do when taking a stroll up and down Historic Main Street in town. Just look for the neon sign indicating the road, and you’ll know you’ve found the right place. Several restaurants, shops and other services line the street, many of which face a covered walkway.
Yuma is fortunate to have such a dry place that the Colorado River flows through the city. Exceptional opportunities exist for water-based recreation, including pleasure boating, swimming, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding. (Places to Visit in Arizona)
Tumakakori National Historical Park
Tumacacori National Historical Park, located south of Tucson, preserves the ruins of three early Spanish colonial missions on 47 acres in southern Arizona.
San Jose de Tumacacori and Los Santos Angels de Guava were founded in 1691 and are the two oldest missions in Arizona. The third mission, San Caetano de Calabazas, was established in 1756.
The site was abandoned in 1848 due to Apache raids, neglect and terrible winter. Tumacacori became a national monument in 1908, and in 1990 two Spanish missions, Guava and Calabaz were added to the site.
Address: 1891 East Frontage Road, Tumakakori
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