Arizona is a great tourist destination. The Grand Canyon is one of the biggest draws, but the state also has numerous other national and state parks where visitors can revel in the desert atmosphere or even hit the slopes. Arizona also has several major metropolitan cities that foster a unique vibrant Southwest culture of art and cuisine.
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The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is, of course, the most famous of Arizona’s attractions. A 277-mile, mile-deep scar carved in the earth by the Colorado River, the Canyon offers breathtaking views and excellent hiking, biking, camping and water sport opportunities. Traveling to the bottom by mule is a popular option, so like many other activities in the park, it’s best to make reservations early.
Petrified Forest National Park features one of the world’s largest collections of petrified wood. Visitors to this colorful park can also visit historical buildings and archeological digs, as fossils as old as 200 million years are abundant in this part of the desert.
Saguaro National Park is home to one of the rare collections of one of the best known cacti in the world, the giant saguaro, and also offers a window into the desert ecosystem.
Arizona is also home to numerous state parks, national monuments and historic sites. See the NPS for a full listing.
Arizona also has a number of metropolitan areas with world-class dining experiences and a flourishing new Southwest culture.
Phoenix, America’s fifth-largest city with more than 1 million residents, offers many of the outdoors opportunities that make the state famous, as well as city comforts such as like spas, stadiums and first-rate restaurants.
Tucson, home to more than half a million people, is the second-largest city in the state. Visitors can enjoy an array of cultures here as well–visiting the ballet or the symphony, without giving up access to the wilderness. It’s also just over an hour’s drive from Mexico.
Flagstaff, home to nearly 60,000, is in the world’s largest Ponderosa pine forest. It is steeped in Native American culture, and its 7,000-foot elevation means that skiing is a great activity all winter long.
When in Arizona…
- Check in at the Arizona Inn – Tucson
- Culturalize yourself at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West – Scottsdale
- Take a hike at the Red Rock State Park – Sedona
- Wet your whistle at the Beaver Street Brewery– Flagstaff