15 Best Places to Visit in Arizona

horseshoe bend grand canyon

Located in the Southwestern United States, Arizona is well known for its year-round good weather. 

Apart from the frequent heat waves (especially in summer), there are generally no other extreme weather events here. 

The climate is stable, with clear skies and scanty rainfall.

In general, you can expect clear, sunny and dry weather for most of the year, with the best months to visit the state being April and October, which bring daytime temperatures of around 77°F / 25°C on average (data is for Sedona).

If you have the chance to visit Arizona at least once, you will never ask yourself again why the state is present in the must-visit list of every traveller. 

The landscape of Arizona is just dramatic.

Here you can find dozens of national parks and monuments, some of which are among the most visited in the world. 

Here is our list of the fifteen most interesting places to visit in Arizona:

1. Sedona

sedona sandstone red rock
Sedona Sandstone Red Rock by Designtek/Pixabay

Located in Central Arizona, Sedona is one of the most important tourist and cultural centres in the Western United States. 

The first English speaking settlers arrived here around 1876. 

They established a small community that became a city in the very beginning of the 20th century. 

Sedona is really charming, offering some very exciting museums and places to buy local souvenirs. 

Don’t miss to explore the vicinity, known for its natural beauty. 

The landscape is dominated by deserts and wonderful red-colored sedimentary rocks, sculpted by erosion in incredible shapes.

2. Seligman

seligman
Seligman by Scottb211/Flickr

Charming and quiet, Seligman is definitely worth a visit. It is a historic city, located amidst the red-colored desert in Northern Arizona. 

It is especially popular for being located on historic Route 66, which connects Chicago and Los Angeles. 

Of course, like most other places in Arizona, the best time to visit Seligman is in spring and fall.

3. Horseshoe Bend

horseshoe bend, grand canyon
Horseshoe Bend, Grand Canyon by KeYang/Pixabay

Horseshoe Bend is one of the most spectacular canyons in the world. 

It is located in the northernmost part of Arizona, not far from the border with Utah. 

The canyon is easily accessible to tourists. Once you leave your car in the parking lot, you have only about 0.7 miles to walk (or about 1 km). 

Despite the short distance, however, it is practically impossible to find a shade along the way. 

This is why it’s a good idea to choose a part of the year when the weather isn’t too hot. 

Although the area is stunning at any time of the year, the best time to visit the Horseshoe Bend is in spring and autumn. 

The canyon is approximately 200 million years old, and its depth is about 1,000 feet or over 300 metres. 

The place is especially beautiful during the hours before sunset because of the unique mixture of colours and shadows.

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4. Antelope Canyon

antelope canyon
Antelope Canyon by hikersbay/Pixabay

Arizona is known for some of the most unusual canyons in the world. 

According to many, Antelope Canyon is one of the most interesting of them. 

It is approximately 190 million years old. It is located in Northern Arizona and is actually made up of two separate parts – Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. 

As it falls under the protection of the Navajo Parks and Recreation, the geological phenomenon can be only visited with a Navajo guide. 

You have to know that in order to preserve and protect the place, there are many restrictions on what can and can’t be done here, so you need to carefully research in advance.

5. Coconino 

coconino national forest
Coconino National Forest by CNF/Flickr

Coconino National Forest is a very good example of how great the diversity of Arizona is. 

Located in the central part of the state, the park is covered with coniferous and mixed forests. 

For most tourists, such lush and green Alpine vegetation is surprising, considering the dry climate. 

If you visit this part of Arizona in summer, you can find coolness and a large number of well-maintained but still quiet and peaceful tourist routes and trails. 

If you are lucky enough, you can come across some of the popular local swimming holes, where you can cool off from the summer heat.

6. Monument Valley

monument valley
Monument Valley by PDPhotos/Pixabay

Monument Valley is a popular background of numerous American movies and TV commercials. 

In fact, it is one of the most recognizable landscapes in America. 

It falls within the Navajo Nation and has become a symbol of the American West. 

What makes this place unique is the landscape of red-coloured towering rock formations, some of which are more than 1,000 feet tall (more than 300 metres) and visible tens of miles away. 

Compared to the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley is much older. These rock formations are estimated to be approximately 192 million years old.

7. Grand Canyon

grand canyon
Grand Canyon by screaming_monkey/Flickr

The Grand Canyon has been curved into the soft sedimentary rocks by the majestic Colorado River. 

The canyon is one of the greatest natural wonders in the world and attracts millions of visitors per year. 

The unique geologic formation is considered about 6 million years old. 

Apart from the unique relief of the Grand Canyon, another feature that attracts tourists is the extraordinary red colour of the rocks, which could be explained with the high content of iron oxide. 

The specific terrain is one of the reasons why this part of the United States has always been among the most difficult to explore.

8. Lake Mohave

Lake Mohave (approximately 120 ft or 37 m deep) is a very popular tourist destination. 

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It is located right on the border between Nevada and Western Arizona and attracts lovers of water sports from all parts of the United States. 

Considering the predominantly desert landscape of Arizona, you can imagine how attractive the golden beaches and emerald waters of Lake Mohave are. 

The most popular activities are jet skiing, motor boating, windsurfing and fishing. 

However, you should know that there are no lifeguards here so you should always wear a life jacket while enjoying some boating or other favourite activities.   

9. Route 66

If you want to feel the spirit of the mid 20th century, you should definitely explore at least a small section of the legendary Route 66. 

Being a symbol of hopes and aspirations, it can be easily described as the most famous highway in America. 

It was constructed between the mid 20’s and the late 30’s of the 20th century. 

Route 66 still serves as an important connection between Chicago and Santa Monica, Los Angeles. 

Meanwhile, it has become something much more important than being just a highway. 

It brings an exceptional cultural and historical value. 

In addition, the road has become famous for crossing some of the most beautiful areas in the western states, including in Arizona.

10. The Meteor Crater

the meteor crater
The Meteor Crater by Simon Morris/Flickr

If you want to see one of the best examples of a meteorite crater in the world, you should head to Central Arizona. 

The Meteor Crater, also known as the Barringer Crater, is one of the state’s biggest tourist attractions. 

It was formed approximately 49,000 years ago, when a huge 150-foot (45 metres) meteorite suddenly hit the Earth. 

It is situated in the heart of the Arizona desert and has a diameter of about 3900 ft (1.2 km). 

You have to know, however, that the crater falls within a privately owned property so you can visit it between 7 am and 7 pm, 5 days a week. 

You should also know that pets are not allowed and you need to pay an entrance fee. 

Despite these facts, this place is out of this world and is definitely worth a visit!

11. Bull Pen 

The Bull Pen is a tempting swimming hole and is actually one of the best places to cool off and swim in Arizona. 

It is located in a scenic and shady canyon, not far from the small town of Camp Verde, in the central part of the state. 

The Bull Pen is easily accessible and attracts a lot of visitors on summer weekends. 

It offers a pleasant dense shade under the trees, and most people can’t wait to take a dip in the cool waters of the creek, which is up to 10 ft deep at some points. 

As it is located at almost 4300 ft (more than 1300 metres) above sea level, the summer heat is a little easier to bear here.

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12. Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert

painted desert
Painted Desert by Valkyrie Pierce/Unsplash

Located in the northern part of the state, Petrified Forest National Park is one of Arizona’s most important tourist sites. 

According to travellers, this is the second most exciting national park in this part of the country after the unique Grand Canyon. 

Visiting this place, you will find two of Arizona’s most popular tourist landmarks. 

One of the attractions is the petrified forest, composed of numerous ancient remains of fossilised trees. 

The other attraction of the park is the Painted Desert, which looks like a landscape from another planet. 

Most of the rock formations here are approximately 213 million years old.

13. Havasu Falls

havasu falls
Havasu Falls by Ashley Endemano/Unsplash

Located in the Northwest of Arizona, Havasu Falls (100 ft or 30 m tall) is one of the most recommended natural attractions in the state. 

The area is quite isolated, and if you want to reach the waterfall, you have to take the long but very beautiful Havasu Falls Hike Trail, which is 8 miles long in one direction. 

The route is not that difficult, but because of the long distance, it definitely requires a certain level of fitness. 

Reaching the waterfall, you will remain speechless in front of its incredible natural beauty and the sharp contrast between the unique blue-green colour of the water and the surrounding red-coloured rocks. 

If you want to get to the falls, but if you are not able for some reason to walk that long, you can make a reservation in advance and reach the waterfall by helicopter (the journey is less than 10 minutes).

14. Canyon of Chelly

canyon of chelly
Canyon of Chelly by ducken99/Pixabay

Canyon of Chelly is located in a picturesque desert area in Northeastern Arizona. 

Due to its unusual geological formations and unique gold and red colours, it is considered one of the most beautiful not only in Arizona but in North America as a whole. 

The Canyon of Chelly is about 1,000 feet (about 300 metres) deep on average. 

At some points, the bottom of the canyon is covered with lush vegetation, which looks amazing on the background of the red-colored eroded cliffs. 

The canyon falls within the borders of the Navajo Nation.

15. Flagstaff

flagstaff
Flagstaff by Trevor Huxham/Flickr

Flagstaff is located in a beautiful mountain area in central Arizona. It is an important tourist and education centre. 

It has a population of about 75 thousand inhabitants, including a large number of students from different parts of the country. 

With its well-preserved historic centre, the city attracts numerous visitors. 

Some of the buildings in the “Old Town” (the historic district) date back to the late 19th century.

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