Are you heading to Arizona upon moving to the United States? Prepare yourself because your weekends will be riddled with adventure and sights to behold! The state is conveniently located in the ‘heartland of the American southwest’, featuring charming and colorful small towns and buildings, as well as vibrant large cities and plenty of outdoors-related activities and big city life fun to keep you busy.

What type of outdoor activities, you ask? The state has numerous mountains, canyons, deserts and, yes, the rumors are true, an actual volcano! There are also plenty of waterfalls, lakes and even skiing!

All that said, we have you covered with things to do and see there. Refer to the below Top 10 list:

  1. The Grand Canyon

This is a must-see natural wonder to visit and involves literally standing on a ridge and looking out to see red-orange hues of canyons and the Colorado River, both of which extend for miles. You must see it, to believe it and it is most-certainly, a sight to see. TGC features plenty to explore and discover, including over 400 miles of canyon trails, pristine night sky star gazing Native American-organized inter-tribal heritage viewing sights and activities, like kayaking and paddleboarding, as well as an aerial view, via a guided helicopter tour.

  1. The Hoover Dam

This structure, which was completed in 1935, spans 110 miles long, across the Colorado River, connecting both Arizona and Nevada. The dam is 1,244 feet long, while standing nearly 730 feet high. You can drive on the dam, free of charge, however you must pay $10 to park. If you want to make your way to the interior of the dam for a power plant and museum tour, that will be another $15. You can also partake in the ‘7 Stops in 7 Miles’ challenge which starts on the Arizona side, includes free parking and allows for a great view of the dam, as well as art sculptures spread out. Next, catch another great view of the dam, this time from 890 feet up, via the Black Canyon. The third stop brings you to Alan Bible Visitor Center, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, followed by a stop at Hemenway Park to see big horn sheep grazing, a historic visit to the Boulder Dam Hotel and Hoover Dam Museum and then culminating with a self-guided audio tour of Boulder City.

  1. Canyon de Chelly National Monument

This cliff-dwelling monument was home to Native Americans for nearly 5,000 years, making the former population the longest to have lived there, uninterrupted, on the Colorado Plateau. The structure includes 1,000-feet high walls and attractions like, lodges and campgrounds, as well as tourist hotspots, White House Ruins, Antelope House & Mummy Cave and the North and South Rim Drives. Today, the Navajo Nation still calls this area home, raising livestock and farming in its canyons. Keep in mind that this park is currently closed because of the ongoing Navajo Nation COVID-19 state-of-emergency order.

  1. Havasupai Falls and Campground

Located in the southern rim of the canyon, this paradise valley is perfect for secluded camping. The water is a blue-greenish hue along all of its bathing pools and waterfalls. The Havasupai tribe resides here, which is comprised of roughly 450 people. This area requires reservations as day hiking is not allowed, but there is an option to purchase a permit for regular admittance. The area is temporarily closed during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

  1. Tombstone Monument Ranch

You have seen the movies, but now you can live the actual experience! That’s right, this is an actual working ranch, themed in the 1880s, but with a modern twist. The experience includes events like staged gunfights, period character recreations, photo opportunities, restaurants and shops, as well as famous landmarks like, the O.K. Corral, Tombstone Courthouse, which is an actual state historic park and museum, Boothill Graveryard, horseback guided trail rides and a working cattle ranch. Daily admittance is offered in three different packages. More information, HERE.

  1. Chapel of the Holy Cross

Construction on this architectural wonder began 1932. It was commissioned by rancher and sculptor Marguerite Brunswig Staude, who felt inspired to construct a place of worship to be the size of the famed New York monument, Empire State Building. The chapel was completed in 1956 in just 18 months and cost $300,000. The building is also used to house unique art, you can host weddings and other events there and it has a gift shop too. Lastly, it has been hailed as the best attraction in Sedona, according to USA Today.

  1. Desert Botanical Garden

This tranquil collection of artsy desert plants, cacti, wildflowers, trees and succulents makes for quite the sight. There are also many special events held throughout the year, like concerts, exhibitions, adult networking gatherings, classes and bringing your pets to the park days too. If you plan on sticking around for a while, there is the option of numerous memberships and clubs for 1-2-year options, which vary on perks on bonuses. More HERE.

  1. Petrified Forest National Park

This state park, located in the Painted Desert, features fossilized plants and animals, as well as petrified wood. Over time, storms and wind have come to help uncover numerous other fossils, including dinosaurs! You can navigate interpretive trails and uniquely carved canyon trails with postcard-worthy scenery all around. There is also a local inn, as well as a visitors center, which offers a geological and ecological layout map and stargazing information.

  1. Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Lake Mead is a full-service marina campground which houses the popular Willow Beach, a resort town, and is known as America’s ‘First National Recreation Area’. You can boat, waterski, hike, swim, fish or camp in this year-round playground, which spans across 1.5 million acres of two lakes (Mead or Lake Mohave), canyons, valleys and mountains. You can even score optimal vantage points for viewing the Hoover Dam!

  1. Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon can be experienced in both the Upper and Lower regions, via guided adventure and sightseeing tours. The slot canyon, itself, is in the city of Page. This seemingly sculpted series of paths guides hikers along either flat ground (Upper) or twisting sandstone paths (Lower). The Upper Antelope is suggested for those with mobility issues. Photographers, whether novice or advanced, will not be disappointed when visiting this Navajo Nation offering. Take note that this park, along with most tribal landmarks in the state, remains closed during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

For even more to see while you’re in ‘The Copper State’, check out All Places in Arizona, courtesy of Atlas Obscura, 12 Things to Do in Arizona (Including Visiting the Grand Canyon), via My Domaine, and Trip Advisor’s comprehensive activities list of Things to Do in Arizona.

 

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