Located in the heart of the American Southwest, Arizona is an amazing state from a tourist point of view. Her Far West settings they include natural wonders, but also cities vibrant with life and entertainment, as well as its charming little towns full of history. The Grand Canyon is one of the main attractions, and it is full of tourists who come from all over the world.
Those with the most adventurous soul will be able to discover truly unique places, real spectacles of nature that are hardly found elsewhere. Not forgetting cities like Phoenix and Sedona, you can discover Native American history and culture and the remnants of ancient cultures by venturing beyond urban centers into authentic ghost towns that date back to mining times. In Arizona the landscapes are varied: deserts, lakes, mountains, wide expanses dotted with slot canyons and saguaro cacti, hills and waterfalls.
Here is a list of the must-see cities and attractions in Arizona, suitable for lovers of nature and outdoor adventures, but not only.
- monument Valley
- Grand Canyon
- Saguaro National Park
- Antelope Canyon
- Petrified Forest and Painted Desert
- Canyon De Chelly National Monument
- Hoover Dam
- User questions and comments
1 - Monument Valley
Hearing the name Arizona it is impossible not to immediately think about gigantic blocks of sandstone overlooking Monument Valley. This area, straddling the Arizona-Utah border, is dotted with jagged rock formations, which sometimes turn into stone spiers, sometimes into hills and sand dunes.
It is possible to tackle the endless highways that run through the valley independently, letting yourself be captured by the boundless view along the plains, or contact the visitor center of the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park to request the assistance of one of the highly trained guides. Prices vary according to the route you choose to tackle.
2 - Grand Canyon
It is a huge crack in the Earth that needs no introduction. It is one of Arizona's iconic attractions and can even be seen from space! It is on almost everyone's wish list, as this magnificent natural formation is the result of millions of years of erosion caused by the flowing waters of the mighty Colorado River.
Visitors can admire the layers of red rocks that testify to its long geological history on the walls of the canyon, which is about 450 km long, more than 30 meters deep and up to about km wide. Its magnificent colors and its particular conformation attract millions of visitors every year, most of the tourists enjoy the canyon from its southern rim, but the more adventurous climb its walls or have fun with rafting on the Colorado River. While some parts of the canyon, located on the upper plateau, are covered with forest, most of the area is arid.
3 - Saguaro National Park
The giant saguaro is the cactus species it has become one of the symbols of the American West, grows in very few places in the United States and this National Park near Tucson was created to protect these rare and magnificent plants. The park is located in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, about 1.000 meters above sea level and is one of the major attractions of Arizona.
The months between November and March are the best time to visit the park, as temperatures are cooler. In February and March these giant cacti, together with other plants typical of desert areas, create an unforgettable show with their colorful blooms.
The park is the ideal place for short, leisurely hikes with the family, but it is also possible to venture into more challenging feats in the wilderness. There are different rates to access the park, depending on the vehicle used or if you enter on foot, on average they range from $ 15 / € 13,60 to $ 25 / € 23,00.
4 - Phoenix
Looking at the city from the plane a huge urban center in the middle of a desert. It is the capital of Arizona and also the largest city in the Western United States, and is surrounded by desert and huge cactus plants, making it extremely hot all year round. it is best to visit it in spring, when temperatures are milder. The city it is rich in historical monuments of great value but also of museums, modern architectural works but above all of fascinating places where flora, fauna and, in general, nature dominate. Among the most interesting museums is the Heard Museum, where they are collected evidence of the ancient Indian tribes that populated the American Southwest. The full ticket costs $ 25 / € 23, reduced from $ 9 / € 8,16 to $ 15 / € 13,60, children up to 5 years enter for free. The Desert Botanical Garden, on the other hand, is one of the city's botanical parks that collects many plants typical of the desert landscape. L'Old West atmosphere it can be relived not far from the city, precisely in the Old City of Scottsdale, where the original settings between saloons and old relics have been recreated.
5 - Antelope Canyon
It is one of the most photogenic and photographed attractions in the entire state. It is a sandstone canyon called slot canyon due to its particular shape, narrow but quite easy to cross with mesmerizing internal shapes created by wind and water.
The light can only enter from the top and at certain times of the day the smooth sandstone walls become of a beautiful shade, with bright shades and shades of orange-purple color. It is a unique spectacle, among the most evocative of all the United States. Its main feature, however, is its division into two different, not directly connected sections called Upper and Lower. The first is the most famous and is located at the end of a dirt road that cannot be traveled by private vehicles, the second is closer to Lake Powell, from which the actual canyon begins.
It is mandatory to request the reservation of a guided tour in both sections, the prices are variable based on the route you intend to take and the vehicle to use.
6 - Petrified Forest and Painted Desert
Located in Apache and Navajo counties in northeastern Arizona, the park owes its name to formations of petrified wood covering an area of about 380 sq. km. The scenery is truly impressive, thanks to the colored gullies eroded by atmospheric agents and the semi-desert territory. The park became a national monument in 1906 and a national park in 1962. Here you can do many backpacking activities, excursions, photographic expeditions and much more.
The Painted Desert is perhaps the most bizarre area in the park, is arid and with many colors: it is precisely the rocks that, thanks to their particular formation, give life to a rainbow of colors ranging from yellow to blue, from red to gray. The particular concentration of minerals such as manganese and iron in the rocks creates a wide and imaginative palette, a true paradise for those who love particularly suggestive photographic shots. The cost of the pass depends on the vehicle used to cross the park and ranges from $ 15 / € 13,60 to $ 20 / € 18,00.
7 - Sedona
This charming town is located roughly halfway between Flagstaff and Phoenix, nestled between dizzying red rock canyons and green woods.
It is precisely its close relationship with the nature that surrounds it that makes it irresistible, an almost spiritual bond that many of its visitors say they feel: it is said that in this area of Arizona the earth releases powerful swirls of energy. No one can say for sure, but it is true that Sedona has become, over time, one of the capitals of new-age culture, attracting all kinds of artists, "gurus" and souls sensitive to the "Spirit of Nature". One of the most iconic natural attractions is the Cathedral Rock, a rock formation carved out of red sandstone which is reminiscent of a large Gothic cathedral. The highest point, reachable on foot along the special path, is located at about 1.500 meters, it is a rather difficult excursion with steep points to climb.
8 - Canyon De Chelly National Monument
It is a lesser known canyon but no less worthy of its more famous cousins. It covers an area of 83.840 acres and is one of the oldest inhabited places in North America: man has lived here continuously for almost 5.000 years. It is located within the borders of the Navajo Nation, so it is not entirely freely explorable. The White House Ruins Trail is a self-guided trail that leads through the centuries-old settlements of the ancient Anasazi, built directly into the rock walls. Being less famous it is, consequently, less popular and therefore to be explored with more tranquility and moreover access is free of charge.
9 - Tucson
It's not just the starting point for visiting Saguaro National Park, but also offers the opportunity to deepen the knowledge of the area thanks to theArizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Here you will find over 200 animal and 1200 species of plants, an aquarium, botanical gardens, an art gallery, a natural history museum and a zoo. To immerse yourself in the local atmosphere, a visit to the St. Philips Farmers Market, one of the largest markets in the state which takes place every Saturday and Sunday, where many local farmers gather to sell products of the highest quality. There is, of course, also for fans of western films: Old Tucson Studios is a real movie set now a theme park. It was built in 1939 for the recording of the movie "Arizona" and later used to shoot the scenes of over 300 movies and TV series including "The House on the Prairie" and "The OK Corral Shooting". Full ticket costs $ 21,95 / € 19,91, reduced $ 10,95 / € 9,90, children up to 4 years get in for free.
10 - Hoover Dam
Anyone who doesn't believe that a dam can attract over a million visitors each year will have to change their minds when they know Hoover Dam.
It is precisely about a dam located on the border between Nevada and Arizona which, after the release of the video game Fallout New Vegas, has acquired greater fame especially among young people: here, in fact, the decisive battle of the game's plot takes place. Once known as Boulder Dam, it was built between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression. Thousands of men participated in its construction and more than people died during the construction. It was built to control the Colorado River and to provide hydroelectricity in fact, it is possible to visit both the dam and its power station. Admission for a self-guided visit costs $ 10,00 / € 9,07, the guided tour of the plant costs $ 15,00 / € 13,60 while the guided tour of the entire site costs $ 30,00 / € 27,21 .
Travel informed: useful information and necessary documents
- Inhabitants: over 7 million
- Capital: Phoenix
- Languages: English Spanish
- Local currency: US dollar (€ 1,00 = $ 1,11)
- Weather: it is semi-desert and generally arid, with high temperatures and low rainfall. In the desert areas there is a notable climatic excursion between day and night, in every season - for more info
- Time zone: GMT-7, seven hours behind Italy. Arizona does not have daylight saving time, except on the Indian reservations.
- vaccinations: no vaccination required
- Entry requirements: passport with at least 6 months of residual validity, ESTA authorization if you stay no longer than 90 days, return ticket
- Travel / health insurance: recommended.
Where it is
Arizona is located in the southwestern United States of America and borders New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, California, Colorado and Mexico.