Sometimes, the gorgeous state of Arizona can be overlooked when visiting fun cities in the USA and its stunning national parks. That being said, it really shouldn’t be overlooked, there are literally so many of the best places in Arizona that I’m almost certain you’ll love.
Home to the legendary Grand Canyon and the incredible tribal lands of the Hopi, Arizona has a heap of incredible places, cultures and history. Even if you’re heading on a road trip around the USA, or choosing for a trip to the Grand Canyon, you can easily partner some of these pit stops on your trip… and it’s well worth it.
Anyway, I’m totally rambling about Arizona now, but we totally loved it during our cross-country road trip of the USA. It really is a special state.
Take a look, below, at the best things to do in Arizona. Have the best trip!
1.) Grand Canyon National Park South Rim
Let’s face it, you can’t come to Arizona without visiting the Grand Canyon. Fine… you obviously can, but it really is an incredible natural sight to see whilst in the USA. Plus, in my opinion, it’s easily one of the best things to do in Arizona when you visit.
At a mind-boggling 446km wide and 29km long, with an expansive desert sky stretching out above you, it is easy to understand why people have explored the Grand Canyon for centuries gone by.
If you’re something of a hiker, the Bright Angel Trail is totally stunning, just make sure to take some comfy walking shoes and plenty of fluids, the heats can be intense here. The hike towards Phantom Ranch can take between 5-7 hours, so make sure to plan ahead. Oh yeah, and stop at every washroom you pass (trust me on this), no one likes getting caught short!
Alternatively, you can head to Ooh Aah point or Cedar Ridge or even take a helicopter ride over the park itself. It’s truly beautiful.
Read more: Best national parks in the USA
2.) Havasu Falls
Nestled within the Havasupai tribal lands, Havasu Falls is easily one of the best places in Arizona to visit if you love nature. You see, it has one of the most dramatic waterfalls in all of the state and is so beautiful too.
Now, it’s a pretty long and arduous hike to get here, so it’s certainly not for the faint-hearted. It’s about 10-miles one way, so make sure you properly plan with the correct hiking gear… no one likes a careless hiker.
Plus, you need to make sure you obtain a permit to camp, which can be done through Havasupai Reservations.
During our trip around Arizona, we decided to spend a night in Flagstaff, but kinda wished we’d stayed a little longer.
You see, Flagstaff has a thriving cultural scene and its proximity to the Grand Canyon National Park make it an easy place to explore when visiting the region. Once you arrive, make sure to explore the Lowell Observatory, the Historic Downtown District and the Museum of Northern Arizona.
If you’re exploring outside the city, make sure to visit the Walnut Canyon National Monument, the Wupatki National Monument and the San Francisco Peaks (volcanic craters).
Oh yeah and for some tasty lunch, head over to MartAnne’s Burrito Palace. Honestly, their burritos are so good!
4.) Horseshoe Bend
Nestled right next to the city of Page, Horshoe Bend is pretty easy to visit, especially as there’s little hiking involved to get here. Now, the easiest way to get here is by car and parking in the Horsehoe Bend parking lot (about 800 metres away). It’s so beautiful to see and pretty dramatic, too.
Now, entry to Horseshoe Bend is totally free but you will need to fork out a little for parking.
Perched in Bradshaw Mountains, Prescott is certainly one of the best places in Arizona to explore when you’re in the central region itself.
Now, one of the things that makes Prescott so special is the 800+ Victorian homes that are featured on the National Register of Historic Places and easy to spot. Plus, it is home to a historic downtown area known as Whiskey Row that feels like you are stepping back in time into an old Western epic.
Also, don’t forget, nearby is the beautiful Watson Lake, which is totally idyllic and gorgeous to see.
6.) Navajo Nation
The Navajo Nation straddles the borders of northwestern New Mexico, southeastern Utah and northeastern Arizona. This all makes it a really easy area to explore when in northern Arizona.
Once here, make sure to explore some of the incredible landscapes like the historical Navajo Cultural Monument and can be explored by horseback if you’re really feeling adventurous. Also, don’t forget to visit Monument Valley that’s easily one of the most iconic areas to see – it’s stunning!
Also, don’t forget to take a guided tour of Antelope Canyon, too.
Now, it can get pretty busy here – so make sure to plan your visit wisely. We headed on one of the last tours of the day and it was much quieter then.
Read more: Things to know for visiting Monument Valley
Deep in old mining country lies Jerome, one of the most famous “ghost towns” in the USA that was once a thriving community.
Its got a totally eerie charm that (even though it’s said to be haunted), that’s so interesting to see. Plus, it’s totally easy to make a pitstop here if you’re travelling from Prescott to Flagstaff. It’s one of the best places in Arizona for a few hours visit and certainly a great place to chill after a long drive.
Nestled west of Flagstaff, within the Coconino National Forest, Williams is perched on the historic Route 66 that’s iconic to drive upon. Plus, it’s is on the Southwest Chief Amtrak train route with loads of history to boot.
Besides being known as “the gateway to the Grand Canyon”, it’s a pretty quirky place to make a pit stop on your route further west. Also, if you’ve got time, the Grand Canyon Railway is beautiful to travel upon and a total throwback.
Oh yeah, and make sure to take a little breather by looking around the local streets, too. Definitely check out the Wild West Junction and Pete’s Rt 66 Gas Station Museum. It’s all pretty quirky.
Read more: 21 fun cities in the USA to visit
9.) Meteor Crater
Around forty miles east of Flagstaff, the Meteor Crater was formed by a massive meteor smashing into the earth around fifty thousand years ago. Ever since I was a wee boy, I’d always wanted to visit and it didn’t disappoint!
The crater is so big and wide that it can actually be seen from space! It’s huge.
Give yourself a few hours for the tour of the Meteor Crater rim and learn all about the impact and it’s discovery. I loved it!
Sedona might not be the largest town but it’s a really easy spot to visit (just like Jerome) on your route from Flagstaff to Prescott.
Now, during certain times of the year, Sedona hosts some pretty cool festivals like the Sedona Film Festival and the Sedona Jazz and Rock Festival to name just a few! Just make sure to check if your trip is during one of these festivals.
Once here, make sure to explore the Sinkhole, Devil’s Bridge and Cathedral Rock that is probably the most iconic building in Sedona.
Oh yeah, and if you like a little hike, then take the Teacup Trail or the Capitol Butte South Scramble that’ll take you to some incredible vistas.
Read more: Best national parks in the USA
Okay, so if you’re something of a city slicker, then you’ll wanna make a stop in Phoenix. It’s one of the larger cities in the state and one of the places in Arizona to visit for a city break.
That’s the best thing about Arizona, it’s not just national parks and ghost towns, it’s got some pretty cool cities, too. Once you’ve arrived in Phoenix, make sure to explore the; Desert Botanical Garden, head inside the Heard Museum and chow-down at Binkley’s Restaurant. Honestly, their seabass is so good!
A pretty historic mining town, Tombstone is the quintessence of Arizona with a classic Old West atmosphere that “is too tough to die”.. well, as the saying goes!
Wild West history was made in these very streets, motels and bars that are peppered all across the town. This all makes it one of the best places in Arizona to explore if you want some wild west history.
Once you’re here, make sure to see the former gambling and “red light” saloon called the Bird Cage Theatre. Also, be sure to stroll Allen Street, too. Sometimes, you might even spot a replica cowboy gunfight in the town.
Plus, It also makes a great place from which to explore an old silver mine or go on a paranormal history tour of the town.
13.) Route 66: Kingman & Seligman
The classic American highway (perched on the old Route 66) forms the backdrop of some of the most enduring movies in cinematic history.
It’s one of the quirkiest roads to travel upon, with Kingman having some fun pitstops to see, too. If you’re stopping on your journey west (or east, for that matter), make a pitstop at Mr D’z Diner – it’s so kitsch.
Also, along the way, pop into Seligman and explore the little shops, too.
Plus, if you’re still hungry, head to the Roadkill Cafe. You’ll leave stuffed!
14.) Tuba City
Nestled within the Navajo Lands in Arizona, Tuba City is an incredible geological formation that I promise is as exciting to any Tom, Dick or Harry as it is to Geography Teachers!
Once you’re here, make sure to explore the Dinosaur Tracks, Coal Mine Canyon and see the stunning Blue Canyon that’s perched pretty close to Tuba City.
Plus, being around fifty miles from the eastern entrance of the Grand Canyon makes it easy for a little stop whilst exploring some of the best places in Arizona.
Read more: 21 fun cities in the USA to visit
21 Fun Cities In The US You Have To Visit