Travel Guide: Arizona State

Arizona is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is the sixth largest and the 15th most populous of the 50 states, it's capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona is one of the Four Corners states, it borders with New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, California, and Mexico, and one point in common with the southwestern corner of Colorado. Arizona's border with Mexico is 389 miles (626 km) long, bordering the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California.

Southern Arizona is known for its desert climate, with very hot summers and mild winters. Northern Arizona features lush forests, the Colorado Plateau is known for some mountain ranges as well as large, deep canyons, with much more moderate summer temperatures and significant winter snowfalls. In addition to the Grand Canyon National Park, there are several national forests, national parks, and national monuments. About 1/4 of the state is made up of Indian reservations that serve as the home of a number of Native American tribes.

EXPLORER FACTS

  1. The saguaro cactus blossom is the official state flower and the largest American cactus.
  2. Four Corners is noted as the spot in the United States where a person can stand in four states at the same time.
  3. Arizona is home to the majority of the Navajo Nation, the largest Native American reservation in the Unites States.
  4. The state of Arizona has 18 national monuments, more than any other state in the Unites States.
  5. The only place in the country where mail is delivered by mule is the village of Supai, located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

CITIES TO VISIT

Phoenix | The capital city of Arizona located right in the center of the state, making it very hard to miss on a tour of Arizona. Because it’s such a huge, spread out urban area, there are a lot of options for what to see and do. Many people go to enjoy resort vacations filled with golf and spas, while others visit designer fashion stores, the Phoenix Zoo, art galleries, museums and the Desert Botanical Gardens.

Tucson | A large city with a lot to offer visitors but small enough to be a welcoming, laid back and friendly. Outdoor enthusiasts can find opportunities to go hiking in the mountains, like Mt. Lemmon, or Saguaro National Park located in the desert. You can also window shop in the Fourth Avenue, Downtown or University districts. There are many galleries, shops, museums and landmarks to see in Tucson for the visitor who wants to do it all. This is also the home to the University of Arizona, a campus which offers a lot to do including an impressive planetarium and science center.

Page | A small town in Northern Arizona near the border of Utah and only about a 2 hour drive from the Grand Canyon. It may be small but it packs quite a punch! Located in and around Page is Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, the Glen Canyon Dam and mighty Lake Powell.

Sedona | It is considered to be a mystical healing center where vortexes of energy come together. Sedona also offers great opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, like horseback riding in the red rock canyons, which are sure to give you a feeling of what it was like to live in the Wild Wild West.

Tombstone | You shouldn’t go to the Southwest without seeing at least one ghost town. Tombstone is set up for tourists and it’s a great place to go to experience a fun day of history in the Wild Wild West.

NATURAL WONDERS

Grand Canyon National Park | Perhaps the most famous national park in the world, Grand Canyon extends for over 200 miles along the Colorado River in north Arizona, though most visitors see only the short section viewable from the South Rim Drive. A small part of the North Rim is also accessible by paved road (closed by snow in winter), while access to the remainder is limited to various dirt tracks and long trails.

Saguaro National Park | The saguaro cactus is widespread all across the Sonoran Desert of south Arizona but two particularly densely forested areas either side of Tucson have been preserved as Saguaro National Park. The west section of Tucson Mountain is smaller, more accessible and has plenty of good, short trails, while the east section of Rincon Mountain is more remote and includes a large mountainous region with summits over 8,000 feet.

Petrified Forest National Park |  Huge amounts of beautifully colored petrified wood scattered over the Painted Desert of northeast Arizona have been protected since 1906 in the Petrified Forest National Park. The park has a scenic drive, museum and visitor center, several short trails and many viewpoints, though no campground.

Montezuma Castle National Monument | There are ten national monuments in Arizona preserving ancient dwellings but Montezuma Castle is probably the most spectacular. A beautifully preserved 5 floor structure built high above ground in the limestone cliffs bordering Beaver Creek, a tributary of the Verde River in the center of the state, just off I-17. The national monument also includes Montezuma Well, a flooded limestone sinkhole a few miles east.

Antelope Canyon | The most visited slot canyon in the Southwest located near Page on Navajo Nation land. It is easily accessible and by far the most publicized slot canyon, and also extremely beautiful, with just the right combination of depth, width, length, rock color and ambient light.

THINGS TO DO IN ARIZONA

  1. Try a chimichanga (deep-fried burrito). There has been a debate about who discovered the chimichanga first, Macayo’s Mexican Restaurant in Phoenix or El Charro Café in Tucson. Heck, try them both!
  2. Hike the Grand Canyon, which you could spend the rest of your life hiking and still never cover all the trails. It's a hiking and walking trails galore, for all levels of fitness; we suggest you go with a guide or consult a ranger to find the best trail for you.
  3. Indulge in some R & R time, because Arizona’s spas are some of the best in the world. They offer visitors luxurious treatments in inspiring settings. From body wraps, scrubs and therapies that make use of local ingredients and Native American traditions to the latest treatments from around the world, your spa options are endless.
  4. Experience and immerse yourself in Native American culture, with nearly two dozen tribes in Arizona. Stop at a trading post on a reservation to see artisans demonstrating their crafts, or visit Native American museums and spectacular national monuments.
  5. Feed the ostriches at Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch, a popular roadside attraction, as you drive through the state.