Arizona is known throughout the world for the Grand Canyon. This natural wonder is truly impressive but its not the only tourist attraction in Arizona. Check out our list of highly rated tourist attractions that is sure to delight visitors. The following are Arizona Tourism’s top 10 tourist attractions in the state:
Arizona is perhaps best known for its natural features, and the Grand Canyon is certainly the most famous of the state’s incredible landscapes. At an average width of 10 miles and a depth of 1 mile, the canyon is truly a stunning sight to behold. Although visitors may explore the canyon on both the South and North Rim, the vast majority of visitors enter at the South Rim where all the action is located. Here, the Grand Canyon Village offers lodging, camping, restaurants, museums, shops and plenty of trail-heads that lead into the canyon. Plan to spend at least 4 hours at the South Rim in order to cover the view points and to visit the shops and museum.
If you plan to hike down the trails make sure you allow for twice as much time to hike out as it takes to hike in. Many visitors to the Rim decide to hike ‘down a ways’ and discover that hiking out is very difficult and challenging. Don’t be one of those visitors that has to be helped out.
The unique town of Sedona is renowned for its magnificent red rocks, spiritual energy, and luxurious spas and resorts. Red rock buttes such as Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock, Courthouse Rock and Bear Mountain draw visitors from around the world for their amazing beauty. In addition, it is believed that Sedona contains some of the earth’s highest concentration of spiritual power due to vortexes of energy that are present. The town itself, with plenty of shops and restaurants, is a pleasant place to walk around. Sedona is perfect for hiking or biking, or guests may take one of the popular jeep tours to explore the area. Adjacent to Sedona, you’ll find Oak Creek Canyon. This area is also known for its scenic beauty along with fishing for trout in the creek.
Montezuma Castle National Monument is located just off I-17 between Phoenix and Flagstaff, and is one of North America’s best preserved historic ruins. The five stories high cliff dwelling, which contains 20 rooms, is estimated to be approximately 600 years old and is believed to have been constructed by the Aztecs. Although the public cannot enter the actual dwelling, a short paved walkway leads to a viewing area of this fascinating structure.
The world’s best preserved meteorite impact site is situated only minutes from I-40 in northern Arizona near Winslow. The Meteor Crater is 2.4 miles in circumference, nearly one mile across, and over 550 feet deep. There are outdoor observation trails for fantastic views of the crater, and an excellent visitor’s center presents an indoor viewing area, wide screen movie theatre, an interactive Discovery Center and a unique gift shop.
In the northeastern part of the state, about 24 miles northeast of Kayenta, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park contains 30,000 acres of massive red sandstone monoliths that have been carved out from centuries of wind and rain. Visitors can drive a scenic 17 mile dirt road that circles throughout Monument Valley for spectacular views. In addition, the Monument Valley Visitor Center offers guided tours of the site as well as a great gift shop with exhibits dedicated to Native American history.
The Four Corners Monument is in Arizona’s northeast corner and marks the spot where the state comes together with Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. This is the only location in the United States where four states meet, presenting tourists with the unique opportunity to stand in all four states at once. A brass plaque marks the location and the site is managed by the Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation Department.
Another spectacular attraction in northeast Arizona is the Canyon de Chelly National Monument, which rivals the Grand Canyon in natural beauty on a smaller scale. The 84,000 acre Canyon de Chelly, which is a National Park on Navajo Tribal Trust Land, is 26 miles of heavily eroded sandstone walls that climb to 1,100 feet. Humans have inhabited the area since prehistoric times, and fascinating petro glyphs and pictographs decorate some of the cliff walls. Visitors can view the canyon from the base of the cliffs, or enjoy a 36 mile roundtrip drive along the South Rim Drive from the Visitor’s Center to the Spider Rock Overlook.
Saguaro National Park is split into two distinct sections that border Tucson and contain the saguaro cacti that have been a famous emblem in the Southwest for years. Saguaro National Park West features a scenic drive through the desert landscape, as well as various hiking trails and the Red Hills Visitor Center. Saguaro National Park East contains a wonderful loop drive, multiple trails through the cactus forest, six campgrounds for overnight guests and the Saguaro East Visitor Center. Each visitor center offers free maps of the hiking trails, educational exhibits and gift items.
Tucson’s Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a wonderful zoo and botanical garden that showcases the plants and animals of the Sonoran Desert. Guests can get up close to see rattlesnakes, prairie dogs, scorpions, bighorn sheep, hummingbirds, and other animals that define the region. In addition, an underwater viewing area presents the opportunity to see beaver and otters in action. There is also an Earth Sciences Center where visitors can explore an artificial limestone cave and a meteor display. Several restaurants and an extensive gift shop add to make the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum a great day trip.
Arizona is an excellent place for stargazing, and Kitt Peak Observatory presents one of the best opportunities to see the stars. The observatory, situated about 56 miles southwest of Tucson, is managed by over 20 universities and presents a nightly observing program where guests can peer through high powered telescopes and learn more about the solar system. In addition, the Kitt Peak’s visitor center offers hour long guided tours and contains many interesting exhibits on astronomy.
Limiting this list to 10 was very hard as there are so many more Arizona attractions. What did we leave out? Post your list and comments below.
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