Arizona is the home of some of America’s most iconic natural landmarks, but its lively cities prove that there is more to the state than its canyons and valleys.
Picture Arizona in your head and you will most likely imagine sights such as the Grand Canyon or the cinematic Monument Valley. These world-famous attractions are rightly celebrated for their eye-catching, dusk-red beauty. Yet Arizona offers more than these famous sights; a trip here could include explorations of ancient cliff-side houses, unusual museums and laid-back, modern cities.
Explore the cliffs of Arizona to find the remains of 12th-century settlements carved out of the rock. Sinagua Indians inhabited these dramatic homes in places such as Montezuma Castle and Walnut Canyon, where you can still find remarkably well-preserved dwellings.
Of course, no trip to Arizona is complete without a trip to the Grand Canyon, 277 miles (446 kilometers) of gorges carved over millennia by the Colorado River. Head to the busy South Rim for easy access to the canyon and an informative visitor center or drive a longer route to the quieter North Rim.
Marvel at the natural beauty of Monument Valley, the iconic location of several westerns, and the man-made majesty of the Hoover Dam. Allow yourself to feel overwhelmed by the wave-shaped crevasses of Antelope Canyon.
Take your family to the museums and attractions in Arizona’s welcoming cities. Sunny Phoenix is one of the state’s cultural hubs, offering multiple theaters and performance venues. Make sure you visit the Phoenix Art Museum, the Musical Instrument Museum and the Heard Museum, which focuses on Native American communities in the Southwest.
Tucson has outdoor museums, cactus-covered desert landscapes and Old Tucson Studios, a theme park built around a western movie set. Visit Flagstaff for access to the mountains, Meteor Crater and the Lowell Observatory, where you can stargaze at night.
Fly to Phoenix or Tucson for the easiest route into Arizona. The best time of year to visit Arizona depends on your destination. The desert cities offer a warm escape from winter, while the Grand Canyon is at its busiest in summer. Come in spring or fall for quieter and milder days at Arizona’s stunning landmarks.