Arizona is one of the most naturally unique and magnificently gorgeous states in the US, boasting red rock wonderlands, forested natural sites, and of course, the deep and mysterious chasms of the Grand Canyon and surrounding lands.
This southwestern state is full of amazing things to see, from the natural wonders to the cultural, local education and research facilities to restful resorts and spas. That being said, it was very hard to come up with a list of only 10 must-see's, but after careful consideration, we think we have put together the very best of the best for your group during your Arizona visit.
Take a look at the map to see each site listed below, then get ready to plan your own road trip or extended vacation in America's Desert State!
- Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is certainly the first thing that comes to your mind when thinking of Arizona sights to see, and for good reason! The Grand Canyon is one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World, an almost unbelievable expanse of layered bands of red rock that have formed through millions of years of erosion. The canyon is 277 river miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and 1 mile deep: in other words, this canyon is HUGE. See the views from Mather Point, Lipan Point, or South Rim!
Group Tours Bonus: For a really adventurous option when touring the Grand Canyon, consider the company Papillon for helicopter, airplane, rafting and offroad tours!
Our countless activities allow you to participate in a Grand Canyon experience either by air, by foot, by boat - or all of the above! Our multiplicity of tour options will take you to various rims of the canyon, where you will discover the most beautiful rock formations, their red and orange tones carved for billions of years by the Colorado River.
- Antelope Canyon
Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon located near Page, Arizona. It is situated on Navajo land, and to explore it you must book a guided tour. There are two main parts, the Upper Canyon, or The Crack, and the Lower Canyon, or The Corkscrew. The angles and light shafts within the tall winding walls are what make this site so special, the swirling sandstone walls standing as much as 120 feet above the streambed.
- Monument Valley
Monument Valley is located right along the Arizona Utah border, a red sand desert area filled with towering buttes and some of the most filmed/photographed scenery in all of the American West. This site is also located within a Navajo Tribal Park and is accessible through the 17 mile Valley Drive Loop. You will see miles of 'mesas and buttes, shrubs and trees, and windblown sand' all throughout the area, some of the best viewpoints being John Ford's Point, Mitten Butte, and Merrick Butte.
- Petrified Forest National Park
Though many people don't realize it, the Petrified Forest National Park is within the same park/area as Painted Desert, which is located in Northeastern Arizona near Holbrook (Hopi land). Here you will see some of the most fascinating fossils, petroglyphs, and paleontological discoveries in all of the world, especially within Rainbow Forest. The stones you see were once trees, blown away by volcanic eruption and waterways, becoming entombed for millions of years within ash and sediment. Thus, the petrified fossils you see today. There are actually over 150 species of fossils located within the Petrified Forest!
- Havasu Falls
Welcome to Havasu Falls, a hidden gem within the Grand Canyon National Park, just about 10 miles into the canyons, to be exact. It should first be known that this area is only accessible by hiking, horseback riding, or helicopter, and in order to spend the night, you must have permits and a reservation. The falls are within protected Havasupai Tribal Lands, the official 'protectors of the land'. There are 5 different falls, with plunges between 40 feet and 200 feet. The main fall is 98' in height. What's so special about the falls, aside from the fact that they are nestled within a well-known desert area? The water flows from limestone, giving it a dramatic blue-green color that people LOVE to swim in and explore. Once you see the pools, you will fall in love!
- Saguaro National Park
Located in southern Arizona, within the Sonoran Desert, Saguaro National Park is certainly a must-see during your Arizona visit. The park is broken up into 2 sections, one on either side of Tucson. To the west, you have the section with the Tucson Mountains, to the East the Rincon Mountains. The park got its name from the Saguaro Cactus, the iconic symbol of the American West. These cacti can grow up to 15 meters high and can hold up to 8 tons of water within their stems. Aside from the iconic cacti throughout, there are an additional 1,160 plant species, including mountain trees such as Ponderosa Pines and Douglas Firs. For a little cultural lesson follow the Signal Hill Trail and see petroglyphs from the local Hohokam tribes.
- Painted Desert
Arizona's Painted Desert is a very broad expanse of rocky badlands stretching from near the east end of the Grand Canyon National Park, southeast to the Petrified Forest. This is a region where 'art comes to life', the unbelievably gorgeous area holding colors ranging from lavender and pink to red and orange, and everything in between. You truly have to see these colors to believe them! The entire area is over 93,500 acres or 160 miles in totality!
- Coconino National Forest
The Coconino National Forest is a massive protected forest area in central Arizona that encompasses just about 1.856 million acres. It is near Flagstaff, and is considered to be 'one of the most diverse national forests in the United States'. There is much more than forest and desert landscape here, with red rocks, pine forests, alpine tundra, and lava flows to see. Hike mountains, fish lakes like Mormon Lake, Arizona's largest, or simply sit back and enjoy the canyon views. The area is especially known for its wildlife, hosting such animals as elk, bald eagles, and antelope.
- Hoover Dam
Considered to be 'one of the world's most remarkable man-made structures', there is no way we could leave this site out of our top 10 list. The Hoover Dam provides 4 billion kilowatt hours of electricity a year, providing hydroelectric power to parts of Arizona, California, and Nevada. It is still considered to be one of the largest hydroelectric facilities in the United States today, spanning the Black Canyon along the Colorado River, right on the Arizona and Nevada border. It is actually considered to be one of the 7 Wonders of the Industrial World! Notice the Art Deco design with Navajo motifs throughout the structure.
Welcome to what used to be known as the 'wickedest town in the West', Jerome Arizona. This central Arizona town is extremely well-known for two main things: copper mining and being the largest ghost town in America (and tallest)! Sitting atop Cleopatra Hill at 5,200 feet, Jerome will impress you in more ways than just two. Founded in 1876, Jerome used to produce 3 million pounds of copper per month, the town at its peak population during the 1920's (15,000). The Phelps Dodge mine closed in 1953, however, and since then the town has been inhabited by about 100 people and the ghosts of it's rough and tough past. Tour old saloons, the Douglas Mansion, the old Gold King Mine, and historic streets such as 'Prostitution Row'.