Arizona is a state of contrast and diversity in terrain, climate and cultural and recreational experiences, a land of beauty to be explored. Whether you hike, raft, or drive it, you shouldn't miss the Grand Canyon. There is no better place to experience the thriving cultures of Native American Heritage. The culinary scene is colorful with a flavorful blend of Native American and Southwestern fare, not to mention an array of the best ethnic and American cuisine prepared by award-winning chefs of note.
Road trips beckon the curious traveler. The wide-open spaces of Arizona dazzle anew with every curve of the road. There are stunning landscapes from Sedona’s red rocks to Monument Valley. Outdoor adventures await through canyons, deserts and beautiful mountains a plenty.
With mild winters and an average annual rainfall of 12.3 inches, the weather is perfect for everything there is to do and see. Winter temperatures average about 65 degrees for the high and 44 degrees for the low.
The Grand Canyon
When it comes to visiting Grand Canyon National Park, there are statistics and there are sights, and both are sure to leave you in awe. With an average width of 10 miles, a length of 277 miles, and a depth of 1 mile, the enormous scale of the canyon is nearly impossible to fathom. Most choose to view the spectacle from the South Rim, although the North Rim also offers an amazing perspective. Whether exploring the area on foot, by mule, by raft, or by plane, the journey is one worth savoring.
Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert
The Painted Desert takes on hues that range from blood red to the purest pink throughout the day. View a forest of trees that stood with dinosaurs at the Petrified Forest, as well as ancient dwellings and fossils. The pieces of petrified logs look deceptively like driftwood cast on an oceanless beach. You can enjoy the entire national park in less than a day and take in a bit of nostalgia with Route 66's vestiges in nearby Holbrook along the way.
Loved for its majestic red rocks, its spiritual energy, and its fantastic resorts and spas, Sedona is unlike any other town in America. The fracturing of the western edge of the Colorado Plateau created the red-rock buttes that loom over Sedona and this landscape has attracted artists, entrepreneurs, and New Age followers from all over who believe the area contains some of Earth's most important vortexes of energy. Take the active route and explore Oak Creek Canyon and the surrounding area on foot or by bike or jeep, or indulge in the luxe life at a world-class spa or restaurant.
The West's most Western town, modern Scottsdale is equal parts kitsch and overt opulence. Resorts, spas, and golf can easily absorb an entire vacation. Stroll through art galleries and Western boutiques in Old Town during the day, and discover chic nightlife and fine cuisine at night. The weekly Art Walk and Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West are a great introduction to the local arts scene. Scottsdale is part of the Valley of the Sun, along with Phoenix, Tempe, and some 20 other communities.
The Heard Museum
A Phoenix cultural treasure, the Heard proudly features one of the most comprehensive collections of Native American art in the world. Interactive exhibits complement a staggering amount of Southwestern pottery, jewelry, kachinas, and textiles. Plus, the museum gift shop is one of the best places in town to find authentic souvenirs worth cherishing.
One of the most familiar sights of Arizona—thanks to dozens of Hollywood productions and the keen eye of Ansel Adams—the fantastic sculpted red-sandstone buttes, mesas, and rock formations of Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park are yet another reminder of the abundance of nature's handiwork in the Grand Canyon state. Take a Navajo-guided tour to appreciate the nuances of the area.
Desert Botanical Garden
Although there are stellar museums and preserves across Arizona, none is like the Desert Botanical Garden, 150 acres just outside Downtown Phoenix dedicated to the diversity of the desert. With more than 4,000 species of cacti, succulents, trees, and flowers, visitors discover the variety and breadth of this mysterious landscape—all in the comfort of America's sixth-largest city.