Although mostly desert, Arizona has a huge range of tourist attractions. Whether you’re after rafting down the Grand Canyon, shoot-outs in Tucson and Tombstone, or missile launching and space research, there’s something of interest. Here are some facts, trivia, and information that may be of interest to visitors traveling to Arizona.
Arizona Travel Facts & Trivia
- You can’t visit Arizona without visiting the Grand Canyon. It’s every bit as incredible as it’s been hyped to be, and the truly brave can try white-water rafting along with it. Be warned, though – the rapids hit Grade 10 in places.
- The state plays host to many Native American people, and to get a taste, head to the annual Navajo Nation Fair in September. It is held on the vast Navajo Indian Reservation.
- Biosphere 2 in Tucson is a self-sufficient mini-earth, although many pour scorn on those claims to self-sufficiency, and there have been teething problems in the past.
- Those wanting to get in touch with their spiritual side should head to Sedona. Amongst the New Age community, it is revered for its ‘energy vortexes’ and thus it proves a magnet for hippy types. Expect the state’s highest concentration of beards and sandals.
- The Kitt Peak National Optical Observatory near Sells is the largest of its kind in the world. If little green men are to be discovered by anything, then this is it this monstrous research center.
- Well, either it’ll be at Kitt Peak or the Flagstaff Observatory. The latter has previous on this score – it was here that Pluto was first spotted. And, even though Pluto is no longer graded as a planet, that’s still a pretty good claim to fame.
- Sells is also home to a big missile launch site, and weaponry fanatics can check out the Titan Missile Museum.
- The town of Winslow is namechecked in Takin’ It Easy by The Eagles.
- The original London Bridge is no longer in London, England. It’s in Lake Havasu, Arizona after being bought by an American businessman and shipped over. An English-themed village has sprung up around it as a tourist attraction.
- If you’re into your Wild West re-enactments, head to the aptly-named town of Tombstone. This was where the infamous gunfight at the OK Corral took place, and now the shoot-out is restaged for tourists every day by stuntmen.
- Shoot-outs were also once held at the Old Tucson Studios, which used to be a major film set for western movies. Tucson also plays host to the Center for Creative Photography
- Old Oraibi has been continually inhabited since the 12th century. This would arguably make it the oldest town in the United States.
Arizona Travel Guide
For scenery on a grand scale, there are few places in the world to rival the American Southwest. Within the wide-open spaces of Arizona, there’s a wealth of spectacular sights and haunting landscapes familiar as the backdrop of countless Westerns. The highlight of any visit to Arizona is undoubtedly the awesome Grand Canyon, while the stunning Red Rock country of Sedona, the Sonoran Desert around the resort cities of Phoenix and Scottsdale, and the extraordinary multi-colored Painted Desert and Petrified Forest are equally memorable. Here are provided some Arizona travel ideas to make your travel to Arizona an exceptional one.
The main tourist attraction in Arizona is the breathtaking beauty of the Mogollon Rim, a region of ancient volcanoes and earthquakes, and prehistoric oceans. This 300-mile long, 7,000-foot high rock formation dominates Arizona’s northern landscape. This is a perfect place for a getaway to experience majestic landscapes including alpine forests, over a dozen lakes, and mountain rivers and streams. The unpaved General Crook Trail was built to connect Arizona’s military holdouts during the Apache Wars, and now hosts hikers and bikers who may spend up to several days exploring the area in isolation. Along this trail, one will find a network of trails and roads leading to the sources of the state’s four rivers, which offer some of the best fishing in the country as well as lazy days spent sunbathing along the banks.
For winter sports enthusiasts, the White Mountains beckon from November through April. Skiers will adore the White Mountain Apache Tribe’s Sunrise Park Resort, which boasts three towering peaks with over 65 runs and provides facilities for beginners to masters. For the avid golfer, this area is a paradise offering several stunning clubs that highlight the landscape making use of the rugged landscape. The town of Alpine hosts an 18-hole course that is one of the most beautiful in the state, as well as the highest course in the Southwestern United States at an elevation of 8,500 feet.
The city of Prescott serves as the state capital and as an interesting diversion from outdoor pursuits. One can spend days here browsing the many antique shops, unique boutiques, art galleries, and artisan shops. Don’t miss Courthouse Plaza and the historic Palace Saloon on Whiskey Row. For some engaging Arizona history, check out the Sharlot Hall Museum which displays three renovated Victorian mansions, a one-room schoolhouse, and the fabulous Territorial Governor’s Mansion and Rose Garden.
A scenic mountain road climbs the Sierra Prieta Mountains through the world’s largest Ponderosa Pine forest to the historic mining community of Jerome, with several abandoned mineshafts dotting the surrounding mountains. Jerome was once a bustling city producing millions of dollars worth of precious minerals and has become a haven for artists and unique shops, galleries, and restaurants. Further down the Verde River Canyon, don’t miss Montezuma Castle National Monument showcasing the well-managed ruins of a five-story, 20-room cliff dwelling built almost 1,000 years ago by the region’s native Sinagua people. Montezuma well is nearby, a sinkhole with a deep pool of cool, crystal clear water.
Although not as mountainous, southern Arizona radiates outstanding landscapes, interesting cultures, and stark contrasts. The state’s Spanish heritage is very evident here. South of Tucson, be sure to visit the Mission San Xavier del Bac, an 18th-century church recently restored by artists from the area’s Indian nations along with a team of Italian preservationists. The San