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Arizona

Arizona

Great Destination:

4.5

Value for Money:

3.5

Total Stars:

8.0

Personality Types that Like it Best

Broad appeal, especially among Mid-Venturers and Centric-Venturers; Authentic types enjoy winter warmth and sun

Did You Know…?

  • Mail is delivered by mule to Havasupai at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
  • London Bridge, in Lake Havasu City, was declared an antique (the world’s largest) to avoid import taxes.
  • Copper on the roof of Arizona’s capitol in Phoenix would make 4.8 million pennies.
  • Tombstone was the site of the West’s most famous gunfight (O.K. Corral).
  • In Arizona, only the Navajo Nation observes Daylight Savings Time.

The 48th state

More than anything, tourists like Arizona for its year-round sunny climate that allows them to enjoy outdoor activities almost anytime. The state also is famous for its vast expanse of beautiful desert scenery, but it also boasts a cluster of lakes plus, of course, part of the Grand Canyon.  Arizona, the 48th U.S. state, also appeals to tourists with an interest in southwestern foods and architecture, Old West lore and Native American experiences.

The state has a unique profile. Travelers refer to Arizona’s warm weather as much as they refer to its scenery. At other destinations, the beauty of a place tends to overshadow thoughts about the weather. During the winter, most of the state basks in warm days and comfortable evenings, with pleasant, dry air and gentle desert breezes.

The opportunity to play golf and tennis abounds at major resorts in the Phoenix/Scottsdale and Tucson areas. For many, golf offers the chance to socialize with friends and make new acquaintances. Even the most adventurous say they unwind from hectic schedules by playing an occasional round. Those at the center of the personality scale can also relax, eat good food and let service personnel respond tend their needs.

Active visitors also go to the mountains and the lakes, go hiking and ride horses, and visit the Grand Canyon — a place where it is a little hard to be too laid back.

Other perennial favorites are the Sedona/Oak Creek Canyon area, Phoenix/Scottsdale and Tucson. Some travelers also laud Arizona’s big lake areas in the north (Lake Powell, Glen Canyon Dam Recreation area and Lake Mead). The lake areas are alternative places to unwind, and northern Arizona appeals to those wanting a cooler spot in summer.

Visitors also like the towns and cities for their Southwest architecture, for historically significant sites and for great shopping and dining (Scottsdale is tops for both). Surprisingly, the open desert areas around Tucson with saguaro cactus and other native plants that bloom profusely after the summer rains and the breathtaking Painted Desert region east of the Grand Canyon don’t receive spontaneous comments from travelers. Arguably, these travelers are overlooking an opportunity.

Things to do for Venturers

  • Take a rafting trip down the Colorado River inside the Grand Canyon.
  • The western half of the state is a water wonderland fed by the Colorado River. Tubing, river rafting, waterskiing, powerboating, sailing and swimming are all excellent. Look to the Lake Havasu area, Glen Canyon Dam or Lake Powell regions for good locations.
  • Hit the trail — on a horse. Organized riding usually takes you out into the desert, sometimes with a midnight rendezvous at a spot where cowhands set up tasty buffets for tired greenhorns.
  • Take cooking classes that teach you how to make tamales or enchiladas, or other regional specialties.
  • Choose a backpacking trek from Sedona; for a shorter trip, choose a two-hour hike along the Boynton Canyon Trail on sacred Native American land.
  • Go horseback riding or take a Safari Jeep Tours’ trip on the back roads of Red Rock Country, to see wildlife and the scenery.

Things to do for Centrics

  • Visit Montezuma Castle National Monument to see the ruins of often-photographed prehistoric Native American cliff dwellings (built in the 12th and 13th centuries).
  • Stay at a dude ranch.
  • Do your bird-watching in Madera Canyon in the Santa Rita Mountains, deemed one of America’s top birding locations.
  • You don’t have to ride a mule to see and love the Grand Canyon. The canyon vistas themselves are stunning; the Kaibab National Forest surrounds it. Regardless of your activities or mode of travel, the Grand Canyon is a must.
  • Help milk and feed the goats at the Strawberry Fudge Factory on the Fossil Creek Llama Ranch in Strawberry. Or, in the afternoon, help make and taste both the fudge and the ranch’s goat cheese. The llamas guard the dairy goats.
  • Attend the National Native American Days at the CRIT (Colorado River Indian Tribes) Reservation. It is a monthlong (October) annual event featuring a powwow, tribal royalty pageant, a parade and other activities.

Things to do for Authentics

  • Search out some of Arizona’s old, small cities with their intriguing histories. Try to get to Tombstone (south of Tucson), where you can see humorous headstones and the graves of some famous people, and Jerome, a former copper mining town that now attracts artists and their galleries.
  • See London Bridge at Lake Havasu City; go shopping in the London Village there, and have a pint in London Arms Pub. Attend London Bridge Days in October. The bridge was relocated from London — all 22 million pounds of granite in 10,276 pieces — reconstructed, then dedicated in 1971.
  • Taste Arizona’s wines; also, taste the oils at Queen Creek Olive Mill, east of Gilbert.
  • Study the skies at the Kitt Peak National Observatory, which boasts the world’s largest collection of optical telescopes. Nightly programs provide an introduction to astronomy and a hands-on tour of the stars all around us.
  • Shop in Sedona’s art galleries, noted for Native American jewelry, pottery, crafts, rugs and gifts.
  • Take one or both 55-minute Sedona trolley tours as an easy way to get acquainted with the town and its most interesting features. Tours depart from the Uptown depot.

Additional Resources

For more information, contact the Arizona Office of Tourism at www.visitarizona.com