For many people, the mention of Arizona elicits pictures of a dry, desolate desert with minimal attractions to offer. However, this is too far from the truth. While it’s true that the weather here can get quite hot, reaching an average of 110.5°F (43.6°C) in late June, this doesn’t make the place any less attractive.
From the beautiful vibrant cities, quiet small towns, and numerous natural wonders like the Grand Canyon, Arizona is one of the most charming states to visit or even live in.
The state is a perfect vacation destination both for those who want enchanting city life and those looking for nature and outdoor activities.
If you’ve had any negative thoughts about the place, here is a list of the most beautiful places in Arizona that will certainly change your mind.
Most Beautiful Places in Arizona
Sedona is one of Arizona’s desert cities that give an entirely new meaning to desert life. Surrounded by beautiful rock mountains, pine forests, and red-rock buttes, the city is undoubtedly among the most beautiful places in Arizona.
The evergreen surroundings and the stunning red rock sceneries are two things that give the city its alluring energy.
Also, unlike some parts of Arizona, which can become significantly hot, Sedona enjoys a mild climate that makes life here quite livable. The city also prides itself in its vibrant arts community, with multiple art galleries spread across the city – something that will make art lovers want to visit again.
On the outskirts of the city, there are more than enough sites for outdoor activities. For nature lovers, the Red Rock State Park offers a perfect location for hiking, picnics, bird-watching, etc. If you are looking for the best spots for hiking, mountain biking, or jeep tours, Sedona is the place.
In addition, many consider the city a spiritual place due to the multiple energy vortexes within the city. And if you’ve heard of the UFO tours, Sedona offers such. Check out these Sedona hikes and see how to maximize your day exploring this Arizona gem.
This is another beautiful desert city that Arizona prides itself in. Scottsdale is famous for its numerous spa resorts, golf courses, nature trails, and stunning hills and rocks formations. If you love golfing, courses like TPC Scottsdale offer just the perfect place for that. The adobe-style casitas in FS Scottsdale is a great place to stay!
For hikers, numerous trails winding through the McDowell Sonoran Preserve offer excellent opportunities. The beautiful rock formations, giant cacti, and green shrubs also give hikers the best sights.
And if you enjoy history, the 1920s structures in the city’s Old Town have numerous tales to offer. You will also get a chance to see one of the oldest trees dating back to the 19th century.
Scottsdale is also famous for its high-end boutiques and sprawling deluxe resorts. Therefore, if fashion is your thing, you’ll love what you see in Scottsdale Fashion Square. The place is graced by some of the biggest fashion names, including Barney’s, Louis Vuitton, Macy’s, Carolyn Herrera, etc.
Other attractions of this city include:
- Over 100 art galleries
- Over 600 restaurants offering mouthwatering cuisines
- Vibrant nightlife
- Butterfly Wonderland
There is always something to see or do in Scottsdale. If you are a baseball fan, this is an excellent place to base yourself for Cactus League, i.e. Baseball Spring Training Games.
3. Antelope Canyon
The amazing Antelope Canyon is one landmark that you can never miss among the most beautiful places in Arizona. And it appears in numerous photographs and arts all over Arizona’s galleries.
The slot canyon found just outside of Page features carved and twisting sandstone walls towering above you, with gleaming light beams penetrating through narrow openings as you walk through.
The canyon includes two sections; the lower and the upper Antelope Canyon. A guided tour to any of these two sections will be amazing, although you can also decide to visit both.
However, for people with mobility challenges or those who simply prefer flat grounds, the upper Antelope Canyon is the best option. It offers all the fantastic features and scenery of the canyon, with less challenging topography.
Antelope Canyon also gives photographers amazing sceneries for the best shots. Therefore, remember to carry your camera during the visit.
4. Horseshoe Bend
If you’ve ever heard of the ‘effects of water in deserts,’ this is one geological masterpiece of such effects.
Located approximately 5 miles downstream of the Glen Canyon Dam and around 4 miles southwest of Page, this is a perfect example of how water can change the topography of a place. Horseshoe Bend is a result of the Colorado River flowing on less resistant rocks.
While it was once a quiet place that offered expansive stunning views of the dramatic horseshoe-like bend on the Colorado River, it’s no longer that quiet. Currently, this is among the most photographed sceneries in the US. This has also resulted in a surge of visitors frequenting the place.
People from all over the world throng the place almost daily, to enjoy the magnificent views that the river has made.
5. The Grand Canyon
If you are visiting Arizona, the Grand Canyon is one of those places you can’t afford to miss. The truth is, the Grand Canyon is not only among the most beautiful places in Arizona but also a top tourist attraction in the entire country. Even more stunning, it’s among the Seven Natural Wonders of the world.
This spectacular marvel is approximately a mile deep, from the highest to the deepest point, and a whopping 18 miles wide. Also, around 277 river miles traverse across the canyon.
The place comprises two sections; the South Rim and the North Rim. The South Rim is the most visited region of the Grand Canyon, and it’s open for the public all year round.
It comprises numerous attractive sceneries, including:
- The Bright Angel Trail
- Mather Point
- Lipan Point
- Hopi Point, etc.
On the other hand, the North Rim is not as crowded, and it’s usually closed from mid-October, re-opening back in mid-May. Its top sceneries include:
- The Grand Canyon Lodge
- Cape Royal
- Ken Patrick Trail
- Point Imperial, etc.
6. Beaver Falls in Havasu Creek
Now, this one is not for the faint-hearted! While it’s among the most beautiful places in Arizona, it’s also one of the most challenging places to get to. However, when you get there, the experience is simply awe-inspiring.
Being the fifth set of waterfalls on Havasu Creek (a tributary of Colorado River), Beaver Falls comes immediately after Mooney Falls. They are approximately 18 miles from Hualapai Hilltop and around 8 miles from Havasu campground.
If you are a hiking enthusiast or can manage to reach the falls, you’ll undoubtedly love the amazing cascading pools formed over limestone terraces. Also, you can see the marks showing how the water levels rose during the 1910 floods as you swim in the stunning blue pools.
The serenity and fresh breath of nature will make your long trek to the place worthwhile.
If you are looking for a place where sunshine is the order of the day all year round, Tucson is that place. The place enjoys sunshine for around 350 days in a year, with temperatures averaging 83 degrees. This makes Tucson America’s sunniest city.
However, having sunshine throughout the year offers residents and tourists an incredible climate, ideal for outdoor activities all year round. And, sunshine is not the only good thing that Tucson has to offer. In fact, the city was once ranked the most fun place to be in Arizona and scooping 25th position in the entire country.
For tourists, Tucson offers incredible outdoor sceneries with beautiful rock formations, extensive hiking trails, and opportunities for scenic drives and sometimes snow skiing. It’s also nestled between several landmarks, including Mica Mountain and Saguaro National Park.
In Tucson, any day is a fun day!
8. The Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
This is a scenic combination of blue water, dramatic stone walls, and an extensive desert landscape. For years, the place has been among the best spots in the country for land and water-based recreation.
All this is possible due to the presence of Lake Powell, America’s 2nd largest man-made lake. The lake was created after the construction of Glen Canyon Dam from 1956 to 1964, which blocked the Colorado River. It is one of the best places in the US to experience a stay in a houseboat.
Besides the Lake, the area enjoys more than 1.25 million acres of recreational space. You have hundreds of miles of scenic vistas, vast hiking trails, and numerous natural and geological wonders.
Also, the Antelope Canyon is nearby, and you can extend your tour to the place.
9. The Monument Valley
This is a very popular place in Arizona, although not with locals. People travel from all over the world to visit Monument Valley, while most locals haven’t been to the site.
Those who have visited the place term it as serene, breathtaking, and also spiritual. While it’s a long trek to the valley, the serenity and views that the place offers will certainly compensate for the effort.
Monument Valley is also popular for being the place where several Hollywood movies were shot. Some of the famous films shot here include the Searchers and the Lone Ranger.
For the best experience, you can join a Jeep tour or even go for a horse ride. With these two options, you have a chance to explore deep into the valley with a guide to show you the best sights. In addition, the guide will explain the history and facts of various sites or even access restricted sections such as the mystery valley.
10. Hoover Dam
The dam, whose construction was completed in 1935, is one of America’s engineering marvels of all times. It’s an enormous 726 by 1,244 feet structure across the Colorado River that links Arizona and Nevada.
The dam holds back the largest man-made lake in the US, Lake Mead. Lake Mead is approximately 110 miles long, with a capacity equal to the Colorado River’s two years flow. This offers some of the best sceneries in Arizona, as well as across the United States.
The best thing is that walking or driving across the dam is free, but with a small parking fee. In addition, if you don’t want to drive yourself, there are several tours you can join to see the Hoover Dam or even the power plant.
All details about the tours and the dam are available from the visitors’ center.
11. Saguaro National Park
If you wish to see the largest and oldest saguaro cacti in the US, Saguaro National Park is the place. This type of cacti is recognized globally as the desert’s symbol, growing up to 60 feet and living up to over 250 years. The plant is known to grow at an extremely slow rate, merely reaching 2 inches in its 10thyear.
But besides the cactus, there are also other multiple scenic features, including rock formations that will capture your eyes. You can enjoy all these views from your car as you drive down the beautiful Bajada Loop Drive, Signal Hill Petroglyphs, Mica View Loop, or the Valley View Overlook.
12. Petrified Forest National Park
How many places on this earth can you come across fossilized trees aged over 200 million years? The truth is it’s rare. However, in Petrified Forest National Park, you have just the perfect opportunity.
The place is famous for its ancient tree logs, which have been preserved by minerals for over 200 million years. This happened after the trees were submerged in riverbeds all those years ago.
And that’s not all that this national park has to offer. There are many other attractions, including the mineral-covered landscape, canyons, and extensive hiking trails.
Last but not least, on our list of the most beautiful places in Arizona is Phoenix city. This is not only an excellent start point to explore the rest of Arizona, but it also has numerous key attractions to offer.
The place is incredibly fascinating in winters, as people come looking for some warmth from Arizona’s sunshine or golfers looking to enjoy the stunning golf courses here.
The city also offers great experiences for shopping, dining, camping, hiking, and photo shooting. And, famous museums like the Heard Museum are also present. This means that your tour of the city can never turn out dull.
Author Bio: Kyle Kroeger is a travel blogger for his site ViaTravelers.com. Via travelers is a modern travel blog providing the best tips, hacks, and itineraries to ensure you have an amazing adventure. You can find them on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and YouTube.