Arizona

A wonderful mix of modern urban sophistication, the historic Old West and spectacular scenery. Arizona also boasts beautifully designed golf courses, fabulous hotels, wonderful food and excellent shopping.

Visits to Arizona are generally limited to the northwestern corner of the state that encompasses one of the great natural wonders of the world – the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon. Although a major attraction, it need not be the only reason to visit the state.

Top Tips

Arizona positively teems with National Parks, not least the Grand Canyon. If you're planning to visit a number of national parks, save money by purchasing a National Park Annual Pass for just $80 per vehicle (it’s US$25 to enter the Grand Canyon, for example).

Take time out in Sedona to enjoy lunch by the creek at L'Auberge de Sedona. We can think of no better way to lose an afternoon!

The sunsets in Arizona are incredible. See as many as you can, camera at the ready, champagne in hand!

If you're driving from Scottsdale to the Grand Canyon, make sure you don't miss Oak Creek Canyon, just north of Sedona. The views are magnificent.

The Arizona desert is beautiful all year round, but if you want to see it in full bloom, visit during the spring when it's a carpet of colour.

If you're in Tucson during the summer and want to cool off, take a drive up Mount Lemmon in the Santa Catalina Mountains. You'll ascend to 9,000ft and enjoy wonderful views and a perfect temperature.

From Scottsdale, take the short 15-minute drive to Tempe Market Place for attractive shops in an outdoor setting, great water features, an open fireplace plus great places to eat. Go at the weekend for the bonus of some live bands. Fish lovers should eat at Kings Fish House.

There are many ways to see the Grand Canyon but the best way is to take a rafting trip along the Colorado River. These are available from half days to almost two week trips.

Take an early morning hot air balloon ride. It's well worth the early start to experience it and don't worry about heights. As strange as it may seem, you don't have that same sensation of height as you get standing on a tall building.

In north-eastern Arizona, visit Canyon de Chelly (pronounced Shay) to see the spectacular red cliffs and some ancient Pueblo cliff dwellings that date back at least 700 years.

Arizona's Natural Beauty

Arizona has 27 State Parks and numerous natural wonders that provide access to a wide variety of activities, fauna and flora, and landscapes. The Sonoran Desert and Sagauro National Park feature typical desert scenery, with canyons, red cliffs and sandstone pinnacles, and the giant multi-armed cacti that typify the Arizonian landscape. The Painted Desert and the magnificent sandstone spires of Monument Valley in the northeast, the spectacular Red Rock Country of Sedona, and the mountains and forests of Flagstaff are just some of Arizona’s other natural attractions.

The north of the state is crisscrossed with canyons, mountain streams, ponderosa pine forests, alpine meadows and snow-capped peaks. In the south and west are red deserts with stunning rock formations, Native American tribes, ghost towns from gold and silver mining days and deep blue skies.

The Wild West & Native American Culture

The desert is also home of the Wild West, the land of cowboys and Indians, prospectors, gamblers and dusty towns. The character of the Old West is epitomised in the old mining town of Tombstone, the site of the famous shootout at the OK Corral where staged gunfights, swinging saloon doors and old wooden buildings are reminders of the harsh past that respected the ‘law of the gun’.

Native Americans who have lived in Arizona for centuries make up the majority of the population, and more than a third of the land is encompassed within Indian Reservations. Northeast Arizona is known as Indian country, where the Navajo and the traditional Hopi tribal groups reside, and is where the beautiful Canyon de Chelly, and numerous Ancestral Puebloan sites are to be found in the cliff walls and valleys.

Sophisticated Cities

But Arizona is not only about deserts, history and natural wonders. Two of the state’s biggest metropolises are in the desert, the cities of Phoenix and Tucson, offering 21st century comforts such as luxurious resorts, shopping plazas and golf courses. The region’s continuous sunshine and dry desert air attracts hundreds of thousands of people each year. Phoenix, the largest city in the state, borders with Scottsdale, the primary resort destination in Arizona. Both cities have a variety of accommodations and attractions, unique shopping, fine art galleries and many cultural events. Greater Phoenix boasts over 200 spectacular golf courses and a climate that attracts people from around the world.

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