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What are the cool things to do in Arizona? Plan to have a picnic with your family and friends in Arizona? Do you have an interest in exploring some beautiful destinations? This article will tell you about the cool places and things to do in Arizona.
To begin with, let’s review Arizona, its location, weather, and other facts. Would you like to explore Arizona and visit the popular tourist attractions? Here we go.
1. Details about Arizona
1.1. Some Facts about Arizona
Arizona State is located in South West USA. It is famous for its desert landscapes and charming tourist spots. Moreover, the state is rich in biodiversity and culture, with an incredible history of the Wild West Era. It features historical buildings, art galleries, and museums.
As per World Population Review statistics, the population of Arizona equals 7,453,500. It is the 14th biggest state concerning population. Concerning area, it ranks as the 6th largest state in the USA. Arizona’s population resides mainly in Phoenix (Arizona’s capital) and Tucson.
Picnics with the whole family are a blast in Arizona, with many fun-filled adventure activities. From children’s museums, gaming spots, street art, science centres, sightseeing, and water parks to national parks, Arizona offers natural beauty with several outdoor activities.
1.2. Weather and Climate in Arizona
The climate in Arizona is usually arid or semi-arid. The South-West part of Arizona comprises a desert experiencing hot summer with temperatures between 105°F to 115°F. Winter temperatures go below 60°F in the daytime. June is the driest month when the temperature exceeds 40°F.
The average annual temperature in the state lies around 60°F with a precipitation of 12.26 inches. Although a year-round destination, Spring (mid-March to mid-May) and Autumn (mid-October to mid-December) are the best times to visit Arizona with mild and pleasant temperatures.
2. Fun Things to Do in Arizona
What are the fun things to do in Arizona? Arizona’s beauty lies in its iconic sight views, breathtaking landscapes of lush green forests, snow-covered mountain peaks, and spectacular rock formations.
Let us dive into the list of things to do in Arizona that make the trip a memorable itinerary.
2.1. Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon is a popular tourist spot and an incredibly alluring destination in the USA. It holds its fame as the Grand Canyon National Park. It is one of the most visited and famous national parks in NorthWest Arizona.
As it attracts millions of visitors, it is the top tourist attraction and one of the fascinating things to do in Arizona.
The national park provides catchy viewpoints like South Rim, West Rim, East Rim, and North Rim. The South Rim is the most visited spot by tourists. It gives more spectacular views from Helicopters, Rafting, Airplanes, Jeep, Motorcoach, Biking, and Horseriding.
The gorge views are 1.6 km in depth and 277 miles (446 km) long, created by the Colorado River millions of years ago. Nature lovers enjoy innumerable activities at such a glorious spot making the visit inexhaustible. Grand Canyon is one of the family vacation spot ideal for most families.
2.2. Antelope Canyon
The Upper Canyon (660 feet/200 m) is the most visited for casual tours as it receives more sunlight. The Lower Canyon (1,335 feet/ 407 m) is for adventurous people.
This canyon is a natural wonder formed millions of years ago by water and rock. The Antelope Canyon gets its name from the herd of Pronghorn Antelopes that once roamed the region. It is a popular spot for photography, and photos of this canyon appear on tourism leaflets, art galleries, and postcards.
Tourists visit the Antelope Canyon with the help of a guided tour or through the visitor center, where the tourist guides explain its extraordinary history and geology.
2.3. Papago Park
Papago Park is a municipal park near Downtown Phoenix, Arizona, nominated as The Phoenix Point of Pride. The park stays between the cities of Phoenix and Tempe.
It occupies an area of 1,500 acres and has more than 10 miles of mountain biking and hiking trails. The park is home to Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix Zoo, Hunt’s Tomb, Arizona Heritage Center, museums, golf courses, and other picnic spots.
The other highlight of this park is witnessing wildlife habitat with 150+ bird species like Gambel’s quail and Gila Woodpeckers, to name a few.
Some Papago Park Trails are Galvin Bikeway Trail, Hole-in-the-Rock Trail, Nature Trail, and Papago Buttes Trails.
2.4. Desert Botanical Garden
Desert Botanical Garden is an impressive botanical garden in Papago Park, Phoenix, Arizona. It is one of the best places to experience Arizona’s desert beauty and fascinating things to do in Arizona.
The Garden comprises 140 acres displaying over 50,000 incredible plant species and a 3200 square feet butterfly pavilion. Additionally, there is a Resource Library with over 9,000 books on gardening and landscaping. The extra beauty of the Desert Botanical Garden lies in the flora, with more than 4,000 species.
Moreover, the Garden also offers events and rotating exhibitions like live music performances, yoga classes, and much more. The Gertrude’s Restaurant, in Desert Botanical Garden, is a stunning American Restaurant with Bar that offers refined American dishes.
2.5. Monument Valley
Monument Valley is a red-rock sand desert region lying on the Arizona-Utah border. This valley displays the most beautiful landscape and is one of the most amazing things to do in Arizona for outdoor enthusiasts.
A picturesque drive through a 17-mile loop road through the Monument Valley gives views of landmarks like the Totem Pole, West Mitten Butte, East Mitten Butte, Mermaid Castle, and other enthralling sandstone masterpieces.
Monument Valley also provides plenty of hiking trails, of which the Wildcat Trail of 3.2 miles is the easiest, family-friendly, and doesn’t need a guide.
2.6. Lake Powell
Lake Powell is a reservoir formed artificially on the Colorado River in Northern Arizona in 1972 with the construction of Glen Canyon Dam. It is the most visited tourist attraction and one of the most appealing things to do in Arizona.
The lake receives approximately 2 million visitors and has 2,000 miles of shoreline. With several recreational activities like fishing, boating, and water skiing, it offers a boat tour to Rainbow Bridge, the world’s massive natural bridge.
2.7. Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is the USA’s National Park Service’s beautiful site of recreation and a conservation area. It comprises a 1.25 million acres area comprising red rock cliffs and emerald green waters. It provides outdoor activities with plenty of hiking and biking trails and swimming areas, with avenues for canoeing and kayaking.
In addition, this National Recreation Area is home to Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell. Horseshoe Bend is a well-known visited and photographed place entrenched meander created by the Colorado River in Glen Canyon National Recreation, attracting 2 million visitors yearly.
2.8. Canyon De Chelly National Monument
Canyon De Chelly National Monument is a steep cliffside park in North-East Arizona. It consists of the dwelling of the Anasazi and Navajo people (Ancient Publeons) who lived 5,000 years ago.
The house construction lies between 350 AD and 1050 AD, with an area of 84,000 acres. This national monument offers activities like camping and guided tours for visitors with an authorized guide or through a visitor center.
2.9. Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium, and Safari Park
Wildlife World Zoo is an aquarium and a zoo in Litchfield Park, Arizona which is a 30-minute distance from Phoenix. It is a family-friendly attraction and one of the exciting things to do in Arizona.
The zoo is 215 acres which includes Arizona’s exotic animals, specializing primarily in African and South-American animals. It is home to 600+ animal species, like giraffes, cats, monkeys, zebras, and much more, with a splendid aquarium view on the way.
Another notable highlight is the safari park that allows for a guided tour in an open airbus to view animals like gazelles, antelopes, and ostriches, to name a few.
2.10. Heard Museum
Heard Museum is a world-renowned nonprofit Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. Known for American Indian Art and founded in 1929, it displays 12 exhibition galleries and collections of Native American people with a sculpture garden, a contemporary art gallery, and a cafe.
The Heard Museum consists of items like pottery, jewelry, textiles, weavings, and katsina dolls of Native American artists. Visiting Heard Museum is one of the best things to do in Arizona.
2.11. Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park is one of the most alluring tourist destinations and the best things to do in Arizona, situated 15 miles to the Northwest of Tucson, Arizona. The Saguaro National Park boasts a forest with majestic and massive cacti called the Saguaro Cacti, having existed for 200 years. These cacti grow to 40-60 feet (18 meters) in height which are the most distinctive and noticeable identity.
Apart from cacti, this beautiful park is home to wildlife and plant life, covering an area of 91,000 acres and the best place to experience the Arizona Desert. The animals to witness in the park are the Roadrunners, Javelinas, Coyotes, and Gila Monsters.
A highlight of this park is the Cactus Forest Loop Drive. It is a scenic 1-way, 8-mile (12 km) paved loop to the park’s east side, with magnificent views through the forest. Also, the Saguaro National Park provides various hiking and biking trails for beginners, experienced hikers, and families.
2.12. Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Forest National Park is a must-see attraction in the Navajo and Apache counties in Northeast Arizona. This desert park is known for its large and preserved deposits of Petrified Wood, which refers to fossilized wood from the remains of terrestrial vegetation.
Being a national historic landmark since 1906 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this park covers an area of 146 sq. miles. The best insight into Petrified Forest National Park is the Painted Desert, a barren and arid desert with varied and brilliant colours.
Other fascinating features of this park are trails for hiking, like the Blue Mesa Trail (1.6 km or 1 mile) and the Crystal Forest Trail (1.2 km or 0.75 miles), and the Puerco Pueblo, an archaeological site having ruins of ancestral Puebloan village people about 600 years ago.
2.13. Arizona Science Center
Arizona Science Center is a prime Science and Education Museum in Downtown Phoenix, founded in 1984. It displays over 350 hands-on exhibits for kids with entertainment and learning on different scientific themes.
The popular exhibits to highlight in the centre are Flight Zone, which describes the Science of Flights; The Forces of Nature, which showcases natural calamities like hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, or volcanoes; and All About Me, a peculiar look at the inside workings of the human body.
Additionally, the centre has a Dorrance Planetarium and a five-story screen IMAX Theater (Irene P. Flinn Theater). Also, the centre hosts special events and exhibitions, making it worth a visit and one of the best things to do in Arizona.
2.14. Arizona Ghost Town
Ghost Towns in Arizona are those areas of abandoned mines where visitors can explore old buildings and structures. Tourists can wander in and out of several buildings and look at the scattered residues.
The ghost towns through a guided tour are Jerome, Goldfield Ghost Town, Bisbee, Vulture City, Tombstone, and much more.
2.15. Phoenix Art Museum
Phoenix Art Museum is a massive visual art museum in Phoenix, Arizona, and South-West USA, founded in 1959. The museum exhibits diversified and inspiring collections of esteemed international artworks from the remote past to the present.
The museum covers an area of 2,85,000 square feet, equal to 26,500 square meters. Apart from international exhibits, the Phoenix Art Museum also showcases over 18,000 work collections of Asian, American, Latin American, European, Western American, contemporary and modern art, and fashion design.
It hosts several live events, festivals, educational programs, and independent art films.
2.16. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is one of the world’s leading historical museums, which has an art gallery, aquarium, and a botanical garden cum zoo, in Tucson’s West, Arizona.
It covers an area of 98 acres and provides the best views of the Sonoran Desert and 300+ animal and 1200+ plant species of various habitats and ecosystems.
Also, this zoo showcases 2 miles of walking paths through 21 acres of stunning cacti desert and animal exhibits like Mountain Lions, Gila Monsters, Prairie Dogs, Bobcats, Lizards, Rattlesnakes, and more.
Moreover, the other exciting things to witness at Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum are Stingrays Touch in the Aquarium Touch Tanks, watching flying Raptors and walking through aviaries of Humming Birds. Also, there are gift stores for buying jewellery, books, and crafts.
2.17. Canyon Lake
Canyon Lake is a reservoir encircling cliffs formed by Salt Water Lake in Arizona. The lake lies in the heart of superstition mountains and occupies an area of 900 acres, where visitors enjoy activities like boating, fishing, camping, and swimming.
2.18. Japanese Friendship Garden
Japanese Friendship Garden is a serene stroll park in Phoenix, Arizona, established in 2002. The Garden emerged in a friendly collaboration with the two cities, Phoenix, Arizona, and Himeji. Thus, the Japanese name for this Garden is Rohō-en.
It occupies an area of around 3.5 acres featuring rambling streams, bridges, koi ponds, a tea garden, a tea house, and pagodas. With abundant greenery, the Japanese Friendship Garden is a place of calmness and an escape from busy city life.
Next, it hosts cultural events, like pottery classes, moonlight meditation, aikido in the Garden, samurai nights, and much more throughout the year.
2.19. Musical Instrument Museum
Musical Instrument Museum, located in Phoenix, Arizona, founded in 2010, is one of the largest museums in the world that displays musical instruments for music lovers. It exhibits a collection of more than 15,000 musical instruments and related objects from around 200 countries and other territories or regions.
The museum showcases rotating exhibitions and galleries providing hands-on experience for visitors to play instruments. The conservation Lab in the museum conserves and preserves musical instruments and their related artifacts for future generations.
The highlights of this museum are a 300-seat Music Theater that hosts over 200 concerts every year, live performances, cultural programs, music, film screenings, and wellness classes. Besides, it offers an award-winning cuisine restaurant called Cafe Allegro, cafes, coffee bars, and a museum store.
2.20. State Farm Stadium
State Farm Stadium is a multipurpose sports stadium in Glendale, Arizona. It is one of the most majestic sports venues in Arizona and the USA. The stadium offers 63,400 seats with a foldaway roof and field to roll in and is suitable for any weather and events like concerts.
The highlight of this stadium is that it is home to two fabulous events – the Arizona Cardinals of the Grand Canyon State National Football League (NFL) and the Annual Fiesta Bowl. Moreover, the other popular events are Soccer, Monster Trucks, and WWE.
2.21. Hall of Flame Fire Museum
Hall of Flame Fire Museum, also called the Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting, is a historical museum in Phoenix, Arizona. It is a memorial for firefighters that preserves and displays old firefighting equipment from the USA and other parts of the world.
Occupying an area of 1 acre, the Hall of Flame Fire Fighting Museum portrays fire history exhibits and more than 90 restored pieces of fire apparatus from 1725 to 1969.
2.22. South Mountain Park/Preserve
South Mountain Park is a nature preserve in Phoenix, Arizona. It stands for the largest municipal park in the USA and one of the biggest urban parks in North America and the world. It occupies an area of 16,000 acres.
The park provides over 58 miles of hiking trails, mountain biking trails, and horseback riding. Dobbins Lookout is the highest peak point of 233o feet for public access in the park which gives embracing views of Camelback Mountain, Downtown Phoenix, and other Phoenix landmarks.
There are other roadways for activities like walking, jogging, and cycling. The main road to the park, Summit Road, is a scenic motorized road of 5.5 miles, popular with tourists and other locals.
2.23. Montezuma Castle National Monument
Montezuma Castle National Monument is a well-preserved national reserve and one of the archaeological sites of Native American culture in Camp Verde, Arizona, established in 1906.
It is a limestone cliffside dwelling of safety and shelter that belongs to the Sinagua people of pre-Columbian culture who lived between AD 1100 and 1425, 900 years ago.
This monument is five stories tall and partitioned into 20 rooms for exploring in person. A beautiful trail of 1/3 mile walks through the museum’s base provides a view of over 100+ species of native plants and animals. During summer, the scenic beauty of Sycamore Groves offers ample shade.
Montezuma Well is a sub-unit of this castle and a historical landmark, located around 11 miles to the North East. It is an underground spring with abundant water.
Surprisingly, around 1,500,000 US gallons of water emerge daily, managed by the National Park Service. This Well is a habitat for over 100+ species of snakes, lizards, birds, mammals, and insects.
2.24. Old Town Scottsdale
Old Town Scottsdale, or Downtown Scottsdale, is a vibrant and charming neighborhood in Arizona. It gives a feel of the urban and wild West or the old Western culture.
This picturesque neighborhood has a distinctive collection of shops, boutique shopping, restaurants, nightclubs, art galleries, hotels, resorts, and other fun events.
2.25. Out of Africa Wildlife Park
Out of Africa Wildlife Park is a premier wildlife park in Camp Verde, Arizona, founded in 2005. It covers an area of 100 acres with a safari ride (African Bush Safari Tour) that gives a chance to view dozens of animals roaming freely inside the park.
The park has mammals, birds, and reptiles from all over the world. Some of the creatures in this park are lions, zebras, giraffes, tigers, bears, snakes, and wolves.
3. Final Note on Things to Do in Arizona
What are the fun things to do in Arizona? Indeed, Arizona is a fun-filled, family-friendly destination with no shortcomings of attractions or tourist spots for nature lovers.
Summing up, the article gives a perfect list of the places for a trip. So, why wait? Start planning your vacation right now!!