Things to do in Arizona -Bucket List

Looking for the top things to do in Arizona? I’ve put together the ultimate Arizona Bucket List for your next trip.

I have things to do in Northern Arizona and things to do in Southern Arizona. I’ve covered it all and included links to my articles on each topic if you would like to go more in-depth.

I’ve included all the best places to visit in AZ. These are some of the most fun things to do in Arizona. And that’s what you want from a list of the best places to visit in AZ.

Here are the 50+ best places to visit in Arizona for your Ultimate Arizona Bucket List

Visit Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend is the place to visit in Arizona. Made famous by Instagram, this horseshoe-shaped bend along the Colorado River in the northern Arizona town of Page.  There are many activities available at the bend, including hikes, helicopter rides and boat rides through the bend. Anyway, you experience the bend will surely be one to remember. 

Arizona Bucket List

Explore Antelope Canyon

Also located in Page, northern Arizona, this beautiful slot canyon was formed through erosion and flash flooding. Due to the natural beauty and uniqueness to other sights, the canyon remains to be a very popular photography site. Although, access to the canyon can only be via a guided tour so be sure to book in advance. You can also read my post on choosing between Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon.  One of my favorite things to do in AZ.

hikes in arizona

Swim in Lake Powell

Lake Powell, located in northern Arizona is the second-largest water reservoir in the U.S. hire a houseboat and float around this huge lake with beautiful scenery all around.  The lake also remains to be one of the more popular vacation spots in the area due to the serenity, scenery and countless number of water activities. Check out other things to do in Page, Arizona. 

View the Grand Canyon

On any ‘to-do’ lists for Arizona (or U.S), the Grand Canyon should surely be at the top. Arguably the most well-known and most visited national park the country. The Grand Canyon is over 270 miles long, 6000ft deep and showcases some of the best scenery and natural geological views. I have posts on The Best Grand Canyon Viewpoints, Where to stay in the Grand Canyon, and the Grand Canyon month by month.

grand canyon temperature in june

Take a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon

Did you know you can take a helicopter ride into the Grand Canyon? You can land in the canyon and check out the views of the Colorado River. Being inside the canyon gives you a completely different view. Check out my review of the best helicopter rides in the Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon helicopter tours from Las Vegas

Visit Flagstaff

Flagstaff is the largest city near the Grand Canyon. It is a good place to stay if you are planning to visit the Grand Canyon over a few days. Here are the best places to stay in Flagstaff and also pet-friendly hotels in Flagstaff.

Take the Train from Williams to the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon Railway departs daily from Williams, Arizona, which is about 30 miles west of Flagstaff, just off Interstate 40. The train travels almost due north to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. The trip measures 65 miles and takes 2 hours and 15 minutes each way.

Hike in the Grand Canyon

Interested in hiking Rim to Rim across the Grand Canyon? Or if that is too much you can always choose one of the shorter hikes I wrote about in my Grand Canyon Hiking Guide. Also check out my Best Hiking Shoes for the Grand Canyon guide as well.

Visit the 21 National Parks and National Monuments in Arizona

You can visit any of the 21 National Parks and National Monuments in Arizona. From the Grand Canyon to Saguaro National Park to see the cactus these are some of the best places to visit in Arizona.

Monument Valley

Located in north-eastern Arizona along the border of Arizona and Utah. Monument Valley is a series of large sandstone buttes with some being around 1000ft tall. The spot even acts as a perfect backdrop for you to live out all your cowboy dreams.  

Day trips from Phoenix

The Wave

A sandstone rock formation located along the border of Arizona and Utah. It is a popular spot among many hikers and photographers thanks to the colors and unique forms. Although, unfortunately visiting the wave is very difficult and could take months to obtain a permit. 

Hike to Havasupai Falls

Havasu Canyon is located in a remote area in the northwestern part of Arizona. It’s around a three-hour drive from Flagstaff and an almost four-hour drive from Phoenix.  You don’t want to miss this waterfall with turquoise waters. Check out my Ultimate Guide to Havasu Falls for everything you need to know about this natural wonder.

arizona waterfalls

Emerald Cove in Black Canyon

Located along the Colorado River lays emerald cove, with beautiful emerald green water (due to the sun’s reflection off the surrounding caverns walls); and a cave nestled along the riverside which can generally only be accessed by those on a kayak. Black Canyon raft tours offers visitors a guided tour to Emerald Cove and the nearby Hoover Dam and Willow Beach. This is arguably the best way to experience each of these sites.

Hoover Dam

One of the engineering wonders of the world. The dam controls the Colorado River and the bridges going from Arizona to Nevada. The dam is over 700ft high and 1,200ft long. The purpose of the dam is for flood control, hydroelectric power, and domestic water supply. However, over the years it has become a popular tourist destination with over 7million visitors a year. due to the large influx of tourists, the dam is open for tours for those wanting a closer look inside the dam. 

Humphrey’s Peak

With an elevation of 12,633ft, this is the highest natural peak in the state of Arizona. due to the size and conditions, hiking to the summit is generally only recommended to experienced hikers, although there are much smaller hikes for those beginners and less experienced. The views from the summit are incredible and on clear days, the Grand Canyon can even be seen.

Route 66

A historic route and one of the most well-known roads in America, route 66 originally ran from Chicago, IL to Santa Monica, CA. in Arizona, the route goes through both Flagstaff and Sedona. The route also passes some great attractions such as the painted desert, meteor crater, and much more

Hole in the Rock 

A natural geological formation located in Papago Park, Phoenix. There is a short quarter mile long hike to get to the hole in the rock and it is well worth it. The spot makes for a perfect place to watch the sunset.

Cathedral Rock

This is THE hike to do in Sedona.  Cathedral Rock Trail is a short trail that is very popular in Sedona.  It may be short, but it is quite steep.  The views from the top are worth it though. The views on this trail are amazing.  Along the way you can see Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte, and Mogollon Rim.  The trail is about a mile and you will gain 550 feet in elevation along the way.  Check out my post on the Best Hikes in Sedona.

Devils’ Bridge

This Sedona Hike is high on everyone’s list as one of the best Sedona Trails out there.  This is the largest sandstone arch in Sedona. This hike is a 4-mile round trip hike that gains 400 feet in elevation along the way.  This trail is relatively easy to hike with most of the elevation gain being at the end to get up to the bridge.It is an easy hiking trail with beautiful red rock scenery, and of course the views of the Bridge at the end.

Bell Rock

Located in Sedona, Arizona; this scenic trail is 1.75 miles in length and follows along the northern face of Bell Rock. The Bell Rock Pathway is one of the easiest and most fun hikes you will encounter in Sedona. The Bell Rock got its name because it resembles the shape of a bell. 

Oak Creek Canyon

Oak Creek Canyon is considered a small version of the Grand Canyon because of its amazing landscape. This is a scenic route mostly seen by car. Don’t forget to bring your hiking gear though because there are plenty of places to get out of your car and enjoy up close. Check out my post on easy hikes in Sedona.

Rainbow Bridge National Monument

Rainbow Bridge National Monument is the largest naturally occurring bridge in the world at  288 feet high and 272-feet wide. This bridge also holds special importance to the people of Navajo culture as they believe it is responsible for giving soul to the life of the desert by creating clouds, rain, and rainbows. 

Canyon X

Canyon X is one of the alternatives to Antelope Canyon. Canyon X also has the same red walls and windy labyrinth paths, but it is less crowded. These canyons have been carved out from millions of years of water erosion. Check out my post on Arizona Slot Canyons.

Upper vs lower antelope canyon

Havasu Falls

Famous waterfall located within the Havasupai tribal lands in the Grand Canyon. It is the most famous and well-known waterfall in the area, also attracting the most visitors. There is a 20-mile round trip hike to get to the waterfall but it certainly is well worth it with the stunning large waterfall crashing into the beautiful turquoise waters below.

 Beaver Falls

This is a less popular waterfall because it is so much further along, so it is quite a bit quieter than the more popular Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls. Beaver Falls Trek is an 8-mile round trip hike on top of the 10 miles to get to the nearest campsite and is well worth the trip. Beaver Falls is the farthest away waterfall from the campsite but well worth the trek.

 Fifty Foot Falls

This waterfall is actually before you make it to the campsite. If you are hot and sweaty and need a break before making it to the campsite, this is the waterfall for you. I wouldn’t miss Fifty Foot Falls whether you see it on the way in or the way out. It’s a nice quiet place to hang out and go for a swim.

 Cibecue Falls

Cibecue Falls is a hidden waterfall that is Arizona’s best kept secret. Cibecue Falls is a 3.5-mile trail located near Cibecue, Arizona that is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and nature trips. The waterfall is over 40 feet tall and falls into a pool of emerald water and of course, there are the red rocks of the American Southwest surrounding the falls. Check out my post on Arizona Waterfalls.

hikes in arizona with waterfalls

 Saguaro National Park

The national park is primarily known for its preservation of landscapes, including the Saguaro cactus. The Saguaro cactus is not only the state symbol of Arizona but also happens to be the largest and slowest growing species of cacti. The Saguaro cactus can grow up to 15-metres high and live for many centuries. the Saguaro National Park is one of only a few places where this species can naturally grow themselves. It is a must-visit if you wish to see the state icon, Saguaro cactus in its natural habitat.

 Petrified Forest National Park

With over 100,000 acres of fossilized wood and fallen trees, the national park might not seem too appealing to many traveling visitors. Although, upon closer look, the park does offer unique beauty with a range of unexpected bright colors appearing through the fallen trees and scenery of the park. This NP contains many viewpoints overlooking the colored landscape as well as some short hikes through the ruins and cliff edges.

 Wupatki National Monument

This is one of the best preserved and protected Puebloan villages of an ancient civilization. What makes Wupatki stand out is the mere number of villages here, while others only have one or two buildings, Wupatki has over 800 ruins scattered across the land. Five of the largest ones are right off the main road. This makes it easy for visitors to experience the rich history of these monuments without having to travel to far in.

 Montezuma Castle National Monument

This could arguably be the most impressive and spectacular ancient preserved building in Arizona. This is one of the best-preserved Indian Ruins in Arizona. The structure is built into a limestone cliff about 70-feet above ground level. The ruins are now believed to be from the Sinagua Indian people. This civilization occupied the area between the 12th-14th centuries before leaving the area and this beautiful castle behind. The location of the castle, being built into the recess of this cliff provides great weather conditions for the castle to remain in good condition.

 Navajo National Monument

This monument contains three cliff-dwellings which have been very well-preserved due to the area being acknowledged as a national monument in the early 1900s. The three sites are Inscription House, Keet Steel and Betatakin. The latter is the most commonly visited of all three, due to the inscription house being permanently closed to visitors because of its delicate state; and keet steel only being open to the public during the summer months.

 Sunset Crater Volcanic National Monument 

There is a 1-mile trail that loops around the base of the volcano, which is largely self-guided however, traveling up-towards the summit is strictly prohibited. Excursion to the top is denied due to the damage previous hiker caused to the volcanoes when hiking to the summit was allowed during the 20th century. The spot was named a national monument to protect the land after Hollywood filmmakers wanted to place explosives to give the illusion of a real volcano. 

 Canyon De Chelley National Monument

The cliff walls of the canyons were cut millions of years ago through streams of water flowing through the canyons. These natural water sources have provided water for plants, wildlife and families for centuries. Due to the long history, the beautiful viewpoints over the empty scrub filled valleys, the many wonderful hiking trails and the ability to camp overnight; Canyon de Chelly National Monument remains to be on the most visited National Monuments in America.

 Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

The organ pipe cactus is traditionally native to Mexico. However due to the close proximity of the national monument to the border of Mexico, the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is the only place in the United States where these cacti grow naturally and wildly. 

 Sycamore Canyon

This is the second largest canyon in Arizona, behind the Grand Canyon. The canyon is so large that it is located within three different national forests and is now home to a large variety of wildlife including mountain lions, black bears and deer. Although, there is no apparent campgrounds, visitor centres or paved roads. So, arrive with caution and well-prepared. 

 Slide Rock State Park

Located just north of Sedona, the park gets its name from the natural waterslide along the red rocks. The park is open for swimming and sliding and has been named one of the top swimming holes in the United States. 

 Tovrea Castle

A historic structure and landmark of Phoenix; Tovrea Castle was opened to the public in 2009 after initially being intended to the center piece of a private residence. The castle hosts over 5,000 individual cacti in a variety of over 100 forms and is open to guided tours of the castle

 Blue Canyon

A hidden gem of Arizona, this is a scenic area of multi-coloured rocks among the Hopi Indian Reservation Area. Due to the land being tribal owned, access is restricted, and visitors will only be allowed to visit the canyons with a permit and with a tour guide. 

 Verde Canyon Railway

This is a heritage preserved railroad in Arizona, running from Clarkdale to Perkinsville. The train ride is approximately 3.5 hours and goes over 20-miles through over a century of history. The train travels through canyons where passengers get to experience red rock buttes, and many forms of wildlife by being aboard a comfortable and modern train. 

Raft the Colorado River

There are many areas to experience the Colorado River, through Horseshoe Bend, the Grand Canyon and many other great spots. Equally, there are many ways to experience the river. However, one of the best has to be through river rafting! River rafting is a thrilling, exciting adventure and getting the chance to do it down Colorado River will be one to remember.

 Tumacacori National Historical Park

Located in southern Arizona in the Santa Cruz Valley; the Tumacacori National Historical Park spans over 360acres and protects the ruins of three Spanish mission communities. There are tours available on some occasions (primarily weekends) but self-guided tours are welcome on any day the park is open. 

 London Bridge 

Originally built in the 1830s and originally located in London, England; the bridge was relocated to Lake Havasu City, Arizona in the late 1960s. The lake was relocated after it began sinking into the River Thames, so it was dismantled, auctioned off, shipped over and re-built in the small Arizona town. 

Visit Tombstone

Famous for its wild, wild west stories, the town of Tombstone is worth a visit. You can walk along Allen Street and see the OK Corral. You can even take a ghost tour here. Check out my post on the best places to stay in Tombstone.

 Heritage Square

The Historic Heritage Square is home to the last remaining original structures of Phoenix as well as many restored historic homes dating back to the late 19th century. These buildings have now been converted into little shops and cafes for people to visit, eat and have fun. 

 Tubac

A small town, known as being the home of art in Arizona. the town was founded in the mid 1700’s ands till remains to be a popular spot for tourists due to the many art galleries, shops and unique art studios. This place is the perfect stop over town for any art lover. 

 Jerome

This is a former mining town of Arizona that is now considered as a ghost town. However, it is a great stop over town on any trip through the state with beautiful views of the desert and plenty of shops and places to eat flooding the streets.

There are various buildings around the town, some are new and some are the restored originals. One of the most famous is the sliding jail. Much like the name suggests, the jail has slid away from its original site and us now located just over 2,500ft away from its original location.

 Sedona

Sedona is a fabulous little town located just a short hour long drive from the state’s capital, Phoenix. This town is surrounded by stunning red rock mountains, pine forests, and great canyons. There are various hiking trails located around the town that all provide amazing views over the town and a great experience. there are also beautiful streets with great places to eat and some good little shops. 

Sedona Hikes

 Bisbee

This is another former mining town that has turned into a popular tourist spot located along the Mexican border. The town is situated in the mountains which provides great views over into Mexico. 

Tucson

There are many districts making up the city of Tucson, all with unique flavor making this a great city to get lost and soak in all the history, culture, wine and all that it has to offer. 

Arizona Wine Country

Just 55-miles from Tucson is Arizona’s wine country, primarily found in Sonoita and the beautiful green hills around. The first vineyard in this area opened in the early 1970s and Arizona wine has continued to gain international recognition since. Arizona actually has 3 wine regions and you can find out more in my post on Arizona Wineries.

Arizona Wineries

Conclusion: Arizona Things to do

I hope you enjoyed this list of Arizona things to do. There are some really amazing places in Arizona to visit. I hope you enjoy your visit to beautiful Arizona and see some really beautiful places in Arizona.

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American Southwest Obsessed

Nicole is a travel expert who has been traveling to the American Southwest since 1992. There is so much to see and do in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, and California. I spend part of the year in Phoenix and travel around the area visiting all the best places and going on the best hikes. Check out my detailed destination guides, the best hiking in each state guides, and the travel gear you need for your next trip.

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