Arizona is a sun kissed land of adventure and extraordinary landscapes. We’re going to show you 20 of the most fun things to do and best places to visit in Arizona, from hiking and sightseeing to picture perfect natural landmarks.
We have traveled extensively throughout Arizona and we can’t get enough of The Grand Canyon State. There are more AZ adventures in our future travel plans for sure!
Here’s how we will help you plan the perfect trip to Arizona:
- Excellent list of 20 fun things you can do in Arizona
- Best things for families and couples to do in AZ
- Arizona road trip itinerary example
- Best time to visit Arizona
Let’s get right into the most fun things you can do on a vacation to Arizona!
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1. Canyon de Chelly National Monument
What Is Canyon de Chelly?
Canyon de Chelly is a rugged natural landscape in northeastern Arizona appearing like a much smaller version of the Grand Canyon and Zion combined. It is managed and protected by the NPS but belongs to the Navajo tribe, who have lived inside the 300 meter deep canyon for more than 300 years.
Why Is Canyon de Chelly A Fun Place To Visit In Arizona?
Canyon de Chelly is one of the best places to visit in Arizona if you’re looking for an off the beaten path experience. Don’t miss the chance to take a guided horseback ride through the canyon with barely another soul in sight for miles as you pass by towering sandstone monoliths and spires.
Best Things To Do At Canyon de Chelly, Arizona
- Hike White House Trail to the ancient cliff dwelling White House Ruin
- Drive both north and south rim highways and stop at all overlooks
- Take a guided Jeep or hiking tour into the canyon
- Go on a guided horseback ride through Canyon de Chelly
- Photograph the famous Spider Rock monolith and ancient pueblos
What Is Cottonwood?
Cottonwood is a small but quaint city known as ‘the heart of Verde Valley wine country’. The Old Town touristy downtown area of Cottonwood is located just 19 miles southwest of Sedona and is the most popular stop on Arizona’s famous Verde Valley wine tour.
Why Is Cottonwood A Fun Place To Visit In Arizona?
Cottonwood is the perfect place to spend a relaxing night after escaping the chaos of nearby tourist hot spot Sedona. You can slowly walk from winery to winery along the historic main street after a day exploring nearby attractions. Cottonwood is among the best places to visit in Arizona for wine lovers.
Best Things To Do In Cottonwood, Arizona
What Is Flagstaff?
Flagstaff is a four season travel destination located in the center of Arizona. Surrounded by the world’s largest ponderosa pine forest, the gigantic San Francisco Peaks, Grand Canyon South Rim and multiple US National Monuments, Flagstaff is the perfect place to set up base for adventure in Arizona.
Why Is Flagstaff A Fun Place To Visit In Arizona?
Flagstaff is easily one of the best places to visit in Arizona considering it is so close to Grand Canyon South Rim. Stay in Flag, day trip to South Rim and use your remaining days to explore other natural wonders nearby. Plan to spend a night here if you’re driving the classic US road trip Route 66.
Best Things To Do In Flagstaff, Arizona
- Hike to Arizona’s highest point (12,663 ft) at San Francisco Summit atop Humphrey’s Peak
- Visit the Lowell Observatory and see the dark night sky through astrotourism in Flagstaff
- Use the city as a base to explore several parks, monuments and even parts of Route 66
- Explore the historic old town with excellent food, art and culture.
4. Grand Canyon National Park
What Is Grand Canyon?
Grand Canyon National Park is one of the world’s most recognizable and iconic natural landscapes. You can either visit North Rim at 8,800 feet but only open from Spring through Fall or you can visit the more popular Grand Canyon South Rim at 7,000 feet and open year round.
Why Is Grand Canyon A Fun Place To Visit In Arizona?
Grand Canyon is among the very best USA national parks and it is the most unmissable place to visit on your trip to Arizona. You can hike into the canyon or walk around the rim, photograph some of the most incredible sunrises and sunsets, and be genuinely blown away by the sheer size of the grandest canyon.
Best Things To Do At Grand Canyon, Arizona
5. Havasu Falls
What Is Havasu Falls?
Havasu Falls is a bucket list US waterfall destination located within Havasupai Indian Reservation land. As the crow flies, Havasu Falls is very close to Grand Canyon South Rim. However, the only way to access the stunning waterfalls is by driving 190 miles from South Rim to a trailhead and hiking to the waterfalls.
Why Is Havasu Falls A Fun Place To Visit In Arizona?
Havasu Falls is an exceptionally photogenic and highly sought after place to visit in Arizona. You will need a permit and to secure accommodation in order to hike the difficult trail to Havasu Falls. If you’re lucky enough to win a permit, do not forget your camera with spare batteries and SD cards!
Best Things To Do At Havasu Falls, Arizona
- Hike the challenging trail to and from the waterfalls
- Photograph the spectacular natural scenery
- Camp out under the stars with views of waterfalls
- Meet other hikers and nature lovers in nearby tents
6. Hoover Dam
What Is The Hoover Dam?
The Hoover Dam is an engineering marvel built between 1931 and 1936 in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River where the Nevada and Arizona state lines meet. The mighty concrete arch-gravity dam was the world’s largest hydroelectric power station until 1949.
Why Is The Hoover Dam A Fun Place To Visit In Arizona?
Are you planning a vacation to Las Vegas? It is just 40 minutes drive from Vegas to one of the engineering wonders of the world and it is a fantastic family day trip. The Hoover Dam is even bigger in person than it looks in photos and you can walk across the NV-AZ border to see it from both sides.
Best Things To Do At The Hoover Dam, Arizona
- Walk across the 14 meter wide top of the dam
- Head up to the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge
- Take a guided tour of the Hoover Dam
- Walk the historic railroad hiking trail to Hoover Dam Boneyard
- Drive to Lake Mead Overlook for an expansive lake vista
7. Monument Valley
What Is Monument Valley?
Monument Valley is one of the most iconic landscapes in Arizona and the entire United States. The skyline is dominated by towering sandstone buttes bursting out of flat and arid terrain. Monument Valley is exceptionally photogenic any time of day, but in particular at sunrise and sunset.
Why Is Monument Valley A Fun Place To Visit In Arizona?
Monument Valley is a classic and unique stop on any Arizona road trip. You will be blown away by the likes of Mitten Buttes, North Window, Totem Pole and Three Sisters formations in the impressive Monument Valley. Don’t forget there are similar but smaller and less busy landscapes nearby.
Best Things To Do At Monument Valley, Arizona
- Drive the 17 mile Tribal Valley Loop to all of the best scenic overlooks
- Take the classic Forrest Gump photo
- Watch sunrise, sunset or stay for stars
- Visit nearby Valley of the Gods and Goosenecks State Park for similar topography
8. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
What Is Organ Pipe Cactus?
Organ Pipe Cactus is a US National Monument and International Biosphere Reserve located right on the Arizona and Mexico border in the Sonoran Desert. It is the only place in the entire US in which the organ pipe cactus and senita cactus grow naturally in the wild, both of which are incredibly photogenic.
Why Is Organ Pipe Cactus A Fun Place To Visit In Arizona?
Organ Pipe Cactus is remote, rural and best of all it is free of crowds. There are miles of hiking trails and countless places you can frame beautiful desert photographs, especially around the golden hours of dawn and dusk. Organ Pipe Cactus is among the best off the beaten path places to visit in Arizona.
Best Things To Do In Organ Pipe Cactus, Arizona
- Hike trails for all levels and abilities
- Photograph organ pipe and senita cactus
- Camp under the stars in a dark night sky environment
What Is Page?
Page is a small but exceptionally popular tourist town in the far north and center of Arizona close to the Utah border. Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon and Lake Powell are among the most fun things to do in Page AZ, all of which attracts millions of visitors each year.
Why Is Page A Fun Place To Visit In Arizona?
Page is a fantastic base to use for exploring adventurous and photogenic natural landmarks in the incredible northern Arizona – southern Utah region. There are plenty of hotels and restaurants all at affordable rates you can use to see the amazing Horseshoe Bend or take a tour of Antelope Canyon.
Best Things To Do In Page, Arizona
10. Petrified Forest National Park
What Is Petrified Forest?
Petrified Forest is a small but unique US national park located right on I-40 in the east of Arizona. In the north of the park you can see colorful mounds similar to Badlands in South Dakota but more red and orange. To the south of Petrified Forest you can hike short trails leading to colorful ancient petrified logs.
Why Is Petrified Forest A Fun Place To Visit In Arizona?
If you’re driving east or west along Interstate 40 between Arizona and New Mexico you simply have to visit family friendly Petrified Forest National Park. You’ll only need 2 or 3 hours to drive through the park, stopping to hike easy trails leading to quartz-like logs and photogenic mounds.
Best Things To Do In Petrified Forest, Arizona
- See petrified wood in the south
- Hike short and easy trails
- Photograph the Painted Desert in the north
- Drive the 27 mile scenic road through Petrified Forest
What Is Phoenix?
Phoenix is the largest city and capital of Arizona. The city is surrounded by countless parks, mountains, deserts and hiking trails, making it one of the top places in the US to live for lovers of the great outdoors. Phoenix’s population is steadily growing as more Americans go in search of a warmer climate.
Why Is Phoenix A Fun Place To Visit In Arizona?
Phoenix is overflowing with fun things to do without leaving the city, from top notch museums to fashionable shopping areas and excellent hikes leading to city vistas. Once you leave the city, there are countless parks and areas of natural beauty within striking distance in all directions.
Best Things To Do In Phoenix, Arizona
- Walk around the Desert Botanical Garden
- Hike Camelback Mountain
- Explore multiple parks around the city
- Eat, drink and shop in Scottsdale before partying in Tempe
- Explore museums in downtown Phoenix
12. Sabino Canyon
What Is Sabino Canyon?
Sabino Canyon Recreational Area is one of the most popular natural places to visit in southern Arizona. It is located on the outskirts of Tucson at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains and is part of Coronado National Forest. Sabino Canyon is extremely popular with locals but it’s a hidden gem stop for tourists.
Why Is Sabino Canyon A Fun Place To Visit In Arizona?
Sabino Canyon is a place you go to enjoy the great outdoors. There are hiking trails rated from easy through hard and a host of sharp photogenic ravines leading to waterfalls after rain. If you’re looking for a locals spot with no tourists but all of the natural beauty, Sabino Canyon is your place to visit in AZ.
Best Things To Do In Sabino Canyon, Arizona
- Hike Bear Canyon Trail to Seven Falls
- Take on the challenging Blackett’s Ridge Trail
- For something a bit easier hike Sabino Lake Loop
- Cycling and horseback riding
- Take the Sabino Canyon tram
13. Saguaro National Park
What Is Saguaro?
Saguaro is a US national park split into two distinct regions, half to the east and the other half to the west of Tucson, Arizona. The giant saguaro is the largest species of cactus in America and it is only found here in Saguaro National Park. The giant saguaro plant is an iconic symbol of the US southwest.
Why Is Saguaro A Fun Place To Visit In Arizona?
You can hike a ton of trails between the two halves but the best thing to do in Saguaro is capture silhouetted photos of the giant Arizona state flower around sunrise or sunset when ambient light is soft and the sky is full of color. This is a great place to visit in Arizona for the whole family.
Best Things To Do In Saguaro, Arizona
- Hike to Wasson Peak in west Saguaro
- Try the Tanque Verde Falls trail in east Saguaro
- Photograph the amazing giant Saguaro plant on both sides
What Is Sedona?
The small desert town of Sedona in central Arizona is one of our personal favorite spots to visit in the US for hiking and photography. You are truly spoiled for choice with so many fantastic things to do in Sedona for all ages and travel styles. Sedona is like an adventure playground for adults and gets our top vote.
Why Is Sedona A Fun Place To Visit In Arizona?
Sedona isn’t just one of the most fun places to visit in Arizona, it is one of the very best places to visit in the USA. You can hike amazing red rock trails, drive Jeep Rubicons off road, taste top notch wine, visit national monuments, explore hidden caves and shoot amazing landscape photography. Wow!
Best Things To Do In Sedona, Arizona
15. Sunset Crater National Monument
What Is Sunset Crater?
Sunset Crater is a volcanic National Monument located just 18 miles north of Flagstaff, Arizona. An oval shaped cinder cone is all that remains from Arizona’s most recent volcanic eruption around a thousand years ago. Sunset Crater has wonderful views over the nearby San Francisco Peaks.
Why Is Sunset Crater A Fun Place To Visit In Arizona?
Sunset Crater is a great spot for the family to walk through the charred remains of a 1,000 year old lava flow. Visit at dawn or dusk for the best chance of spotting wildlife among the ponderosa pine forest encircling the base of the cinder cone. Strong hikers should take on O’Leary Peak for the best views.
Best Things To Do At Sunset Crater, Arizona
- Hike to O’Leary Peak Lookout Tower for the best view of Sunset Crater
- Drive the scenic loop and watch for wildlife
- Hike Lenox Crater and Lava’s Edge trails
- Photograph the San Francisco Peaks
- Walk the accessibility friendly Lava Flow and Bonita Vista trails
- Visit nearby Wupatki National Monument
16. Superstition Mountains
What Are The Superstition Mountains?
The Superstition Mountains is a range of volcanic mountains located just east of downtown Phoenix. It is one of the most popular places to visit, hike and photograph in Arizona. Legend has it the Lost Dutchman’s Gold mine is hidden somewhere in Superstition Wilderness.
Why Are The Superstition Mountains A Fun Place To Visit In Arizona?
You will find over 100 miles of excellent hiking trails from easy through challenging in the Superstition Mountains. The “Supes” are a fantastic place for the whole family to explore with scenic drives, saguaro plants, hikes, famous photography spots, mystery and intrigue in abundance.
Best Things To Do In The Superstition Mountains, Arizona
- Drive the Apache Trail for lunch at the Tortilla Flat Saloon
- Swim, kayak or take a steamboat ride in Canyon Lake
- Hike Fremont Saddle via Peralta Canyon Trail
- Experienced hikers have to take on Flatiron via Siphon Draw Trail
- See Theodore Roosevelt Dam and Tonto National Monument
- Find the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine!
What Is Tombstone?
Tombstone is a historic Wild West town located in southeastern Arizona. Allen Street is the site of the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral between lawmen the Earps and a group of outlaws called the Cowboys. Tombstone was at one time a hugely productive silver mining community in Arizona.
Why Is Tombstone A Fun Place To Visit In Arizona?
Tombstone is among the largest in tact and authentic Wild West towns remaining in the United States. Daily reenactments of the 30 second 1881 O.K. Corral shootout will keep history and western lovers entertained. Tombstone is a fantastic family day out in southern Arizona.
Best Things To Do In Tombstone, Arizona
What Is Tucson?
Tucson, Arizona’s second largest city, is a paradise for foodies and outdoor enthusiasts. The UNESCO City of Gastronomy showcases the best of Mexican and Native American culinary heritage. Nature is all around Tucson with Saguaro National Park and Sabino Canyon on the doorstep.
Why Is Tucson A Fun Place To Visit In Arizona?
Tucson is filled with fun things to do for the whole family. You can explore Colossal Cave, see the stars at Kitt Peak Observatory, hike around Mount Lemmon, explore Saguaro National Park or tour the Wild West movie sets in Old Tucson. It also just happens to be home to some of the best Mexican food in the US!
Best Things To Do In Tucson, Arizona
19. Vermilion Cliffs National Monument
What Are The Vermilion Cliffs?
Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is a geologic wonder sandwiched between Kanab Utah and Page Arizona. This area is home to some of the most spectacular formations in the US, from Buckskin Gulch slot canyon to the extraordinary North Coyote Buttes, also known as The Wave Arizona.
Why Are The Vermilion Cliffs A Fun Place To Visit In Arizona?
If you can win a permit to the hike The Wave, you will be fortunate enough to be taking on one of the very best hikes in the US. If not, you can still visit South Coyote Buttes, White Pocket or Buckskin Gulch slot canyon. The Vermilion Cliffs should be firmly on every best things to do in Arizona bucket list.
Best Things To Do In The Vermilion Cliffs, Arizona
- Hike to the insanely photogenic Wave at North Coyote Buttes
- Explore the Southern Wave and White Pocket by 4WD or tour
- Hike part of the longest slot canyon in the US inside Buckskin Gulch
20. Walnut Canyon National Monument
What Is Walnut Canyon?
Walnut Canyon is a popular US National Monument located just 10 miles southeast of Flagstaff, Arizona. A 600 foot deep canyon carved by Walnut Creek and made of Kaibab limestone was inhabited by Sinagua Indians in the 12th and 13th centuries using ingenious methods to create cliff dwellings.
Why Is A Walnut Canyon A Fun Place To Visit?
Walnut Canyon is similar to Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado but on a much smaller scale and within 10 miles of Flagstaff. It is a wonderful place to get up close and follow in the footsteps of people who once lived here nearly a thousand years ago. Don’t miss Island hiking trail to see the best dwellings.
Best Things To Do In Walnut Canyon, Arizona
- Hike the Rim Trail with your dog
- Take the steps down Island Trail to see ancient dwellings up close
- Photograph the cliff dwellings
Fun Places To Visit In Arizona With Kids
Are you visiting Arizona with the kids? Let’s take a look at the most fun places you can visit as a family:
- Saguaro National Park
- Grand Canyon National Park
- Hoover Dam
- Petrified Forest
- Superstition Mountains
Best Places To Visit In Arizona For Couples
Taking a couples trip to Arizona? Let’s take a look at the top places to visit as a dynamic duo:
- Grand Canyon National Park
- Havasu Falls
- Saguaro National Park
- Superstition Mountains
- Monument Valley
Map Of The Most Fun Things To Do In Arizona
Above you will find our interactive Google Map for the best things to do in Arizona.
Click or touch the map to activate, zoom in and out, scroll around and familiarize yourself with the area. You will find icons at the exact locations of all things to do in Arizona mentioned in this guide.
Planning Your Arizona Road Trip
Planning a road trip through Arizona is relatively straightforward. The core of the best places to visit in Arizona are in the center of the state running north to south.
However, a handful of top spots are located further out to the east or west, which makes them more challenging to include on a typical AZ road trip route.
Ideally you would fly into Tucson in southern Arizona and fly out of Las Vegas in Nevada. If not, fly into Phoenix and drive straight down to Tucson to get started.
This would allow you to hire a car and drive straight up through the spine of Arizona, ticking off the best of Tucson, Phoenix, Sedona, Flagstaff, Page and Grand Canyon before finishing in Vegas.
Arizona Road Trip Example Itinerary
Let’s take a brief look at an example 19 day Arizona road trip itinerary featuring most of the fun things to do in the Grand Canyon State.
Tucson – Days 1 to 4
- Spend the first day eating and exploring the best things to do around Tucson
- Use the second day for visiting both sides of Saguaro National Park
- Day three is for exploring Sabino Canyon
- Last day in Tucson is reserved for either Organ Pipe Cactus or Tombstone
Phoenix – Days 5 to 6
- Explore the best of Phoenix on day five
- Spend day six hiking in the Superstition Mountains
Sedona – Days 7 to 9
- Sedona is a wonderful place to visit in Arizona so you’ll need a few days
- Hike the best trails and hire a Jeep for a day
- Spend day nine drinking wine in Cottonwood and the Verde Valley
Flagstaff – Days 10 to 11
- Explore Flagstaff and visit Walnut Canyon
- Visit Sunset Crater or hike Humphrey’s Peak
Petrified Forest and Canyon de Chelly – Day 12
- Early drive to explore Petrified Forest in the morning
- Spend the afternoon at Canyon de Chelly
- Stay somewhere near Monument Valley
Monument Valley and Page – Day 13
- Sunrise start at Monument Valley
- Drive to Page for a tour of Antelope Canyon
- Sunset at Horseshoe Bend
Vermilion Cliffs – Day 14
- Hike The Wave if you can win a permit
- Otherwise visit South Coyote Buttes or White Pocket
- Alternatively, hike a portion of Buckskin Gulch
Grand Canyon – Days 15 to 17
- Spend day fifteen at Grand Canyon North Rim
- Drive to South Rim and see the best viewpoints
- Spend day 17 hiking down into South Rim
Havasu Falls – Days 18 to 19
- Drive over to Havasu Falls trailhead and hike to the waterfall
- Spend the night at Havasu Falls
- Hike back on the morning of day 19
- Drive to Hoover Dam on the way back to Las Vegas
Best Time To Visit Arizona
Spring and Fall are the most comfortable seasons to visit Arizona, but both peak seasons in the state result in higher hotel prices and overcrowding issues at the popular tourist spots.
April, May, September and October are the busiest months to visit Arizona. You will find every thing to do in this list will be crowded or hard to book, plus hotel prices will be inflated.
Summer months are hot in Arizona which does reduce the crowds and costs a little, but Winter is a fantastic time to avoid both.
Our Most Popular Arizona Guides
Sedona – How to plan the perfect 1-7 day Sedona Itinerary
Grand Canyon – The perfect Grand Canyon South Rim itinerary
The Wave – How to hike the amazing trail to The Wave in Arizona
Top 20 Places To Visit In Arizona
Here’s a summary of the top 20 things to do and places to visit in Arizona:
- Canyon de Chelly
- Grand Canyon
- Havasu Falls
- Hoover Dam
- Monument Valley
- Organ Pipe Cactus
- Petrified Forest
- Sabino Canyon
- Sunset Crater
- Superstition Mountains
- Vermilion Cliffs
- Walnut Canyon
We hope this guide listing the best things to do in Arizona helps with planning your visit to the American Southwest!
Please let us know if you have any questions about visiting Arizona below in the comments and have a great trip.
Mark and Kristen