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Things to Do in Arizona

Flagstaff

Filled with exciting historic landmarks and sites, Flagstaff is the perfect place for history buffs and nature lovers to take a weekend getaway. Explore the trails leading from canyons to Sinagua cliff dwelling rooms at the Walnut Canyon National Monument and learn about pre-Columbian life in the region. At the Wupatki National Monument, discover the ruins of ancient Native American pueblos, like those of Crack-in-Rock, in the middle of 35,000 acres of desert. Get active at the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument and see a 900 year old cinder cone up close or take a hike on the seven miles of trail leading to O’Leary Peak. For those interested in geology, the longest cave and lava tube in Arizona can be visited at the Lara River Cave.

Nicknamed the “Chocolate Niagara Falls,” the Grand Falls of the Little Colorado River are always fun to explore for those who are willing to hike or walk to the 185 foot tall waterfalls. Avid skiers on the other hand can charge the Bear Jaw trail in all of its 8,700 foot elevation glory and speed through aspen forests at the Flagstaff Nordic Centers. Take a heart pumping white water rafting trip down the Colorado River with the Hatch River Expeditions or tour one of the oldest observatories in the country at the Lowell Observatory.

More ideas: 27 Best Places to Visit in Arizona

Things to Do in Sedona, Arizona

Blessed with an absolutely breathtaking landscape ripe for exploration, Sedona is a beautiful destination for nature lovers of all ages. Start by spending a few hours, or an entire day, exploring the swimming holes and hiking trails of the Slide Rock State Park in Oak Creek Canyon. Then learn about the ancient tribe of the Southern Sinagua people through their cliff dwellings, pictographs and more at the Palatki Heritage Site. Experience a truly amazing view of the night sky at Sedona Star Gazing and spot star clusters, galaxies and planets with state-of-the-art telescopes. There’s also the Devil’s Bridge Trail where visitors can witness the grandeur of the largest natural sandstone arch in Sedona while challenging tough but manageable terrain.

Tourists can participate in a unique experience at the Sedona Red Rock Tours where guides will take people through areas with high vortex energy to let the spiritual energies work their magic. Other tours include the Wine Tours of Sedona where guests can stop by Northern Arizona’s best wineries and learn about the drink and its history. Make sure to see the extraordinary sight of the sun rising from behind Sedona’s red rocks in an unbelievable hot air balloon ride care of the Northern Light Balloon Expeditions.

Things to Do in Phoenix, Arizona

Pack a bag and head to Arizona for a fun-filled family vacation in the wondrous desert landscape of Phoenix. Pay a visit to one of the most popular modern art institutions of the past half-century and see a stunning permanent collection of pieces at the Phoenix Art Museum to start. At the Musical Instrument Museum, guests can examine instruments and musical artifacts from across the globe and view instruments previously owned by famous musicians like Carlos Santana, Elvis Presley and John Lennon. Expand your knowledge at the world-renowned Arizona Science Center which offers 164,000 square feet of interactive exhibits, hands-on learning experiences and exploratory educational experiments.

For die-hard foodies, take an eating journey through Phoenix’s best culinary establishments with Taste It Tours and learn about the city’s rich foodie heritage and history. Animal lovers on the other hand can hear the roar of Sumatran tigers or let majestic Asian elephants and Savannah giraffes charm you at the Phoenix Zoo. Learn about Hohokam culture at the largest preserved archaeological site in Phoenix, the Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park, which is home to over 1,500 years of precious Native American history. Don’t forget to let the picturesque landscape of the Camelback Mountain take your breath away while hiking or climbing the mountain terrain.

Tucson

Nestled in the colorful and breathtaking Sonoran Desert, Tucson’s local attractions and activities will keep the family busy on a quick getaway and even on a week-long vacation. Begin the adventure in Tucson at the Arizona State Museum and become immersed in the rich culture of the southwest at the museum which features over 25,000 baskets and woven pieces by Native Americans. Home to 230 types of animals and an incredible 1,200 plant species, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum also offers two miles of great hiking paths. With hues of pink, orange and purple in the sky as the sun goes down, the Saguaro National Park is home to the Saguaro Cactus, the symbol of the American West. Learn about the park’s research, education and conservation efforts while exploring the park’s flora and fauna.

For a traditional activity, head to the White Stallion Ranch and take horseback rides or riding lessons while the kids enjoy the in-house petting zoo. The children can also see elephants, tigers, giraffes, zebras and more at the 24 acre Reid Park Zoo which sees over 600,000 enthusiastic visitors each year. Learn everything there is to know about growing cacti and other succulents at the 2 acre B&B Cactus Farm then make sure to purchase some souvenirs at one of the biggest markets in Southwestern Arizona at the St. Philips Farmer’s Market.

Mesa

When traveling in and around the beautiful state of Arizona, make sure to visit the state’s third largest city, Mesa. Entertainment is great in Mesa and visitors can watch a Broadway production, local play or music concert at one of the four theaters of the 210,000 square foot Mesa Arts Center. For a fun family activity, experience a real historical working horse and cattle ranch or let the youngsters in the family learn what it takes to be a scout or cowboy at the Rockin’ R Ranch. A popular recreation spot in the city, the Riverview Park is another great destination for families as the park is known for its incredible playground. Some of the playground’s features include a 60 foot long rope climb and a 50 foot high climbing tower.

Go camping, hiking or simply enjoy Mesa’s idyllic landscape at one of 73 recreational sites of the Usery Mountain Regional Park or let the lovely aroma of over 9,000 roses bring fond memories at the Rose Garden at Mesa Community College. One of the most loved activities in Mesa is to cruise down the Saguaro Lake while hearing about the history of the lake and the Tonto National Forest on the Desert Belle Cruises. Art enthusiasts can explore a permanent collection of historical artifacts at the Mesa Historical Museum while the Commemorative Air Force Museum features a World War II era B-17G aircraft and other Air Force memorabilia.

Tempe

With great attractions and an exciting vibe, a visit to the quirky and urban city of Tempe is always a great way to spend a vacation. The heart of the city is with its people, so get to know the coolest cats in town while stopping by some of the city’s best microbreweries, shops and bars in Downtown Tempe. Meanwhile, avid shoppers can keep busy at over 185 retailers with great deals at Arizona Mills, a large indoor outlet shopping mall. For the best entertainment that Tempe has to offer, head to the Tempe Center for the Arts and catch a world-class performance or visit the visual art spaces featuring stunning local and international works.

Enjoy an active afternoon while discovering the 500 petroglyphs left behind by Hohokam Native Americans between 750 AD and 1540 AD at the Hayden Butte Preserve or beat the heat and splash around the Tempe Beach Park which offers water sport activities, biking trails and more. On the other hand, visitors can swim laps, enjoy the heated wave pool, play a game of tennis or take part in a soccer game among other things at Kiwanis Park. Thousands of marine animals can be seen up close at the 26,000 square foot SEA LIFE Aquarium and the Arizona State University Art Museum encourages visitors to browse the 12,000 piece permanent collection.

Chandler

A suburb of Phoenix, Chandler is a lovely town with fun activities and attractions for the whole family. Fans of the railway systems of the Old West can admire an extensive collection of artifacts like the Railroad Steam Wrecking Crane or the Southern Pacific Railroad Locomotive 2562 at the Arizona Railway Museum. Better yet, travel back in time to the 1880s and tour the Old West’s buildings, saloons and stores or witness show-stopping gunfights at Rawhide at Wild Horse Pass. Beginner and expert horseback riders alike will enjoy the adventurous riding experience across breathtaking natural landscapes at the Koli Equestrian Center.

Unique experiences are also abound in Chandler as those with a need for speed can learn the basics of precision driving and racing on various courses such as karting, military and tactical ones at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving. At the Environmental Education Center, guests can learn about nature, natural sciences, fitness and health all while enjoying the landscape of the Sonoran Desert. The ultimate R&R experience is waiting at the Aji Spa at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa while the Zelma Basha Salmeri Gallery of Western American and American Indian Art boasts artworks from various mediums such as Apache basketry, Najavo jewelry and more.

Golf in Arizona

Arizona's scenic golf courses draw thousands of golf enthusiasts every year. Phoenix and Scottsdale in Central Arizona, as well as Tucson in the south are home to the some of the most beautiful desert courses in the country. Peak season is from January through March. Good golf deals and packages are frequently offered by resorts during the shoulder season in the fall and in the spring. The most important factor to consider is the weather. There are many sunny days, but summers are just too hot for most people in the desert.

The Lodge at Ventana Canyon features two Tom Fazio-designed 18-hole championship courses recognized for their conservation and preservation efforts. The resort's signature golf hole is the #3 of the Mountain Course which offers spectacular views of the Sonoran Desert. Loews Ventana Canyon Resort is set on a plateau above the city of Tucson. The resort has Tom Fazio-designed championship courses which weave through desert cactus and scenic canyons.

The Boulders Resort has two 18-hole championship courses, designed by Jay Morrish. The resort has four pools, a health spa and eight tennis courts. The Kierland Golf Club offers some of the best facilities for golfers in the country, along with 3 scenic layouts. Across the state, there are more than 300 courses, ranging from desert to alpine in the north.