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So you want to visit The Grand Canyon State? You’re in luck! This post is all about the best Arizona landmarks.
Arizona is full of unique features that come together to form the beautiful desert state we know today. From the Grand Canyon to Monument Valley, the landscapes in Arizona are truly one-of-a-kind.
And there are a few Arizona landmarks that everyone needs to see at least once in their life. We’ve put together this list for you so you can know exactly what ones to visit!
Grand Canyon National Park
The Grand Canyon should obviously be at the top of your Arizona landmarks list. This natural anomaly is a sight unlike anywhere else in the world.
The Colorado River has been cutting through the layers of sedimentary rocks for millions of years, creating the boundless chasm known as the Grand Canyon. A landmark that has an almost magnetic pull for visitors all over the world.
There are different rims of the Grand Canyon accessible to visitors, the North Rim, South Rim, West Rim, and East rim.
All have bewitching views, but the South Rim has earned the epithet ‘the real Grand Canyon.’ Now depending on where you’re coming from, another rim might be a better option. The West Rim is closer to Las Vegas, and the South Rim is closer to Phoenix.
Due to the number of visitors all year round, the Grand Canyon has many hotels, camping sites, and more for visitors. You can enjoy the phenomenon that is the Grand Canyon in the way that is most comfortable for you.
Hike from rim to rim, or just take a walk on well kept walking paths around the Canyon. Visit the various shops and restaurants in Flagstaff for some great food and attractions.
Located on Navajo land east of Lechee, Antelope Canyon is another beautiful destination for those looking to explore the best of the desert. The canyon earned its name due to the herds of pronghorn antelope that used to frequent the area.
There are a few different sections of the slot canyons that you can visit, each of them with their own unique pattern and shape. Take a guided tour through the canyons to see the picturesque formations made by years and years of wind and water erosion.
There’s plenty of hiking available and I would recommend the Lower Antelope Canyon for the adventurers out there. But each section has something to enjoy!
Out of all the Arizona landmarks we’ve visited, the Antelope Canyon is still our favorite. Be sure to stay in nearby Page!
Horseshoe Bend has iconic scenery and it’s the perfect spot for travelers just passing through. The sight is just a short walk from the parking lot.
For those sunrise and sunset chasers, this landmark has some of the most beautiful desert sunrises and sunsets you can find.
Now for those who have a lot of time in the area, Horseshoe Bend is close to locations like Antelope Canyon and Lake Powell. Why not hit every Arizona landmark you can while in the area?
Saguaro National Park
We’ve talked about a lot of landmarks towards the central and northern part of the state, but the south has a lot to offer as well!
In Tucson, visit the Saguaro National Park to see the cacti that only grow in the Sonoran Desert. This species is the largest cactus in the United States and will normally grow to around 40 feet tall.
But that doesn’t mean they will stop there! The tallest Saguaro to date measured at 78 feet tall. That cactus would tower over a 5 story tall building!
There are two districts of this park, each side has its own visitor center and unique programs, trails and exhibits.
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is a site of overwhelming size and beauty. Rock formations from 400 feet to 1,000 feet scatter throughout the valley.
Take the scenic loop to explore the valley on your own, or head to the visitor center and have local Navajo tour operators take you to these majestic formations up close and personal.
In summer months, you can eat at the Hashke Neiniih Restaurant, featuring both Navajo and American cuisine. Near the visitor center Navajo creators set up shop for visitors to snag some local art, crafts, food and souvenirs.
Desert Botanical Garden
Admit it, when you think of the desert dirt and cacti are the first, and maybe only, things that come to mind.
But that’s not all there is to it! If you’re in Phoenix, visit the Desert Botanical Garden to see what other plantlife the Sonoran Desert supports.
This garden is teeming with cacti, flowers, and more. Take a walk on their many garden paths, learn about the ecosystem in the visitor center, or relax with some local music and drink surrounded by desert beauty.
Petrified Forest National Park
Northeastern Arizona grants visitors an extraordinary view of ancient processes at work in Petrified Forest National Park.
Petrified trees lie suspended in time, keeping the shape, color, and position they had thousands of years ago.
The southern section of the park is called the Rainbow Forest due to the brilliantly colored wood.
This park is perfect for visitors of any kind. You can just drive through and stop at a few spots overlooking the magnificent park.
If you are able to stop for a longer time, there are many trails to follow and you could check out the Paleo Lab and learn a little bit about this mystifying process.
Montezuma Castle National Monument
If you would like to see what life in America was like in ancient times, Montezuma Castle National Monument provides a window into the past.
Nestled into an Arizona canyon wall, the large building gives us a glimpse into how ancient Native Americans survived in the harsh desert conditions.
This monument has been protected since 1906, and many archaeological finds have been gathered here. This is a fascinating site to see our country’s history first hand.
Montezuma Castle National Monument is a Arizona landmark you don’t want to miss.
In stark contrast to the seemingly endless desert surrounding it, Havasu Falls is a beautiful natural waterfall shrouded by the Grand Canyon.
Located on Havasupai Indian land, turquoise pools spill out beneath the waterfall creating an unparalleled view. This is a well sought after destination and you should be preparing and making reservations well before your visiting date.
The hike down to the falls is long and, simply put, difficult. It is not for the fainthearted, and you should plan on taking at least half a day to get down to the campground.
Once at the bottom, rest and explore Havasu Falls and the other waterfalls in the area.
Spend the night at the campground or at the Havasupai Lodge and head out of the canyon when you’re ready to leave behind those spectacular waterfalls.
The road is grueling, but the falls will make it all worth it.
Slide Rock State Park
Originally cultivated as an apple orchard, Slide Rock State Park became open to the public 1987.
This is another unusual Arizona landmark that includes water. The creek flowing through the property has created a natural slide where visitors can slide down cool off from the heat.
If that isn’t enough motivation to visit the park, there are some of the original buildings and cabins on the property from the early 1900s.
Located just outside of Sedona, this is a landmark worth visiting.
Kartchner Caverns State Park
In 1974, near Tucson, two Arizona locals discovered just what they were looking for, “a cave no one had ever found” which is now known as Kartchner Caverns State Park.
Luckily, they went through the right channels and made the site into a state park, so it could be preserved and enjoyed by adventure seekers for years to come.
Choose between a few tours to see the different rooms of this vast cave. Each room has formed over time into its own unique design, offering breathtaking views.
Vermilion Cliffs National Monument (aka The Wave)
Have you ever wanted to feel like you’re on another planet?
Thought so. Then Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is the landmark for you.
The colorful, stratified rock gives an otherworldly impression, you could almost stare at it for hours.
But luckily, you can do a lot more than that here! There are plenty of trails to hike, including a 3-5 day backpacking trip you can embark on.
Located just beneath the Utah-Arizona border, visit Vermilion Cliffs to explore the cliffs, canyons, and beautiful rock formations here. This is one of the most out-of-this-world Arizona landmarks to visit!
Glen Canyon Dam
Near the town of Page, an engineering wonder stands in place to control the powerful Colorado River.
Second in height only to the Hoover Dam, Glen Canyon Dam has been a necessary resource in times of drought in Arizona.
Take a tour to see the inner workings of the dam, explore the visitor, walk on the bridge spanning the dam, and more.
The Dam is also located right in the neighborhood of Lake Powell, and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
So what are you waiting for?
Now that you have a list of thirteen of the best Arizona landmarks, start planning your trip!