9 Fun Things to Do in Arizona When You’re a First-Time Visitor

April 6, 2020

Over 44 million people visit Arizona each year to discover its stupendous natural beauty, rich history, and charming towns.

You’ve booked a week and you’re already feeling overwhelmed. So much to see, so little time!

But don’t worry, we’ve compiled a list of fun things to do in Arizona this year. Here’s everything you need to know.

1. Grand Canyon

One of the most popular things to do in Arizona is to visit the Grand Canyon.

You can visit either by car or foot and flex your photography skills by visiting The South Rim to drink it all in. If you want to hike, try the Bright Angel route but remember you must walk the same distance on the way back, including the uphills.

And for the super adventurous, book a Colorado River rafting trip and brave the rapids as you meander through the canyon for an unforgettable experience.

2. Petrified Forest National Park

If you’re looking for things to do in AZ, the Petrified Forest shouldn’t go amiss.

Go back in time to discover plant and fish fossils alongside petrified wood. If you’re unsure where to start, the Visitor’s center is a useful resource as they tell you how and why the site houses so many fossils.

The Newspaper Rock is a key highlight especially through special binoculars that reveal 500-year-old petroglyphs. You should also try the Blue Mesa trail, suitable for all ages, as you walk amidst blue and purple rocks.

3. Monument Valley

Not sure what to do in Arizona?

Check out Monument Valley where you can marvel the sharp rock formations and rippling sand dunes. You can enjoy Monument Valley by driving on a nearby highway or get a photography tour to capture the mesmerizing views captured in the famous John Ford movies.

4. Sedona

One of the best things to do in Arizona is visiting the stunning town of Sedona. It’s surrounded by majestic mountains, making it the perfect spot to enjoy the view.

It’s a fantastic day trip from Pheonix, as it’s only half an hour away by car. You can either hike, mountain bike or hire a 4×4 to explore the scenery.

One unique aspect of Sedona is how people believe there are four vortexes, or centers of energy, which explains why there are crystal stores dotted around the town.

The most popular vortex is the Bell Rock vortex which fortifies the balance between masculine and feminine energy. If you’re interested, pop into one of the metaphysical stores to get a map of the vortexes.

5. Painted Desert

One of our favorite Arizona attractions is the Painted Desert, around 100,000 acres of rocks in a range of colors from crimson to lavender.

It’s important to note that the Petrified Forest is also located here so you can do two in one day.

6. The Heard Museum and Phoenix Art Museum

Located in Phoenix, the Heard Museum has an array of exhibits and collections displaying Native American artifacts from when they lived in the area.

You’ll find a stunning array of paintings, textiles, pottery, and jewelry. Luckily, you can also leave with a replica in the museum’s gift shop from Arizona-based artists.

You can also check out the Phoenix Art Museum which displays art from the Renaissance period to the Old West. It’s also famous for featuring contemporary art as they often change exhibits so double-check before you go.

7. Desert Botanical Garden

Get ready for 40 acres of garden where you can familiarize yourself with ten thousand plants. You’ll discover cacti in Arizona come in a variety of colors and smells. You can also find different species of desert flora that prove that deserts aren’t barren but full of life.

8. Hot Air Balloon Ride

Before heading to Arizona, you should learn about hot air balloon rides because Phoenix is the best spot for it.

Hot air balloon rides give you the freedom to get lost in the views from high above. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience because you’re lost in the moment, above clouds, enjoying a birds-eye view of the landscape.

Further, you can turn it into a special occasion by doing a sunrise or sunset ride. And if you’re with a special someone, there’s no better way to turn it into a romantic affair and even pop the question!

9. Canyon De Chelly National Monument

You must add this to your “things to do in the AZ” list as it is another example of Arizona’s masterpieces. You’ll find pueblo ruins etched into the cliff, including a special one called the White House which was built in 1050AD.

It’s possible to drive there as it’s located on the South Rim but a guide from the nearby museum center will be able to teach you about
Navajo history, makes this a truly special spot.

These Are Fun Things to Do In Arizona

There are many fun things to do in Arizona, whether you want to get lost in the unreal scenery or learn more about Native American history.

One of the most unforgettable experiences is viewing Arizona by a hot air balloon as it’ll make the experience even more magical.

Take time to explore the various National Parks and, of course, the Grand Canyon to experience what Arizona truly has to offer. Happy travels!

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