14 of the Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Arizona: Must-See Attractions

by Sam
14 of the most beautiful places to visit in Arizona

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Arizona, also known as the “Grand Canyon State,” is a stunning southwestern region in the United States with a rich history that spans centuries.

One of the most iconic landmarks in the world is located here – the Grand Canyon. But beyond the world-famous canyon are so many other incredible places to explore.

From the stunning rock formations to the charming 19th-century towns and the picturesque reservoirs, Arizona is full of natural beauty and rich history, ready for anyone seeking a memorable adventure.

So where should you go? Let’s explore the most beautiful places in Arizona.

Most Beautiful Places in Arizona

Most beautiful places in Arizona

1. Grand Canyon

If you are looking for a beautiful place to visit in Arizona, look no further than the Grand Canyon. 

This world-famous UNESCO World Heritage site showcases an incredible display of Earth’s geological history with layers of rock dating back to nearly 2 billion years ago.

Recommendation: If you’re visiting the Grand Canyon for the first time, I highly recommend visiting the South Rim, which is accessible all year round. 

This offers breathtaking views from some of the park’s most accessible points, including Mather Point, Yavapai Point, and Hopi Point. There are also many amenities, which include restaurants and accommodations, offering more options for visitors.

Grand Canyon

From the South Rim, why not try one of the hikes? The Bright Angel and South Kaibab trails are the best choices for day-long walks, with Bright Angel recommended for those looking for something less strenuous.

If you are looking for somewhere to camp after a long hike in the South Rim, the Mather and Desert View campgrounds are your best bet.

With the Grand Canyon’s low-light pollution, expect to see a mesmerising night sky while you sleep under the stars.

The Night Sky By Mather Point AZ
The night sky by Mather Point is truly stunning!

2. Monument Valley

This is one of Arizona’s most stunning locations. Monument Valley offers a breathtaking view of the American West, known for its towering red rock formations that were formed from millions of years of erosion. 

Recommendation: For the best view, visit John Ford Point, named after the Western film director who shot many films there. It offers breathtaking views.

To get the best out of your visit, book a local tour guide to explore all areas. This is because the land in Monument Valley is not available for public viewing due to it being situated in the Navajo Nation.

Only Navajo guides have the knowledge and permission to access these areas. The Navajo guides will provide helpful information about the rock formations, including stories and legends of the area, offering that personal touch during a tour of Monument Valley’s history.

Monument Valley
Note: To enhance your visual experience, wait for sunrise or sunset to see the rock formations change colour

3. Antelope Canyon

The Antelope Canyon is one of Arizona’s most popular attractions, with millions of tourists visiting each year. 

Divided into two sections, Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon, this famous monument showcases some of the world’s most impressive rock formations, feeling like you have just been transported to Mars.

The best time to visit is from late March to early October, as during these months, the lighting conditions make the rock formation extra scenic. This is when the sun is out, getting a glimpse of the sun’s rays shining through. Come during mid-day to ensure you capture that moment without bustling crowds.

Note: To enter the Canyon, you must book a guided tour. I highly recommend booking in advance, especially during peak summer months.

Sun shining through the Antelope Canyon

4. Sedona

This national wonder is a must-visit for those travelling to Arizona. When visiting the magical city, be on the lookout for its many red rock formations that offer plenty of scenic views. 

If you are travelling by car, do not miss the chance to take a drive along the Red Rock Scenic Byway or through the Oak Creek Canyon, both of which offer some of the most amazing visual experiences AZ can offer. 

The area in Sedona has plenty of outdoor experiences, including many hikes to keep you active. 

Why not try hiking the Cathedral Rock Trail? 

The challenging walk is worth the strenuous activity as you are instantly rewarded with the best view from the top of Cathedral Rock.

Recommendation: Visit Sedona in spring, when the weather is perfect for outdoor activities, as it is not too warm, and the sun still enhances its landscapes for picturesque views. 

The desert town of Sedona
Trivia: Sedona is a spiritual city with energy vortexes. Visitors come here to meditate and connect with nature because vortexes are believed to be where powerful and soothing energies come together.

5. Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park is a must-visit in Arizona. This desert park offers a wide scale of stunning landscapes that are a paradise for photographers. Perhaps its most famous feature is its tall Saguaro Cacti, iconic to the American Southwest.

The National Park is divided into two mountain districts, Rincon and Tucson, each with unique experiences. Both divisions have visitor centres where travellers can learn about the park’s natural history.

The Cacti of Saguaro National Park

If you want an exciting adventure, why not try one of the district hikes?

For those planning on exploring Rincon, take the Tanque Verde Ridge Trail and Mica View Loop. These trails offer some of the best views of the Rincon Mountains.

On the other hand, if you are in Tucson, try the Valley View Overlook or Hugh Norris Trail. It’ll open up an excellent opportunity to experience Arizona’s finest desert ecosystem and take in some fantastic views.

The best time to visit the park is during sunrise and sunset, as the lighting at time of the day is perfect for its natural beauty. Saguaro is also known for being an International Dark Sky Park, so be on the lookout for nighttime events, as this park is a brilliant for stargazing.

Nght sky at Saguro National Park
The night sky is one of Arizona's best features.

6. Oak Creek Canyon

Oak Creek Canyon is one of Arizona’s hidden treasures located just in between Flagstaff and Sedona. While not as famous as the Grand Canyon, it still has its own charms and provides a more peaceful and serene experience.

This river gorge is perfect for families looking for a relaxing and calm day out. It offers several opportunities for swimming and picnics by the creek.

The most notable highlight is the drive through Oak Creek Canyon on Route 89A, considered one of the most scenic routes in the United States.

Recommendation: Do the drive in Autumn, when the trees are most colourful. It will provide a stunning viewing experience. 

Oak Creek Canyon

7. Bisbee

Located in Cochise County, Arizona, this delightful town has a rich history and a vast artistic community.

Once a mining town, it was founded in the 19th century and still keeps its Victorian aesthetic with its well-preserved architecture. Strolling down the streets will soon make you feel like you’ve teleported back in time, and you might feel the urge to put on a top hat.

Bisbee is full of art galleries, boutiques and charming shops, so there are plenty of things to explore, brilliant for that dream getaway.

The town of Bisbee
Bisbee frequently hosts events and festivals. These include art walks, music festivals, and historical celebrations.

8. Petrified Forest National Park

For those visiting Arizona, take a trip down to the Petrified Forest National Park.

This park is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the state, including colourful badlands, ancient petrified trees, and vast open skies that date back over 225 million years. 

On your adventures in the national park, you will come across plenty of petrified wood with its many visually stunning rainbow colours.

Petrified Wood in Petrified Forest

Information will be available at the two visitor centres during your visit. They provide maps, historical and natural features, and recommendations for where to go.

Looking to go hiking? Consider the Blue Mesa Trail. With only a mile in length, it is easily manageable and offers some of the best views of the park’s blue, purple, grey, and green rock formations.

Path Through Petrified Forest National Park

9. Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend, located just a quick drive from Page, is one of Arizona’s most famous and stunning natural wonders. 

The wonder earned its name from its unique shape that resembles a giant horseshoe. This was formed over millions of years by the winding Colorado River, which sculpted out the curved design we see today.

To get the best photo of the Horseshoe,  take a short hike from the car park to reach the overlook. The view of the horseshoe, with the backdrop of the river, is truly incredible, and it attracts plenty of visitors who are avid enthusiasts of the American Southwest.

Recommendation: It can get heavily crowded in the summer, especially at midday, so come late afternoon or early morning to beat the crowds.

Horseshoe Bend is just a quick 13-minute drive to Antelope Canyon, so you might as well add both to a day-out itinerary!

View of Horseshoe Bend

10. Chiricahua National Monument

One of Arizona’s most hidden gems, this spectacle offers both beautiful landscapes and fun adventure days out for you to enjoy. Its most striking features are its rock formations, formed millions of years ago from a volcano eruption.

The park spoils you with its abundance of hikes that allow you to get up and close to these rock formations and the surrounding wilderness.

For all the information to kick start your hike, begin at the visitor centre. They’ll provide information on starting points and current trail conditions.

Recommendation: Hike the Echo Canyon trail, which is only 3.3 miles long.

One of the walk’s highlights is Echo Park, where visitors can experience the natural acoustics of the rocks. If you hear people shouting, don’t worry; they’re just testing out the loud echoes. Hello…Hello…Hello…

Chiricahua National Monument

11. Jerome

Looking for one of the best towns to visit in Arizona? Well, you’re in luck!

The picturesque town of Jerome, located on the side of Cleopatra Hill, has undergone significant changes in the last few centuries.

From a booming 19th-century mining town to being on the brink of abandonment, Jerome has now transformed into a modern area with a thriving arts and cultural community.

The real charm of the town is its preserved buildings, many of which have been turned into quaint shops, art galleries, and restaurants.

The town of Jerome

Recommendation: To dive deeply into Jerome’s heritage, visit The Jerome State Historic Park.

Here, you’ll uncover more about the town’s mining history, including the Douglas Mansion, home of the family that played a significant role in the area’s mining history.

Make sure you also try out Jerome’s local wine; it’s delicious! Being part of the Verde Valley Wine Region, you’ll see several wineries and tasting rooms.

The Town of Jerome

12. Canyon de Chelly National Monument

Arizona’s Canyon de Chelly National Monument features some of the most breathtaking sandstone formations, towering cliffs, and intriguing archaeological sites. It has been the home of the Navajo people since the 15th century.

I would book a guided tour with a Navajo expert for those looking for an educational and insightful visit to the Monument.

They are highly knowledgeable of the canyon and will share captivating stories about its history. To book a tour, you must directly contact a tour operator.  Throughout the tour, you’ll see some of the Canyon’s notable features, such as the Antelope House Ruin and Spider House Rock.

Note: Visitors will have limited access to the canyon without a guide, including the ancient dwellings, which are one of the best features of the canyon

View of The Canyon de Chelly National Monument

13. Meteor Crater Natural Landmark

For avid astronomers, Arizona’s Meteor Crater is a fantastic place to explore and remains one of the best-preserved meteorite impact sites on Earth.

During your visit, you can wander around a massive, ancient crater that’s more than 50,000 years old and stretches about a mile wide.

A guided tour is preferred when visiting. However, visitors can also explore the crater at their own pace.

 Tickets can be purchased at the visitor centre or booked in advance through the Meteor Crater website.

Meteor Crater AZ

14. Lake Havasu

Lake Havasu is one of the most beautiful places in Arizona. Located on the Colorado River, this picturesque reservoir is both awe-inspiring and full of opportunities for outdoor adventures.

If you’ve ever seen pictures of Lake Havasu, you’ll be familiar with the famous ‘London Bridge‘ that stretches across it.

This bridge was purchased from London, England and was transported and rebuilt here to bring out the charm of Lake Havasu City.

Recommendation: Participate in water activities on the lake.

There are plenty of rental shops where you can rent equipment for activities like Jet Skiing, Wakeboarding, and Water Skiing.

Even if you’re only there to sightsee, the stunning city and lake views make for a relaxing time after your long hikes in Arizona.

View of Lake Havasu City
The famous London Bridge with the backdrop of Lake Havasu City

Frequently asked questions on the most beautiful places in Arizona.

When is the best time to visit Arizona?

The best time to visit Arizona is in Spring (March to May). Weather temperatures are bearable and not scorching. Therefore, you can comfortably participate in outdoor activities.

Which attraction is a must-visit when visiting Arizona?

For the best attraction in Arizona, it has to be the Grand Canyon.

This is an absolute must-see when visiting AZ. It is one of the most iconic and recognisable landmarks in the world. 

The vast miles of colourful rock formations, deep gorges and panoramic views will leave you breathless.

Recommendation – For the best experience, try a helicopter ride across the Canyon’s centre for a perfect bird’s eye view of the wonder.

Grand Canyon Helicopter Experience AZ
Offers one of the best views of the Grand Canyon.

What is the most beautiful lake in Arizona?

For the most beautiful lake in AZ, visit Lake Powell. 

This beautiful artificial reservoir is famous for its pristine blue waters set against the backdrop of the red rock canyons that offer stunning landscape views and plenty of photo opportunities.

When you’re here, visitors can participate in many water activities, including boating and water sports, while also exploring the unique slot canyons in the area.

Lake Powell AZ
Lake Powell - The most beautiful lake in AZ

Final thoughts on the most beautiful places to visit in Arizona

Arizona is truly a must-visit place for travellers worldwide. While many may overlook AZ in favour of more popular locations, the state is a treasure trove of red-rock formations and stunning landscapes in America’s Southwest, just waiting to be explored.

Whether it’s embarking on a hike in the Grand Canyon or stepping back in time in the 19th-century town of Jerome, you’ll create lasting memories to remember for a lifetime. 

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