Arizona

Arizona is a land of vibrant colors and extreme natural beauty. It’s as if everything around you wants to kill you and make you fall in love simultaneously. It’s famous for the Sonoran Desert, which spreads across the state’s southern half. However, Arizona has mountains too. Northern Arizona is dominated by mesas and mountains, including the 12,633 feet Humphry’s peak, which rises above the treeline, and Sedona’s photogenic red rock mesas.

Every trip to Arizona begins in a city, but you’ll soon find yourself drawn into its natural beauty. From the Grand Canyon in the north to the Sonoran Desert in the South, you’ll find a unique and otherworldly landscape dominated by red rocks and prickly plants. You’re always contending with the heat by leaving early, staying up late, drinking lots of water, or avoiding it altogether by coming in the winter. However, the rugged beauty of Arizona makes it all worthwhile.

Table of Contents

Price point levels scaled for a 7-day visit for a couple and anchored on research and personal experiences.

$ - up to $1500
$$ - $1500 - $3000
$$$ - $3000 -$5000
$$$$ - $5000+
Price Point
$$-$$$$
Language(s)

English

Currency

US Dollar

Reported for the US traveler with foreign countries rankings based on the US State Department's travel advisories.
Safety
Exercise Increased Caution

Reported for three representative cities within the destination via Weather Spark.

Climate (°F)
Summer Winter
Flagstaff 81 19
Phoenix 107 45
Tucson 102 42
Outlets
Type-A
Type-B

Best Time to Visit

To understand a place like Arizona, you need to understand her seasons. Spring is a frantic time for blossoms and new life nourished by winter rains. The dry summer begins when the final flower falls from the mighty saguaro and lasts until the monsoon rains come. Even with the rising temperature, it’s remarkably comfortable, and you’ll find deep discounts at the many luxury resorts and golf courses. It’s also the best time of year for seeing the famous Arizona sunrises and sunsets, as well as watching a million stars blazing over a dark desert night.

Monsoons pack extraordinary lightning shows and intense afternoon showers. They also bring humidity, so it’s no longer a dry heat. However, there is always a time of day and elevation where you’re comfortable outdoors in Arizona. Fall is short, with only a few deciduous trees in the washes and on the mountain tops turning yellow. The mild winters make Arizona an outdoor paradise, which you’ll see reflected in hotel prices and throngs of snowbirds.

Fun Facts

  • Arizona’s Sonoran Desert is the only place where the iconic saguaro cactus grows
  • Arizona leads the nation in copper production
  • The London Bridge was shipped to America stone by stone and assembled in Arizona
  • The Tucson Rodeo Parade is the largest non-motorized parade in the country
  • The bola tie is the official state neckwear
  • Tucson is the first UNESCO City of Gastronomy designated in the United States
  • You pass through as many climate zones driving the 27-mile Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway as you do traveling from Mexico to Canada
  • There are five seasons in the Sonoran Desert with traditional summer split into dry summer and monsoon
  • I-19 is the only US highway marked in kilometers
  • Arizona does not observe Daylight Savings Time (but the Navajo Nation does)

Bucket-List Activities

  • Hike the Grand Canyon (Grand Canyon National Park)
  • Raft the Colorado River (Grand Canyon National Park)
  • Visit Horseshoe Bend (Page)
  • Tour Antelope Canyon (Page)
  • Ski at Snowbowl (Flagstaff)
  • Stand on a corner in Winslow Arizona (Route 66 – Winslow)
  • Mountain biking in the Sonora Desert (Tucson / Phoenix)
  • Watch a gunfight at the O.K. Corral (Tombstone)
  • Walk on a glass skywalk over the Grand Canyon (Grand Canyon West)
  • Practice yoga at an energy vortex (Sedona)
  • Push the doomsday button on a nuclear missile (Green Valley)
  • Attend the world’s largest gem and mineral show (Tucson)
  • Go ghost hunting at the Jerome Grand Hotel (Jerome)

Natural Wonders

  • The Grand Canyon (Grand Canyon National Park)
  • Havasupai Falls (Havasupai Tribal Lands)
  • Fossil Springs (Camp Verde)
  • Antelope Canyon (Page)
  • Monument Valley (Navajo County)
  • Saguaro National Park (Tucson)
  • Petrified Forest National Park (Holbrook)
  • Red Rock State Park (Sedona)
  • Kartchner Caverns (Benson)

Major Attractions

  • Grand Canyon (Grand Canyon National Park)
  • Hoover Dam (Mohave County)
  • Heard Museum (Phoenix)
  • Saguaro National Park (Tucson)
  • Arizona Science Center (Phoenix)
  • Meteor Crater Natural Landmark (Winslow)
  • Sonoran Desert Museum (Tucson)

Native Foods

  • Cheese Crisps (open-faced quesadillas)
  • Prickly Pear Lemonade (sweet, purple, and delicious)
  • Chimichangas (deep fried burrito)
  • Navajo Tacos (open face taco on fry bread)
  • Piki Bread (bread made from blue corn meal)
  • Posole (soup or stew)
  • Sonoran Hot Dog (hot dog in a bolillo bun with pinto beans and bacon)
  • Mesquite Pancakes (bonus for prickly pear syrup)

General Travel Tips

Common Phrases

  • It’s a dry heat – usually true except for monsoon season
  • Snowbirds – people who only come to the desert in the winter, usually the elderly
  • The Big Ditch – slang for the Grand Canyon
  • Sky Islands – Isolated mountain habitats surrounded by desert
  • Monsoon Season – When intense afternoon storms come to the desert, usually with showy lightning. Officially from July 15 – September 30
  • Driving with oven mitts– Used in a sentence, “it’s so hot that I had to drive with oven mitts.” (but it’s a dry heat)

 

Enplanements scaled by the number of commercial passenger boardings that occurred at the airport in calendar year per Wikipedia

🛩 - Limited commercial air service

✈ - 25,000  - 100,000

✈✈ - 100,000 - 500,000

✈✈✈ - 500,000 - 1,000,000

✈✈✈✈ - 1,000,000+

Major Cities / Airports

  • Phoenix / Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX ✈✈✈✈) – The state capital and home to 70% of Arizonans
  • Tucson / Tucson International Airport (TUS ✈✈✈✈) – A multicultural city surrounded by the Sonoran Desert
  • Mesa / Phoenix–Mesa Gateway Airport (IWA ✈✈✈) – The budget airline gateway to the Valley of the Sun
  • Grand Canyon / Grand Canyon National Park Airport (GCN 🛩) – This airport only exists Grand Canyon flyovers
  • Peach Springs /  Grand Canyon West Airport (GCW 🛩) – Flyovers of Grand Canyon West and occasional hops to Boulder City NV
  • Bullhead City/ Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport (IFP ✈✈) – Bullhead City like lake front budget Vegas
  • Yuma / Yuma International Airport (NYL ✈✈) – Gateway to Imperial Dunes, the Proving Grounds, and lower Colorado River
  • Flagstaff / Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (FLG ✈✈) – Arizona high country next door to Snowbowl, Sedona, and almost to the Grand Canyon
  • Page / Page Municipal Airport (PGA ✈) – Gateway to Lake Powell, Antelope Canyon, and Horseshoe Bend
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Meet Ed & Jenn

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We deeply believe in the transformational power of travel. Our tagline is amazing adventures for ordinary people because we believe that you don’t have to be super rich, super fit or super anything to have an amazing adventure. Expanding your comfort zone and trying new things will pay huge dividends in both health and happiness.

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