Arizona is a spectacular state. Better weather is hard to find, and the sheer magnitude of options available to you will ensure that you and all your travel companions have something to look forward to. In particular, the landscape feels utterly unique and makes for the perfect nature-focused road trip destination. The following will explore some truly epic places to visit if you find yourself on a road trip through the sunny state of Arizona.
The Grand Canyon
First and foremost, there’s one of the world’s great natural wonders located in Arizona, and it cannot be missed. There’s nothing like staring at an insanely vast multicolored canyon to make you realize how small you are and how beautiful the world can be. The Grand Canyon is located in a park that is pretty easy to get to with a vehicle. You might even want to visit several of the canyons Arizona is famous for (Glen Canyon is also stunning). The experts over at RVezy point out that Arizona has twenty-two national parks and monuments. Park hopping can be a stellar way to spend your road trip. If you’re comfortable with heights, why not take the helicopter ride that’s available and see the canyon from above?
Even if the party life isn’t your scene, a visit to Las Vegas, Nevada, is pretty close to Arizona and well worth the visit. The sheer opulence of the glowing light-filled strip is alone worth seeing. The shows available are also top-notch and truly magnificent. Pop stars and classic musical groups, and mind-boggling Cirque du Soleil performances are just a few of the things you’ll be able to see. The city is also an incredibly interesting historical location. In 1931, Nevada altered the divorce process in the state, requiring only a six-week separate residency requirement. It also legalized gambling. These two choices brought in a flood of visitors from near and far and are a few of the reasons that many associate Las Vegas with quick marriages. Given the unique legal setting that was in Nevada, the culture and social environment are quite different than the rest of the United States.
If you’ve seen a handful of westerns, chances are you’ve seen images of monument valley. The sight is the quintessential wild west vibe with giant rock structures protruding from deserted, cactus-filled terrain. As with all desolate vistas, it’s a good idea to read up on a few safety precautions before you head out, especially if you’re going without a guide. You’ll want to be sure that you have your basic needs covered for a while should you end up with a flat tire or some other hiccup. Figure out how much water and snacks you’ll need well in advance, and be sure to bring them along. It’s also a good idea to let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to return so that people can start looking for you if you get lost. This is absolutely critical if you like the bolder adventures and plan on going off the road. If you want to stay on the road, you can make the valley loop which is about 17-miles long. It is also worth noting that some parts of this valley are only allowed to be visited with a tour guide seeing as it is on Navajo land.
Valley Of The Gods
With a name like Valley of the Gods, how can you not go? This scenic drive sits on the border of Arizona and Utah and is yet another example of the expansive Arizona wilderness that inspired generations of western lovers. The setting is hot but endless, with sand and cacti and rock formations galore.
Petrified Forest National Park
Here’s another location with a spooky and exciting name. Petrified Forest National Park is located on historic route 66 that has been featured in so many great American works of art. The park contains trails that wind through mesas and other epic desert landscapes; you’ll also be able to see the petrified wood logs from over a hundred million years ago that gave the park its name. Hiking, backpacking, bicycling, and horseback riding are available. There’s also the Instagram gold site of the painted desert.
This location is one that can only be visited with a guide as Antelope Canyon is located in Navajo territory. This means that if you want to explore this stunning, neon orange landscape, you’re going to need to book your tour in advance. Given the popularity of the site and the requirement of travelling with a guide, expect to be booking around four to six months in advance. Be forewarned, however, there are a fair few narrow passageways you’ll need to move through when exploring the two canyons, so if you’re a bit nervous about small spaces, this might not be the stop for you.
Horseshoe Bend is a particularly stunning vista, given its odd shape. This site is an excellent place to watch the sunrise or set, but know that it tends to get quite crowded around sunset, so arrive early if you want to get a good view without a whole bunch of taller people standing in your way.
The above list should give you an idea of the wonderful excursions and sites to see in Arizona. Of course, as with any and all vacations, it is critical that you take proper safety precautions before you set out.
Given that many of the most popular locals in Arizona are expansive and a little out of the city, you’ll want someone to have a copy of your itinerary. You’ll also want to be sure that you’re prepared for the heat and the sun. This means drinking lots of water as well as having a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. People tend to get tired much more quickly in the heat than they might expect, so do be careful about pushing yourself too hard during the beginning of your trip; otherwise, you might find yourself completely exhausted and unable to enjoy the middle and end. As well, if you are coming from outside of America, be sure to look up the rules of the road and pay attention to the ways these differ from driving in your own country.