Top Ten Destination Spots in Arizona
Is Tombstone somewhere you might want to visit?
A reenactment of the gun fight at the OK Corral
Founded in 1879, Tombstone Arizona is a historical city and a known name regarding the Wild West. It is also one of the last boomtowns in the old west.
Tombstone is probably best known for the infamous gun fight at the O.K Corral on October, 26 1881. The gun fight at the O.K Corral involved; the deputy town marshal, Wyatt Earp, Virgil Earp, Morgan Earp and Doc Holiday against Tom, Frank and Ike McLaury, and Billy Clanton.
By the end of the gun fight, Tom and Frank McLaury as well as Billy Clanton were killed in the hands of Wyatt Earp, his two brothers, Virgil and Morgan, and Doc Holiday.
The feud had been escalating for years due to the corruption and murders done by the Clanton and McLaury group. Ike Clanton was the only outlaw that escaped death in the hands of the Earps and Doc Holiday.
The Boothill Cemetery is the resting spot for some killed at the O.K Corral in 1881, including Billy Clanton. Another attraction is the historic firehouse #1 where the Earp Brothers once volunteered.
The Birdcage Theater is another popular attraction in Tombstone and the legend is that twenty six people were killed here.
One hundred and twenty six bullet holes can still be seen in this historical building and this theater is known to be haunted. Today they offer tours including the popular ghost tour.
At one point Tombstone was close to becoming a ghost town but is still thriving today. In 2010 the population for the city of Tombstone was at 1,380, a small city with big history. Tombstone is a National Historic Landmark District and was settled due to the silver mining boom.
The Apache Trail
The Superstition Mountains
9. Apache Trail
The Apache Trail was a trail used by the Apache Indians to get around Superstition Mountain. This trail passes through and around the deserts and rugged Superstition Mountains. It winds 40 miles through this terrain.
Due to its spectacular views of the mountain along with Apache Lake and the canyon, it is a popular place to visit and photograph. Most of the roads are paved, although you will find some that are not. Most of the Apache Trail itself is paved making it easier to travel on.
Tours are available and there are options on the length of tour you wish to participate in.
The Apache Trail passes the Roosevelt Dam which was built in 1911 and located on the Salt River. The Roosevelt Dam is close to Phoenix. The roads around this around pass drop offs and the road in this area are unpaved. It is important to drive slow and follow the rules of the road.
The Apache Trail will also connect you to Tonto National Forest. While on this trail you will also pass several lakes aside from Apache Lake. Another one of the lakes the Apache Trail passes is Canyon Lake.
The Apache Trail houses Saguaro Cacti which you will see all around this part of Arizona.The terrain along Apache Trail is home to big horn sheep, javelin, deer, eagles and even mountain lion.
Tours are available for great views and history of the Apache Trail.
Petroglyph at Sagauro National Park
8. Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park is full of Saguaro Cacti which is a popular desert plant in Arizona. These Cacti are usually what a person thinks of when they think of Arizona State.This park offers phenomenal views of sunsets and desert.
There are two sections of Saguaro National Park; The Rincon Mountain District and The Tuscan Mountain District.
The Cactus Garden Trail along with other trails located at Saguaro National Park are great places to catch views of the big cacti along with wildlife in the area. You might even see a Gila monster!
There are a couple of endangered species who have made this national park their home. These animals are the lesser log-nosed bat and the Mexican spotted owl.
Cactus Forest Drive is a popular drive and is great for those who would rather take a scenic drive rather than walk a trail. This drive also houses trails you can explore if you want to take a drive as well as walk some trails.
Bajada Loop will give you the opportunity to see ancient petroglyphs and there are also picnic areas to stop and eat at.
Don’t forget to stop in and browse the visitor center. Grab your camera before you take a trip to Saguaro National Park to capture great views of the giant cacti and some wildlife.
Saguaro National Park
The Telescope that Discovered Pluto
A look at the Lowell Observatory
7. Lowell Observatory
Percival Lowell was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1855 and had many tricks up his sleeve. He was a businessman and astronomer who believed that canals war on mars. This is what inspired him to open the Lowell Observatory.
The Lowell Observatory is located in Flagstaff, Arizona and is home to a number of activities and exhibits to get involved in.
The telescope used to sketch Mars is housed here and was used by Percival Lowell.Today the observatory is still run by the Lowell family. Another telescope located at the Lowell Observatory was used by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930 and helped with the discovery of Pluto. This telescope is a popular attraction and is open for the public to look through.
This observatory offers different tours along with multimedia shows at the Steel Visitor Center. There are also exhibits set up to view the sun through a special solar telescope and other telescopes for you to view planets, the moon and more.
Many great astronauts were sent to Lowell Observatory for training in 1963 for Apollo 13.
Hanging from the ceiling is the Saturn Lamp made by the LA Light Company and is a unique piece of art. Also located at the Lowell Observatory is a gift shop, science center and a camp for kids.
If you are interested in the space program or just interested in space in general, you wont want to miss out on this opportunity.
Percival Lowell Observing Venus from the Observatory
While visiting Tucson, also known as Optic Valley, you will always be able to find something to do from shopping to entertainment, but what I found interesting were some of the historical landmarks located here.
One of the landmarks is the San Xavier De Bac which is a National Historical Landmark and was built in 1797. San Xavier De Bac is an old Spanish Catholic mission and is still in use today.
Recently a site has been discovered near the Santa Cruz River. This discovery is a village that dates back to 2100 BC and was home to the Paleo Indians about 12,000 years ago. It is the oldest village known north of Mexico. Archeologists have learned that these people were farmers and have been learning about the agriculture, canals, cemeteries, ceremonial buildings and villages. 107,129 artifacts were found with pottery being one of them.
Another must see in Tucson is the Juan Bautista Anza Trail and tours are available for this historical trail. This trail was the same trail used by the Spanish who were heading west to colonize California.
Pusch Ridge is located west of Tucson and is in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness Area. There are three major peaks on Pusch Ridge and it is home to desert bighorn sheep. You will also see deep canyons and gorgeous red rock formations. Hiking is available at this location depending on the breeding season of the desert bighorn sheep.
Xavier De Bac
London Bridge at its London Location
5. Lake Havasu
Lake Havasu is on the Colorado- Arizona border and close to the Colorado River. The lake was made by the Parker Dam with waters from the Colorado River.
Lake Havasu is a great place to fish. Some of the fish here are; striper, bass, catfish and crappie. There are also some endangered fish and the staff asks to take precautions of that while fishing.
At one point sturgeon were housed at Lake Havasu but over the years they have gone. There is a myth that sturgeons are still in this location but none have yet to be seen.
Lake Havasu offers more than just fishing. Beaches and casinos are also at this location.
Boats are available to rent or you can bring your own and there is even a boat repair shop in case you run into any issues with your boat. There are also spots to store your boat if desired.
There are opportunities for shopping and golf as well as hiking due to the many trails located at Lake Havasu. Don’t forget to look into the tours they have available.
The biggest attraction at Lake Havasu is the London Bridge. This is the same historical bridge that was located in London and was built from 1824-1831. This is the second most popular attraction in Arizona next to the Grand Canyon.
London Bridge at its Lake Havasu location
4. Montezuma Castle
Montezuma Castle is near Camp Verde, Arizona and is an extremely well preserved cliff dwelling housed by the Pre-Columbian Sinagua around 1125-1400BC and is one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in America.
Although it was unknown why the structure was abandoned, at one time they lived in the twenty room dwelling and was once home to fifty people.
There is a visitor center nearby and offers a paved trail that leads from the center and around the base of Montezuma Castle. Climbing to the dwellings is not allowed due to preserving this old structure.
This site attracts over 350,000 people yearly and is also home to all the artifacts found in the castle which are located in the visitor center for viewing.
Some of these artifacts include; mutates which were used for grinding corn, boneless needles, stone tools and ornaments made from shell and gem stones. Don’t forget to visit the gift shop.
About eleven miles away from Montezuma Castle, you will find Montezuma Well. This well was formed when a limestone cavern collapsed. The water is fresh and warm making it a great source of water for the wildlife in the area as well as humans for many years.
Sedona is located in Arizona and is on the mouth of Oak Creek Canyon. The gorgeous red rock formations along with the known vortex’ in the area attract over three million visitors worldwide.
Sedona offers all kinds of outdoor activities which include; red rock trails, hiking, biking, fishing and camping.
Golf is another sport offered in Sedona as well as horseback riding and tours. Don’t forget to pack a picnic; Sedona has great picnic areas that are extremely peaceful.
Sedona is known to be an eco-friendly environment which is the allure to some people. Another allure is the art community that Sedona is closely involved with. Check out one of their art galleries to get the feel for this wonderful art community.
Sedona is a great place for bird watching due to the elevation and nice weather. Sedona attracts many different species of bird all year round.
There are also scenic drives in the area for those who want to drive and take in the gorgeous views of the red rock. On of the first formations most people will see when entering Sedona is Bell Rock.
Bell Rock is said to be a main spot within Sedona that is a vortex site which draws many visitors to it. Bell Rock is a great place to capture photographs from any angle.
Sunrays shining through the gorgeous rock formations
2. Antelope Canyon
This unique canyon is located near Page, Arizona and there are not many places that look like it.
Over years the Navajo Sandstone has eroded due to flash floods which have created very unique formations.There are two areas at Antelope Canyon; Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon.
This breathtaking canyon has been restricted to tours only and the tour guides do a great job. Also known as corkscrew canyon, the guides explain the geology, culture and history of Antelope Canyon. They also talk about modern awareness.
Jeep tours are available and a great way to get around the area. These guides are professional tour guides and give plenty of tips on how to take the perfect photograph of the gorgeous natural tunnels and formations.
Rainbow Bridge Trail takes you near Rainbow Bridge with viewing areas and is also located in Antelope Canyon. Rainbow Bridge is considered sacred to the Navajo people and is the worlds highest natural bridge. This beautiful canyon got its name from antelope that at one point roamed through the canyon.
The Grand Canyon
1. The Grand Canyon
I think it is a no brainer that The Grand Canyon would be my number one pick.
The Colorado River established its course at least seventeen million years ago and in the process carved out this breathtaking canyon over time. The colorful landscape of canyon walls and vistas has attracted people from all over the world. It is one of Seven Wonders of the World and rightfully so.
The Grand Canyon also is home to many waterfalls with Havasu Falls being one of the most viewed.This majestic waterfall flows over a ninety foot cliff and behind the waterfall is a rock shelter.
There are many different types of tours available for great views of the Grand Canyon. You can find any tour to suite you which include; river rafting tours, hiking and walking tours, helicopter and airplane tours, mule and horseback tours and bus and jeep tours.
Tuweep is a breathtaking area to see while visiting the Grand Canyon. Tuweep stretches 3000 feet above the Colorado River. Be aware the the travel to this area can be a rough travel so it is important to go prepared. Once you get the this overlook, the ride will be thought of as rewarding rather than a nuisance. This lookout of a great place to bring your camera to and capture views of the beauty surrounding you.