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10 Things to Do in Arizona That Are Recommended by a Local

Updated on October 15, 2017
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Gina has lived in Arizona her whole life and has explored all corners of the state.

10 Reasons Why Everyone Should Love Arizona

Arizona is more than just a desert filled with “dry heat.”

Yes, there are plenty of cacti, rattlesnakes, and sun, but did you know this beautiful state is also filled with snow-capped mountains, lakes, and forests?

Arizona is filled with diverse landscapes and is sure to have something for everyone.

I've lived in Arizona my whole life and have traveled throughout the state to visit the tourist traps and the hidden gems. Here's some of my favorite things to do in Arizona.

#1 See a quintessential Arizona desert sunset

The red rocks of Arizona near Sedona.
The red rocks of Arizona near Sedona. | Source

When most people think of Arizona, they think of deserts and sunsets, and there’s a reason why!

This state is filled with monumental cliff faces, desert preserves and sunsets that can truly take your breath away.

#2 See some snow and even ski

Arizona Snowbowl near Flagstaff.
Arizona Snowbowl near Flagstaff. | Source

Believe it or not, it snows in Arizona. The state has 2 ski destinations, Snowbowl and Sunrise. Located in Flagstaff, Snowbowl’s peak is at 9,500 feet!

If you’re lucky you can even catch a rare moment of snow in the desert.

#3 Visit Slide Rock State Park

Slide Rock State Park in Sedona.
Slide Rock State Park in Sedona. | Source

This local gem is located in Sedona and is a favorite for locals and tourists. The red rocks are so smooth that you can slide down the river as if you were in a waterpark.

#4 Visit Sedona

Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, AZ.
Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, AZ. | Source

I already mentioned checking out Red Rock State Park. But really, Sedona is a destination in of itself.

This eclectic, beautiful, artsy town is known for its towering red rocks, Pink Jeep tours, unique shops and galleries, resorts, and the Chapel of the Holy Cross.

#5 Spend the day at the lake

Watson Lake in Prescott, AZ.
Watson Lake in Prescott, AZ. | Source

Arizona has over 30 lakes for boating, fishing, and leisure. You can enjoy large bodies of water such as Lake Powell or small kayaking lakes such as Watson Lake.

Visit the charming town of Prescott after hanging out at Watson Lake

Whiskey Row in Prescott, AZ.
Whiskey Row in Prescott, AZ. | Source

#6 Visit a canyon

Antelope Canyon near Page, AZ.
Antelope Canyon near Page, AZ. | Source

Even though only 8% of Arizona residents visit the Grand Canyon every year, it is certainly the symbol of the state. If you visit, be daring and try to walk on air at the Skywalk.

And don't forget the lesser known, but equally beautiful, Antelope Canyon.

#7 Experience some old west history

Bird Cage Theater in Tombstone, AZ.
Bird Cage Theater in Tombstone, AZ. | Source

Arizona is filled with ghost towns, mining towns, and just really old towns. You’ll find many charming towns nestled in the mountains or deserts.

History buffs should definitely visit Tombstone to see the OK Corral and the Bird Cage Theatre. You’ll be sure to see Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday.

Jerome is also a unique, old mining town filled with artsy shops on a huge hill.

The charming town of Jerome

One of the many eclectic buildings in Jerome, AZ.
One of the many eclectic buildings in Jerome, AZ. | Source

#8 View (from afar) a storm during the Monsoon season

A desert lightning storm during the Arizona Monsoon season.
A desert lightning storm during the Arizona Monsoon season. | Source

Arizona can be a world of extremes. In the Valley of the Sun, nothing beats a long summer of 110 degree days like the rainy season.

So if you visit Arizona during the late summer, you'll be smack in the middle of our Monsoon season. This time of year is filled with heavy rain storms, lighting, and dust storms.

It does sound a little scary, but it's beautiful.

#9 Dine at a Mexican restaurant

La Fonda Mexican Restaurant in Flagstaff, AZ.
La Fonda Mexican Restaurant in Flagstaff, AZ. | Source

Arizona has a huge variety of Mexican restaurants. Whether you are in the mood for street tacos or gourmet enchiladas, you can find it anywhere.

If you're around downtown Scottsdale, be sure to check out The Tortilla Factory. It's more higher end and pricey, but oh it's so worth it.

And if you're in Flagstaff, check out La Fonda. Its a local gem in the middle of a neighborhood. During my college days I used to eat there every week.

Definitely have the sopapillas with honey!

#10 Visit Kartchner Caverns State Park

The 'big room' at Kartchner Caverns near Benson, AZ.
The 'big room' at Kartchner Caverns near Benson, AZ. | Source

I can't stress this enough - if you're going to Southern Arizona, go to Kartchner Caverns which is near Benson.

It is SO unique and stunning that it'll literally take your breath away as you walk through 2.4 miles of passageways.

You'll get to see all sorts of cave formations such as stalactites, stalagmites, helictites, soda straws, and cave bacon. What the heck is cave bacon you ask? Well you'll just have to see for yourself!

A few amazing places that Arizona has to offer...

A
Snowbowl Flagstaff AZ:
9300 N Snow Bowl Rd, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, USA

get directions

B
Slide Rock State Park AZ:
Slide Rock State Park, 6871 N. Highway 89A, Sedona, AZ 86336, USA

get directions

C
Sedona AZ:
Sedona, AZ 86336, USA

get directions

D
Watson Lake Prescott AZ:
Watson Lake, Prescott, AZ 86301, USA

get directions

E
Grand Canyon AZ:
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, USA

get directions

F
Antelope Canyon AZ:
Antelope Canyon, Arizona 86040, USA

get directions

G
Tombstone AZ:
Tombstone, AZ 85638, USA

get directions

H
Jerome AZ:
Jerome, AZ 86331, USA

get directions

I
Kartchner Caverns State Park AZ:
Kartchner Caverns State Park, 2980 AZ-90, Benson, AZ 85602, USA

get directions

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