If you imagine traveling to Arizona, your head pictures gorgeous sights and awe-inspiring landscapes. You won’t be disappointed when you take a tour of the 48th state! Arizona has unearthly natural landscapes that will make you appreciate the beauty and vastness of nature. A rich history also surrounds the state, with old mines, ghost towns, and native American ruins to be explored and visited. On top of it all, it’s also a great shopping destination, from amazing shopping malls, to the best Phoenix jewelry stores.
Whether you are taking a Grand Canyon itinerary for 2 days or a tour across the whole state, you’ll never run out of things to do! Here are 10 must-try adventures in Arizona.
1. Explore Antelope Canyon
Antelope Canyon, located in the east of Lechee, Arizona, is one of the places to add first to your Arizona trip and a fierce contender to visiting the Grand Canyon in May. After centuries of flash flooding and wind erosion, swirling sandstone walls in the slot canyon create an almost alien world! Smooth, striped walls and light flowing from above create stunning views you shouldn’t miss on your trip to the state.
Hiking the Upper Antelope Canyon is relatively easy and takes around one to two hours. While you’ll get the best views on hiking tours, you could also explore Antelope Canyon’s flooded portions by a kayak!
2. Enrich your ears at the Musical Instrument Museum
The Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona is the largest museum of its kind! The museum has over 15,000 musical instruments and subsections for music from every continent and music type. The experience gallery is perfect for kids and those who love interactive activities. You can experience playing various instruments such as the gamelan and djembe.
The conservation lab shows the meticulous process of preserving and repairing musical instruments. Lastly, signature events will let you hear and learn about different kinds of music up close! With new events popping up, check out what’s showing during your trip!
There’s nothing like music to bring the whole family together
3. Hike through the Superstition Mountains
Superstition Mountains is a regional landmark in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The mountain got its name from local farmers due to strange sounds and unexplained deaths in the area. Rumors of the Lost Dutchman Mine also add to the mountain’s mystery.
Jacob Waltz, also known as “The Lost Dutchman”, was said to have found a rich gold mine on Superstition Mountains and kept its location a secret to his grave. Treasure hunters still look for the mine up to this day. If hiking the Superstition Mountains seems too spooky for you, they also have a museum for the mountain to visit instead!
A mountain of wonder and mystery!
4. Watch a gunfight at O.K. Corral
O.K. Corral Historic Complex in Tombstone, Arizona is a great place to learn about the history and experience life in the Old West in the 1880s. The Cowboy Bunkhouse, 1880s stables, and blacksmith shop exhibits are places to see tools and paraphernalia used back in the Old West.
They also have a running water mining sluice where you can try out gemstone mining! One of the highlights of your visit will be the reenactment of the O.K. Corral gunfight, the most famous shootout in the Old West.
5. Go on a ghost tour at Bird Cage Theatre
The Bird Cage Theatre in Tombstone is well-known for its hauntings. While it was open in the 1880s, the theatre witnessed over 26 killings. Over a hundred bullet holes remain in the old theatre. Since then, the theatre has been a saloon, a brothel, and a gambling parlor.
Today, the ghosts of cowboys, gamblers, and prostitutes roam the building, with the sounds of the old parties heard in the night. Now you can explore the saloon with a ghost tour that starts at 6:15 PM. They also have 9:30 PM adult tours for those looking for a paranormal experience!
6. Take a sunset tour of the Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is one of the best-known places in Arizona and possibly in the whole United States! With major cities close to the Grand Canyon like Las Vegas and Phoenix, there is always an influx of tourists visiting this place.
If you want a unique experience, you could tour the South Rim at sunset! Pink adventure tours provide sunset Grand Canyon South Rim tours riding an open-air pink jeep. The trip takes around three hours and brings you to remote viewpoints while their tour guide provides additional history and nature facts.
7. Explore the Bisbee mines
The Bisbee mines in Cochise County were some of the greatest copper mines, operating for over 100 years before their closure in 1975. Today, this is the place to go to if you are curious about what was going on in those dark shafts deep in the ground.
The Bisbee Queen Mine Tour was opened a year after the mine’s closure. The tour had the goal of educating and preserving the history of the legendary mine. Experienced local miners work as tour guides to ensure a safe and authentic experience in the Bisbee mines.
8. Contemplate in the Phoenix Art Museum
The Phoenix Art Museum is the largest visual art museum in the southwest United States! It is a Phoenix Point of Pride, hosting festivals, independent art films, and live performances. The museum also offers activities such as story reading and scavenger hunts for kids. One place that everyone should visit is Yayoi Kusama’s interestingly named “You Who Are Getting Obliterated in a Dancing Swarm of Fireflies,” a gorgeous space-like infinity room of dazzling lights and colors.
9. Go moonlight kayaking at Watson Lake
Watson Lake in Prescott, Arizona is a scenic, blue body of water surrounded by granite cliffs. The park is perfect for camping, fishing, and boating. It leads to the nearby Watson Woods, a beautiful riparian reserve with hiking trails. One unique experience here is moonlight kayaking!
Born To Be Wild Adventures offer a three-hour kayaking experience where you paddle on the tranquil waters of Watson Lake at night. Their tours are not guided so have a friend with you or make one there. Make sure to bring your best night kayak lights!
10. See big cats at the Keepers of the Wild wildlife sanctuary
The Keepers of the Wild Nature Park on Highway 66 is a perfect place to stop by while visiting the famous road. Rescued animals such as lions, tigers, wolves, and leopards call the accredited, non-profit wildlife sanctuary their home. The sanctuary ensures that abused, neglected, abandoned, and retired wildlife receive humane treatment and a home to live in. It is perfect for a family vacation to see big animals and to learn more about how to protect them. They even accept volunteers!
Arizona is a state with much to offer, from its gorgeous natural landscapes to its state-of-the-art museums. A Grand Canyon scenic drive is only the start of the amazing places to visit in the state. The next time you’re planning a summer vacation trip, consider adding these adventures to your plan. They are sure to be worth the experience!