First entering into the union in 1912, Arizona is the one state which perhaps represents the romance and idyllic scenery of the western United States. Due in no small part to the fact that the Grand Canyon is to be found here, Arizona is an extremely popular tourist destination. The truly stunning geography is then combined with a warm climate and a host of cultural attractions for visitors to enjoy.
The Best Times to visit Arizona
As Arizona is dominated by a dry and desert-like climate, the chances of encountering a great deal of rain during any time of the year are markedly reduced when compared to other states. However, we should remember that it can become extremely hot during the peak summer months. It is for this reason that many consider the best times of the year to visit between November and April. Skies will be predominantly clear while the daytime temperatures will normally range between 60 and 80 degrees (of course, these can slightly vary depending upon one’s exact location).
The average travel time to Arizona from New York City is between 5 and 7 hours. The reason for this discrepancy lies in which airport is chosen. Many tourists opt to use Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), as it is the major transportation hub within the state. Phoenix is also a bit closer to New York. The other airport is Tuscon International Airport (TUS). All of the well-known carriers will cater to these two locations. Common airlines include Delta, United Airlines and particularly Southwest Airlines.
Camping is quite a popular option here and this is particularly useful for those who wish to experience the natural beauty of the state. Also, there are many roadside motels (a slice of Americana) to be found along the way. However, others may instead wish to enjoy a bit of luxury and convenience when they are staying in a major city such as Phoenix. From budget hotels and hostels to high-end resorts including the Arizona Grand Resort and the royal Palms Resort & Spa, there is indeed something for everyone.
Top Things to do in Arizona
The top attraction (understandably) is the Grand Canyon. Labeled by Theodore Roosevelt as “unparallelled”, it should never be missed. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has been carved out of the underlying strata from the mighty Colorado River and such erosion is still taking place today. Both the north and the south rim of the canyon are able to be visited with a vehicle or on foot. Hiking is another extremely popular pastime here although visitors should heed all warnings and those with little outdoor experience are better off using a tour guide. Other activities include helicopter rides and whitewater rafting.
Arizona is likewise home to many urban attractions; a good portion of these are located in the capital city of Phoenix. Interestingly enough, this metropolitan area is quite respected for the arts. Locations such as the Phoenix Symphony and the Arizona Orchestra are extremely popular amongst visitors and concerts are held regularly. Phoenix also provides a bustling retail center located downtown. Many of these stores will cater to the “old west” appeal while there are just as many brand-name outlets to enjoy. Finally, Phoenix offers several interesting festivals such as the Phoenix Film Festival and the art-laden booths found during the First Fridays Artwalk (held on the first Friday of every month).
For an experience that is truly out of this world, tourists shold never fail to miss the massive Meteor Crater located 37 miles east of Flagstaff. This is the most well-preserved crater in the entire world and standing upon its rim offers a sense of humility not often found in other destinations. For those who are astronomy buffs, there are still pieces of shocked quartz to be found within its proximity. While there are facilities located here, it is wise to plan ahead and take a car. It can become quite hot during the daytime; even during the winter months. Suntan lotion is another excellent idea.