There is a total of 50 states in the United States and if you are unsure of where you should go next then you should definitely keep on reading. The obvious answers to the question include states like California, New York, Washington, and Nevada. But, of course, these places offer just a taste of what the U.S. has to fully offer. If you really want a unique and fun vacation ahead of you, then you should have The Grand Canyon State; Arizona, at the top of your list. This U.S. state located in the southwestern region may be known for the Grand Canyon but there is more to explore and uncover in it as well.

The state of Arizona is the sixth largest and 14th most populous of the U.S. states, that alone should tell you just how much there is to explore in the area. It is also one of the Four Corners states and it resides in between New Mexico, Mexico, Utah, Nevada, and California. That being said, Arizona is nearby other tourists-frequented states as well.

The state is also one of the last to be admitted to the Union, being placed in it as the 48th state in the U.S. in Feb. 14, 1912. Because it achieved statehood on that special day, Arizona is also often referred to as the Valentine State by many. Before anything else, though, let us take a closer look at the long history of Arizona.

The History of Arizona

For many millennia, the area that is now known as Arizona was the home of numerous Native American tribes including the Hohokam, Mogollon, and Ancestral Puebloan. A lot of their items, rock paintings, and prehistoric treasures are well-maintained and have become tourist attractions themselves.

The first European contact by the native occurred in 1539 after Spanish explorer Marcos de Niza set foot on the land. In the following years, Arizona began getting Spanish settlers that helped developed the land. Some of the explorers also converted many of the natives into Christianity during the 1690s.

The area that is now known as Arizona achieved independence from the Kingdom of Spain in 1821. A part of it was reinstated to become a portion of Nueva California or New California. Spanish and mestizo settlers then occupied the land for years until the the European-American migrants arrived in the U.S.

After being reinstated as a U.S. state during the early 1900s, Arizona made a lot of progress with the help of cotton farming and copper mining. However, even these weren’t safe during the Great Depression. In the following years, Arizona began to draw tourists, most particularly in Tucson as many saw it as having remnants of the Old West. During this period, countless hotels and resorts opened and many of them are still major tourists draws to this date.

This is just a very small summary of Arizona’s long history but now that we’ve got it covered, it is officially time to take a look at some of the things you should know before scheduling a trip to Arizona. First off, let us take a look at exactly how you can get to it from other parts of the world.

How to get to Arizona?

It is relatively easy to get to Arizona if you are living in one of its bordering states. A simple bus or car ride can get you to and from these states in a few hours. Of course, things are a lot different when you are coming from other states or in other parts of the globe. But luckily, there are several amazing airlines to guide you.

There are international airports that offer long trips spread out across Arizona. Some of which are the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Tucson International Airport, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, Grand Canyon National Park Airport and Scottsdale airport just to name a few. A lot of these airports offer flights that come from other countries so check out which are good for you.

Once you are in Arizona, there are several modes of public transportation that can help you get around the state and its counties easily. Some of the options you can choose from include Local, Express and RAPID commuter bus service, Dial-a-Ride, Valley Metro Rail, and more.

What is the climate in Arizona?

We aren’t kidding when we say Arizona is large. Because of its massive space, the state’s climate varies depending on where you are. In hindsight, the climate is primarily hot and dry but there are mild winter seasons and extremely hot summers as well. The temperatures are at an average of 60 °F (16 °C) during late fall to early spring. The coldest months in the state are November through February that sees the temperature hit 40 to 75 °F (4 to 24 °C). Arizona’s record high for the summer is 128 °F (53 °C) way back in 2007. Do take note, however, that there are varying elevations in the state so the temperature can vary greatly depending on where you are.

When is the best time to visit Arizona?

Considering the weather, the best time to visit Arizona would be between the months of January to May. The weather is perfect for taking a stroll in the state as the winter breeze is still present and the summer heat is yet to arrive. Since you are most likely going to visit the Grand Canyon, you’ll be more comfortable visiting it during these times as well.

Since Arizona isn’t a beach state, it doesn’t get an influx of tourists during the summer. However, its streets are relatively busy during winter so you may want to avoid the state during this period.

Now that you know the basic travel info of Arizona, it is now time to check out some of the things you can do in it.

What to do in Arizona?

Arizona is one of the well-loved places on earth. Even its locals love it. As a matter of fact, it can be quite hard to distinguish who the locals and tourists are, as even the locals are taking a high number of photos of the state’s natural landscapes and other attractions to offer too.

One of the well-known sights that Arizona has is the Grand Canyon. It’s one of the most beautiful terrains in the United States. And because of that, it’s one of the most visited national attractions around the globe. But also for that reason, expect that this beautiful place is crowded. A lot of tourists who have been there also complains about the shortage in parking spaces due to overcrowding. But fret not. Arizona still has a lot of sites for you to explore and activities to try out. If you’re looking for some more unique things to do in Arizona, here are some of the attractions and activities that you can try out aside from visiting the Grand Canyon.

1Travel Back in Time at Tombstone, Arizona

A peek at Tombstone’s street (Source)

Tombstone, Arizona was known for its rowdy reputation. But that was before, around the early 1880s to 1901. But you can still get a glimpse of the past today (without its moments of mischief and violence, of course) and that is by visiting the place again after it has become a tourist spot. Here, you will be able to travel back in time with its attractions and activities.

Tombstone Attractions

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One of Tombstone, Arizona’s museums (Source)

Every day, there are plenty of city tours that you can try out. There are ghost tours, historic tours, as well as mine tours that everyone from every age group will surely enjoy. There are also re-enactments of historic shootings and killings that took place during the wild days of the city. On top of that, you will really feel as if you’re part of the town with the restored establishments. There are also several photo studios and museums for you to explore to get to know the rich history of the city all the more.

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Restaurants

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One of the popular restaurants in Tombstone, Arizona (Source)

Speaking of establishments, there are also plenty of commercial establishments like restaurants and bars that are waiting for you in Tombstone, Arizona. if you want to get a taste of Arizona, having a bite of the dishes served at the restaurants in Tombstone is one of the best things to do in Arizona. The place also has bars if you want to have some drink.

Lodging

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A budget-friendly hotel at Tombstone, Arizona (Source)

And if the activities and attractions have made you tired after a long day of exploring the historic city, Tombstone has a range of accommodations for you. From modern hotels to cost-effective vacation rentals, you have a lot of options to choose from.

The entrance to this historic city is free. However, note that the attractions may require you to spend some dollars and the rates are subject to change.

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2Play a musical instrument at The Musical Instrument Museum

The exteriors of the Musical Instrument Museum (Source)

If you are a music lover, Arizona has a spot for you to enjoy and that is the Musical Instrument Museum. As the name suggests, this museum houses a vast collection of musical instruments. But what makes it unique is that it has the largest collection of musical instruments around the world. As a matter of fact, it contains more than 15,000 pieces of musical instruments and related items.

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Gong chimes and percussion that you can find inside the Musical Instrument Museum (Source)

Also another reason that makes it worth visiting is that it is highly interactive. It even has a floor that is solely dedicated to letting its visitors touch and actually play the instruments that are from different cultures. The museum also has allotted a spot that is dedicated to allowing them to watch how the musical instruments are preserved and restored as they happen.

3Visit a desert botanical garden

Some of the cacti that you can see at the Desert Botanical Garden (Source)

Aside from its Grand Canyon, Arizona is also known for its desert basin. And to get a taste of what its desert has to offer, visiting its Desert Botanical Garden is one of the top things to do in Arizona.

Here, you can get to see different desert plants and feel the tranquility that they bring. But what makes it even more worth the visit is that the botanical garden often holds events such as the light and sound display shows. Sometimes, you can get to witness concerts, culinary events, ballet performances, and so much more. The Desert Botanical Garden isn’t just a nice spot for taking photos for your Instagram feed but it’s also a place to enjoy Arizona all the more.

4See the past at The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures

A closer look at a miniature Georgian dining room (Source)

Arizona is also one of the places that have a rich history. To get a better glimpse of it, visiting The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures is also one of the top things to do in Arizona aside from exploring Tombstone, Arizona’s streets.

At The Mini Time Machine Museum, you can also go back in time through its displays. However, it isn’t as immersive as Tombstone’s because, here, as its name suggests, you’ll only see a part of the history through the miniature displays. Even so, it’s a unique experience and wonderful experience as you gaze at the intricately detailed displays ins spite of its size.

With these displays, you can take a peek of what life is like in the past in the history and Antiques Gallery. You can also get to see the magical world of the Enchanted Realm where miniature snow villages, woodland creatures, witches compound, and fairy castles are on display. In addition to that, you can see a glimpse of different cultures in the museum’s Exploring the World Gallery.

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5Explore the Antelope Canyon

A peek at the walls of the Antelope Canyon (Source)

There are a lot of beautiful landforms in Arizona that draw thousands of visitors. The Antelope Canyon is one of it. It’s so beautiful that tourists aren’t the only ones who take hundreds of photos in and of the area but many professional photographers as well. No need for filters or edits here as the Antelope Canyon’s walls are uniquely spiraled and bent as a result of flooding and erosion. Its structure is so surreal that it looks straight out of an animated or a science fiction movie.

However, if you’re planning to visit this place, note that you will have to book a tour first. Also, you need to choose whether you would take the upper Antelope Canyon tour or the lower. The former is an easy and flat 100-yard walk. After that, you’ll be taken into a 2-mile safari truck ride from Navajo Tribal Park Gate to the Antelope Canyon’s entrance.

The latter, on the other hand, will require you to take a longer walk (600 yards, to be exact). Plus, you’d have to climb some stairs and step over a few boulders. Even so, it’s still one of the fun things to do in Arizona and, of course, the long walk is going to be worth it once you see the jaw-dropping sights that the canyon has to offer.

6Ski at Mount Lemmon

A family enjoying winter at Mount Lemmon (Source)

Arizona isn’t all about its desert basins. Of course, this southwestern region of the US also has some good spots for several activities even in winter. One of the things to do in Arizona during winter is skiing and if you’re feeling more adventurous, skiing at Mount Lemmon is one of the best things to do in Arizona. This is because it is apparently the tallest peak in Santa Catalina Mountain range with an impressive height of 9,150 feet which, by the way, is well-loved by skiers and adventure seekers. If you’re a bit intimidated with its height, don’t fret much. Mount Lemmon has runs even for beginners.

If skiing is not really your type of activity, you can just savor the magnificent sights that it has to offer. In summer, Mount Lemmon is also a nice place to visit to see wildlife and go bird watching.

Aside from touring the Grand Canyon, there’s still, indeed, a lot of exciting things to do in Arizona. These activities that we mentioned are some of them and we’re sure that you will have a good time in Arizona even more if you will give these activities a try. What’s even better is that Arizona has a lot more activities to offer regardless of the season. Regardless of the season, you will surely enjoy Arizona.

Have you been here? Tell us in the comments below which activities have you tried. Or if you’re still planning a trip to Arizona, which ones are you looking forward to?