When visiting Arizona, there are many places to see. Two places that come to mind right away that top people’s lists are the Grand Canyon and Tombstone. Of course they should be on your list, but there are other places you should check out as well.
Sedona and Oak Creek
The city of Sedona spans to some degree in the Verde Valley, between Coconino and Yavapai counties. Surrounding the downtown are vivid orange-red sandstone rock creations as vibrant as Sedona’s sunset. There are many places to hike and enjoy the breathtaking scenery this place has to offer. People come to this serene settlement for the mountainous hiking trails, spiritual healing powers of the vortexes, and even for some UFO hunting. Sedona has it all. One of the main characteristics of this town is its many vortexes which seem to have New Age spiritual healing abilities. Some are certain the organic formations of the red mountains are contributing factors to the energy of these soothing powers. Sedona’s vortexes have since become so popular that visitor centers now offer handouts and maps pointing out their locations. There are also guided tours, which highlight Native American and New Age spirituality. Sedona is a wonderful place for hiking, camping, and taking jeep tours to some on the area’s utmost remarkable sites. Sedona also offers lots of shopping, places to dine, a variety of hotels and resorts. It is only a few miles from the Verde Valley wine country, old mining town of Jerome, the Native American ruins of Tuzigoot, and Flagstaff.
I can’t talk about Sedona and all its wonders without mentioning Oak Creek Canyon. This breathtaking ravine is located near Sedona and south of Flagstaff. One of the Grand Canyon’s little sisters, this picturesque valley of trees, red rocks and wandering creek is a site to be appreciated. From Flagstaff you are first overjoyed with the scenic overpass where many Native Americans have tables of their handmade goods for sale. After taking in the beauty of the canyon, it is time to drive the winding roads and U shape turns to reach the bottom of the canyon. It is approximately 13 miles from the lookout to Sedona but you there are places to stop at along the way. One of those places along the route is Slide Rock State Park. Slide Rock got its name from the natural water slide formed by the slippery bed of Oak Creek. It is located in Oak Creek Canyon and only 7 miles from Sedona. Be sure to bring a few pairs of pants because the smooth rocks on the slide will wear holes in your drawers. There are several places for you to have a picnic along Oak Creek as well as places to camp. You can pitch a tent, roll out your RV or rent one of the several cabins located inside the canyon. No matter where you stop in Oak Creek Canyon, the views are to die for.
This place is located in the Navajo Nation and the Four Corners area where Arizona meets Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. It has been noted as the “most photographed landmark” in the United States. With its vibrant red scenery and unusual shaped rock monuments, this area has been seen in many movies shot in that location. I went there as a teen with my family and hoping to go there again this fall with Sharon.
About 3 hours north of Phoenix on Interstate 17 and located in Coconino County, sits the city of Flagstaff. It rests in the center of the “world’s largest ponderosa pine forest” where hiking and camping are plentiful. Flagstaff has many historic sites, museums, shops, restaurants, Native American items, and is close to many other national parks. This charming metropolis offers an infinite amount of activities for you and your family to enjoy. The enormous mountain that is visible anywhere in town is the San Francisco Peaks. On this mountain you will find the Snow Bowl for skiing and a lodge with cabins for your vacation stay. In the summer, the lifts will take you to the top where you can experience a breathtaking view of the valley below. There are many historic and interesting sites to see while staying in Flagstaff. The Arboretum has a large array of plants which are indigenous to the area. The historic site of the Pioneer Museum is located in the city as well as the Lowell Observatory, North Arizona University, and a historic district with many old buildings, shops, and restaurants. Grand Canyon is only 80 miles north of Flagstaff, and takes you along a scenic drive of thick forest and dazzling mountains. Located about 31 miles from Flagstaff in Williams, you can visit Bearizona Wildlife Park. This place is where guests can maneuver through paths and observe the natural world of wild animals all from the safety of their own automobiles. Meteor Crater was created about 50,000 year ago when a hug chasm was formed after a meteor struck the earth about 35 miles east of Flagstaff. This crater measured three-quarters of a mile wide and was about 700 feet deep. Sunset Crater and Lava Park, Wupatki Ruins, Fort Tuthill, and many petroglyph sites are also just short drives from Flagstaff.
In the city to which I live, there are many things to do here. I would say, start your vacation here, and then head north or south or east or west to other towns after spending time in Phoenix. While in Phoenix, check out the many historic sites, museums, downtown district, ball parks, restaurants, and amazing sunsets. Some of the places to see are the Desert Botanical Gardens, Arizona Science Center, Japanese Friendship Garden, Phoenix Art Museum, Heard Museum, Tovrea Castle, Mystery Castle, hiking trails, and much more. From Phoenix and just a short drive away are the many cities surrounding this large metropolis. They each have their own unique history and attention-grabbing places to see.
Arizona has lots of mining towns with remarkable history and great places to urban explore. In the southern part of the state, you will find Tombstone, Bisbee, Pearce, Patagonia, and Ruby. Pearce and Ruby are pretty much ghost towns that you can visit, the others have hotels or B&B’s for you to stay in. In the eastern part of the state are towns such as Superior, Miami, Globe, Kearney, Hayden, and Lowell. I had stayed in Globe several times at the Noftsger Hill Inn. It is an elementary school which was converted into a B&B. You will find lots of history and ghosts in that place. In the western part of the state there is Oatman, Wickenburg, and Vulture City. Although Vulture City is not accessible at the moment, I am hoping to get a chance to photograph that place once more. In the northern section of the state are places such as Jerome and Bagdad. Jerome is location on the side of a mountain and has narrow/winding roads that run through town. Be sure to cruise about each place for not only historic sites, but out of the ordinary abandoned places to photograph.
Lakes and Rivers
Yes people, Arizona do have its fair share of places to enjoy water activities. Phoenix has several waterparks and is just a short drive from many of the lakes and rivers throughout the state. One of the places Zonies like to go is the Salt River. You can enjoy a day of swimming, tubing and picnicking in and along the river. Here is a list of the many lakes and rivers around the state:
Phoenix Area Lakes: Apache Lake, Bartlett Lake, Canyon Lake, Lake Pleasant, Saguaro Lake, Tempe Town Lake
Central Arizona Lakes: Alamo Lake, Roosevelt Lake, Colorado River Lakes, Lake Havasu, Lake Mead, Lake Mohave, Lake Powell
Flagstaff AZ Lakes: Ashurst Lake, Blue Ridge Reservoir, Kinnikinick Lake, Mormon Lake, Upper Lake Mary
Payson Arizona Lakes: Bear Canyon Lake, Black Canyon Lake, Blue Ridge Reservoir, Chevelon Canyon Lake, Knoll Lake, Willow, Springs Lake, Woods Canyon Lake
Prescott AZ Lakes: Goldwater Lake, Lynx Lake, Watson Lake, Willow Lake
Southern Arizona: Patagonia Lake
White Mountains Lakes: Becker Lake, Big Lake, Crescent Lake, Fool Hollow Lake, Hawley Lake, Luna Lake, Lyman Lake, Rainbow Lake, Show Low Lake, Woodland Lake