Amazing Arizona: Your Ultimate Travel Guide to All the Iconic Sites
If you’re heading to Arizona soon, you’re in luck! You’re in store for breathtaking views and warmth, and we’ve put together a guide to some of the most iconic sights the Grand Canyon State has to offer.
You can do ALL the things listed in the space of a few days (we did), but if you want to take a few extra days to relax and see a bit more, we completely understand.
So let’s dive into some of the must-do things to do while you’re in the state. Trust us, if you drive around Arizona, you’ll be impressed with all the different scenery on offer. A complete feast for the eyes!
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Day One: A visit to the Grand Canyon
It’s one of the natural wonders of the world, and the Grand Canyon is, you guessed it, VERY grand. So many words could be used to describe it, such as huge, wild, fascinating and even a little terrifying how something so big really makes you feel so small.
Hit the canyon at sunrise and sunset, with scenic photo opportunities and views that make you say “ahhhh.”
Allocate a decent amount of cash while staying here, especially if you are traveling with family. Food is expensive no matter where you go. We learned that the McDonald’s in Tusayan, just south of the park gates, is the fifth most expensive McDonald’s in the United States.
If you plan to spend time here, your best bet is to stay at the Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn. Swimming pool, restaurant, large rooms. This is the place to be!
For a less visible view of the canyon, we recommend checking out the Hermit Road Tour offered by Bright Angel Bicycles. This is your chance to hike the rim of the canyon (safely, of course) and learn about its history and get answers to any questions you may have about the area.
Day 2: A visit to Monument Valley
Ok, we personally think that Monument Valley is kind of THE treasure of Arizona, it offered such dazzling landscapes and views that it was almost unfair!
You can stay just outside the valley itself, however, we opted to stay at Goulding’s Lodge. Admire the valley straight from your hotel, AND there’s the Goulding Trading Post Museum as well as ‘John Wayne’s Hut’.
Visit the iconic Forrest Gump location
A must see is a place where some of the iconic films Forrest Gump was shot, where he decided he no longer wanted to continue racing. Anyone who has seen the classic movie will appreciate this place, it feels like a landmark in its own right!
Walk around the valley
We took a jeep tour through the valley which offered views of many famous landmarks when the tour stops at East and West Mittens viewpoint, John Ford’s viewpoint, Three Sisters viewpoint , at Totem Pole Viewpoint, Artist’s Point and North Window. perspectives. In the hinterland, you will make stops at the Eye of the Sun and the Ear of the Wind.
We recommend doing it early and early in the morning – the sun isn’t as hot and the crowds are nice and quiet too.
Day 3: A visit to the Petrified Forest National Park
Heading into the Arizona badlands, Petrified Forest National Park just outside of Holbrook is unlike anything you’ve likely ever seen before.
You can hike in the Painted Desert, discover petroglyphs left by people hundreds or even thousands of years ago, and be dazzled by massive – and we mean MASSIVE – pieces of petrified wood that are scattered throughout the park.
It really is a sight to behold, just huge pieces of petrified wood that are everywhere and in all colors too.
Stop at the old Route 66 location
Everyone gets a kick out of Route 66, and you can see an instantly recognizable old abandoned stretch of the highway with a marker placed in the park where the road used to pass. If you look at the row of power lines in the distance, it’s actually to the left of the old route too, frozen in time.
The ranger we were with mentioned how they find ‘historic trash’ all the time along the old road, old pop bottles, vehicle parts, spoons and much more.
Day 4: A visit to Phoenix
Desert Botanical Garden
A stop at the Desert Botanical Garden is a must, and of course you’ll see many of Arizona’s iconic cacti, as well as plenty of birds, hummingbirds, insects, and a host of other plants. Expect to spend a decent few hours here and bring plenty of sunscreen!
Musical Instrument Museum
We personally think the Phoenix Musical Instrument Museum is a hidden gem and be prepared to spend a good chunk of your time marveling at not only musical instruments and celebrity memorabilia, but also musical instruments and cultures around the world.
Highlights include Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash sections (if you’ve never seen a Grammy Award or Golden Globe in person, this is your chance) as well as detailed musical instrument and history rooms. each country. At first glance, you might wonder why would you want to see this museum, but trust us, it’s worth it!
Dinner at Tia Carmen
Blending tradition and modernity through its extensive food and drink menu, Tia Carmen prides itself on creating an authentic experience, with celebrity chef Angelo Sosa taking the time to visit and explore many of the regions where the dishes originate, celebrating Arizona’s rich food culture. .
The restaurant is perfectly located in the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, which opened in late April 2022. The view is stunning and the atmosphere is cozy and warm.
The author of this article was hosted by Visit Arizona