ARIZONA Travel Information
There's no vacation place on earth quite like the Grand Canyon State. It's not just the landscapes, which take in tall mountain ranges, swift rivers, grasslands, sand dunes, and cactus forests. It's not just the storied past, which reaches back thousands of years. It's not just the people, a vibrant blend of cultures and traditions. It's all these things, and the way they come together, that make a visit to Arizona a truly unforgettable experience.
Boasting a movie-backdrop landscape, Arizona offers natural attractions and adventure in one of the world's most varied and beautiful playgrounds. Some of the most remarkable natural attractions are preserved in six National Forests, 21 Indian Reservations, 27 State Parks, and 26 National Parks, Monuments, Recreation Areas and Historic Sites. Most of these also host visitors from around the world who come to hike, bike, ski and raft through some of the wildest terrain on earth.
Far from being the arid, lifeless in cartoons, the state has its share of snowy mountain ranges, roaring rivers, huge pine forests and unusual flora and fauna. Snaking its way 277 miles, Arizona's Grand Canyon dominates northern Arizona, a vast, multi-hued chasm that entertains over 5 million guests a year. The grottoes of Kartchner Caverns State Park descend underground while the red sandstone spires of Monument Valley pierce the sky.
This medley of landforms attracts adventurous spirits, some of who enjoy touring by helicopter, hot air balloon, jeep, raft or horse. Others come to challenge the very land itself -- hikers, mountain bikers, rock climbers, snow skiers, kayakers, and jet skiers.
Arizona is an interesting melting pot of culture and heritage, and fortunately, the dry climate has helped to preserve many of the remaining artifacts, especially those of prehistoric residents. These unknown souls left relics of stone and clay, galleries of rock art, and wood and stone houses scattered across the state. Their descendants watched the first Europeans arrive 80 years before the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock. The Spanish reign lasted until the Gadsden Purchase of 1854, but the language, food and customs of its conquistadors and priests enliven the state today. The trappers, pioneers, miners, ranchers and farmers that settled and eventually tamed the Arizona Territory contributed an Old West legacy that became larger than life in Hollywood.
Belying its rough-hewn, Western reputation, the state offers its share of other cultural attractions as well. Arts communities have sprung up in far-flung mining towns like Bisbee and Jerome, and galleries proliferate in the metropolitan areas, where Thursday or Friday night ArtWalks are de rigueur. Ballet, symphonies, rock concerts and theater are all presented across the state, in small-town venues and huge urban amphitheaters.
Vacation rentals are plentiful. Save your vacation money and rent your house or villa directly from a property owner. Ask them about off-the-beaten-path attractions that may make all the difference in your Arizona vacation experience.