Welcome to Arizona
Like many other western states, Arizona is a land of paradoxes. Deep canyons give way to rugged mountains. Ponderosa pine forests melt into arid deserts. Metropolitan areas like Phoenix and Tucson thrive.
Begin your adventure in southern Arizona. Visitors to Saguaro National Park receive a firsthand look at the Sonoran Desert, a vast expanse that takes up much of Arizona's southern region. The rolling hills are covered with Saguaro cacti, as well as a wide variety of other cacti, desert shrubs, and animals unique to the desert southwest.
Unique rock formations and unusual landscapes can be explored at Chiricahua National Monument. Eons ago, lava flows covered the region, creating a dense layer of lava rock. Over the years—the rocks cracked and withered away resulting in spectacular, startling rock formations that today make up the Chiricahua Mountains.
During its 1880s heyday, Tombstone, the "Town Too Tough to Die," boasted 10,000 gunslingers, gamblers and prospectors. Sparked by Edward Schieffelin's silver strike (skeptics warned he'd only find his own tombstone), the raucous town boasted more than 60 saloons. Tombstone is known for the famous street fight near the OK Corral.
The Grand Canyon is known throughout America and the entire world. This canyon follows the Colorado River encompassing more than 200 miles. Only parts can be seen along South Rim Drive and a small portion of the North Rim can be viewed by traveling a paved road during the summer. Snow blocks this area during the winter months.
A comparatively little-known canyon, Canyon de Chelly has sheer sandstone walls rising up to 1,000 feet, scenic overlooks, well-preserved Anasazi ruins, and an insight into the present day life of the Navajo, who still inhabit and cultivate the valley floor. The South Rim Drive offers dramatic vistas, ending at the most spectacular viewpoint, the overlook of Spider Rocks—twin 800-foot towers of rock isolated from the canyon walls and a site of special significance for the Navajo.
Petrified Forest is another can't-miss national park in Arizona. Here, you will find the largest concentration of petrified wood. The colors seen here cannot be described by words. Additionally, you can explore the Painted Desert badlands along with archaeological sites and historic structures.
Sedona is one of Arizona's must-see wonders. At the end of Oak Creek Canyon, another scenic destination, the town is known not only for red rock formations such as Coffee Pot Rock, Cathedral Rock, and Courthouse Butte, but also for its hiking and biking trails, art galleries, and spiritual-energy vortexes.
No trip to Arizona would be complete without a stop at Lake Havasu, with its more than 45 miles of shoreline. Here water enthusiasts bask in the area's more than 300 days of sunshine per year.
Snowbirds head to Arizona for balmy winter weather, but it isn't consistently warm in all regions of the state. Phoenix, Tucson, and Yuma are magnets for snowbirds and RV parks have responded with highly organized activities and services.
Maricopa County is where Phoenix, Chandler, Scottsdale, Glendale, Sun City, Carefree, Tempe, Paradise Valley, Queen Creek, and Peoria are found. The major concentration of snowbirds is in the East Valley cities of Mesa and Apache Junction.
Tucson is a city of unique and interesting places to explore including the Barrio Historico, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Pima Air & Space Museum, Sabino Canyon, Catalina State Park, Tohono Chul Park, Tucson Botanical Gardens, Arizona State Museum, Mission San Xavier del Bac ("The White Dove of the Desert"), Titan Missile Museum, Old Tucson Studios, Biosphere 2, and Kitt Peak National Observatory.
Yuma doubles in population during the peak snowbird months. Nestled in the Yuma and Gila River valleys of southwestern Arizona, Yuma's climate blends desert sunshine with the cool waters of the Colorado River.
Quartzsite is a tiny town on I-10 just 20 miles east of the California state line. Although mostly a truck stop in the summer, snowbirds descend upon Quartzsite with more than 100,000 RVs spread over 70 square miles. The main attraction is the annual rock and gem shows, the flea markets, and the RV show under the Big Tent. Nowhere on Earth will you find such an assortment of "stuff" as you will at Quartzsite. Every RVer should have Quartzsite on their bucket list.
Note: Arizona is on Mountain Standard Time and does not observe Daylight Savings Time.
The people of the Hopi Nation were the first Native Americans to occupy the area around Meteor Crater. Just outside of Winslow, you can visit an ancient Hopi Ruins at the Homolovi State Park. Homolovi is Hopi for "Place of Little Hills," and this was the traditional name for Winslow. The park was created in 1986 as a way to preserve sacred Hopi artifacts. You can roam the park on your own on hiking trails that go past pueblo ruins and petroglyphs.
You can't leave the park without checking out the Little Painted Desert. If you happen to be in the park (and if you aren't you should make a point to be) around sunset, you'll witness spectacular variations of color.