Measuring over 114,000 square miles (to give some context, the whole of the UK comes in at only 92,000) there is a lot of ground to cover and a lot of space to explore in the state of Arizona.
Our personal travel expert Iain loved his time there and shared some of his personal highlights to give you a taste of what’s in store.
Known as the Grand Canyon state, there are no prizes for guessing Arizona’s number one attraction. In fact, this staggering natural monument is the most popular spot for visitors in the whole of the United States. To really get the best views of this iconic landmark you have to take to the skies; from the air you can see just how vast it really is. Taking a helicopter flight over the forest towards the Grand Canyon and seeing it unfold beneath you is a truly amazing experience. If you prefer to stay on the ground, try a trip on the Grand Canyon Scenic Railway instead. It’s worth noting that you’ll pay a premium to stay within the National Park, but alternative hotels are available in the town of Tusyan, which lies just outside the park’s entrance.
To the northeast of the Grand Canyon, just below the Utah state border, is Lake Powell. This man-made reservoir was made by damming the Colorado River with an impressive 710ft-high Glen Canyon Damn. Visitors can take a boat trip on the lake to make the most of this vast expanse of water and the surrounding scenery. Once back on the road, make sure to follow the Colorado River downstream to enjoy the spectacular views from the Horseshoe Bend Overlook.
Even further north and east, straddling the state lines, is Monument Valley. Although most of the valley lies in Arizona, the entrance to the park is actually in Utah. It’s useful to remember that Arizona doesn’t recognise daylight savings (arguing that they have no need for an extra hour of sun in that heat!) so Utah time is an hour ahead during these months. Iain was blown away by the sheer beauty of Monument Valley and particularly enjoyed exploring the park’s ancient caves. He recommends taking a guided tour, that way you get to visit parts of the valley which are off limits to those driving their own cars.
Heading further south, Sedona is a trendy city, which is full of fantastic galleries, boutique shops and great restaurants. But of course, Arizona is all about the outdoors and Sedona’s real charm comes from its position surrounded by beautiful red mountains. A mecca for hikers and cyclists, with over 325 miles of trails, Sedona is the perfect destination for active holidaymakers in Arizona. History fans staying in Sedona should take a day-trip to nearby Jerome, an old (and reputedly haunted) copper mining town. As well as fascinating local history, Jerome also boasts wonderful views of the Verde Valley from its elevated position and in recent years has become home to a burgeoning art scene.
Of course, you can’t talk about Arizona without mentioning the desert and down south, on the far side of Scottsdale, you’ll find the Sonoran Desert. Thrill-seekers and nature-lovers alike will love taking a guided desert adventure here. As well as exploring the incredible, other-worldly landscape, you can expect to see various types of snake (including rattlesnake!) and abundant birdlife, which varies depending on the time of year.
With all this and more to enjoy, Arizona is a brilliant holiday destination, whether you opt for a self-drive itinerary or an escorted tour, you’re sure to have the trip of a lifetime. To speak to Iain about planning your Arizona holiday, give us a call on 0191 285 9321 or email email@example.com.