With its vast deserts, picturesque mountains and the grandest canyon in the world, Arizona is one the penultimate locations for those who love the outdoors. While the summers can be extremely hot, the winters can be quite comfortable. Still, for those who truly love being outside and close to nature, there is no wrong time to visit Arizona. Just bring your sense of adventure and hiking boots. The state certainly offers enough activities to keep you busy.
With approximately 4.4 million visitors each year, the Grand Canyon is the most visited tourist attraction in Arizona. The Grand Canyon offers a variety of outdoor experiences. From leisurely hikes to challenging climbs, the area offers something for everyone. Whitewater rafting near the canyon is also very popular.
Flagstaff and Williams are the closest major cities to the Grand Canyon and are often considered the gateways to the canyon, but they are still more than an hour away. Those wanting to stay right in the heart of the action usually stay at Grand Canyon Village, perched near the popular South Rim (see the first link in Resources below).
Saguaro National Park
At the southern end of Arizona is Saguaro National Park. The park is home to the saguaro cactus, a massive species that may grow as tall as 50 feet and has become the main symbol of the American desert west. While the desert is the main attraction, the national park also features some forest land full of oaks, pines and mixed conifers. Hiking is a popular activity, with more than 160 miles of trails throughout the park.
Those who plan on a trip to Saguaro National Park may wish to stay in the Tucson area, which is very near the entrance to the park. There is no drive-in camping. Those wanting to camp in the national park will need a backcountry camping permit. However, there is camping available near or in the city of Tucson, local state parks and the Coronado National Forest.
Once a quaint desert town, the city of Phoenix has become a world-class destination city with many attractions. For the sports buff, professional sports abound with teams in the NBA, NFL and MLB. Even for the outdoors enthusiast, these activities can offer a break from exploring the surrounding countryside.
Just outside the city of Phoenix, there are desert tours in a Hummer, as well as many bike and walking trails. Even horseback riding is offered in the area, which is one of the most ecologically diverse on earth. There are also several large lakes in the area, offering chances for boating, fishing and skiing. Though it may be harder to find a hotel room in Phoenix during special events, such as the Super Bowl or college football national championship, there is generally no problem finding suitable accommodations.