In many ways, the beauty of Arizona is embodied by its most famous natural landmark, the Grand Canyon. Like the Grand Canyon itself, Arizona is vast and ancient, a panorama of stunning color and fascinating geology, with a history defined by American Indians and larger-than-life adventurers. But there is so much more to the Grand Canyon State than the Grand Canyon itself.

To start with, there are 21 other national parks and monuments in Arizona. There are also 22 sovereign American Indian communities, 45 national historic landmarks and one UNESCO World City of Gastronomy. And it’s not just red-rock buttes, pulled-taffy canyons and cartoon-like cactuses that the state is famous for; it’s also whitewater rivers, snow-crusted mountain peaks and quaking aspen trees. Arizona even has big, blue lakes and sandy beaches.

Arizona is a place where it’s easy to combine outdoor exploration and urban culture. Experienced adventure companies and outfitters can escort groups to some of Arizona’s most beautiful places—from Jeep tours in Sedona to float trips on the Colorado River to horseback treks in Monument Valley. Such photogenic endeavours can be seamlessly augmented by museum visits and memorable meals in the cosmopolitan centers of Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tucson.

Arizona also caters to lovers of wine, golf, astronomy, Old West history, professional sports, luxury spas and shopping. Aficionados of the latter can peruse fashion centers, designer outlets, art galleries and vintage boutiques.

America’s most famous road, Route 66, bisects the state from east to west, passing through small towns such as Kingman, Williams and Winslow, where visitors can stop to gawk at vintage cars, photograph kitschy landmarks, or eat classic hamburgers and ice cream sundaes.

So, sure, the Grand Canyon—one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World—is something no visitor to Arizona should miss. But it’s far from the only thing that makes Arizona grand.


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