If you’ve been on Instagram lately, chances are you’ve seen a few pictures of Arizona. The W ave, Antelope Canyon, the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and Horseshoe Bend are just a few of the places I see constantly popping up on my feed. These natural wonders are all bucket list worthy, but we decided to create our own proper Arizona bucket list beyond these few highlights. Hopefully this list of 101 incredible things to do and the best places to visit in Arizona will inspire you to venture a bit further south and explore the whole state. We bet you’ll be surprised at what you find!
Northern Arizona Bucket List
Hike the Grand Canyon rim to rim
Don’t make my mistake and procrastinate prepping for this trip. It’s 23.9 miles across, which you’ll most likely be making in one day unless you plan far ahead to get camping reservations for the canyon.
Raft the Colorado River
No wetter (or faster) way to travel through the Grand Canyon
Hike to Havasupai
Even if you’re doing the Supai Shuffle afterwards, this hike to falls with turquoise waters is worth it.
A horseshoe-shaped bend in the Colorado River. Just a few minutes hike off the road south of Page.
Scenic slot canyon formed by erosion of Navajo Sandstone from flash flooding.
The ultimate backdrop for a cowboy to ride off into the sunset.
Boating on Lake Powell
Man-made reservoir created by the Glen Canyon dam. Incredibly scenic and a great place to rent a houseboat as this lake is huge!
Hike to The Wave
Sandstone rock formation on the slopes of the Coyote Buttes. Good luck with getting your permits!
Emerald Cove in Black Canyon Maybe you’ve heard of the blue lagoon in Capri, but did you know Arizona has its own cave you can kayak to, with glowing emerald waters?!
Largest reservoir in the U.S. and popular boating spot.
Skiing at Snowbowl near Flagstaff
Who says Arizona doesn’t have snow?!
Snowbowl’s chairlift to the top of the San Francisco Peaks
Beautiful views of this volcanic mountain range, including Arizona’s highest mountain, Humphrey’s Peak.
White House Ruin Trail in Canyon de Chelly National Monument Cliff dwellings built by the Anasazi in caves and recesses in the canyon walls in the 1100s
Keet Seel and Betatakin in the Navajo National Monument Two Ancestral Puebloan villages from the 1200s
Cliff Dwelling at Walnut Canyon National Monument Cliff dwelling rooms constructed 1100 to 1250 CE by the Sinagua, a pre-Columbian cultural group
Hike Humphrey’s Peak
Arizona’s highest peak
Sycamore Canyon True wild backcountry with no paved roads, camp grounds or visitor center. This is the second largest canyon in Arizona (after the Grand Canyon, of course.)
Petrified Forest National Park
Colorful badlands scattered with petrified wood.
Grand Falls of the Little Colorado River Taller than Niagara Falls, these may not be the most picturesque falls with a brown, muddy flow. The flow is highly variable, heavier from rainfall or snowmelt, or there may be no flow at all.
Drive U.S. Route 66
One of the original highways, this route connects Chicago to Santa Monica. The highway passes near Flagstaff, and there’s even two surviving Wigwam Motels near Holbrook.
In Navajo: tségháhoodzání. Or directly translated: the rock-with-hole-through-it.
Meteorite impact crater near Flagstaff
Central Arizona Bucket List
London Bridge in Lake Havasu City
This bridge spanned the Thames in London from 1831 until 1967, when it was deemed no longer fit for the heavy load of daily traffic. It was dismantled, sold, and reconstructed in Lake Havasu.
Swimming in Slide Rock in Sedona
A natural water slide among Sedona’s red rocks
Grasshopper Point Swimming & Picnic Area
One of the many scenic swimming holes in Sedona
“The Crack” in Wet Beaver Creek Wilderness southeast of Sedona
One of the many scenic swimming holes in Sedona
Red Rock State Park in Sedona
See Sedona’s unique Red Rocks
West Fork of Oak Creek Trail #108
Lush trails with creek crossings. A great place to see fall foliage in AZ.
S-Canyon in the Blue Range Primitive Area
Beautiful forests near the New Mexico border
Tuzigoot, Montezuma Castle, and Honanki
Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings
See creeks, cliffs and big horn sheep
Lone Pine Trailhead in Four Peaks Wilderness Area Hike through pine covered wilderness
Hike to Fossil Creek 8.4 mile hike to large waterfalls. As of 2016, this hike now requires a permit.
Mogollon Rim Drive along Forest Road 300 for scenic views of the rim and the valley, hike, camp, kayak or fish around the area’s lakes.
Jerome Ghost Town Old copper mining town
Phoenix Metro Area Bucket List
Hike Peralta Trail to Weaver’s Needle in Superstition Mountains
4.9 mile moderate trail with interesting rock formations
Hike Flatiron in the Superstition Mountains
5.5 mile difficult trail up to a large plateau on top of Superstition mountains
Hieroglyphic Trail in Superstition Mountains
2.9 mile easy trail with a waterfall
Popular 4.7 mile hard trail in the middle of Phoenix
Hike Piestewa Peak
2.3 mile hard trail in the middle of Phoenix
Hike Wind Cave
2.9 mile moderate trail through beautiful Sonoran desert
Basic but delicious Mexican food
The best pizza I’ve had in Phoenix. Get anything with burrata
Wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas and Italian small plates. Often listed as some of the best pizza in the U.S.
Simple and fresh, these are the best donuts in the east valley.
Karl’s Quality Bakery
Amazing cronuts! The bran muffin is pretty incredible too.
The crispy chicken is one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had.
Little Miss BBQ
Barbecue so good, you might think you’re in Texas.
Mexican treats. Get a raspado (shaved ice, cream, tons of fruit)
Carolina’s Mexican Food
Hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant
Four Peaks Brewery
Working brewery and restaurant
Matt’s Big Breakfast
Everything here is done right – pancakes, waffles, eggs, all served with a lot of butter.
Cerreta Candy Co
Arizona’s own candy maker, famous for the green french mints
Gelato Dolce Vita
The closest you’ll get to real Italian gelato in AZ
Sweet Republic Ice Cream Shop
Local chain serving artisan ice cream
Get the mole!
Organ Stop Pizza
Go here to see the largest Wurlitzer pipe organ in the world. The pizza is mediocre at best.
Farmers Market at Phoenix Public Market
Lots of local produce and vendors on Saturday mornings
Mary Coyle’s ice cream shop
Classic ice cream shop originally opened in 1951
Taliesin West by Frank Lloyd Wright
Architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home
Desert Botanical Garden
One of the best collections of desert plants from deserts around the world
The Heard Museum of Native Cultures and Art
A living museum with both artifacts and contemporary art of Native American cultures
DeSoto Central Market
Hangout offering eateries, a bar & a farmer’s market in a vintage car dealership
Walking Tour of Downtown Phoenix A fun way to learn a bit of Phoenix history and see some of the city’s best street art and architecture
Street Art in Roosevelt Row
Arts district decorated by local street artists
Boating on Saguaro Lake
Reservoir on the Salt River great for wakeboarding
Tubing or kayaking down the Salt River
Float or paddle down the river
The Phoenix Zoo
Largest privately owned, non-profit zoo in the U.S.
Hole-in-the-Rock at Papago Park
Cool natural geological formation in Phoenix
Phoenix Art Museum
Modern and contemporary art museum
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMOCA)
Small modern art museum in downtown Scottsdale
Old Town Scottsdale
A taste of the southwest with art galleries, retail and great restaurants.
Tour the 1931 home of the chewing-gum magnate, William Wrigley, Jr.
A mini “castle” in the middle of the desert
An 1895 Victorian home from Arizona’s territorial days
Show at Orpheum Theater
1929 theatre originally used for traveling vaudeville acts
Diamondbacks Baseball Game
Arizona’s professional baseball team
Phoenix Suns Basketball Game
Arizona’s professional basketball team
Coyotes Hockey Game
Arizona’s professional hockey team
Cardinals Football Game
Arizona’s professional football team
Spring Training Game
Chicago Cubs or Oakland A’s facilities are in Mesa
Pick the peaches at Schnepfs Farm
Peach picking is the 2nd and 3rd weeks in May
Watch the bats take off at 40th Street and Camelback
From May to October, right at nightfall, Mexican Freetail bats fly out of the flood control channel at 40th Street and Camelback
Stay the night at the Arizona Biltmore Historic hotel built in 1929, it was a favorite of celebrities like Marilyn Monroe.
Neighborhood with 1920s California Craftsman bungalows and Mock Tudors
See a show at Grady Gammage Auditorium
Traveling Broadway shows and other performing acts come to this theatre, one of the last public commissions of architect Frank Lloyd Wright
Musical Instrument Museum
Modern and contemporary art museum
Southern Arizona Bucket List
Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway
Scenic drive through the Santa Catalina mountains
Skiing on Mount Lemmon
The southernmost ski destination in the U.S.
Mission San Xavier del Bac
Historic Spanish Catholic mission built in the late 1700s. Known as the “The White Dove of the Desert”
Kartchner Caverns State Park
Caverns are carved out of limestone and filled with speleothems
Hike Seven Falls Trail in Sabino Canyon Hike along and through the creek to impressive falls up in Sabino Canyon
Hike Picacho Peak
A difficult trail, with cables and catwalks need to reach the top of this big peak
Chiricahua National Monument
Extensive hoodoos and balancing rocks
Earth systems science research facility. It is the largest closed system ever created
Saguaro National Park
Large park near Tucson with hiking, petroglyphs, and, of course, saguaro cactus
Blue Canyon on the Hopi Indian Reservation
Scenic area of red and white colored rocks in the Hopi Indian Reservation. To visit, you’ll need to schedule a Hopi guide
Aqui Con Nene Tacos
Not only incredible tacos but finalist in the Stand-out Sixty Four Food Bracket for the best hot dog
Café Poca Cosa
Café with unique spin on Mexican cuisine
They invented the chimichanga (deep fried burrito)
Tombstone Wild West Show
Entertaining reenactments of the wild west!
How many places have you visited on this Arizona Bucket List?
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