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The Ultimate Arizona Bucket List: 101 Things To Do in the Grand Canyon State

March 22, 2017
Arizona Bucket List: 101 Things to do in Arizona

If you’ve been on Instagram lately, chances are you’ve seen a few pictures of Arizona. The Wave, 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!

Planning a Trip to Arizona

Getting to Arizona – Most airlines fly into Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Select airlines fly into southern Arizona at the Tucson International Airport, or northern Arizona at the Grand Canyon National Park Airport. 

Hotels and Airbnbs in Arizona – Check booking.com for over 2,500 properties in Arizona, including hotels, homes, and apartments. Most properties offer free cancellation and a best price guarantee. Check Airbnb for more options.  If you’re new to Airbnb, use our referral link here for $40 off your first stay.

Car Rental – Check RentalCars.com to compare prices of the world’s biggest car rental services, including Hertz, Avis, and Budget.  

Arizona Bucket List: 101 Things to do in Arizona

Northern Arizona Bucket List


1 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.

2 Raft the Colorado River

There’s no wetter (or faster) way to travel through the Grand Canyon.

3 Hike to Havasupai

Even if you’re doing the Supai Shuffle afterwards, this hike to falls with turquoise waters is worth it. It’s getting harder and harder to get a permits to hike Havasupai each year, so make sure you have a few friends with fingers ready when reservations go live at 8 am on February 1. Please note that you need to make an account first (make it here), then login before 8 am and be ready to go! All reservations now are 3 nights, 4 days, and cost between $300 and $375 per person (depending on if its weekdays or weekends). Good luck!

4 Visit Horseshoe Bend

A horseshoe-shaped bend in the Colorado River. Just a few minutes hike off the road south of Page. If you want to get a picture with all of horseshoe bend in it, make sure you have a wide-angle lens!

5 Tour Antelope Canyon 

 This scenic slot canyon formed by erosion of Navajo Sandstone from flash flooding. These canyons have become incredibly popular and can only be visited by booking a tour, so don’t expect to be walking through these canyons alone.

6 Monument Valley

The ultimate backdrop for a cowboy to ride off into the sunset.

7  Boating on Lake Powell

Lake Powell is a man-made reservoir created by the Glen Canyon dam. Incredibly scenic and a great place to rent a houseboat as this lake is huge!

8 Hike to The Wave

Sandstone rock formation on the slopes of the Coyote Buttes. Good luck with getting your permits!

9 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?!

10 Lake Mead

 Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the U.S. and a popular boating spot.

Arizona Bucket List: 101 Things to do in Arizona

11 Ski at Snowbowl near Flagstaff

Who says Arizona doesn’t have snow?! Check here for snow reports and to get lift tickets. 

12 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.

13 White House Ruin Trail in Canyon de Chelly National Monument

These cliff dwellings built by the Anasazi in caves and recesses in the canyon walls in the 1100s

14 Keet Seel and Betatakin in the Navajo National Monument

Two Ancestral Puebloan villages from the 1200s

15 Cliff Dwelling at Walnut Canyon National Monument

Cliff dwelling rooms constructed 1100 to 1250 CE by the Sinagua, a pre-Columbian cultural group

16 Hike Humphrey’s Peak

Arizona’s highest peak

17 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.)

18 Petrified Forest National Park

These colorful badlands are scattered with petrified wood. This national park is one of three located in Arizona. 

19 Grand Falls of the Little Colorado River

Grand Falls are 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.

20 Drive U.S. Route 66

One of the original highways, Route 66 connects Chicago to Santa Monica. The highway passes near Flagstaff, and there’s even two surviving Wigwam Motels near Holbrook.

21 Window Rock

In Navajo: tségháhoodzání. Or directly translated: the rock-with-hole-through-it.

22 Meteor Crater

 Meteorite impact crater near Flagstaff

Arizona Bucket List: 101 Things to do in Arizona

Central Arizona Bucket List


23 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.

24 Swim at Slide Rock in Sedona

A natural water slide among Sedona’s red rocks. Slide Rock is part of Arizona’s state park system. Entrance costs $10 to $30 per vehicle depending on the time of year. 

25 Grasshopper Point Swimming & Picnic Area

One of the many scenic swimming holes in Sedona

26 “The Crack” in Wet Beaver Creek Wilderness southeast of Sedona

This is another beautiful swimming holes in Sedona

27 Red Rock State Park in Sedona

See Sedona’s unique Red Rocks

28 West Fork of Oak Creek Trail #108

Lush trails with creek crossings. A great place to see fall foliage in AZ.

29 S-Canyon in the Blue Range Primitive Area

Beautiful forests near the New Mexico border

30 Tuzigoot, Montezuma Castle, and Honanki

 Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings 

31 Aravaipa Canyon

 See creeks, cliffs and big horn sheep

32 Lone Pine Trailhead in Four Peaks Wilderness Area

The Lone Pine Trail is a beautiful hike through pine covered wilderness

33 Hike to Fossil Creek

The hike to Fossil Creek is an 8.4 mile hike to large waterfalls. As of 2016, this hike now requires a permit.

34 Mogollon Rim

Drive along Forest Road 300 for scenic views of the Mogollon Rim and the valley, hike, camp, kayak or fish around the area’s lakes.

35 Jerome Ghost Town

Jerome Ghost Town is an old copper mining town

Arizona Bucket List | 101 Things to do in Arizona | Phoenix Public Market

Phoenix Metro Area Bucket List


36 Hike Peralta Trail to Weaver’s Needle in the Superstition Mountains

4.9 mile moderate trail with interesting rock formation

37 Hike Flatiron in the Superstition Mountains

5.5 mile difficult trail up to a large plateau on top of Superstition mountains

38 Hieroglyphic Trail in Superstition Mountains

2.8 mile easy trail with petroglyphs and a seasonal waterfall. For more information about this trail, check out our post here.

39 Hike Wind Cave

Wind Cave is a 2.6 mile moderate trail through beautiful Sonoran desert

40 Hike Camelback Mountain

Popular 2.4 mile trail in the middle of Phoenix. It’s steep and requires a bit of scrambling, but you’ll be rewarded with views over the Phoenix Valley.

View from Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona

41 Hike Piestewa Peak

2.3 mile hard trail in the middle of Phoenix

42 Backyard Taco

Basic but delicious Mexican food

43 Cibo Pizzeria

The best pizza I’ve had in Phoenix. Get anything with burrata

44 Pizzeria Bianco

Wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas and Italian small plates. Often listed as some of the best pizza in the U.S.

45 Mesa Donuts

Simple and fresh, these are the best donuts in the east valley.

46 Karl’s Quality Bakery

Amazing cronuts! The bran muffin is pretty incredible too.

47 Worth Takeaway

The crispy chicken is one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had.

48 Little Miss BBQ

Barbecue so good, you might think you’re in Texas.

49 Realeza Michoacana

Mexican treats. Get a raspado (shaved ice, cream, tons of fruit)

50 Carolina’s Mexican Food

Hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant

Arizona Bucket List | 101 Fun things to do in Arizona | Hiking South Mountain

51 Four Peaks Brewery

Working brewery and restaurant

52 Matt’s Big Breakfast

Everything here is done right – pancakes, waffles, eggs, all served with a lot of butter.

53 Cerreta Candy Co

Arizona’s own candy maker, famous for green french mints

54 Gelato Dolce Vita

The closest you’ll get to real Italian gelato in AZ

55 Sweet Republic Ice Cream Shop

Local chain serving artisan ice cream

56 Barrio Cafe

Get the mole!

57 Organ Stop Pizza

Go here to see the largest Wurlitzer pipe organ in the world. The pizza is mediocre at best

58 Farmers Market at Phoenix Public Market

Lots of local produce and vendors on Saturday mornings

59 Mary Coyle’s ice cream shop

Classic ice cream shop originally opened in 1951

60 Taliesin West by Frank Lloyd Wright

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home

61 Desert Botanical Garden

One of the best collections of desert plants from deserts around the world

The Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, Arizona

62 The Heard Museum of Native Cultures and Art

A living museum with both artifacts and contemporary art of Native American cultures

63 DeSoto Central Market

Hangout offering eateries, a bar & a farmer’s market in a vintage car dealership

64 Walking Tour of Downtown Phoenix

This walking tour is a fun way to learn a bit of Phoenix history and see some of the city’s best street art and architecture

65 Street Art in Roosevelt Row

Arts district decorated by local street artists

66 Boating on Saguaro Lake

Reservoir on the Salt River great for wakeboarding

67 Tubing or kayaking down the Salt River

 Float or paddle down the river

68 The Phoenix Zoo

Largest privately owned, non-profit zoo in the U.S.

69 Hole-in-the-Rock at Papago Park

Cool natural geological formation in Phoenix and one of the best places to watch the sunset in the Valley.

Hole in the Rock at Papago Park is a great place to watch the sunset near Scottsdale, Arizona

70 Phoenix Art Museum

Modern and contemporary art museum

71 Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMOCA)

Small modern art museum in downtown Scottsdale

72 Old Town Scottsdale

A taste of the southwest with art galleries, retail and great restaurants. For more things to do in Scottsdale, check out our post here.

73 Wrigley Mansion

Tour the 1931 home of the chewing-gum magnate William Wrigley, Jr.

74 Tovrea Castle

A mini “castle” in the middle of the desert

75 Rosson House

An 1895 Victorian home from Arizona’s territorial days

76 Catch a show at Orpheum Theater

1929 theatre originally used for traveling vaudeville acts

Scottsdale Travel Guide: What To Do in Scottsdale, Arizona

77 Diamondbacks Baseball Game

Arizona’s professional baseball team

78 Phoenix Suns Basketball Game

Arizona’s professional basketball team

79 Coyotes Hockey Game

Arizona’s professional hockey team

80 Cardinals Football Game

Arizona’s professional football team

81 Spring Training Game

Chicago Cubs or Oakland A’s facilities are in Mesa

Arizona Bucket List | 101 Things to do in Arizona | Explore downtown Phoenix
Arizona Bucket List | 101 Things to do in Arizona | Explore downtown Phoenix

82 Pick the peaches at Schnepfs Farm

Peach picking is the 2nd and 3rd weeks in May

83 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

84 Stay the night at the Arizona Biltmore

The Arizona Biltmore is a historic hotel built in 1929, it was a favorite of celebrities like Marilyn Monroe.

85 Encanto/Palmcroft Neighborhood

Neighborhood with 1920s California Craftsman bungalows and Mock Tudors

86 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

87 Musical Instrument Museum

Modern and contemporary art museum

Arizona Bucket List: 101 Things to do in Arizona

Southern Arizona Bucket List

88 Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway

Scenic drive through the Santa Catalina mountains

89 Ski at Mount Lemmon

The southernmost ski destination in the U.S.

90 Mission San Xavier del Bac

Historic Spanish Catholic mission built in the late 1700s. Known as the “The White Dove of the Desert”

91 Kartchner Caverns State Park

Caverns are carved out of limestone and filled with speleothems

92 Hike Seven Falls Trail in Sabino Canyon

Hike along and through the creek to impressive falls up in Sabino Canyon. Read our post here for more information about this hike.

93 Hike Picacho Peak

A difficult trail, with cables and catwalks need to reach the top of this big peak

94 Chiricahua National Monument

Extensive hoodoos and balancing rocks

95 Biosphere 2

Earth systems science research facility.  It is the largest closed system ever created

96 Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park has two areas of the park, on opposite sides of Tucson. Hike through thousands of saguaro cacti, and even find some petroglyphs.

97 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

98 Aqui Con Nene Tacos

Not only incredible tacos but finalist in the Stand-out Sixty Four Food Bracket for the best hot dog

99 Café Poca Cosa

Café with unique spin on Mexican cuisine

100 El Charro

They invented the chimichanga (deep fried burrito

101 Tombstone Wild West Show

Entertaining reenactments of the wild west!

Arizona Bucket List: 101 Things to do in Arizona


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101 Things To Do in Arizona | The ultimate Arizona bucket list to inspire you to visit all parts of the Grand Canyon state. There are instafamous spots like the Wave, Antelope Canyon, and the Grand Canyon, but there are also so many hidden gems to discover with this list of 101 fun things to do in Arizona. #arizona #bucketlist #travel #grandcanyon #usa
101 Things To Do in Arizona | The ultimate Arizona bucket list to inspire you to visit all parts of the Grand Canyon state. There are instafamous spots like the Wave, Antelope Canyon, and the Grand Canyon, but there are also so many hidden gems to discover with this list of 101 fun things to do in Arizona. #arizona #bucketlist #travel #grandcanyon #usa

How many places have you visited on this Arizona Bucket List?

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29 Comments

  • Reply Monica March 22, 2017 at 11:33 am

    El Charro invented the Chimichanga?! Incredible to learn. Great list, there are so many natural treasures to be found in the Arizona desert!

    • Reply Kelly Barcus March 22, 2017 at 12:09 pm

      I always wondered why it was so hard to find outside of Arizona, even in So Cal. Guess that’s because it’s kind of an Arizona thing!

  • Reply Jamie March 25, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    Wow, terrific list! Pinning this for future reference. Thank you for taking the time to put this together!

    • Reply Kelly Barcus March 25, 2017 at 9:06 pm

      Thanks Jamie! Hope you get to use it soon. 🙂

  • Reply Leigh March 25, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    I’m planning on spending about 2 months in Arizona next fall winter (as part of a 6-month road trip) so this is awesome for me – definitely bookmarking for later!

    • Reply Kelly Barcus March 25, 2017 at 9:07 pm

      Wow, sounds like an epic trip! Hope you love your time in AZ.

  • Reply Lia & Jeremy March 25, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    This is an incredible and comprehensive list! Totally bookmarking this for the next time we visit Arizona!

    • Reply Kelly Barcus March 25, 2017 at 9:08 pm

      Thank you! Hope you find it helpful!

  • Reply Sally March 25, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    This is beautiful! Am planning a family trip to Grand Canyon- thank you for all these wonderful ideas!

    • Reply Kelly Barcus March 25, 2017 at 9:10 pm

      That’s sounds like a fun trip, Sally! Hope you fit in some great hiking or rafting!

  • Reply Yolanda March 25, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    I live in AZ and have done MANY of the things on this list. You have hit all the great for sure!

    • Reply Kelly Barcus March 25, 2017 at 9:11 pm

      Thanks! Great to hear from another native 😉

  • Reply Laura April 5, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    Awesome list! My parents are moving to Phoenix soon so I can’t wait to check some of these out!

    • Reply nomanbefore April 5, 2017 at 8:53 pm

      That’s great! Hope you guys can explore together! And hopefully you won’t be visiting in the heat of summer for the first time so you’ll want to come back 😉

  • Reply Jen April 23, 2017 at 11:28 am

    I just got back and fell in love with Arizona! I only did a brief trip to Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon and the Grand Canyon but wow. I hear there are also dinosaur tracks? Seriously, what a cool state! I will be referencing your list on a future visit soon 🙂

    • Reply nomanbefore May 3, 2017 at 11:50 pm

      Northern Arizona has some incredible places! Hope you get to come back soon and see more of the state! I haven’t heard of the dinosaur tracks, but my bucket list is always growing 🙂

  • Reply Karissa June 22, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Three other super fun things to do in AZ are riding the Verde Canyon Railroad, first class is a must, as well as take a tour in Kartchner Caverns, and lastly walk around Sabino Canyon or take the tram ride.

    • Reply Kelly Barcus June 23, 2017 at 9:27 pm

      We’ll have to check out the Verde Canyon Railroad! We love the Sabino Canyon area as well – the seven falls trail is awesome!

  • Reply Jessi December 26, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Is the cactus picture in Saguaro National Park?

    • Reply nomanbefore December 26, 2017 at 10:35 pm

      Hi Jessi, the picture with the saguaro was Usery Mountain Regional Park near Mesa, AZ. There are tons of saguaros, chollas, and other types of cactus in that area too.

  • Reply Debbie January 14, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    I lived in Payson, AZ for 5 years, absolutely loved it. Waking up to the cleanest air in the nation, Watching the clouds roll over the mountains, snow that usually does not last more than a few days, and No humidity.
    I plan to retire there.

    • Reply nomanbefore January 14, 2018 at 3:01 pm

      Payson does seem like a great place to live. We just hiked the Horton Creek Trail right after Christmas and loved it. Started off pretty cold, but warmed up quickly. Such a beautiful area!

  • Reply Ben Zweber October 23, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    I love your list. I’d probably take 10 from here to add to my bucket list. Where can I find the giant cactus?

    • Reply nomanbefore October 23, 2018 at 9:32 pm

      Thanks Ben! If you’re referring to the photo at the end of the post, that’s in the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix.

  • Reply 5 Easy Hikes You Can't Miss Near Mesa, Arizona February 7, 2019 at 11:38 pm

    […] More things to do in Arizona – for a full list of things to do in Arizona, check out our Arizona bucket list with 101 ideas for your trip. […]

  • Reply CatyN March 18, 2019 at 6:57 pm

    Another must-see is the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, just outside Tucson, west of Gates Pass. It’s very near Old Tucson Film Studio, where some of the most iconic western films and TV shows were shot. The Sonoran Desert is showcased at the mostly outdoor museum, and its animals, large and small, are exhibited in natural habitats. I lived in Tucson for 35 years and it was #1 on my list of places to take visitors. Also, Rosa’s Mexican Restaurant is a local, non-tourist eatery that features the best Mexican comfort food you’ll ever taste!

    • Reply Kelly Barcus March 20, 2019 at 11:20 am

      Thanks so much for sharing! Looks like we need to make another trip down to Tucson 🙂

  • Reply Chineta Harris March 21, 2019 at 8:29 pm

    My husband and I will be PCS’ing to Luke AFB in Aug 2019 very excited to be coming. We plan on retiring in 2 years from the AF. We’ve heard so much about Arizona and the worst thing people complain of is the hot summers. Thanks for your review super excited to experience this great State

  • Reply Scottsdale, Arizona Travel Guide November 29, 2019 at 8:35 pm

    […] The Ultimate Arizona Bucket List: 101 Things to do in the Grand Canyon State […]

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