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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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!