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Arizona

Arizona has more than just the Grand Canyon

Arizona, the Grand Canyon State, is located in southwestern USA just east of California and just north of the Mexican Border. It is most famous for the Grand Canyon, but the state also has many other wonderful attractions and a wide variety of climates.

Arizona's climate varies considerably, from the stark beauty of the warm dry Sonoran desert to the high cool mountains in the northern part of state. The elevation changes dramatically from 70 feet (20 meters) on the Colorado River south of Yuma, to 12,633 feet (4.000 meters) at the San Francisco Peaks north of Flagstaff. In Arizona you can water ski one day and snow ski the next.

Giant Saguro Cactus © USATourist.com
A short drive east from Tucson is the Saguaro (pronounced sah-war-o) National Monument, where you can view the finest specimens of the giant saguaro cactus which grow only in the Sonoran desert.

Arizona is typical of the Southwest

Arizona typifies the Southwest. It exhibits a colorful Native American (Indian) flavor blended with a powerful Spanish heritage. It is home to the largest Indian reservations in the USA. Spanish Conquistadors established settlements near the present site of Tucson in 1539. But, Arizona's history as a cattle-producing state makes it the home of that famous icon of the old west- the American cowboy.

Story and song have immortalized the town of Tombstone, in the southeast corner of the state, famous for its "Shoot Out at the O.K. Corral." Although many films have been made about Tombstone, most of them were filmed in Tucson (pronounced too-sawn), home of Old Tucson Studios. A short drive east from Tucson is the Saguaro (pronounced sah-war-o) National Monument, where you can view the finest specimens of the giant saguaro cactus which grow only in the Sonoran desert.

They even have the London Bridge in Arizona

Visitors may be surprised to find the original London Bridge in Arizona. Moved here from England in 1970, London Bridge is the focal point of Lake Havasu City, located on one of Arizona's many large man-made lakes. Lake Havasu is in the northwest corner of the state on the Colorado River.

Phoenix, the capital city of Arizona, boasts a population of over 4 million, and has been designated the "Best Run City in the World." Named after the legendary bird that rose from its own ashes, Phoenix is built atop the ancient Hohokam civilization and is located in south central Arizona. It is home to many cosmopolitan activities and has numerous museums, theaters, and performing arts events including the Phoenix Symphony. You can visit the campus of Arizona State University and view the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the United State's most famous architects. You can also attend a big-league football, baseball, or basketball game.

See mystical Sedona and the magnificent Grand Canyon

Two hours north of Phoenix, in the center of the state, you can visit mystical Sedona famous for its beautiful rock formations and its sacred "vortexes" with their reputed concentrations of cosmic power. Stop at Jerome, a ghost town turned into an art colony perched steeply on a mountainside with spectacular views.

The Grand Canyon, one of the great natural wonders of the world lies near the northern border of Arizona. The south rim visitor's center is accessible via a one-and-half hour drive from Flagstaff. A steam-powered train offers excursions to the canyon from the town of Williams. Williams lies on a surviving piece of historic old Route 66 about 30 miles west of Flagstaff.

Lanscape near Sedona, AZ © USATourist.com
Two hours north of Phoenix, in the center of the state, you can visit mystical Sedona famous for its beautiful rock formations and its sacred "vortexes" with their reputed concentrations of cosmic power.

Arizona has plenty to offer everyone

Arizona offers plenty of wide-open spaces. It also offers mountains, lakes, and forests for fishing, hunting, boating, hiking, river-rafting, camping, horseback riding and jeep touring. Don't miss the Four Corners region, home to Navajo and Hopi Indian Reservations in the northeastern part of the state. This is an area of many natural wonders including the Petrified Forest, the Painted Desert, and Monument Valley.

If you are less adventuresome, Arizona has many fine golf courses and old mining towns where you can pan for real gold. Many Indian reservations offer casino gambling. You can find great shopping in Nogales and other Mexican border towns, as well as in the cities and at many Native American festivals held throughout the year.

Travel tips for Arizona

You can visit Arizona any time of the year, but the desert areas are most comfortable from October through April. Wear winter clothing at the higher elevations from November to March. Wear lightweight, very cool clothing in the lower elevations from April to October.

Arizona's climate is dry and very sunny, even in the higher elevations. Be sure to drink plenty of water and when hiking or driving, always carry water. Sunscreen or sunblock is recommended for most outdoor activities, even in winter - the mild climate can be misleading and sunburn occurs quickly. Wear comfortable, sturdy shoes for walking and never venture into the desert or wilderness areas alone. When camping, secure all food from predators and scavengers, and never put your foot into an empty shoe without first checking for scorpions. Bring plenty of film for your camera! You will wish to take many pictures of this beautiful state!

Written by: Catt Foy
Top Photo Credit: © Michael Borjessen
Photo Description: The Grand Canyon, one of the great natural wonders of the world lies near the northern border of Arizona.