Things to see in Arizona beyond the Grand Canyon.

There so many things to see in Arizona beyond the mile-deep gorge in the ground known as the Grand Canyon. A whopping 6.3 million people came to Arizona last year (2017) to visit the Grand Canyon (up 2 million from just 10 years ago), but other things to see in Arizona include: historic native American sites, fascinating geological landscapes, and true western culture.

Arizona is one of the most diverse states in the country. The weather in the lower half of the state, much of which is located within the Sonoran Desert, is absolutely spectacular from October through April. May through September, the northern part of the state is a great place for a reprieve from the heat of the desert. Here are some of my favorite things to see in Arizona beyond the Grand Canyon.

Monument Valley — one of the many incredible things to see in Arizona

One of the most iconic road trip scenes in the Southwest is Monument Valley. A view completely different than that of the Grand Canyon, but equally as impressive. Nature is the most prolific artist mankind has ever known, this is no more evident than at Monument Valley. Click the following link to see a guide to visiting Monument Valley.

Monument Valley is one of the many things to see in Arizona. Photo by: MikesRoadTrip.com

Joshua Tree Parkway

When it comes to Joshua Trees, many think of the national park in California, however, one of the many things to see in Arizona is the Joshua Tree Parkway, which runs along  U.S. 93, north of Wickenburg and South of Kingman. The Joshua Trees become the focal point of this drive around milepost 162. By milepost 169, the forest of Joshua Trees is brimming and you’ll see a sign that says, “Joshua Trees Parkway.”

Joshua Trees Parkway is one of the many things to see in Arizaon

One of the most unique things to see in Arizona is the landscape of the Painted Desert

The Painted Desert is known for its brilliant and varied colors, that not only include the more common red rock but shades of lavender and other varying colors. There are many places to see the Painted Desert as it encompasses a large area, but one of the most concentrated is along HWY 89 heading north toward Page, or east on 160 toward Tuba City.

Painted Desert is one of the things to see in Arizona. Photo by: Mike Shubic

Jerome, Arizona

Jerome is an interesting and eclectic artist community that draws tourists form around the world for its history, haunted hotel, mine museum, art galleries, and photographic opportunities. One of my favorite places to visit in Jerome is the Gold King Mine & Ghost Town–this place is a cornucopia of interesting cars and artifacts from yesteryear.

Jerome is one of the places to see in Arizona. Aeiral photo by Mike Shubic

Sedona, Arizona

Sedona is a magical place with scenery that is simply mesmerizing. Art lovers and recreational enthusiasts will rejoice. There is so much to see and do in Sedona, from various Jeep tours, meditation and walking tours, to shopping, gallery hopping, hiking, biking and dining at wonderful restaurants to playing in the crystal clear waters of Oak Creek.

Southwest Road Trip into Sedona by MikesRoadTrip.com

Arcosanti

This is an urban laboratory experiment located in the middle of the high desert just northeast of Cordes Junction, Arizona.  This unique facility was the brain child of the famed architect, Paolo Soleri, the last remaining disciple to study under Frank Lloyd Wright. Click the following link to read more about Arcosanti.

Arcosanti is one of the many things to see in Arizona. Photo by Mike Shubic of MikesRoadTrip.com

Tombstone, Arizona

Tombstone is the famous Wild West town known for the shootout at O.K. Corral. You can walk the very same streets that Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, Johnny Ringo, Ike Clanton and a host of other Western Legends walked over 130 years ago. You can just feel the history in as you stroll the streets. This is probably the most authentic Western Town left in the United States! This Arizona Road Trip is just an hour and a half southeast of Tucson.

Tombstone Arizona is a true western experience. Photo by Mike Shubic

Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monument

Visiting Sunset Crater is an unearthly experience. This is an extinct volcano where colorful cinder cones formed and large expanses of lava and ash, mostly obscured by vegetation, are showcased against the landscape with its deep black color. Many visitors drive through the 34-mile scenic loop that winds from Highway 89 through Sunset Crater Volcano, eventually leading to the Wupatki National Monument. The scenic loop leads from a high Ponderosa Pine forest, down nearly 2,000 feet in elevation to the red rocks and painted desert vistas of Wupatki.

Sunset Crater by Mike Shubic of MikesRoadTrip.com

Wupatki Monument north of Flagstaff - Photo by Mike Shubic of MikesRoadTrip.com

Antelope Canyon in Northern Arizona

Antelope Canyon is one of the most popular things to see in Arizona. The smooth, wave-like walls of Antelope Canyon have been shaped by years of occasional flash flooding and wind, eroding the sandstone into the natural wonder we see today. Click the following link to read all about visiting Antelope Canyon, including a video of the experience.

Antelope Canyon - Photo by MikesRoadTrip.com

Horseshoe bend is one of the most popular things to see in Arizona

Horseshoe Bend is one of the most iconic things to see in Arizona. It’s located just a few miles from Page Lake Powell and does require about a 1.4 mile round trip walk through sand. Click the following link to read all about visiting Horseshoe Bend.

Horseshoe Bend is one of the most iconic things to see in Arizona. Photo by Mike Shubic of MikesRoadTrip.com

Canyon De Chelly is one of the most underrated places in Arizona

One of the most underrated things to see in Arizona is Canyon De Chelly

Canyon De Chelly is a place where wind, water and time have etched a landscape masterpiece. While Canyon De Chelly may be considered a stepchild of the Grand Canyon, its beauty is no less spectacular. The area is made up of a series of sandstone canyons, some span for many miles. The views from the various overlooks each provide a different, but equally awe-inspiring scene. Take for example the lookout at Spider Rock—in the middle of this vast area, walled off by sheer cliffs that plunge some 700 feet to the valley floor. Or, the dramatic scene from the canyon floor where giant rock formations soar to the heavens. Canyon De Chelly is likely one of the most underrated things to see in Arizona.

Kartchner Caverns

Kartchner Cavers highlights the incredible diversity of the Grand Canyon State. Kartchner is one of the largest and most well-preserved living caves in the country…if not the world. If you’ve never been inside a cave before, this is the one you must see. Painstaking effort not only went into preserving the cave for generations to come, but also for making it the most comfortable cave for tourists to explore. Paved trails run throughout the cave system, making it easy for folks of all ages and abilities to explore. Click here to read more about Kartchner.

Kartchner caverns is one of the many things to see in Arizona.

This is just a sample of the amazing things to see in Arizona. If you’d like to read more, click the following link to read about my top-25 Arizona Road Trip Destinations. If you have any questions about visiting Arizona, please leave a comment below, we’re happy to help you find your way through this wondrous state. Click the following link to see some travel videos on Arizona.

Top things to See in Arizona beyond the Grand Canyon

FAQ

What time zone is Arizona in?

Arizona is in Mountain Standard Time and is one of only two states that does not observe daylight savings (with exception to the Navajo Nation).

What is the most popular Arizona attractions?

The Grand Canyon is by far the most popular attraction in Arizona, however, there are so many incredible sights to see. For example; Monument Valley is one of the most iconic road trips in the world. The unique geological wonder of the Painted Desert will leave you astounded The red rocks of Sedona will draw you into a vortex. Canyon de Chelly rivals the Grand Canyon. And, Antelope Canyon and nearby Horseshoe Bend round out just a few of the most popular attractions in Arizona.

Do I need to be worried about rattlesnakes and other dangerous creatures?

Arizona does indeed have a lot of poisonous creatures. From the Gila Monster, scorpions, centipedes, tarantulas and other spiders and snakes. The likelihood of encountering these things creatures is remote. Many stay underground most of the time. The only time to really take caution is while hiking. Be sure to stay on trails and not walk through heavy brush. A walking stick is a good idea to bring with you.

Mike Shubic

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Mike Shubic is a seasoned road trip travel video blogger, traversing the byways of the world looking for those hidden gems of the road. From unique destinations, unexpected discoveries, creative cuisine, intriguing inns to exciting attractions…the road is his page. The experiences are his ink. And every 300 miles, a new chapter begins. Whether you live vicariously or by example, Mike will do the exploring so you can have an adventure.

2 Comments

  1. Great site, Mike. We are taking a 6 day, spontaneous, driving road trip to Arizona. Antelope Canyon is a must, Lake Powel too. Arriving somewhere ? On Sept 23…. can u suggest a loop ? ? Stops along the way thru this majestic land ? Open to suggestions. Should lodging reservations be pre-set?

    1. Hi Helen, thanks for stopping by. I have an article/guides on this area, I will provide links and you can let me know if you have any other questions. Yes, I would recommend making reservations, this time of year is pretty busy at Lake Powell, Monument Valley and other parts of Northern Arizona. https://www.mikesroadtrip.com/northern-arizona-road-trip Here is another piece that has more information on the area: https://www.mikesroadtrip.com/southwest-road-trip-guide-phoenix-to-denver/ Oh, and if you go to Monument Valley, here is information on that area: https://www.mikesroadtrip.com/visiting-monument-valley/

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