10 Best Adventure Destinations in Arizona
If you are in need of finding an adventure, come explore the heart of the Southwest. Arizona draws tourists from all around the globe, but those who venture deeper into the state will find all kinds of unique places and interesting sites. While larger cities and towns like Phoenix and Sedona make great vacation destinations, you can head beyond the city to discover Native American cliff dwellings and remnants of ancient cultures, historic ghost towns from the mining days, and a landscape perfect for outdoor adventures. The Arizona desert is home to many lakes, mountains, slot canyons, buttes, waterfalls, and even a volcano with downhill skiing, to all of which offer a world of possibilities for travelers. The top 10 best adventure destinations in Arizona are as follows:
10. Tombstone – Located in the southeastern part of Arizona, and known for the history of the Wild West. Home of the O.K. Corral and watch the reenactment of the famous shoot out with Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. Resident ghost are said to haunt the Bird Cage Theatre and Boot Hill Cemetery. Arrange a variety of different tours including an underground mining tour, with Good Enough Mine Tours.
9. Kartchner Caverns State Park – Located in Benson, Arizona and is less than 30 minutes north of Tombstone. Kartchner Caverns was voted by USA Today Reader’s Choice, “BEST CAVE IN THE USA”! Caverns carved out of limestone and filled with spectacular speleothems which have been growing for 50,000 years and more. Kartchners State Park offers first rate campgrounds, cabins and a network of trails to explore. Booking reservations can be made at 1-877-MY-PARKS or visit www.azstateparks.com.
8. Saguaro National Park – 1 hour northwest of Tombstone, here you will find some of the older saguaro with a mixture of oak and pine trees. The giant saguaro is the universal symbol of the American west. Take a family hike on the Desert Ecology Trail to see the majestic plants and vibrant cacti blossoms. After your hiking tour is completed, set up camp, pitch a tent and sleep under the stars.
7. BioSphere2 – 1.5 hours north of Saguaro National Park East is BioSphere2, which is a Earth System Science Research facility located in Oracle, Arizona. BioSphere2 was built in between 1987 and 1991. Originally created to demonstrate the possibility of sustaining life on another planet. Consisting of 7 biome areas, the rainforest, ocean with coral reef, mangrove (wetlands), the savannah grasslands, fog desert and 2 anthropogenic biomes which include, agricultural and human habitat with living spaces and laboratories. A different world to discover in the Arizona desert!
6. El Dorado Hot Springs – Who knew Arizona had hot springs!? Located 2 hours and 40 minutes from BioSphere in Tonopah, Arizona. Relax and soothe your aching muscles in this natural hot soaking therapy enjoyed worldwide. The waters are naturally heated by Mother Earth herself. This location does provide overnight camping and private soaking. You have 5 soaking sections to choose from. Additional information can be found on their website at www.el-dorado.com, or call at 623-386-5412 for pricing and reservations.
5. Jerome – Jerome a National Historic Landmark of Arizona, due to the history of the rich booming mining discovery of copper, gold, silver and other metals during the early 1900’s, earning the nickname as the “Wickedest Town in the West”. What would the Wickedest Town in the West be without a haunted hotel. If you are brave enough, book a night stay at the Jerome Grand Hotel. Learn more of the towns history at the Jerome’s Historical Society, of men and families who tried their hand at striking it rich and sought after the riches of the west. After WW1 and the Great Depression many of the mines closed and the efforts to keep the town alive residents turned to tourist and retail. Also stop by and tour the Gold King Mine and Ghost Town, which has amazing collection of rare vintage cars.
4. Sedona – If being in the center of a cosmic vortex or expanding your third eye is more your thing, Sedona is not to be missed. Sedona’s four best known vortexes are found nearby. It is also noted for the vibrant art community, art galleries, and new age shops with every crystal and gem to align your Chakra. Visit the landmark Tlaquepaque Shopping Village and Galleries. With its mild climate it is also perfect to explore the trailheads that lead to the red rock buttes and steep canyon walls, with some of the breath taking sights views. A view not worth missing the Chapel of the Holy Cross set against the red rocks of Sedona. After all the exploring cool off at Slide Rock State Park. Located 7 miles north of Sedona in Oak Creek. More additional information for Slide Rock can be found online at www.azstateparks.com/slide-rock/ .
3. Montezuma Castle and Well – Centrally located in Arizona near Camp Verde. Montezuma Castle is part of the National Park Service and under its protection, come gaze at the well preserved native dwellings of the Sinagua tribe, set 90 feet high above the sheer limestone cliffs. Learn more about the history and construction of Montezuma. As well as the plants and animals in the program created by the National Park Service in order to record the environmental changes and its inhabitants of the area. Montezuma Well is located 5 miles north of the Castle and is a natural limestone sinkhole, which also contains additional Sinagua dwellings. Natural underground springs constantly pump over 1.5 millions of water into the well each day. This well help support the thriving ecosystem and the Sinagua tribe. Hours of operations and fee cost can be found at www.nps.gov/moca/index.htm.
2. Canyon de Chelly National Monument – A National Monument located near Chinle, Arizona on the Navajo Reservation. Home to prominent features that include Spider Rock, White House Ruins and the Mummy Caves, which are the prehistoric remains of the ancient Pueblo villages. For nearly 5,000 years the indigenous people of the area have lived in these Canyons. Navajo families still have homes, livestock and farm the lands in the canyon to this day. Here you just take in the beauty and view of the area at the scenic overlooks or book a hiking tour with a Park Ranger on the nearby hiking trails. For the adventurous guest, you may book a tour to explore deep into the Canyon with a Navajo tour guide. You may find additional information thru the National Park Service website at www.nps.gov/cach/index.htm
1. Horseshoe Bend & The Slot Canyon with Dixie’s Lower Antelope Canyon – Social media darling, the Horseshoe Bend has become one of the most recognized and visited places in Northern Arizona. Horseshoe Bend is known for its horseshoe-shaped Canyon with the Little Colorado River flowing below. Bypass the limited parking and massive crowds and book a Horseshoe Bend Combo tour thru our website and complete 2 items off your bucket list! Choose the date and time for your Lower Antelope Canyon Tour and after booking select the date and time for your Horseshoe Bend Tour. You will be transported to a private portion of the Horseshoe Bend and be less than 5 minutes from the Canyon edge without the crowds of people. For this amazing and hassle free adventure, check out the link below!