The Best of Arizona
Arizona is a red-rock wonder, home to some of America’s most fascinating natural spectacles. There’s an outdoor adventure for everyone here, courtesy of the 22 national parks and monuments, mountains towering nearly 4,000 metres above sea level and natural phenomena including Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon. It’s also home to wild locals including the peccary, rattlesnake and coyote.
Culture vultures will enjoy discovering Arizona’s rich history, Native American roots and spiritual legacies. In fact, Arizona has 22 sovereign American Indian communities. Beautiful desert cities such as Scottsdale and Tucson offer an authentic taste of the South West married with modern-day luxury. Renowned for their elegant spas and golf resorts, as well as a range of fine-dining options, these buzzing urban centres nestle in the rugged landscape. Each city has perfected its own flavour of luxury across a range of world-class resorts from the Enchantment Resort at Boynton Canyon and Four Seasons Scottsdale to the opulent Canyon Suits at The Phoenician.
Below, our travel specialists have chosen some of their favourite places in Arizona:
Scottsdale is a stunning desert city set against an incredible backdrop of Camelback Mountain and Tonto National Forest. This lush oasis in the red-rock desert is home to some of Arizona’s most luxurious resorts, each offering a fantastic range of facilities, activities and excursions including spas, golf courses, fishing and horse riding as well as hands-on classes in art, cooking and wine tasting. History buffs will relish the opportunity to discover Scottsdale’s rich past from its Native American roots dating back to 100 AD to its iconic ‘Old West’ heritage during the late 1800s. Admire Western and Native American artwork at the Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West or learn about cowboy culture and traditions at a local ranch. Don a Stetson and practice the art of lassoing, round up herds of cattle and drive your own horse-drawn cart.
Bordered by desert landscapes, mountain ranges and the beautiful Saguaro National Park, Tucson is the perfect place for outdoor explorers. Over 313 sunny days a year promise ample time for playing golf, fishing or hiking the mighty mountains at Catalina State Park.
Officially recognised as the first UNESCO City of Gastronomy, Tucson’s eclectic mix of locally owned restaurants are famous for their focus on organic ‘farm-to-fork’ produce. Located at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, the Flying V Bar and Grill serves up pioneering South Western flavours such as guacamole with watermelon, fried calamari and the unforgettable pulled rabbit chile relleno.
Sedona is the spiritual heart of the South West. Historically, the Native American people regarded the red rocks as having significant spiritual influence and many subscribe to the belief that they contain healing powers. Across Sedona it is rumoured there are spiritual vortices, naturally occurring centres of energy where people go to reflect and meditate in the tranquillity of the desert.
Sedona is characterised by New Age shops, art galleries and luxurious spa resorts. Mi Amo, located at the Enchantment Resort, is certainly a spa not to be missed. It offers classes in meditation and mindfulness as well as an impressive range of rejuvenating treatments, drawing on ancient Native American practices.
The Mighty Grand Canyon
One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon attracts over 6 million visitors a year and it’s easy to see why. This awe-inspiring canyon is 445 kilometres long and has a drop of nearly two kilometres. To truly admire its scale, we recommend taking an exhilarating helicopter tour accompanied by an expert guide. Nature lovers will enjoy sightings of the rare wildlife that thrives here including mule deer, canyon bat and bighorn sheep.
The El Tovar hotel offers an unforgettable experience of the canyon. Nestled on the edge of the drop, this hotel marries natural furnishings with vibrant décor inspired by South Western culture. Enjoy panoramic views of the Grand Canyon over drinks on the outdoor terrace.
Marvellous Monument Valley
Even if you’ve never been to Arizona, you’ll likely recognise Monument Valley. Many famous films were shot in this striking landscape including Stagecoach, Easy Rider and Back to the Future III. However, Monument Valley’s history can be traced back to long before Hollywood.
The Navajo settled here 1,000 years ago and the sandstone formations have remained virtually untouched ever since. Discover this wilderness with a private Navajo guide, enjoying access to restricted areas and learning about the site’s fascinating history. Admire Elephant Butte and Big Chief Monument before enjoying traditional Navajo dishes at the Haskenneini Restaurant.
- Holiday ideas
- Travel edits
- Holiday ideas
There is nothing like a good old fashion road trip and heading out the splendid Grand Canyon is just one of many highlights on this spectacular South West discovery
Tailored for today's family, this classic South West USA itinerary takes in sweeping desert vistas and sculptural sights at a rate and pace that's perfect with children
Enjoy the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, Lake Powell, Sedona, Las Vegas and more
- Travel edits