Arizona may be known as the “Grand Canyon State,” however, there are several other national monuments and sites that are worth visiting on your trip to the Southwest. Rent a vacation rental in Arizona near a National Park and get up close and personal to the wonders of state 48. Vacation rentals range from cozy cabins to large houses making your trip to Arizona the adventure of a lifetime. Don’t forget your camera and binoculars when you check out the top 10 national parks in Arizona, you never know what you’re going to see!
1. Grand Canyon National Park
We’re starting out the list with the most renowned park in Arizona, the Grand Canyon. Known as one of the seven wonders of the natural world, the Grand Canyon is a place everyone should see at least once. The most popular activity at the Grand Canyon is a hike, which you can do on the Bright Angel Trail or many others. You can also kayak through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River with a guided tour or on a solo trip. Rent a vacation rental nearby in Flagstaff or reserve a camping site in or near the Grand Canyon. Be sure to book your trip and any tours in advance as the Grand Canyon can get busy in the fall and spring.
2. Montezuma Castle National Monument
This national monument may not be as well known as the Grand Canyon, but it makes up for it with its history and beauty. Located about 50 miles south of Flagstaff, Montezuma Castle is an ancient cliff dwelling. Stop by the visitors center before the short hike to the dwellings to get a better understanding of the area’s history. Then check out the Montezuma Well, which has, even more, artifacts from long ago. Camping sites and vacation rentals in the area will keep you close to this site as well as other popular Arizona destinations like Sedona and Flagstaff.
3. Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park is known for the towering saguaro cactus that can grow up to 70 feet tall and live 150 years. Surround yourself by Saguaros in this Arizona landscape located in Southern Arizona and try out a few of the park’s many hiking trails. The Signal Hill Trail will take you to ancient petroglyphs where you may see some native Arizona wildlife along the way. Find a vacation rental in Tucson and explore other outdoor attractions like the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and the Kitt Peak National Observatory.
4. Petrified Forest National Park
Just outside of Holbrook, Arizona is a site that has been preserved in time. The 200 million-year-old petrified logs that the park is named after are a sight to be seen against the sandstone backdrop of the desert. Visit Lacey Point for a view of the Painted Desert badlands scenery then take a short hike to Newspaper Rock, where you will find hundreds of petroglyphs. You can spend several days exploring the trails and sites around Petrified Forest National Park with vacation rentals available in nearby Holbrook.
5. Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
Sunset Crater Volcano National Park is the perfect place to take the family for a hike and nature lesson. This dormant volcano hasn’t erupted in over a thousand years, however, you can still see the signs of its last eruption. Go on the hiking trail on the base of Sunset Crater to see the Bonito Lava Flow. Then, if you’re brave, explore the mile long lava tube formed from a volcanic vent. Bring your hiking shoes and a good camera for amazing views throughout the mountain town of Flagstaff.
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6. Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Located on the border of Arizona and Nevada, Lake Mead is a national recreation area perfect for a family getaway. The lake has over 550 miles of shoreline and plenty of activities the whole family will enjoy. Rent a boat or bring your own to explore the area. Then, take out your fishing rods for largemouth bass, crappie, and catfish catches. Hiking trails and campsites surround the lake or you can rent a vacation rental.
7. Glen Canyon Recreation Area
Explore the Arizona/Utah border in Glen Canyon Recreation Area, where you’ll find Cataract Canyon and Lake Powell. Take a guided tour on the lake or rent your own boat to explore the scenic area. The golden cliffs and crystal blue lake of Glen Canyon are breathtaking and will make your family want to return to Arizona for years to come. Stay in a nearby vacation rental or even a houseboat on the water for even more family fun.
8. Chiricahua National Monument
Head to the Chiricahua Mountains in southeastern Arizona for scenery that looks like it came straight from a movie. The hoodoos, or tent rocks, surround this national monument making it one of the unique hikes in Arizona. Take a scenic drive from Wilcox into this wonderland and explore the 17-miles of day use trails in the park. Then, take a tour of the Faraway Historic Ranch House before returning to your cozy vacation rental in Wilcox.
9. Canyon de Chelly National Monument
Go on a scenic drive through stunning Canyon de Chelly and get to know Navajo culture on the way. Start on the north rim drive where there are three overlooks of the canyon then go on a hike starting at White House Overlook. You can also take a canyon tour with a Navajo guide on foot, by horseback, or in a vehicle.
10. Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
We’re finishing out the list with even more ancient history in the beautiful state of Arizona. Casa Grande Ruins National Monument offers guided tours of the 650-year-old ruins of the Hohokam culture. This area is just about an hour south of Phoenix and the perfect start to your adventure in Southern Arizona.
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