PHOENIX - Arizona is a magnificently beautiful state, filled with unique landscapes, historical landmarks, and a vibrant collection of cultures. Whether you’re a native or new to the desert, there is always something new to explore. AAA Travel experts have put together a bucket list of must-see destinations that make Arizona great:
Saddle up at a saloon on Whiskey Row
Named for the bars and saloons that used to line an entire block in downtown Prescott, Whiskey Row is one of the most well-known landmarks in Arizona’s mile-high city. In 1900 the block was destroyed by fire, but was rebuilt and remains an integral part of Prescott today.
Hike Havasu Falls
Located near the isolated village of the Supai, at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, Havasu Falls plunges nearly 100 feet into a beautiful aqua pool surrounded by a sandy beach and cottonwood trees. The journey to the falls starts at the Hualapai Hilltop trailhead, followed by a moderately difficult 10-mile hike. Havasu Falls isn’t easy to get to, but anyone who has been will tell you it’s well worth the trek.
Spend the night at a historic hotel
A number of Arizona hotels offer a fascinating glimpse into our state’s colorful past. The Hotel San Carlos started as the first Phoenix schoolhouse in 1874 before being transformed into a hotel in 1928. The Hassayampa Inn has been a Prescott landmark for more than eight decades, and its vintage elevator (which is still functional) is one of its most notable features. The Hotel Monte Vista, opened in downtown Flagstaff in 1927, has hosted such famous guests as Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Debbie Reynolds, John Wayne, and Clark Gable.
Explore Kartchner Caverns
Located near Benson, Kartchner Caverns is a live cave that contains stalagmites and stalactites fashioned from mineral deposits left by water that has been dripping underground for millions of years. Now a state park, various tours of the caverns are available. The park also features campgrounds, hiking trails, shaded picnic areas, and a hummingbird garden.
Uncover the mystique of Mystery Castle
In 1930, Boyce Luther Gulley left his family behind in Seattle and moved to the outskirts of Phoenix, where he spent more than a decade building a castle for his beloved daughter, Mary Lou. Located near South Mountain Park, the castle consists of 18 rooms, 13 fireplaces, and is furnished with eclectic antiques that range from an old car to recycled bricks. Gulley died before he could send for his family, but Mary Lou moved in to the castle as an adult. She conducted tours of the castle until she died in 2010. Today, friends continue the tradition, offering tours Thursdays through Sundays, October through June.
Take a tour of Taliesin West
Located on the southern slope of the McDowell Mountains, architect Frank Lloyd Wright began building Taliesin West in 1937. The masterpiece showcases Wright’s ability to integrate indoor and outdoor spaces, and served as his winter home until his death in 1959. Guided tours are available almost every day of the year and range from one to three hours in length.
Go big or go home at the Grand Canyon
An Arizona bucket list isn’t complete without a visit to the Grand Canyon. Each year this natural wonder attracts more than 5 million tourists from all over the world. Surprisingly, many Arizonans have never been. From its immense size to its inspiring landscapes, the Grand Canyon is something everyone — especially Arizonans — should experience.
For more information, call your local AAA Travel professional at 1-888-870-9392 or visit AAA.com/travel .