AAA: Celebrate and explore Arizona

Posted at 8:54 AM, Sep 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-16 11:54:34-04

We live in a magnificently beautiful state with unique landscapes, incredible historical landmarks and a vibrant collection of cultures.

Explore the Grand Canyon state with an Arizona bucket list, put together by AAA’s travel experts:

Take a tour of Taliesin West. Located on the southern slope of the McDowell Mountains, 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.

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 beautiful aqua pool surrounded by a sandy beach and cottonwood trees. The journey to the falls starts at the Hualapai Hilltop trailhead, which is a 5- to 6-hour drive from Phoenix, followed by a moderately difficult 10-mile hike. Havasu Falls isn’t easy to get to, but talk to anyone who has been and they’ll tell you it’s worth the trek.

Spend the night at a historic hotel. There are a number of hotels across the state that offer a fascinating glimpse into Arizona’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. Its vintage elevator, which is still functional, is one of its most memorable features. The Hotel Monte Vista opened in downtown Flagstaff in 1927. A few of the hotel’s most famous guests include Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Debbie Reynolds, John Wayne and Clark Gable.

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.

Whether you’re a native or new to the desert, it’s never too late to start your Arizona bucket list and explore everything that has made Arizona what it is over the last century. 

For more travel expertise, visit