Arizona beckons to be explored and marveled at, with wide-open spaces and amazing landscapes that inspire movies, artists and travelers. Our state offers enough road-trip excursions and bucket-list experiences to fill a hundred vacations (with no repeats), while leaving a lasting impression on those who experience it.
“One of the best ways to ensure you take at least one amazing trip this year is to plan it early,” says Debbie Johnson, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism. “Arizona’s bucket list destinations are the perfect way to really inspire yourself to book your next getaway. Plus, you get to start off 2023 by looking forward to your trip!”
Here, Arizona Office of Tourism outlines some of Arizona’s most iconic places and activities to help fill your bucket list itinerary:
Marvel at Antelope Canyon
Antelope Canyon is like no other spot on earth. At midday, when the sun is shining, shafts of light cut into the canyon, illuminating the narrow orange and gold sandstone walls. The effect is almost surreal, and visitors from around the globe come to marvel at its beauty. It’s a worthy addition to any Arizona bucket list trip, but there’s also a lot more to visiting Antelope Canyon than driving to a parking lot and walking up to the entrance. From how to book a Navajo guide to tips on photographing the shifting light, the most well-prepared visitors start with our Visiting Antelope Canyon the ‘Right Way’ Guide.
Raft the Grand Canyon
Experiencing the Grand Canyon while cruising the legendary Colorado River is an ideal way to get a unique perspective on the only natural wonder of the world in North America. There are numerous ways to customize your adventure too, from a three-day motorized boat trip to an 18-day, oar-powered rafting odyssey, with many options in between. The heartiest of adventurers can even mix whitewater kayaking with hiking the Canyon’s peaceful North Rim. And for a return trip, head to the Grand Canyon’s western side and trek to the paradise of cascading water and teal-hued travertine pools known as Havasu Falls. This option takes some planning, however, since obtaining a permit far in advance is required.
Challenge the Bisbee 1000
From children aged 7 to adults in their 80s, the Annual Bisbee 1000 The Great Stair Climb attracts a wide range of enthusiastic participants to the quirky Southern Arizona town. The event takes competitors literally through the area’s history, traversing up and down over 1,000-plus stairs covering 4.5 miles originally built for mules to haul copper from the town’s mines. Today, people of many fitness and ability levels trek to the town each October to compete in the one-of-its-kind event. Whether you’re ready to compete with the front runners, don a quirky costume and peek at the quaint houses or something in between, there’s no wrong way to enjoy this special piece of Arizona’s mining heritage.
Feast at Canyon Grotto
Few restaurants can boast walls that are 345 million years old. Then again, few eateries are tucked away in a network of caves 210 feet underground. That’s what makes the Grotto at Grand Canyon Caverns near Peach Springs one of the most remarkable culinary experiences on the planet and an Arizona bucket list trip. Lucky diners descend 21 stories in an elevator, tour the caverns, then sit at one of four tables to enjoy comfort food surrounded by 360-degree views of craggy, otherworldly geology. And given that it’s a “dead cave” with no water or sunlight, diners don’t have to worry about bugs or other cave dwellers interfering in their meals. It’s cave eating at its finest!
Explore Monument Valley
Monument Valley is home to the most recognizable icons of the Southwest, thanks to its dramatic landscapes which have served as a larger-than-life western movie set. However, on the day-to-day, it’s not all production crews and famous actors, although visitors are always advised to bring their cameras! Whether you want to follow in the footsteps of Forrest Gump’s run along Highway 163 or get the perfect shots of the famous East and West Mitten Buttes, Merrick Butte and the Three Sisters, the area is best accessed with the help of a Navajo guide. Start with our primer on Touring Tribal Lands in Arizona.
Discover these and more unforgettable trip ideas at Bucket List Adventures of a Lifetime or for a different take, follow along with Nashville recording artist Mitchell Tenpenny as he explored Arizona during the filming of his 2021 hit single “Bucket List.”
For more amazing Arizona bucket list trips, visit VisitArizona.com