Top 21 Arizona Outdoor Activities: Sun And Fun



Arizona Outdoor Activities

Arizona, a state known for its diverse landscapes and mesmerizing scenery, offers a wealth of outdoor activities that cater to adventurers of all types. From its magnificent national parks to adrenaline-pumping excursions, there is no shortage of ways to explore Arizona Outdoor Activities. It’s no wonder the state attracts outdoor enthusiasts from all corners of the globe, seeking the most authentic and thrilling experiences.

Arizona Outdoor Activities

Experiencing Arizona’s great outdoors can be as simple as hiking the hills, or as exhilarating as white-water rafting through its incredible canyons. The state is home to a multitude of national parks, and its unique landscape sets the stage for once-in-a-lifetime adventures. The sheer range of outdoor activities available in Arizona means that everyone can find something to suit their preferences, regardless of their fitness level or experience.

Key Takeaways

  • Arizona offers a wide range of outdoor activities to suit any preference
  • National parks serve as the backdrop for many of the state’s exceptional experiences
  • Adventure opportunities abound in its top cities, natural formations, and historical sites

Top National, State & Local Parks

Arizona is home to a diverse range of national parks that offer a myriad of Arizona outdoor activities for all ages and fitness levels. One of the most famous parks is the Grand Canyon National Park. Visiting the majestic Grand Canyon is a must when in Arizona. From the South Rim, you can hike, take guided tours, or simply marvel at the breathtaking views.

Another remarkable spot is the Saguaro National Park, which showcases the beauty of the Sonoran Desert. The park is named after its most iconic feature, the giant Saguaro cactus. Multiple trails cater to different fitness levels, allowing everyone to enjoy the desert landscape.

Experience Adult Outdoor Activities In Our Article

Situated in northeastern Arizona, Petrified Forest National Park is a unique destination with an abundance of fascinating geological formations. Here, you can explore ancient petrified trees and immerse yourself in the intriguing history of the region.

For those interested in Native American culture, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is a must-visit. Located on the border of Arizona and Utah, the park boasts stunning sandstone formations and offers a glimpse into the Navajo way of life.

Another extraordinary site is the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, where visitors can witness the vivid, colorful cliffs and unique rock formations. The monument is also home to the renowned Wave formation, a highly popular destination for photographers.

Apart from national parks, Arizona also offers many state parks and preserves. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a fantastic place to learn about the flora, fauna, and history of the Sonoran Desert region. It combines a zoo, botanical garden, and natural history museum, ensuring a fun and informative experience for the whole family.

In conclusion, Arizona’s national parks, state parks, and preserves provide an array of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. From the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon to the picturesque Sonoran Desert, there’s no shortage of breathtaking landscapes to explore in the state.

Top Cities

Phoenix is the largest city in Arizona and offers a variety of outdoor activities for adventure-seekers. Popular options include hiking in the South Mountain Park and Preserve, exploring the Desert Botanical Garden, and biking along the many urban trails. Make sure to catch a beautiful desert sunset at Papago Park. Learn more about Phoenix outdoor activities here.

Sedona is known for its stunning red rock formations and offers countless opportunities for all outdoor enthusiasts. You can hike the numerous trails around the city, such as the scenic Cathedral Rock Trail or the family-friendly Devils Bridge Trail. A visit to the breathtaking Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend is a must while you’re in Sedona. Find out more about Sedona outdoor activities here.

Scottsdale is a city that combines outdoor adventures with luxury. Play a round of golf at one of the city’s world-class courses, hike the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, or explore the beautiful garden of Xeriscape. Horseback riding and hot air balloon rides are also popular activities in Scottsdale.

Flagstaff is a perfect base for travelers looking to explore northern Arizona. The city is surrounded by the Coconino National Forest, which is home to the San Francisco Peaks and the beautiful Walnut Canyon. Skiing and snowboarding at Arizona Snowbowl are popular in the winter months, while hiking and mountain biking trails are available year-round.

Tucson offers visitors a unique desert experience with its diverse landscapes and outdoor activities. Visit the nearby Saguaro National Park for a hike among the iconic cacti, explore the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area, or enjoy birdwatching at the nearby Tucson Audubon Society’s sanctuaries. Additionally, the city hosts the annual El Tour de Tucson bike race, attracting cyclists from all over the world. Get more information about outdoor activities in Tucson here.

Tempe is a bustling college town with a wide array of outdoor activities available. Located near the Salt River, water enthusiasts can go kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding, while the nearby Papago Park provides excellent opportunities for hiking or mountain biking. Don’t forget to make a stop at the family-friendly Tempe Beach Park, which offers a splash playground, fishing, and recreational paths for walking and biking.

Top Water Attractions

Arizona may be known for its desert landscapes, but you’ll be surprised to find beautiful beaches along the state’s rivers and lakeshores. If you’re a fan of outdoor activities and sunsets by the water, here are some of the top beaches in Arizona.

Willow Beach is an excellent option to soak in the sun and enjoy water activities. Located on the Colorado River, it offers stunning views and opportunities for kayaking and fishing. After an action-packed day, relax and take in the breathtaking sunsets along the river’s edge.

At Lake Havasu State Park, you’ll find multiple white sand beaches along the Colorado River in western Arizona. These pristine shores offer ample space for sunbathing, swimming, and watersports. Be sure to watch the incredible sunset paint the sky in hues of orange and red as the day winds down.

Teeming with more beachfront, Bartlett Lake should be on your list for a day trip. The picturesque Carefree, Arizona setting offers a tranquil atmosphere with plenty of space to relax and take in the scenery.

For those seeking adventure, try heading to the Grand Canyon National Park which houses hidden gems like Boat Beach, Football Beach, and Owl Beach. While these spots require some effort to access, the reward lies in the refreshing waters and untouched beauty of these secluded areas.

Any of these beaches in Arizona are perfectly suited for outdoor enthusiasts looking to escape the heat, partake in water activities, or savor a captivating sunset. Plan your visit to experience the state’s diverse outdoor offerings, and don’t forget your camera to capture those unforgettable moments along the shore.

Top Historical Sites

Arizona boasts a rich history and offers numerous historical sites for those interested in reconnecting with the past. From ancient cliff dwellings to Wild West towns, there’s plenty to explore across the state.

Tombstone, the famed Wild West town, lets you step back in time to witness gunfight reenactments and explore saloons that date back to the 1800s. Similarly, you can visit some of the well-preserved ghost towns scattered across Arizona, like Jerome and Bisbee, to get a glimpse of the state’s mining history.

The state also has incredible ancient cliff dwellings, such as the Betatakin Cliff Dwelling which you can view by hiking the Sandal Trail. The 1.3-mile round-trip trail offers an opportunity to learn about the Ancestral Puebloan people who once inhabited these structures.

Antelope Canyon, with its stunning rock formations, is another must-see historical site. This mesmerizing canyon showcases the power of time and water, as both have carved the sandstone walls into breathtaking shapes. A guided tour of the canyon will help you appreciate its history and the significance of the Navajo culture.

For a taste of classic Americana, take a trip down Route 66, which winds through northern Arizona. Along this iconic highway, you can find vintage diners, motels, and other attractions that harken back to the golden age of cross-country travel.

Don’t miss the London Bridge in Lake Havasu City, a historical landmark that was once situated over the River Thames in London, England. In 1968, the bridge was disassembled and brought to Arizona, where it was reassembled and now connects the main part of Lake Havasu City to an island on the Colorado River.

Finally, be sure to appreciate the diverse wildlife found in Arizona as you visit these historical sites. The state is home to a variety of species, including mountain lions, pronghorns, and the famous roadrunner. Keep an eye out for these creatures as you travel through the Arizona wilderness and connect with its storied past.

Top Museums and Galleries

Arizona offers a diverse range of museums and galleries to cater to the interests of travelers and locals alike. One of the most unique museums in the state is the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. This museum is home to a collection of over 15,000 instruments from around the world, offering an interactive experience for music enthusiasts.

While exploring the outdoors, you might enjoy a visit to the beautiful Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. This garden showcases the diverse flora of the Sonoran Desert, featuring over 50,000 plants across its themed trails.

Art lovers should not miss the opportunity to explore the Phoenix Art Museum, which houses more than 17,000 works of classic and modern art. It also frequently hosts traveling exhibitions from world-famous artists.

For those interested in natural history, the Arizona Museum of Natural History is a great educational experience, featuring dinosaur fossils, a history courtyard, and exhibits on the geological history of the state.

Travelers who appreciate architecture and historical landmarks should head to Lake Havasu City, where the famous London Bridge was relocated and rebuilt in the 1970s. This unique destination offers a blend of American and European culture and beautiful scenery.

Camelback Mountain is another popular outdoor spot, providing a challenging hike with rewarding views of the valley. After conquering the mountain, consider stopping by the nearby Heard Museum, which offers an outstanding collection of Arizona American Indian art, artifacts, crafts, photography, and other cultural and historical exhibits.

Lastly, be sure to visit the Arizona State University Art Museum in Tempe, featuring contemporary art from local and international artists, as well as intriguing exhibitions that rotate throughout the year.

Top Outdoor Activities

Arizona offers a wide range of outdoor activities that cater to adventure seekers and nature lovers. Whether you want to hike scenic trails, enjoy water sports, or explore the beautiful landscapes, there’s something for everyone in this desert wonderland.

Embarking on a jeep tour is a thrilling way to discover Arizona’s popular attractions such as the iconic red rocks of Sedona, thunder mountain, and the vast tonto national forest. For those who prefer to explore on foot, the state features numerous hiking trails, such as the enchanting hieroglyphic trail that takes you to ancient petroglyphs.

Water enthusiasts can head to Lake Havasu for a refreshing day of fishing, paddleboarding, or just lounging in the sun with a picnic. Alternatively, visit the riparian preserve in Gilbert, an outdoor oasis teeming with wildlife, serene ponds, and beautiful trails for both walking and cycling.

For sports enthusiasts, Arizona is home to several world-class golf courses as well as sports stadiums where you can catch a game or participate in a pickup match. If you’re interested in exploring the skies, try stargazing at one of the state’s many dark-sky locations, offering an incredible view of the Milky Way and other celestial wonders.

Outdoor activities in Phoenix are also abundant, with scenic options like the Phoenix Mountains Preserve, boasting beautiful vistas and hikes for all skill levels. If you’re feeling more adventurous, visit the Grand Canyon Skywalk, a stunning glass bridge that offers breathtaking views of the canyon below.

Finally, experience the ultimate outdoor adventure by booking an unforgettable glamping trip that combines the excitement of camping with the comforts of luxury accommodations. Enjoy Arizona’s diverse landscapes and natural beauty from the comfort of a well-appointed tent or cabin, tucked away amidst the state’s gorgeous outdoor playground.

Top Food and Drink Spots

Visiting Arizona and looking for the perfect outdoor dining experience? Look no further. We’ve got you covered with a list of top food and drink spots that showcase Arizona’s amazing cuisine and beautiful landscapes.

The Farm at South Mountain is a must-visit outdoor restaurant in Phoenix, providing a unique dining experience under the canopies of pecan trees, surrounded by an organic-style garden. It’s a great way to enjoy the flora of Arizona while indulging in a delicious meal.

Additionally, Arizona offers a variety of food and drink tours that allow visitors to explore the local flavors of wineries, vineyards, breweries, and beer tastings. These tours are a fantastic way to discover the delectable cuisine and beverages Arizona has to offer.

If you’re looking for outdoor activities with a side of food and drink, consider exploring some of the amazing national parks and forests in Arizona. Coconino National Forest and Petrified Forest National Park are great destinations for hiking, picnicking, and experiencing Arizona’s diverse fauna.

Arizona is also home to numerous outdoor adventures and experiences catering to all levels of ability, from beginner-friendly trails to off-roading terrain. This makes it the perfect destination for a memorable trip, complete with refreshing beverages and delicious food after a fun day outdoors.

Now, pack your bags and get ready to explore the wonders of Arizona and its delightful food and drink spots.

Top Shopping Locations

Arizona is not just known for its breathtaking attractions, music, and desert landscapes, but also for its diverse shopping experiences. In the heart of Tucson, you will find the charming La Encantada Shopping Center, offering a mix of luxury retail and fine dining options. Surrounded by the beautiful Santa Catalina Mountains, this shopping center perfectly blends Old-World charm with modern amenities.

If you’re a fan of outdoor shopping, be sure to visit Scottsdale’s Kierland Commons and Biltmore Fashion Park in Phoenix. These shopping centers provide a unique shopping experience, showcasing a variety of high-end stores and local boutiques. The picturesque views of the Bradshaw Mountains and Superstition Mountains add to the allure of these spots, making your shopping trip even more enjoyable.

Nature lovers who also enjoy a bit of retail therapy will find solace in the numerous outdoor shopping centers located near wilderness areas. These centers often feature local artisans and unique, one-of-a-kind stores with handcrafted items inspired by Arizona’s rich natural beauty.

For those in search of more than just shopping, Arizona’s shopping locations often host a variety of events, including concerts, art galleries, and festivals. These events not only cater to the interests of shoppers, but also showcase the state’s vibrant music and art scene.

In summary, Arizona’s top shopping locations offer a wonderful blend of attractions, music, desert landscapes, and luxury experiences. Whether you’re visiting the Santa Catalina or Bradshaw Mountains, taking a stroll through the Superstition Mountains, or exploring the nearby wilderness areas, shopping in Arizona promises to be a memorable and enjoyable experience.

Top Festivals and Events

Arizona offers a variety of outdoor festivals and events that cater to everyone’s interests. From music to culture, there’s something for everyone.

Tacolandia is a popular annual festival dedicated to celebrating traditional Mexican tortillas1. Food lovers can enjoy unlimited samples of tacos from some of the region’s top taquerias, making it a must-visit event. Live music and entertainment further enhance the festivities.

The Arizona Renaissance Festival2 takes place in Gold Canyon during the beginning months of each year. This event transports visitors to a medieval setting with live performances, artisan booths, and unique food options. Whether you’re a fan of historical reenactments or just eager to try a giant turkey leg, the festival offers something for people of all ages.

Outdoor enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the opportunity to explore Arizona’s natural beauty. The Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend Tour3 from Sedona allows participants to visit two of Arizona’s most stunning geological formations. Along the way, knowledgeable guides share information about the region’s history and culture.

If you’re looking for a unique outdoor experience, consider attending one of the many bird walks offered at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum. Participants can learn about Arizona’s diverse bird populations while taking in the beauty of the arboretum’s main trail. The arboretum also regularly hosts plant sales that cater to gardening enthusiasts.

Another highlight of Arizona’s outdoor events calendar is the Verde Canyon Railroad Saturday Night Starlight Ride. This evening train ride takes passengers through stunning landscapes under the stars, presenting a unique opportunity to experience Arizona’s nighttime beauty.

In summary, Arizona is home to a diverse array of outdoor festivals and events that showcase the state’s rich culture, history, and natural landscapes. Whether you’re into music, food, or exploring the great outdoors, there is something for everyone to enjoy in the Grand Canyon State.

Unique Experiences

If you’re seeking distinctive outdoor adventures in Arizona, you’re in luck. Arizona boasts a wealth of extraordinary experiences, and many of them revolve around the stunning desert landscape, featuring the towering saguaro cactus.

One such experience is the awe-inspiring Antelope Canyon, the most-visited slot canyon in the American Southwest. You can wander through these dramatic canyons, with a mesmerizing play of light and color on the sandstone formations.

Saguaro National Park is a must-visit location for anyone interested in the unique flora of Arizona. Thousands of these giant plants dot the landscape, creating an unforgettable sight. Trek through desert trails and admire these majestic cacti up close. Don’t forget to bring plenty of water and sun protection for your journey.

For those craving a historical twist in their outdoor adventures, the former copper mining town of Jerome should be on your list. Perched on Cleopatra Hill, this once-booming ghost town now delights visitors with its vibrant arts scene and stunning views.

A trip to the iconic Grand Canyon is undoubtedly a bucket list experience. This breathtaking natural wonder allows for various outdoor activities such as hiking, rafting, and even mule rides along the canyon rim.

For a truly enchanting experience, the desert city of Sedona is a must-visit. Known for its striking red rock formations and unique energy vortexes, Sedona offers various outdoor activities, including hiking, mountain biking, and scenic drives. Additionally, the city is a fantastic spot to unwind with its array of wellness offerings.

Overall, Arizona’s unique experiences offer a colorful variety of outdoor adventures that cater to all interests. Embark on these one-of-a-kind encounters, and you’ll be left with unforgettable memories and a newfound appreciation for the diverse beauty of the state.


In conclusion, Arizona offers an extensive range of outdoor activities, suitable for all levels of adventurous spirits. Take advantage of the state’s natural beauty by exploring popular locations such as the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest National Park, and Coconino National Forest.

Hiking in Arizona is a must, with options like the challenging Rim-to-Rim Hike or summiting one of the iconic peaks around Phoenix. Alternatively, you could embark on a tour of Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend for a more guided approach.

Whether you’re seeking thrilling adventures or just wish to appreciate the magnificent landscapes, Arizona’s outdoor activities provide unforgettable experiences. No matter your interests, Arizona surely has something for everyone looking to explore the great outdoors. So, pack your gear, put on your hiking boots, and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime in the Grand Canyon State!

Frequently Asked Questions

Best hiking trails in Arizona?

Arizona is home to numerous beautiful hiking trails suitable for all levels. Some of the most popular ones include Bright Angel Trail and South Kaibab Trail in the Grand Canyon, Humphreys Peak Trail in Flagstaff, and Devil’s Bridge Trail in Sedona. Additionally, the diverse landscapes of Arizona provide a range of experiences, from the arid desert trails at Camelback Mountain in Phoenix to the lush forests of the Chiricahua Mountains in the southeastern part of the state.

Top national parks to visit?

Arizona boasts several stunning national parks, each offering unique attractions and outdoor activities. The Grand Canyon National Park is a must-visit, known for its breathtaking views and variety of hiking trails. Petrified Forest National Park showcases a vast landscape filled with colorful petrified wood, while Saguaro National Park is home to the iconic giant saguaro cacti. For a more remote experience, try visiting the lesser-known Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument or the Parashant National Monument.

Fun water activities in Arizona?

Despite being known for its desert landscapes, Arizona also offers numerous water-based activities. For instance, you can enjoy kayaking, paddleboarding, or fishing on one of the state’s many lakes and rivers, such as Lake Powell, Lake Havasu, or the Salt River. The Colorado River also provides excellent opportunities for rafting, especially through the Grand Canyon.

Popular outdoor family activities?

Families visiting Arizona have a plethora of outdoor activities to choose from. Take a scenic drive through the state’s varied landscapes, explore the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, or learn about Native American history at Montezuma’s Castle. For more excitement, try a hot air balloon ride over the Sonoran Desert or hop on a jeep tour in Sedona to explore the vibrant red rock formations.

Must-see natural attractions?

Arizona’s landscape offers an abundance of unique and breathtaking natural attractions. Some must-see sights include the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and the Petrified Forest National Park. Furthermore, don’t miss the striking red rock formations in Sedona, the eerily beautiful landscapes of the Painted Desert, or the vast cactus forests in Saguaro National Park.

Outdoor events to attend this weekend?

Arizona hosts various outdoor events throughout the year, catering to diverse interests. Keep an eye on local event calendars, as they often feature seasonal festivals, such as the Arizona Renaissance Festival, Sedona International Film Festival, or the Flagstaff Wine and Food Festival. Additionally, you will find farmers’ markets, art walks, and outdoor concerts taking place regularly across the state.