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7 Bucketlist Destinations in Arizona

Wondering where to go in Arizona? If desert magic is what you're after, here are the most incredible destinations in Arizona to visit!

When it comes to stunning scenery, Arizona is king.

Home to thirty-one state parks, six national forests, and some of the most iconic national parks in the United States, it’s no wonder that you’re probably feeling a bit overwhelmed while planning your Arizona itinerary. Simply put, Arizona is a mecca for unparalleled vistas, and you could pretty much devote an entire lifetime to exploring the state and still not get to see everything there is on offer.

From iconic sightings to hidden gems wrapped in rainbows of colors, these are the 7 top destinations in Arizona to check out to give yourself a pretty well-rounded glimpse into the desert of the southwest.

7 Bucketlist Destinations in Arizona


7 Bucketlist Destinations in Arizona

Once upon a time, geological forces cut deep rifts into the Colorado Plateau and slowly formed today’s majestic landscape Sedona is so famed for. Think desert spires towering above the landscape, river canyons that look out of this world, and a labyrinth made up of bright red rock formations to get a pretty good picture of what visiting Sedona is all about. 

What’s best? Sedona isn’t exactly short of things to do. For most, this is one of the best destinations in Arizona to visit and is the perfect place to get a taste of what hiking in the desert is all about. If you’re feeling more in the mood for exploring the cultural aspect of the region, there’s an incredibly varied array of museums and cultural centers to learn all about Sedona’s heritage.

The Wave

Destinations in Arizona

Located on the border of Utah and Arizona, The Wave is probably one of the most sought-after hiking trails in the world. What makes it so special is the rainbow of colors plastered all over the rocks, which shimmer with oranges and rusty tones that make the rocks resemble, well, a wave! 

The Wave hike is only 6.4 miles long, but it can get very strenuous due to the heat, especially during the summer. As a tip, getting permits to hike The Wave is not an easy feat, so make sure you plan your visit as early as possible!

White Pocket

Can’t snag a ticket to hike The Wave? White Pocket is a pretty good alternative. Made up of whacky and extremely colorful rock formations, White Pocket is a bit of an Arizona hidden gem and a must if you’re looking to tread off the beaten path during your trip. 

What makes this place so special is its unique Navajo sandstone painted in a bright display of orange, pink, and red that will have you wondering if you were somehow teleported into Jupiter. 


places in Arizona

Picture turquoise-colored water spilling out bright red rock to get a pretty good idea of why Havasupai is one of Arizona’s most gorgeous spots. The Havasupai Falls are utterly breathtaking, and no Arizona itinerary is really complete without at least dipping your toes in their natural beauty. 

There are five waterfalls in total in the Havasu Canyon: Fifty Foot Falls, Mooney Falls, Beaver Falls, Havasu Falls, and New Navajo Falls, each one more strikingly beautiful than the last. Being set on Native land and guarded by the Havasupai Tribe, it’s important to be respectful of their culture and if possible, learn a bit about the land you’re walking on in order to understand the area better.

Grand Canyon National Park’s North Rim Section

where to go in Arizona

A little cliché? Maybe, but Grand Canyon just happens to be one of the most emblematic sights in the USA and a natural wonder of the world, so checking it out at least once in your life is an absolute must. 

Despite most travelers focusing on the South Rim, there are actually a ton of off-the-beaten-path trails on the North Rim to explore if you are feeling up for some serious adventure and a more secluded visit. This region of the park is often skipped by travelers, which makes hiking here feel a lot more private and the entire experience a whole lot more adventure-packed!

Antelope Canyon

Known for being the most photographed slot canyon in the American Southwest, Antelope Canyon is probably one of the most iconic trails to hike in Arizona thanks to its gorgeously natural beauty. The canyon was created by floods flowing into the cracks of sandstone, and the result is a marvelous swirl of colors produced by lights reflecting off the rocks. 

Petrified Forest National Park

A whopping 225 million years ago, trees arrived in the area due to heavy flooding and were buried by silica-rich ash produced by the myriad of volcanic eruptions that took place during that period of time. Not too long after, water crystallized the silica, which turned into sparkly quartz. 

Today, the logs have been exposed again, making the entire landscape look like a rainbow of flashy colors, giving the park’s main attraction, The Painted Desert, its name. 

An easy way to explore the park is to grab your car keys and drive the scenic road, but if you’d rather get a much closer view of the sights, there are plenty of hiking trails available that will have you feeling as though you’re walking on a galaxy far, far away!

I hope this list of the best destinations in Arizona helped you craft a perfect itinerary. Even though there’s a ton more to see, these seven spots are ideal to start exploring Arizona’s magic.

Have you ever been to Arizona? What are some other incredible places to check out? Let me know your favorites in the comment section below!

More Southwest Travel Resources

The Ultimate Utah Road Trip For Some Serious Desert Magic

The Ultimate Arizona And Utah Road Trip Itinerary For Desert Lovers

The Ultimate Southwest One-Week Itinerary

The Most Beautiful Arizona Waterfalls

The 9 Most Beautiful Waterfalls In Utah

6 Places In Southwest USA You’ve Got To Visit