The last Tuesday in January (also known as “National Plan for Vacation Day”) may have come and gone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reap the benefits of scheduling a trip. The United States is one of very few countries in the world that doesn’t mandate vacation days for citizens, with nearly 55 percent of all Americans leaving their earned vacation days on the table by the end of the year.
Still, that doesn’t mean we don’t want to go on a vacation. But where should you go? If you really want to experience the beauty of our great nation, you might want to consider booking a trip to Arizona this year. Whether you want to check local landmarks off your bucket list or are determined to eat and shop your way through your vacation, this state’s got everything you need for an unforgettable getaway.
The grandest canyon in the country
In 2017, tourists made approximately 43.9 million visits to Arizona. It’s probably safe to estimate that at least a good portion of those visitors sought out the most notable spot in the state: the Grand Canyon. With a history dating back over 2 billion years, this natural wonder of the world will serve as the piece de resistance for any trip to AZ.
You can travel down to the bottom of the canyon on a mule, brave the Colorado River in a raft, or simply capture the glorious sunset over the canyon in a photograph. However you navigate the Grand Canyon, it will be one experience you won’t soon forget.
Of course, the Grand Canyon isn’t the only incredible landmark you’ll experience while you’re enjoying yourself in some Arizona vacation home rentals. There’s the Petrified Forest National Park, the Hoover Dam, Saguaro National Park, the Kartchner Caverns, Lake Powell, the Four Corners Monument, and the Painted Desert. And if iconic Americana is your thing, you can always get your kicks on Route 66.
A taste of the wild west
Arizona is rich in Old West history. There are ghost towns, mining museums, and even several theme parks and attractions that pay homage to the good old days. If you’re a fan of John Wayne or have always wanted to be a cowboy yourself, you might love the thought of getting to see a live re-enactment of the shootout at the O.K. Corral.
There’s also the Desert Caballeros Western Museum, the Pistoleros Wild West Show, and plenty of ranches to whet your appetite for old timey adventure. You can even take a trip down the Copper Queen Mine. For those thrill seekers who can’t wait to test out their boots with spurs, there’s no better place to spend some time off than Arizona.
Unparalleled cultural experiences
If you’re looking for something truly unique that you can’t find anywhere else in the United States, Arizona might well be the perfect destination. Not only does this state have more than 300 days of sunshine every year, but it’s also home to 22 American Indian tribes that have influenced our history from the very beginning.
There are incredible ruins and monuments, phenomenal museums, and opportunities to visit tribal lands to learn about these amazing cultures. It’s important to check on visitor restrictions before you go, but this can be a fantastic opportunity to teach some important lessons to your children (and remind yourself of those lessons).
Of course, not everything you do in Arizona has to be educational. You can go biking, take a helicopter ride, go skydiving, swing on a flying trapeze, zoom down a zipline, ride horseback, go up in the sky in a hot air balloon, or spot all the local wildlife.
And if shopping, relaxing, and eating are your favorite activities of leisure, there are countless opportunities to prioritize retail therapy, wellness, and nutrition during your trip. Arizona even has its own little wine country and a gastropub scene to call its own.
No matter what kind of vacation you have in mind, you’ll find just about everything in the Grand Canyon state — emphasis on the “grand”.