Arizona is known for its desert landscape, climate, and majestic saguaro cacti. Less-known features are the mountains and plateaus in the north-central areas.
The state's most popular attraction is the Grand Canyon, one of the seven natural wonders of the world and a World Heritage Site. Tourists can take a helicopter ride over the canyon, go rafting through the Colorado River at the canyon floor, or hike to the bottom. The Grand Canyon Railway runs tours through the area, including Meteor Crater—caused by a meteorite nearly 50,000 years ago—and the Petrified Forest National Park, which contains one of the largest and most colorful concentrations of petrified wood in the world, archeological sites, and 225-million-year old fossils.
Another popular destination is Sedona, named one of America's 10 most beautiful places in 2003. Surrounded by red-rock monoliths, Oak Creek Canyon, and the Mogollon Rim, Sedona gives peace and inspiration to the weary traveler. There are also several parks and forests worth visiting, such as the Casa Grande Ruins, the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, and the Painted Desert.
Arizona is a blend of diverse influences—ancient Native American, Spanish and Mexican, and Old Western settlers. Now home to the Navajo, the Hopi, the Apache, and 18 other tribes, Arizona has a number of places for those interested in Native American culture and art. Among these are the Heard Museum and the Canyon de Chelly National Monument, with ruins of Indian villages dating back from AD 350 to 1300. The Montezuma Castle National Monument is also worth visiting for its cliff dwellings built by the Sinagua Indians over 600 years ago.
For those interested in the Old West, there's Rawhide in Chandler, Williams, and Tombstone. The whole family will enjoy an authentic experience with staged gunfights, stagecoach rides, bull riding, gold panning, rides, and games.
Be sure to bring water when you go outdoors to avoid dehydration.