The Grand Canyon and Monument Valley, the National Forest and Antelope Canyon, the Sedona Desert, Phoenix and Tucson are just a few places of interest that can be found in Arizona, the southwestern state of the United States. The area is famous for its dreamy landscapes that immediately make you think of old films set in the Far West.
Despite a central area with a mild climate, the rest of the state is scorched by the sun, the rains are very scarce and the temperatures, in summer, are hot. Not only that: the semi-desert territory is the cause of large temperature variations between day and night.
To clear up your doubts about when to go and what to see in Arizona , here is some useful information.

Where it is and how to get there
Arizona is part of the southwestern United States, therefore it is located in the southwest of the country. It borders New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, California, Colorado, and Mexico.
From Italy there is usually a stopover in Frankfurt or Philadelphia, before landing at the Sky Arbor International in Phoenix. The duration of the flight is approximately 10 hours (compare flights). It is only 5 km from the airport to the city, the train from Terminal 4 takes 15 minutes to downtown and costs $ 2 / € 1.80. The city has an efficient connection with other cities, making it an excellent starting point for a trip to Arizona.

When to go
Info on climate and best period

Month Average temperatures (min / max) Precipitation (days / mm) January 8/20 ° 4 days / 23 mm
February 9/22 ° 4 days / 23 mm
March 12/25 ° 4 days / 25 mm
April 16/30 ° 2 days / 7 mm
May 21/35 ° 1 day / 3 mm
June 25/40 ° 0 days / 0 mm
July 29th / 41st 4th day / 27mm
August 28th / 40th 5th day / 25mm
September 25th / 38th 3rd day / 16mm
October 18th / 31st 2nd day / 15mm
November 12th / 24th 3rd day / 17mm
December 7/19 ° 4 days / 22 mm

  • Climate : the climate is desert and semi-desert, with a temperate area in the central area. Temperatures reach 40 ° C in summer and rainfall is scarce.
  • Best time: spring and autumn, when temperatures are mild.
  • Period to avoid : summer for high temperatures, winter for cold temperatures in the mountains and in the northern part of the Grand Canyon, with frequent snowfalls.
  • Tips : Layered and comfortable clothing, especially for those planning to hike to the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley. Due to the temperature range between day and night, some warm clothing is recommended.

What to see in Arizona: cities and attractions not to be missed

1 – Monument Valley
Hearing the name Arizona it is impossible not to immediately think of the gigantic blocks of sandstone that dominate Monument Valley. This area, which straddles the border between Arizona and Utah, is dotted with jagged rock formations , sometimes turning into stone spiers, sometimes into hills and sand dunes.
It is possible to tackle the infinite highways that run through the valley independently, letting yourself be captured by the boundless view along the plains, or contact the visitor center of the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park to request the assistance of one of the highly trained guides. Prices vary according to the route you choose to tackle.

SEE ALSO : Monument Valley, Arizona: Where to Go, When to Go and What to See

2 – Grand Canyon
It’s a huge crack in the Earth that needs no introduction. It is one of Arizona’s iconic attractions and can even be seen from space! It is on almost everyone’s wish list, as this magnificent natural formation is the result of millions of years of erosion caused by the flowing waters of the mighty Colorado River.
Visitors can admire the layers of red rocks that testify to its long geological history on the walls of the canyon, which is about 450 km long, more than one and a half meters deep and up to about 30 km wide. Its magnificent colors and its particular conformation attract millions of visitors every year, most of the tourists enjoy the canyon from its southern edge, but the more adventurous climb its walls or have fun withrafting on the Colorado River . While some parts of the canyon, located on the upper plateau, are covered with forest, most of the area is arid.

SEE ALSO : Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona: where to find, when to go and what to see

3 – Saguaro National Park
The gigantic saguaro and the cactus species that has become a symbol of the American West , grows in very few places in the United States and this National Park near Tucson was created precisely to protect these rare and magnificent plants. The park is located in the heart of the Sonoran Desert , about 1,000 meters above sea level and is one of the main attractions of Arizona.

The months between November and March are the best time to visit the park, as temperatures are cooler. In February and March these giant cacti, together with other plants typical of desert areas, create an unforgettable sight with their colorful blooms .
The park is the ideal place for short and pleasant excursions with the family, but it is also possible to venture into more demanding enterprises in the wilderness. There are different rates to access the park, depending on the vehicle used or if you enter on foot, on average they range from $ 15 / € 13.60 to $ 25 / € 23.00.

4 – Phoenix
Looking at the city from the plane you can see a huge urban center in the middle of a desert. It is the capital of Arizona and also the largest city in the Western United States, and it is surrounded by desert and huge cactus plants . temperatures are milder. The city is rich in historical monuments of great value but also in museums, modern architectural works but above all in fascinating places where flora, fauna and, in general, nature dominate. Among the most interesting museums is the Heard Museum, where testimonies of the ancient Indian tribes are collectedthat populated the American Southwest. The full ticket costs $ 25 / € 23, reduced from $ 9 / € 8.16 to $ 15 / € 13.60, children up to 5 years enter for free. The Desert Botanical Garden, on the other hand, is one of the city’s botanical parks that collects many plants typical of the desert landscape. The atmosphere of the Old West can be relived not far from the city, precisely in the Old City of Scottsdale, where the original settings between saloons and old relics have been recreated.

SEE ALSO : Phoenix, Arizona: Where to Go, When to Go and What to See

5 – Antelope Canyon
It is one of the most photogenic and photographed attractions in the entire state. It is a sandstone canyon called slot canyon due to its particular shape, narrow but quite easy to cross, with mesmerizing internal shapes created by wind and water .
The light can only enter from the top and at certain times of the day the smooth sandstone walls become a splendid hue., with bright shades and shades of orange-purple color. It is a unique spectacle, among the most evocative of all the United States. Its main feature, however, is its division into two different, not directly connected sections called Upper and Lower. The first is the most famous and is located at the end of a dirt road that cannot be traveled by private vehicles, the second is closer to Lake Powell, from which the actual canyon begins.

It is mandatory to book a guided tour in both sections, prices vary according to the route you intend to take and the vehicle to be used.

SEE ALSO : Antelope Canyon, Arizona: where to find, when to go and what to see

6 – Petrified Forest and Painted Desert
Located in the Apache and Navajo counties in northeastern Arizona, the park owes its name to the petrified wood formations that cover an area of ​​approximately 380 sq km. The scenery is truly impressive, thanks to the colored gullies eroded by atmospheric agents and the semi-desert territory. The park became a national monument in 1906 and a national park in 1962. Here you can do many backpacking activities, excursions, photographic expeditions and much more.

The Painted Desert is perhaps the most bizarre area in the park, and arid and with many colors: it is precisely the rocks that, thanks to their particular formation, give life to a rainbow of colors ranging from yellow to blue, from red to gray. The particular concentration of minerals such as manganese and iron in the rocks creates a wide and imaginative palette, a true paradise for those who love particularly suggestive photographic shots. The cost of the pass depends on the vehicle used to cross the park and ranges from $ 15 / € 13.60 to $ 20 / € 18.00.

7 – Sedona
This charming town is located about halfway between Flagstaff and Phoenix, nestled between dizzying red rock canyons and green woods.
It is precisely its close relationship with the nature that surrounds it that makes it irresistible, an almost spiritual bond that many of its visitors say they feel: it is said that in this area of ​​Arizona the earth releases powerful vortices of energy . No one can say for sure, but it is true that Sedona has become, over time, one of the capitals of new-age culture , attracting all kinds of artists, “gurus” and souls sensitive to the “Spirit of Nature”. One of the most iconic natural attractions is Cathedral Rock, a rock formation carved out of red sandstonewhich is reminiscent of a large Gothic cathedral. The highest point, reachable on foot along the special path, is located at about 1,500 meters, and a rather difficult hike with steep points to climb.

8 – Canyon De Chelly National Monument
It is a lesser known canyon but no less worthy of its more famous cousins. It covers an area of ​​83,840 acres and is one of the oldest inhabited places in North America : man has lived here continuously for almost 5,000 years. It is located within the borders of the Navajo Nation, so it is not entirely freely explorable. The White House Ruins Trail is however a path to visit independently that leads through the centuries-old settlements of the ancient Anasazi, built directly into the rock walls. Being less famous and, consequently, less frequented and therefore to be explored with more tranquility and moreover the access is free of charge .

9 – Tucson
It is not only the starting point for visiting Saguaro National Park , but it also offers the opportunity to learn more about the area thanks to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum . Here you will find over 200 animal and 1200 species of plants, an aquarium, botanical gardens, an art gallery, a natural history museum and a zoo. To soak up the local atmosphere, a visit to St. Philips Farmers Market, one of the largest markets in the state, is also recommendedwhich takes place every Saturday and Sunday, where many local farmers gather to sell products of the highest quality. There is room, of course, also for fans of western films: the Old Tucson Studios is a real movie set that has now become a theme park. It was built in 1939 for the recording of the movie “Arizona” and later used to shoot the scenes of over 300 movies and TV series including “The House on the Prairie” and “The OK Corral Shooting”. Full ticket costs $ 21.95 / € 19.91, reduced $ 10.95 / € 9.90, children 4 years and younger get in for free.

SEE ALSO : Tucson, Arizona: Where is it, when to go and what to see

10 – Hoover Dam
Anyone who does not believe that a dam can attract over a million visitors every year will have to change their mind knowing
Hoover Dam . fame especially among young people: here, in fact, the decisive battle of the game’s plot takes place. Once known as Boulder Dam, it was built between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression. Thousands of men participated in its construction and more than one hundred people died during the construction. It was built to control the Colorado River and to provide hydroelectricityin fact, it is possible to visit both the dam and its power station. Admission for a self-guided visit costs $ 10.00 / € 9.07, the guided tour of the plant costs $ 15.00 / € 13.60 while the guided tour of the entire site costs $ 30.00 / € 27.21 .

The main itineraries in Arizona
The main itineraries in Arizona are more or less classic and take place on the road: among the most popular attractions there is a lot to see and it is possible to take advantage of the long highways to better enjoy the unique views of the state.

  1. From Monument Valley to the Grand Canyon on the road : classic itinerary to visit the parks, about 300 km away. The stages: Baby Rocks, Navajo National Monument, Elephant Feet, Moenkopi Dinosaur Tracks, Little Colorado River Navajo Tribal Park.
  2. Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend : between the two natural wonders there are: Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon (compulsory organized tour), center of Page from which to leave for the Horseshoe Bend. Everything can also be visited in one day.
  3. Route 66 : the most famous American highway crosses the best of nature in the west: Petrified Forest, Grand Canyon, Holbrook and Wigwam Village Motel, Winslow, Meteor Crater, Flagstaff.

What to do in Arizona: excursions and tours

How much an Arizona vacation costs
Prices, offers and advice

Calculating the cost of an Arizona vacation is not easy, there are many factors to consider. On the costs of the flight and accommodation, you can save if you decide to leave in the low season and book in advance.

Expenses that affect your budget are car rental (recommended) and park entrances . Furthermore, some excursions cannot be tackled independently and it is necessary to book a guided tour, for a fee.
The cost of living respects the average in the United States, although thanks to the proximity to Mexico it is possible to find, for example, excellent street food at very affordable prices. The entrance to the parks is often free, the cost of the entrance ticket for the paid ones ranges from $ 15.00 / € 13.60 to $ 35.00 / € 32.00 while the guided tours can be quite expensive, up to i $ 200.00 / € 181.00 per person.

  • Where to sleep: Hotels and b & b from € 65.00 per room – see the offers
  • Low cost flights: starting from € 479.00 – look at the offers
  • Flight + hotel: Return flight + 7 days / 6 nights from € 1,300.00 per person – see the offers

Travel informed: useful information

  • Inhabitants : 7,171,646
  • Capitale: Phoenix
  • Languages : English, Spanish
  • Local currency : US dollar (€ 1.00 = $ 1.11)
  • Climate : desert, with very little rainfall, high temperatures and a large temperature range
  • Time zone : GMT-7 (-7h compared to Italy, -8h when summer time is in force in Italy)
  • Entry requirements : Passport with residual validity of at least 6 months, return ticket, ESTA authorization
  • Distance from Italy : 9,900 km (10 hours of flight)
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