The home of the Grand Canyon, Arizona is a land of contrasts. While the major draw for most visitors is the awesome natural landscape – think sprawling deserts, stunning rock formations, mountains, and forests, the state is also home to stylish, modern cities such as Phoenix, Tucson, and Scottsdale. It’s not difficult to imagine cowboys on horseback roaming the expansive countryside, and as the 48th and final contiguous state to join the Union, Arizona still has a real Wild West vibe. The state is home to 27 Native American tribes, including the Navajo Nation, which is the largest with over 300,000 citizens.
With its desert climate, summers in Arizona can be incredibly hot, making spring and fall the most popular times to visit. Although winters are mild in the low desert valleys, snowfall is common at higher altitudes and the mountains around Flagstaff are popular with skiers and snowboarders. The state’s main airport is the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, which is ideally situated for both Scottsdale and Paradise Valley. Once you arrive, the easiest way to get around is by car.
It is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States, so if you’re in Arizona it is safe to say that a trip to the Grand Canyon is a must. Carved out by the Colorado River around two billion years ago, the Grand Canyon measures in at approximately 277 miles long, 18 miles wide (at its widest point), and a mile deep. It is a truly breathtaking sight and no amount of reading about it or looking at photos can compare to seeing it with your own eyes. Most visitors arrive at the canyon’s South Rim, and while the views here are iconic, it is also the busiest part of the National Park. To get away from the crowds, and to really experience the canyon up close, it is well worth taking at least a short hike down below the rim. To see the Grand Canyon from above, be sure to check out the Skywalk – a horseshoe-shaped glass bridge that protrudes 70 feet over the canyon’s edge with visitors suspended 4,000 feet above the Colorado River.
The fifth most populous city in the United States, Phoenix continues to grow in cultural and economic stature. Although many are drawn to the Phoenix area by sport – the city boasts professional baseball, football, basketball, and ice-hockey teams, as well as over 200 golf courses, there is much more here to discover. For art-lovers, there is the Phoenix Art Museum, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, the R. Pela Contemporary Art Gallery, and the Heard Museum, which is dedicated to Native American art. Phoenix’s retail scene has also blossomed in recent years, so as well as high-end designer boutiques shoppers will find offbeat independent stores selling unique pieces from around Arizona and beyond. From a culinary perspective, Phoenix has emerged as a pioneer in south-western cuisine, so be sure to sample the local restaurants, many of which are heavily influenced by the city’s proximity to the Mexican border.
Locals refer to Sedona as a cathedral without walls, and indeed this desert town just south of the city of Flagstaff has a reputation as a center for spirituality. Although it might sound a little New-Age, Sedona is believed by many to be the site of a number of ‘vortexes’, which radiate the earth’s power and exert a strong force on anyone nearby. Whether you believe this or not, the town and its surroundings are undeniably beautiful, with dramatic, rust-red formations such as Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock and Courthouse Butte, all well worth exploring. Afterwards, head into the compact town center, which is bustling with shops, art galleries, and gourmet restaurants.
Located on the border between Arizona and Utah, on land belonging to the Navajo Nation, Monument Valley is an icon of the American West that rises dramatically from the desert floor as you drive the long, straight road towards it. Spanning 92,000 acres, the valley is comprised of majestic buttes, rock arches, and towering spires reaching 1200 feet into the sky, all in vibrant shades of red and orange. The 17-mile trail through the park can be driven in around 2-3 hours, but for the full experience, it is possible to organize a tour with a Navajo guide, who can take you to otherwise inaccessible parts of the park, and explain the significance of the monuments.
If you’re keen to experience all that Arizona has to offer, then take a look at our luxury vacation rentals in Scottsdale and Paradise Valley.
Though it is best known for its world-class golf courses, the city of Scottsdale has plenty more to offer, including a charming old town, relaxing spas, and stylish bars and restaurants. Fans of Frank Lloyd Wright should be sure to visit Taliesin West, the international headquarters for the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the winter campus for the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. Indeed, the architect’s influence looms large in this city, and can even be seen in some of ourScottsdale villas for rent , which boast modern and minimalist designs. Our larger homes in the area are ideal for family gatherings and larger groups, with plenty of space for up to 18 guests.
This smart Phoenix suburb is a haven for golfers and anyone who enjoys life’s luxuries – shopping, fine dining and gorgeous desert vistas. If this sounds like you then be sure to check out ourParadise Valley homes for rent , which can accommodate up to 16 guests in comfort and style.