Arizona is home to extraordinary wildlife, natural beauty, and top tourist destinations. So much so, that sometimes you just need a list to break it all down! Well, here I’m going to share with you the most beautiful places in Arizona!
From the neverending sunshine to the stunning rock formations, Arizona is a nature lover’s paradise.
There’s no shortage of sights to see, but I’ve narrowed it down to the absolute can’t-miss spots for your next trip. While I haven’t yet seen all of these in person, I definitely plan to someday!
So here you go! Here are the top 50 most beautiful places in Arizona!
(Oh, and we got the cactus photo above at #10 on this list!)
1. Agathla Peak, Monument Valley
This 1,400 foot peak is sacred to the Navajo people. Agathla Peak is also known as “El Capitan” because of its location at the front of the valley and imposing size. This astonishing rock formation deserves a spot on every traveler’s bucket list.
2. Antelope Canyon
Antelope Canyon is an extremely popular spot for photographers. Two slot canyons, deep canyons formed by water running through rocks, make up Antelope Canyon. The vibrant colors and majestic ripple effect in the rocks make it the perfect photo spot.
3. Apache Junction
During the Old West Times, Apache Junction brought in many people in search of gold. Tourists can now tour the old gold mine, go gold panning, and check out the Goldfield Ghost Town. Apache Junction is also home to Lost Dutchman State Park, a fantastic place for hiking.
Founded in the 1800’s as an Old West mining camp, Bisbee was once one of the richest mining towns in the world. After the mine closed in the 1970’s, many people moved away. Over time, the town’s intriguing history brought in artists and hippies. Bisbee is now a popular tourist spot filled with museums, art galleries, and eclectic shops.
5. Blue Canyon
Found on the outskirts of the Painted Desert, awe-inspiring red and white rock formations fill Blue Canyon. Their remarkable colors will knock your socks off!
Formed by wind and erosion, this popular tourist destination is a great example of how astounding the Earth’s natural beauty can be.
6. Canyon de Chelly National Monument
People have inhabited Canyon de Chelly for over 5,000 years. Because it’s owned by the Navajo people the U.S. government has no claim to it, but it was still deemed a national monument in 1931.
The three stunning canyons that make up the monument are maintained through a joint effort by the Navajo people and the National Park Service. Most visitors tour the monument by car for a 2-3 hour drive, it’s a great way to see some incredible sights and relax at the same time!
7. Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
Casa Grande Ruins is America’s oldest archaeological preserve and has been around for hundreds of years. Visitors can take a guided tour or watch a short film about the history of the monument at the visitor center. The ruins are definitely not a sight to miss, so pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the natural beauty.
8. Coal Mine Canyon and Bat Canyon
The colors, shapes, and textures of these sandstone canyons set them apart from the rest. Coal Mine Canyon and Bat Canyon sit between the Hopi and Navajo reservations. These canyons are less well-known and therefore get less traffic than others. There aren’t many signs guiding you to Coal Mine Canyon and Bat Canyon, so you’ll need to do your research before making the hike.
9. Coconino National Forest
This enormous forest has nearly 2 million acres of land covered with mountains, creeks, and lakes. People come from all over the state to hike up Arizona’s tallest mountain, San Francisco Peaks. This expansive forest is a haven to nature lovers, with all kinds of wildlife and an endless supply of diverse natural beauty.
10. Desert Botanical Garden
Located in Phoenix, the Desert Botanical Garden has over 50,000 plant displays! You’ll find so many types of cacti everywhere, we had so much fun exploring it! As far as manmade places go, this botanical garden was definitely one of the most beautiful places in Arizona that we visited on our trip to Phoenix.
You can check out their hours and get tickets here!
11. Emerald Cove
Known for its intense green color, Emerald Cove is a stunning spot found in the Black Canyon.
Microscopic organisms fill the water, giving it the beautiful color it’s known for. With emerald green waters, is it any wonder it made it on this list of the most beautiful places in Arizona?
Emerald Cove is a statewide favorite for swimmers, kayakers, and hikers. You’ll want to make sure you have a waterproof cover on your phone or camera so you can get photos of this magnificent spot.
Tourists often overlook this laidback, outdoorsy town, but don’t underestimate it! Flagstaff boasts fantastic restaurants, museums, and natural attractions like Walnut Canyon and Wupatiki National Monuments. You can even top off your day with one of the town’s many craft beers. The Wupatiki National Monument is pictured above.
13. Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is a destination on most bucket lists and for good reason! This gigantic crack is 277 miles long and is the result of millions of years of erosion. It’s a truly stunning natural rock formation that everyone should see at least once!
14. Grand Falls
At 185 feet, Grand Falls is taller than Niagara Falls. Also known as Chocolate Falls, this phenomenon occurs both during monsoon season and after winter when the snow melts. Grand Falls is located on the Navajo Reservation and only occurs during times of heavy precipitation. During the rest of the year, only a small trickle of water flows through the area.
15. Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls
Tucked away inside the Grand Canyon along Havasu Creek, you’ll find these two fairytale-like waterfalls. (Havasu Falls is also known as Havasupai Falls.)
And vividly blue waterfalls in the desert definitely make for the most beautiful places in Arizona!
The waterfalls are wildly popular with tourists, attracting thousands of visitors every year. It’s important to note that this is not a beginner-level attraction, as you’ll have to get a permit and hike about 10 miles before you get to the waterfalls.
16. Hoover Dam
The Hoover Dam was built during the Great Depression, at which time it was the largest dam in the world. Originally built to control the Colorado River and provide hydroelectric power, it’s now a major tourist destination. You can walk or drive across it, or take a tour of the dam and the power plant. Don’t forget your camera!
17. Horseshoe Bend
Its unique shape makes Horseshoe Bend one of the most beautiful places in Arizona!
Horseshoe Bend is a popular subject for photographers and a well-known tourist attraction. It’s a horseshoe-shaped bend formed by the Colorado River that many people kayak on or hike to look down at. This stunning natural formation is one you won’t want to miss!
What was once a vibrant mining town is now a popular tourist attraction. In this mountain town you’ll find a mix of renovated buildings and decrepit ones, making for an eclectic dynamic. Because Jerome is set in the mountains high above the desert, the views from anywhere in the town are incredible.
The town of Kingman is home to the longest unbroken stretch of Route 66 in the country. Lovers of transportation flock to the town to get a glimpse of “The Heart of Historic Route 66” and explore the transportation museums. Kingman is also home to breweries, distilleries, and wineries, so there are plenty of places to grab a drink after a long day of museum hopping.
20. Lake Havasu
Lake Havasu is one of the top water destinations in Arizona. Visitors come to go boating, swimming, and fishing. This is also the location of the famous London Bridge (pictured above), which moved here from London in 1971. There are even hidden coves that you can go kayaking in for the ultimate adventure.
21. Lake Mead National Recreation Area
With over 700 miles of shoreline, Lake Mead is the largest park of its kind in the country. The lake reaches incredible depths, giving it the title of one of the world’s best freshwater lakes for scuba diving. This hotspot is a local favorite for swimming, water sports, and of course scuba diving. For the ultimate dive, check out Kingman Wash and Gypsum Reefs.
22. Lake Powell
This man-made reservoir is a popular summer destination and sits on the border of Utah and Arizona. Tourists can go fishing, boating, jet skiing, and hiking at Lake Powell. The views alone are worth the trip, but I definitely recommend boating on the lake while you’re there.
23. Meteor Crater
The best-preserved meteor crater in the entire world is found right here in Arizona. Tourists are always astounded at how large the crater is, stretching out over a mile wide. You can view it from the observation deck to admire this astonishing piece of outer space permanently lodged in Arizona.
24. Mission San Xavier del Bac
This historic landmark is a national treasure to locals and tourists alike. Created in 1692, Mission San Xavier del Bac is considered one of the best examples of colonial Spanish architecture in the country. The area is booming with unique activities and intriguing history. Located in the Sonoran Desert just outside of Tucson, this is a great spot for a day trip.
25. Mogollon Rim
This is a great choice for those looking to take in the breathtaking scenery of Arizona without having to leave the car. You can see Mogollon Rim by driving up Mogollon Rim Scenic Drive, where the roads are mostly gravel but the views are absolutely worth it.
26. Montezuma Castle National Monument
Montezuma Castle is an astonishing five-story castle nestled in the limestone cliffs of Beaver Creek Canyon. Archeologists estimate that the Sinagua people built it between 1200 and 1450 AD. This incredible sight is a display of true ingenuity and determination. It’s no surprise that it’s one of the most popular tourist spots in the state!
27. Monument Valley
If the breathtaking views of Monument Valley look like they’re from a movie, it’s because they are! The incredible rock formations here have been featured in several movies and are a huge draw for tourists. From the visitor center, guests can take Valley Drive and experience 17 miles of Arizona’s most popular sights.
You probably know this spot from Forrest Gump! It’s no wonder it was included in such an iconic film, as it’s one of the most beautiful places in Arizona!
28. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
This 517 square mile park in the Sonoran Desert is one of the few habitats of the Organ Pipe Cactus. It was created in 1937 to preserve the rare plant along with other rare plants and animals. The park has many scenic trails and roads, making it a great destination for camping or an exciting day trip.
This quaint desert city is the perfect home base for day trips. Page is the gateway to many must-see spots like Lake Powell, Horseshoe Bend, and Antelope Canyon. If you plan on staying in Page, you’ll need ample time to get through all the amazing sights that are but a short drive away.
30. Painted Desert
With its vast landscapes in every color imaginable, the Painted Desert looks like a painting come to life. Millions of years of earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions, and sunlight shaped the Painted Desert into what it is today.
And with its remarkable colors, it’s clearly one of the most beautiful places in Arizona.
The Painted Desert stretches over 93,500 acres of rocky badlands, giving travelers and locals alike new views every time they visit.
31. Papago Park
This picturesque park is known for its giant cacti and stunning red sandstone formations. Situated across both Phoenix and Tempe, the park consists of about 1500 acres in total. Papago Park has beautiful lakes, rare desert plants, hiking trails, and bike paths.
32. Petrified Forest National Park
The Petrified Forest National Park got its name from the petrified wood that covers over 146 miles of the park. The park is wildly popular with tourists who come from all over to see the fossils of fallen trees from over 200 million years ago. The colorful and dramatic terrain makes this a top spot in Arizona for hiking, backpacking, and photography.
The city of Phoenix is one of the most highly-populated cities in the country. The city is booming with world-class spas, stunning golf courses, and unique attractions. With so many things to do and sights to see, it’s no surprise that Phoenix is one of America’s favorite tourist destinations!
Prescott has over 400 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Visitors can also take advantage of this dynamic city by boating, fishing, and museum hopping. Don’t forget to make a stop in Prescott’s downtown district, which is filled with old saloons and Victorian-era houses.
35. Saguaro Lake & The Salt River
This beautiful lake located in central Arizona is a popular destination for both tourists and locals. People come here to go boating, water skiing, kayaking, and fishing.
Saguaro Lake is known for its plethora of desirable fish like rainbow trout, catfish, and bass. Surrounded by Tonto National Forest, visitors can work up a sweat hiking on one of the many trails before relaxing with a swim.
36. Saguaro National Park
Located at the heart of the Sonoran Desert, Saguaro National Park is one of Arizona’s top tourist attractions. It was created to protect the saguaro cactus, which grows in very few areas of the US and is a symbol of the West.
Not only is it one of the most beautiful places in Arizona, but these giant cactuses are plants you won’t see in many places, so it’s definitely worth a stop!
This thriving desert city east of Phoenix is best known for its world-class spa resorts and golf courses. With palm trees, wild west vibes, cute murals and shops, this city is one of the most beautiful places in Arizona!
It’s also booming with a vibrant nightlife scene, with plenty of fun things to do. Whether you’re looking to relax or looking to let loose, Scottsdale has something for everyone. We got the photo above in Old Town Scottsdale by the Mission. Learn when the best time to visit Phoenix and Scottsdale is here!
Sedona is hands down one of the most beautiful places in Arizona!
In fact, it’s often described as one of the most beautiful cities in the country! You’ll find jaw-dropping scenery everywhere you turn in Sedona.
Nature lovers flock to the city for the incredible hiking trails and red rocks. They say its famous rock formations have healing properties, but you’ll just have to go see for yourself!
39. Oak Creek Canyon
Located near Sedona, Oak Creek Canyon is a stunning natural rock formation. It’s often referred to as the smaller cousin of the Grand Canyon because of its beauty. Visitors can choose to go hiking or take in the scenery by driving up Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Drive.
40. Seven Falls in Bear Canyon
Truly a desert oasis, The Seven Falls Trail consists of nearly 3 miles of natural beauty. This picturesque hike ends with waterfalls that flow into large pools of water like something out of a movie. As one of the most popular hikes in Tucson, you’ll want to start your day early to avoid the crowds.
41. Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area
Spur Cross Ranch consists of 2,154 acres of the Sonoran Desert, including lush greenery and archaeological sites. The area is most popular in the springtime for the blossoming wildflowers. Spur Cross Ranch attracts tourists who come for biking, hiking, horseback riding, and camping.
42. Superstition Mountains
This tourist attraction is an impressive mountain range east of Phoenix. While the cliffs look eerie and unwelcoming from afar, they offer a wide array of wildlife and beautiful sights. Tourists can go hiking or try their luck at searching for the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine. After a long day of adventuring, you can head to the bottom of the mountains and grab a drink at the Gold Canyon Golf Resort.
43. The Wave
Not only is this one of the most beautiful places in Arizona, but also one of the coolest!
The Wave is a natural sandstone formation that is accurately named for its wave-like layers. Located on the slopes of Canyon Buttes, this major tourist attraction makes the perfect backdrop for a photo.
There is no paved trail to get to The Wave, so hikers beware! This is a journey for the thrill-seekers who welcome a challenge.
Don’t let the ominous name freak you out. Tombstone is an incredibly accurate depiction of what life was like in the Old West. Stroll through town and you’ll find historic landmarks, old saloons, and gunfight reenactments. You can even check out an Old West graveyard and the town’s original courthouse.
45. Tonto National Monument
Located in the Superstition Mountains, the Tonto National Monument is famous for its Salado cliff dwellings. The monument also has ancient artifacts like pottery and cloths from when the Salado people lived there. Nobody has occupied the dwellings since the 15th century AD, so it’s super impressive to see that they still stand today.
46. Tonto Natural Bridge
About 10 miles north of Payson, you’ll find the largest travertine bridge in the world. This natural limestone arch towers at a whopping 183 feet high over a 400-foot tunnel.
For a view of Tonto Natural Bridge, you can hike one of four trails: Anna Mae, Gowan, Waterfall, and Pine Creek. The photo above is from the Waterfall trail- isn’t it gorgeous?!
This flourishing city is the second-largest city in Arizona and is booming with culture, history, and natural beauty. By day, you can hit some of the best museums Arizona has to offer or go museum hopping. By night, take advantage of the warm evenings and dynamic nightlife. This photo was taken from Sentinel Peak.
48. Tumacacori National Historical Park
Located near Tucson, this park was created to protect the ruins of three famous 17th century ruins. Tumacacori National Historical Park brings in thousands of visitors every year. For any visitors interested in learning more about the history behind the ruins, the park offers guided tours every day.
49. Vermilion Cliffs National Monument and Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness
In short, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is an adventurer’s playground. Three times the size of Las Vegas, it features 3,000 foot cliffs, colorful rock formations, and miles of unspoiled wilderness. Travelers flock from all over to experience all that this incredible area has to offer. And it’s no wonder why, as it’s simply one of the most beautiful places in Arizona!
Known for its natural beauty and red cliffs, the Wilderness covers over 112,00 acres of land. Tourists travel to the Wilderness to go hiking, take photos, camp, and see wildlife.
On any given day you could find bobcats, deer, mountain lions, beavers, and bighorn sheep. Keep your distance and make sure you’ve got your camera ready.
50. White Mountains
If you’re visiting Arizona in the fall, you have to make a trip to the White Mountains. The fall foliage is so stunning here you’ll think you entered a Hallmark movie. Towns to check out along the way include Pinetop-Lakeside and Greer, both filled with astounding fall foliage. Greens Peak is a great spot to go hiking at the White Mountains, with amazing views of the colorful aspens.
I hope you’ve been blown away by these most beautiful places in Arizona! Isn’t Arizona such an incredible state?
So much natural beauty and sunshine make for the perfect road trip or getaway! (We got the photo above at the Phon D Sutton Exit to the Salt River, which you’ll find at #35 on this list!)
Do you know of any places that deserve a spot on this list? Let me know in the comments!
And if you’re heading to Arizona, here are some more posts you might enjoy!