Home to the iconic Grand Canyon and the Sonoran Desert, Arizona boasts miles of plateaus, gorgeous mountain views, picturesque cacti, and jaw-dropping sunsets. To get a taste of everything, head to the state capital, Phoenix. Adventurers who can handle the heat should head to Camelback Mountain and earn themselves astounding views of Phoenix. Take the family to the Arizona State Fair for savory fried foods and games, or embark on a solo trip to Scottsdale for a relaxing weekend at one of its renowned luxury resorts and spas. Whether you’re looking to relax or get your heart rate up, it’s easy to plan a jam-packed southwest excursion.
Not sure where to start? Check out the best destinations in the state for folks looking to golf, hike, or just plain old relax—there’s something for everyone in Arizona.
- Golf on one of Phoenix’s 200 courses. There’s no bad part of town for golf enthusiasts who visit Phoenix—especially if you like tee time to come with a view. Phoenix’s numerous golf courses range in setting from isolated desert landscapes to lush fairways. Courses include Papago Golf Course, offering iconic views of nearby buttes; Raven Golf Club, boasting postcard-worthy greens so beautiful it doubles as a wedding venue; and the Legacy Golf Club, which is rich in history and has been voted the no. 1 best public golf course in Phoenix by ESPN and Golfweek.
- Scale the challenging Camelback Mountain. Located just 10 minutes from Phoenix, encounter one of the state’s most challenging hikes at Camelback Mountain. It earned its name for its two challenging trails, Echo Canyon and Cholla, whose “humps” make the mountain look similar to a camel. Boasting 1,200 feet from base to summit, climbers who make it to the top earn themselves gorgeous panoramic views of the Valley of the Sun. If you plan to hike up the mountain, head there before the sun comes out in full force and pack plenty of water.
- Share some cotton candy and fried foods at the Arizona State Fair. As the third most-attended state fair in the United States and the most popular attraction in the state, the Arizona State Fair offers all your traditional staples: mouth-watering food, exciting midway rides, games, livestock, and live music from the country’s hottest artists. Located just 5 minutes northwest of downtown Phoenix, the Arizona State Fair runs every Wednesday-Sunday throughout the month of October.
- Get the spa treatment in historic Scottsdale. If you’re in need of a little pampering, look no further than Scottsdale—home to over 50 spas and luxury resorts. When you’re done unwinding at the resorts, explore Scottsdale’s charming Old Town. If you’re ready to shop till you drop, check out the area’s Scottsdale Fashion Square—which is the Southwest’s largest retail destination. Cultural connoisseurs will enjoy Scottsdale’s weekly artwalk, renowned restaurants, and entertainment district.