Your Dream Vacation is Here
Created by: Megan McWilliams
Introduction : ARIZONA
Arizona is the destination I chose not only because it is the state I live in, but because I am not native. I was once someone who wondered why it might be worth a visit. I never associated Arizona with anything other than the hot desert and Grand Canyon until I moved here, and it even took a couple years before I grew a deep admiration for the state’s diverse geography, one of a kind landscapes, and stunning sunsets.
Arizona was settled by a number of Native American tribes including the “Hopi, Pueblo, Zuni, Apache, Mohave, and Navajo.” There are number of sites, monuments, and museums that display the rich, complex, and ongoing history and culture of Arizona’s first people. (Nelson). Tombstone, Arizona was filled with wild west history long before a lot of the area developed. The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, the epitome of an old western movie scene, took place here. This shootout is a true icon in the glorified feud between respected lawmen and feared outlaws. There are plenty of attractions, tours, and reenactments to see the life that still burns within the Old West. What was once the Wickedest Town in the West is now a popular attraction that still visibly holds its legendary history. From mock gunfights to panning for gold, this lively ghost town offers an entertaining glimpse into the past.
While Arizona is renowned for its blistering heat, which it does have, in its deserts. There is not much to make its triple-digit seem appealing, other than the fact that it only exists in the summer. Arizona’s beautiful weather during the fall, winter, and spring, are often overshadowed by the data of its hottest days. It may be a surprise to some that Arizona includes 30 climate classifications. Depending on the location, Arizona experiences variety of weather ranging from its well-known heat, to rain, to monsoon seasons, and even snowfall. There is even a small area of tundra in Arizona. It would be in one’s greatest interest to visit Arizona during spring and autumn. This period holds temperatures that are warm in the desert and cool in the mountains, but without either of the uncomfortable extremes.
Many travelers in search of sites that will take their breath away have Arizona on their list. After all, its home to one of the world’s natural seven wonders. With nearly 5 million visitors a year, The Grand Canyon has earned its title as Arizona’s most popular National Park. It is the most distinguished landmark to say the least, but the Grand Canyon State has so much more to experience than the just the Grand Canyon. Other must-sees are remote turquoise pools at the base of the Havasu Falls, or the narrow walls of the rich orange sandstone that have made the Antelope canyon a sight desired by many around the world. The outdoor adventures to be taken are endless, but if one was interested in exploring more Urban Sophistication, there is another infinity of options in the big cities. If a shopping expedition for every kind of visitor is possible with the state’s variety of malls, boutiques, and markets. Arizona has the largest traditional shopping mall in the southwest. It is not a challenge to plan a luxury vacation in Arizona, and it is evident visitors take advantage of this great opportunity as shown in 2017 by the sixty-two million dollars spent per day. The state takes first place in North America for concentration of four- and five-star resorts. The state has mastered the art of lounging by the water being so sunny. With so many unique destinations and attractions, any traveler will find an unforgettable experience in Arizona.
The outdoor adventures to be taken are endless, but if one was interested in exploring more Urban Sophistication, there is another infinity of options in the big cities. If a shopping expedition for every kind of visitor is possible with the state’s variety of malls, boutiques, and markets. Arizona has the largest traditional shopping mall in the southwest. It is not a challenge to plan a luxury vacation in Arizona, and it is evident visitors take advantage of this great opportunity as shown in 2017 by the sixty-two million dollars spent per day. The state takes first place in North America for concentration of four- and five-star resorts. The state has mastered the art of lounging by the water being so sunny. With so many unique destinations and attractions, any traveler will find an unforgettable experience in Arizona.
Getting to Arizona
If you are flying in for your visit in Arizona, there is a good chance you will arrive at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Some airlines that fly into the Phoenix Sky Harbor are American Airlines, Delta, United, Hawaiian Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, Boutique Air, Alaska Airlines, and JetBlue. It is also the hub for American Airlines, American Eagle, and Ameriflight. This airport is 44th busiest in the world and ranked top in the nation by the Wall Street Journal. It has achieved its status through several categories, but it is most nationally recognized for its quick taxi-to-takeoff times, fast Wi-Fi, and exquisite restaurants. If you are in Arizona in search of good food, you will be impressed literally from the moment you land.
Shuttle and taxi services are provided by several ground transportation services outside the airport, however they will most likely be eliminated once the PHX Sky Train is extended to the Rental Car Center. Inter-terminal shuttle buses have already been replaced by the airport’s elevated people mover, operating trains running every three to five minutes at no charge.
Getting to Arizona
Arizona is a big state, the sixth largest in fact, so a car is a necessity and best way to get the most out of your stay. There are numerous car-rental agencies to choose from, but multi-modal transportation is quite popular here. This is evident in its variety of pedestrian options including bicycling, bus, paratransit, and well-positioned freight rails. You can explore downtown Phoenix and beyond through Grid Bike Share, “Anyone can rent out a bike through the Grid Bike Share website or mobile app. The cost is $5 an hour, $30 a month, $59 for an annual student membership and $79 for a regular annual membership.” (“Transportation Services”). If you needed to reach your downtown hotel from the airport, “The Valley Metro Rail runs from central Phoenix, through downtown, to Tempe and Mesa in the east. Stations are close by and run right by some of the area’s top attractions, such as the Heard Museum, Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona Science Center, Chase Field, Talking Stick Resort Arena, Arizona State University and more. A one-way pass on the light rail costs $2 or an all-day pass is $4, which can be purchased at the ticket vending machines at each station.” (“Getting Around”). E-scooters can be accessed all throughout Tempe, Scottsdale, and Downtown Phoenix. There are plentiful pedicabs to be flagged down, that is if you are not already onboard with the great prominence of ride-sharing services such Uber or Lyft. Driving through major cities in this state will be a much more pleasant and forsaken experience with its comparatively new transportation systems. You can count on Arizona for efficient and reliable passage.
Arizona has thousands of places to stay with plenty of hotels and vacation rentals in every city. There are cheap inns, luxury resorts, and just about everything in between. Most all-inclusive resorts including the most expensive are in Phoenix and Scottsdale. A typical resort in these popular cities has full range of amenities to enjoy during your full-service stay. Millions of dollars are being spent building or renovating hotels in Arizona because of the growing economy. The hotel sector has a big impact on the state, in 2015 the industry contributed a whopping $12.8 billion to Arizona’s gross domestic product. There are about one-thousand and thirty-eight properties, ninety-five thousand guest rooms, and 27.7 million guest nights a year. Hotel is also the only industry to have benefitted all 15 counties within Arizona, providing jobs and opportunities for families. It has accommodations for travelers looking to relax and experience a luxury getaway, and those who just need a place to sleep before another day of exploration.
HOTELS / RESORTS
$479 a night
Tennis Court, Golf, Pool Complex, Spa, Athletic Club, Dining, Weddings.
Couples and families typically come for leisure and on weekends.
Sheraton Phoenix Downtown
$161 a night
Valet Parking, pool, bar, gym, business center
Families, business, events.
La Quinta Inn
$68 a night
Pool, bar/lounge, free parking
Families, single travelers
While there are thousands of hotels to choose from, there is more properties to spend a night. If you are looking for a more private/intimate stay, it is popular for visitors or even natives to spend some time away from home in cabins, lake houses, villas, and cottages, castles… the list goes on. Cabins are the perfect mountain retreat for anyone that wants a secluded stay surrounded by trees. If this appeals to you, flagstaff is a great area, but if you were more interested in being staying near a waterfront, there are also houses on if not near multiple rivers and lakes. With so much to explore in this Grand State, it is not easy to commit to one area. If you are wanting the best of both worlds, glamping is a great investment. Luxury RV’s are the perfect solution for explorers that want get the most out of their destination, without the constant moving in and out of accommodation.
Log Cabin in Flagstaff
$444 a night
Pool Table, Fireplace, Internet, towels/personal amenities, optional housekeeper.
RIVER FRONT @ The Famous Roadrunner
$215 a night
Air Conditioning, Golf Course nearby, Water Sports rental, Colorado river.
Couples, small families.
$135 a night
Air Conditioning, towels/personal, sleeps 6, TV, Internet, games.
Food & Beverage
Like all states, Arizona has some good eats. Dining is strongly influenced by its surrounding regions, so its Sonoran Mexican cuisine is easily the type of food it is most known for. Chimichangas, which are deep fried burritos, are considered a state favorite. However, phoenix is a melting pot of all kinds of different cultures and dishes attracting all kinds of locals and visitors. Your most recognized fine dining will typically take place in the Scottsdale and central Phoenix area. This is the classic destination for a formal or special dinner, seeing as this location is known for its upscale lifestyle. Quick service restaurants are obviously everywhere you go, but Gilbert has almost any popular fast food you can think of within a five-mile radius. With everything so close, you can satisfy any craving with urgency. Scottsdale is a hotspot for fine dining, and it even provides the highest rated options for casual dining. Anyone looking for a comfortable and fun atmosphere can come here to have that experience without breaking the bank. The public’s favorite bars are scattered among the big cities such as Phoenix, Tempe, Tucson, Gilbert, and once again, Scottsdale. Phoenix’s bars attract the most visitors out of all the cities. A lot of these bars have gained so much attention through unique themes and styles, creating a distinct and authentic atmosphere different from the others.
Where to eat
Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Dine-in, curbside pickup, delivery.
Joe’s Farm Grill
Burgers and freshly grown local ingredients
Breakfast, lunch dinner
Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers
Fried chicken, fries, and toast
High Tide Seafood Bar and Grill
Seafood restaurant, burgers, and beer
Dine-in, curbside pickup, delivery.
Osaka Japanese Steakhouse
Dine-in, curbside pickup, delivery.
Dine in, drive through, no-contact delivery
Different Pointe of View
Classic fine dining options, steak
Compass Arizona Grill
Seasonal & Regional New American meals
Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Portillo’s Hot Dogs
Hot-dogs and sandwiches
Dine in, drive through, no-contact delivery
Venues for events
- El Rancho Robles: 5 STARS in Oracle, AZ This venue is especially a could choice for groups with any disabilities as it has wheelchair access and proper amenities.
- Warehouse 215 @ Bentley Projects: 4.4 STARS in Phoenix, AZ https://warehouse215.com/
- Secret Garden Event Center: 4.4 STARS in Phoenix, AZ http://secretgardenevents.com/
- Main Event: 4.3 STARS in Gilbert, AZ https://www.mainevent.com/locations/arizona/gilbert/?utm_source=googlemb&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=gilbert&utm_term=website
- The Chateau: 4.4 STARS in Mesa, AZ http://www.thechateauaz.com/
- Villa Siena: 4.8 in Gilbert, AZ https://www.villasiena.cc/
- The Clayton House: 4.6 STARS in Scottsdale, AZ This is another great center for special events as it is all one story and large enough to fit 50+ people. https://www.theclaytonvenues.com/the-clayton-house/
- Historic C.O.D. Ranch: 4.3 STARS in Oracle, AZ https://www.codranch.com/
- Christopher Creek Lodge: 4.6 STARS in Payson, AZ https://christophercreeklodge.com/
- Prescott Vibes Event Center: 4.8 STARS in Prescott, AZ This is a great center for a reunion as it is full access and near popular tourist attractions. https://www.prescottvibesevents.com/
RECREATION AND ENTERTAIMENT
Planning activities for your stay in Arizona is Easy. There is so much to do, and unlike other states, a lot of recreation is available year-round considering it has consistent and predictable weather for the most part. One of the most popular attractions is the Grand Canyon, given it is literally named the Grand Canyon State. Adventurer or not, this is a destination that draws all kinds of tourists. There are other well-known recreational sites such as Havasupai Falls, Slide Rock Sedona, Water Wheel, and more that fall under adventure and nature tourism. As stated when introducing Arizona, Tombstone Arizona provides all kinds of fun for families interested in experiencing the wild west. That is just a glimpse of the entertainment you can only find in Arizona, but it of course offers the rest of the top recreational activities.
Sports & Recreation Spas:
Arts, Culture, Entertainment:
Explore the lavish lifestyle in Scottsdale with your family. Captivate the kids with a day of marine discovery, even at a desert you can feel under the sea—and after you’ve taken in the incredible sights you can have some fun at one of the most popular entertainment destinations in Arizona, Topgolf.
MORNING: Odysea Scottsdale
“OdySea Aquarium, located in Scottsdale, is America’s newest aquarium and was recently voted Kids Best Indoor Entertainment. This multi-level, state-of-the-art facility holds more than 2 million gallons of water and is the largest aquarium in Arizona. OdySea Aquarium offers an educational, interactive, and entertaining experience for guests of all ages by combining theme-park style amusement with highly engaging presentations of aquatic life. OdySea Aquarium features more than 65 exhibits, 370 species, the world’s only Russian Sturgeon touch exhibit as well as 2 Stingray touch exhibits and a tide touch pool! OdySea is also home to Voyager, where guests take their seats in a stadium-seating style theatre with 46 ft. viewing windows for the world’s only revolving aquarium experience.” (TripAdvisor).
AFTERNOON: Topgolf Scottsdale
“Topgolf is the premier golf entertainment complex where the competition of sport meets your favorite local hangout. Challenge your friends and family to addictive point-scoring golf games that anyone can play year-round. Score even bigger with Topgolf’s extensive food and beverage menu that is sure to impress even the pickiest foodies.” (TripAdvisor).
Start your day with some breathtaking views like never before. Get to know the city of Phoenix from a bird’s eye view by taking flight in a hot air balloon. Once you have had the chance to absorb the city views, head on over to the Musical Instrument Museum to complete your sensory experience.
MORNING: Hot Air Balloon Ride Over Phoenix
“A drive through the Sonoran Desert just doesn’t do it justice—the desert expands over 100,000 square miles (260,000 square kilometers) total. One of the best ways to get the views you’re hoping for is a hot-air balloon ride, and this morning tour from Phoenix gets you up in the air with an FAA-licensed pilot to catch sight of the sunrise. Plus, afterward, you can enjoy a Champagne breakfast by your landing spot.” (TripAdvisor).
AFTERNOON: Musical Instrument Museum
“Discover nearly 7,000 musical artifacts and memorabilia from around the world at the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix. A provided audio guide headset allows you to explore the museum at your own pace and only visit the galleries and exhibits that interest you. Take a cultural journey through geographical galleries, displays featuring world famous musicians, and interactive exhibits all focused around instruments.” (TripAdvisor).
A day full of learning experiences and special moments. The Science Museum is a location that brings wonder out of everyone. After a day of learning and fun, what better way to end it than by soaking up some famous Arizona sunsets.
MORNING: Science Museum
“Located in the heart of Downtown Phoenix, Arizona Science Center has been a hub for science and discovery for the community and visitors. The Center features more than 300 hands-on exhibit, live demonstrations, a state-of the art Dorrance Planetarium, a five-story IMAX(R) theater, and newly opened, CREATE at Arizona Science Center – a place where science, design and engineering collide!” (TripAdvisor).
AFTERNOON: Sunset and City Lights Aerial Tour of Phoenix
“Soar above Phoenix’s city lights on a 45-minute aerial tour, and watch sunset ignite the desert landscape, rugged mountain scenery and downtown landmarks. Board a Cessna whose high wings allow for unobstucted views and photography and get aerial views of city’s stadiums and the Phoenix International Raceway. Bank over the south Mountains as the sun sinks low, take in the Symphony Hall, Arizona Science Center and Phoenix Art Museum, then fly over the heart of the Central Valley before touching down at a Deer Valley landing strip.” (TripAdvisor).
Discover the meaning behind the state’s name as the “Grand Canyon State” by visiting the Grand Canyon National Park. To add to your canyon experience, check out the Antelope Canyon to get a more up-close and personal exploration of the canyons in Arizona.
MORNING: Grand Canyon National Park
“The most developed area of Grand Canyon National Park, the South Rim offers amenities such as bus service, hotels and water stations, but is also more crowded than the North Rim. Scenic highlights include Pipe Creek Vista and Yavapai Point.” (TripAdvisor).
AFTERNOON: Lower Antelope Canyon
“The views in Lower Antelope Canyon change constantly as the sun moves across the sky, filtering lights softly across the stone walls. These ever-moving sun angles bounce light back and forth across the narrow canyon’s walls, creating a dazzling display of color, light, and shadow. The Navajo name for Lower Antelope Canyon is Hasdeztwazi or ‘Spiral Rock Arches.’ Many years ago, herds of Pronghorn Antelope roamed freely in and around the canyon, which explains the English name. This incredible canyon has been created over millions of years by the relentless forces of water and wind, slowly carving and sculpting the sandstone into forms, textures, and shapes which we observe today.” (TripAdvisor).
If you are ready to take on some more adventure, Flagstaff Extreme is the place to be. Take on an obstacle course with ziplines, bridges, and more all woven into the pines while you are up north. After the sun has gone down, the Lowell observatory is a fun spot to check out if you are interested in getting a better look at the sky.
MORNING: Flagstaff Extreme
“Take on an elevated obstacle course set in the tall Ponderosa Pines and securely suspended between the trees at 15 to 50 feet off the ground. Some of the features of course include suspended bridges, swings, slides, nets, ziplines and even an aerial surfboard. Come on your own, bring a group, or have a party or an event. Take a journey and explore the outdoors like you never have before.” (TripAdvisor).
AFTERNOON: Lowell Observatory
“The observatory has daily and nightly programs, where visitors can see the telescopes used in those discoveries and learn about the history of planetary science and exploration (mostly Mars and Pluto, of course).” (TripAdvisor).
SWOT Analysis of Tourism in Arizona and Conclusion
- It is clear Arizona has a lot to offer and proves itself as a great tourism destination with the sun is shining year-round, the old-western experience, and as a home to a world-famous natural wonder.
- Although these reasons are why it is so popular, there are some well-known features that keep some away. The year-round sunshine also means triple-digit weather, which can seem unbearable to residents in cooler states. If you plan on visiting Arizona, renting a form of transportation is a must, seeing that Phoenix is one of the least walkable cities in the United States. Lastly, Arizona is not the place to be if you have a fear of scorpions.
- Every state has some areas to improve in, Arizona could improve by having stricter traffic regulations, as its one of the highest ranked states for worst drivers. Tourism could also strengthen its partnerships and relationships with the national parks, so the areas of natural resource are better promoted and maintained. Another opportunity lies in the air quality, if some preventative measures were taken, the state could have less pollution and better air quality for its residents and visitors.
- Some threats Arizona faces is overpopulation, it is one of the fastest growing states. Another obvious threat is COVID-19, as Arizona was one of the states with the highest number of cases. One more threat to Arizona that could be considered the most serious is climate change, as visitation is extremely sensitive to climate and the effects.
- Arizona proves itself as a state worth visiting through its incredible landscapes, sunshine all year, lively city-life, and beautiful sunsets. A trip to the Grand Canyon state is one you will be excited just to plan. The variety of places and activities to experience are endless, so get started to cross this destination of your travel list!!
- “THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Arizona – 2020 (with Photos).” Tripadvisor, www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g28924-Activities-Arizona.html.
- Arizona Town Hall. Arizona Town Hall – #106 “Transportation and Arizona”, Apr. 2015, aztownhall.org/page-1863425.
- “Getting Around Phoenix: Maps and Trail Guides.” Phoenix Maps | Find Downtown, Metro, Trails & Arizona Maps, www.visitphoenix.com/learn-plan/getting-around/.
- Nelson, Ken. “Arizona State History.” Ducksters, www.ducksters.com/geography/us_states/arizona_history.php.
- Public Relations. “Press Releases.” Wall Street Journal Ranks America’s Friendliest Airport® Number One in the U.S., 13 Nov. 2019, www.skyharbor.com/Media_old/PressReleasess/2019/11/13/wall-street-journal-ranks-america%E2%80%99s-friendliest-airport-number-one-in-the-u.s.
- “Read Reviews, Compare Prices & Book.” Tripadvisor, www.tripadvisor.com/Search?geo=28924%2Cthings+to+do+n.