Arizona is a great place to visit because of its numerous landmarks. Home to the Grand Canyon - one of the most distinguishable rock formations in the world -Arizona boats of some fascinating geology, making it a hotspot for tourists. Besides the Grand Canyon, Arizona is also home to notable other landmarks including the Four Corners Monument and the prominent red rock formations in Sedona, among others. The saguaro cactus is often depicted as the symbol for the American southwest in a number of famous old west scenes.
Southern Arizona is literally 'littered' with the iconic cacti, but you will hardly see them in the North. A large portion of the state is desert land and is mostly dry, but there's a lot more on offer for visitors than sand and heat.
Most people visit to check out the state's unique geological features and natural beauty but some come to learn about the rich history of Native Americans.
Plan Your Visit
There are countless attractions to see in Arizona, but planning your trip carefully will help you prioritize the must-see places so as to better spend your vacation. In addition, getting adequate information before you travel ensures a safe, fun, and fulfilling trip.
You can get there by air, road, rail, or bus. If you're planning to drive, be sure to get all the important information on road conditions in the state and the various road regulations. You can access the state using all federal and state highways. Check for the different speed limits on state highways and rural roads before you embark on your road trip.
You should also get the state regulations on seat belts and child seats and safety. As with most states, Arizona has strict road regulations, most of which must also comply with federal standards.
Service stations are spread apart long distances, so keep your gas tanks full. Stick to numbered or recognized roads whenever possible. Keep off roads that are not recognized, especially at night when you're in remote areas.
Preferably, you should use a trip advisor when planning your trip especially if it is a last-minute trip. However, you can collect all the information on your own if you have the time, provided that it is accurate.
Best Time To Visit
There's no particular peak time for visitors because some part of the state will have perfect weather regardless of the season.
That being said, the desert areas (southern parts) are usually busiest from January to March; from April to May, it is relatively busy, the same with the period from September to December. If you want to get some of the best values, time your visit in June through August.
In the Northern parts of the state, peak and value times are the direct opposite of the southern parts. Generally, June to August is normally peak season while April to May as well as September to December is shoulder season. January to March is the value season.
In areas such as Sedona with mild climate, peak season is March to May and September to October. January through February is shoulder season.
What To Wear
Generally, the dress code when visiting Arizona is casual. What you wear on your trip should be dictated by comfort. Depending on which part of the state you intend to visit, anything from casual summer wear to a winter jacket will do. In some cities, a few restaurants have restrictions on dress code - typically requiring formal wear for dining - but anything goes for many restaurants and eateries. You need to carry at least one set of formal wear if you plan on dining at one of the high end restaurants in big cities. Cultural events and festivals may also require specific outfits so make appropriate inquiries before you travel.
Regardless of which part of the state you visit during summer, casual wear plus sandals are more appropriate. When you visit during cooler months, carry at least a light jacket or sweater for the evenings in the desert areas. If you're visiting the mountain regions in the cooler months, you need a heavy jacket. In addition, you should carry a wide-brim hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen protection lotion anytime of the year.
Visiting Tribal Lands
Most people that visit Arizona like to tour the various tribal lands. However, unlike other places, there are specific guidelines that visitors have to follow when visiting tribal lands.
Arizona has 22 Native American Reservations and each one of them runs its own government and, hence, establishes its own regulations for visitors. While it's tempting to assume that what applies in one tribal area is what applies to the rest of the tribal areas, this is not the case. It's important to observe all tribal regulations for visitors for each tribal area you visit. Ensure that you familiarize with the specific regulations fir the tribal community you intend to visit.
That said, there are some basic guidelines worth mentioning. For instance, taking photos and recording video is a very sensitive thing in most tribal areas. You may need a permit in some areas while in others, you may not take pictures at all. Again, it's best to inquire about the specific regulations for each tribal area regarding pictures and video recording.
For many tribal communities, dances are sacred and are normally part of ritual customs. When you visit such places, ensure that you observe all the ritual customs regarding dances, such as the dressing appropriately. The same applies to where you sit, walk, and stand. Avoid picking any objects during a dance.
Like most tribal communities around the world, a reservation is their home where they live and work, thus it demands the same respect as that you accord to your home and work place.
When driving at night in the tribal lands, be cautious. There are many free range farms where small herds of goats, sheep, horses, and cattle roam freely.
In all, visiting Arizona can be extremely fulfilling and enjoyable. As one of the best places to visit in the US, you need to visit this state at least once in your life. Plan your trip meticulously and do so in advance.