Filed under: Activities & Attractions, Historic Places & Landmarks, Outdoor Recreation & Hiking, Scenic Byways/Historic Routes, State & National Parks
Arizona, Rich In History & Beautiful Beyond Description
Arizona made the list of possible places to visit for my daughter’s graduation camping trip. We just started the last semester of her senior year of High School. And I am searching for the perfect affordable vacation to celebrate her graduation.
There is so much to do and see in Arizona. My daughter loves history, and Arizona is full of history. Since we would be entering Arizona from California I believe our first stop should be Lake Havasu. This would be a great place to stop for a few days. We can play at the beach and visit the famed London Bridge. The famous London Bridge was dedicated in 1971 when reconstruction was finished at its new home. Arizona campgrounds near the lake offer the perfect vacation for families that enjoy water sports both on and under the water. Scuba is very popular at Lake Havasu.
I think we would stop Flagstaff. No Arizona camping trip would be complete without spending some time around Flagstaff. On historic Route 66 it is a great base point for visits to the Grand Canyon, Sedona Native American Reservations, Meteor Crater, Lake Powell and Monument Valley. Flagstaff sits at an elevation of 7,000 feet. Visitors to the Flagstaff area enjoy hiking, biking, fishing and swimming during the spring and summer months.
I will get a bit nervous if the girls get to close to the edge of the Grand Canyon, but, I remember seeing it when I was young and it was so breathtaking. In our families case there would not be a trip down into the canyon because I have one daughter who is severely acrophobic. But, for those of you that don’t have such problems, I hear from friends that have made the trip down that it is incredible. As a matter of fact some of them make that trip year after year they enjoy it so much.
While in the northern part of Arizona I would love to take the girls on a horseback tour of the magnificent colorful rock formations of Monument Valley. Nature has sculpted these enormous monuments of stone over millions of years. Monument Valley is nestled quietly in the northwest portions of the Navajo Nation and although it is on Navajo land it is open to tourist. The Navajo Tribal Park visitor center is located one mile east of U.S. highway 163 on the Arizona –Utah border. There is a nominal fee to enter the park. My girls would really enjoy the tour on horseback. There are guided tours available by four wheel drive also.
Just south of Flagstaff is Sedona. And between Flagstaff and Sedona is Slide Rock. We would have to stop and cool off on the natural water slides. I went there once before years ago and one tip I have for anyone who takes to the slide, wear shorts. I wore my swim suit and ruined not only the bottom of my suit, my back side and upper legs were raw! But it was worth it!
Of course Sedona is beautiful. It will be nice to stroll through all the little shops and magnificent art galleries. Sedona is the perfect place to look for the perfect souvenirs. Arizona attracts great artist, probably because it is so beautiful.
Just 20 miles away from Sedona is another art center, Jerome. Located overlooking the Verde Valley Jerome was once a wild gold mining town, with a population that peaked at 15,000 in the 1920s. Jerome is now home to about 400 people mostly artist and musicians. The small town is now a treasure trove of history and art.
Heading down to the Southern section of Arizona we will visit the legendary city of Tombstone. We will walk along the towns wooden boardwalks, ride a stage coach, visit the museums then take a break at an authentic saloon and sip some sarsaparilla. The town offers a multitude of attractions and points of interest for all ages.
The Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory is a must visit for our family. It is located just 35 miles south of Tucson. Crystal clear night skies draw astronomers from all over the world. This is the largest field installation of the Smithsonian Institution Astrophysical Observatory outside of Cambridge, MA. This is an extremely popular attraction so it is advised that you call ahead.
Oh Yes, Arizona definitely on my list of places to vacation. If you have been there and know of any great places that my research missed, please let me know. Arizona camping sounds great to me.
Painting by Ruth L. Manseau “Munga”