Get ready to explore the Grand Canyon—and much, much more.
Maybe the Grand Canyon is already on your bucket list (for good reason), but it’s fair to say that the state of Arizona has a lot more to offer than its celebrity park: It’s home to 21 other National Park Service monuments, recreation areas, memorials, and historic sites. We reached out to Phoenix native Sharlot Hart, an archeologist with the National Parks Service. Hart has been with the organization for seven years, and has worked at five parks across Arizona.
First, suggests Hart, start by checking for upcoming events. If you’re the sort of person who likes to plan an outing around a cultural affair, something like the American Indian Arts and Music Festival at Casa Grande might be right up your alley. Otherwise, head straight to one of her favorite destinations.
Don’t Forget Tuzigoot
“Most people fly into Phoenix and then radiate out from there,” explains Hart, so most visitors head north on Interstate 17 in order to get to the Grand Canyon. And although Montezuma Castle (a 20-room dwelling nestled into a limestone cliff), is right on the way, most folks skip the fantastic Tuzigoot. This “hands-on experience” is only 25 miles out of your way and, unlike Montezuma, you can actually walk around inside the pueblo dwelling and touch its, says Hart. Bonus: The entrance fee for one park covers the other, too.