Calling all adventure lovers. This is everything you need to know to make your trip to Arizona a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

Arizona- AKA the Grand Canyon State- is a go-to for adventure seekers around the globe. With the destination receiving over 300 days of sunshine a year (typically), this is the place to be when it comes to outdoor activities- and there’s no shortage of them. From hiking to kayaking to hot air balloon rides, we’re rounding up the top Arizona itinerary additions to ensure an adventure-friendly getaway- plus some fun stays and stops along the way!


As part of HOLR’s go-to guide to exploring Arizona from an adventure lover’s perspective, we’re walking you through the must-tries when it comes to the top cities in the state- so keep reading to learn all of the tips and tricks you need to know next time you visit. 


Check out Lowell Observatory (The Home of Pluto) for an adventurous nighttime activity that involves star and planet gazing through one of the property’s finest collections of telescopes available for public observation. This is a great stop for discovering celestial treasures, unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

Did you know: The observatory played a key part in dark skies protection? This is because Lowell astronomers encouraged the Flagstaff City Council to create a lighting ordinance in 1958, which ended up being the first in the world. 

Lowell Observatory

Lowell Observatory

Adventure seekers will want to stop at Sunset Crater while exploring Arizona, to take in the youngest volcano on the Colorado Plateau. Appearing from a dramatic series of eruptions 900 years ago, there is a must-try self-guided Lava Flow Trail you can take part in to get a feel for the land while taking in the views. 

Walnut Canyon National Monument Trail is a must-try for those who love mixing history with adventure. Here, you can take a trip back in time and walk among the cliff dwellings and pueblos where people lived only 800 years ago- all while experiencing the pronounced geology of the landscape. Adventure lovers will appreciate the taxing- yet rewarding- one-mile Island Trail which goes down into Walnut Canyon, in which you’ll spot 25 cliff-dwelling rooms (along with others scattered throughout the canyon).

When visiting the Grand Canyon in Arizona, check out the Rim Trail which offers an easy hike and views of the inner canyon. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, you can also try the Trail of Time Hike, which starts at the Verkamp Visitor Cente and is a 1.5-mile trail that has exhibits that span 1.5 billion years in geologic time.

grand canyon

The Grand Canyon

Hot Tip: Check out Navajo Tribal Park – Little Colorado River Gorge Overlook before you head to the Grand Canyon in order to cross off another scenic viewpoint along the way to your next adventure. 

Little Colorado River Gorge Overlook

Little Colorado River Gorge Overlook


Adventure lovers are encouraged to stay at Amara Resort & Spa, which offers an exclusive “Adventures At Amara” breakdown of activities designed to upgrade your Sedona adventure. From Jeep Tours to Private Hikes to Private Yoga and Meditation to Golf Experiences, this is a one-stop shop for accommodations, adventures, and amenities. The resort is a sunny gem in Sedona and boasts a unique “tree lodge” aesthetic following an expansive multimillion-dollar renovation. We especially love the property’s SaltRock Southwest Kitchen, spa & fitness center, and relaxing signature zero-edge infinity pool among other luxe, modern amenities.

Amara Resort & Spa

Amara Resort & Spa


The Water to Wine Tour with Verde Adventures is a go-to for adventure seekers over 21 in Cottonwood looking for an epic day out on the water. This is because it’s a fun, challenging, and rewarding outdoor activity you can enjoy as a solo traveler, couple, or family! All guests get their own personal kayak and have the opportunity to enjoy a kayaking adventure down the Verde River. Once you complete your trip, you get to enjoy a rewarding wine tour, complete with delicious food at Alcantara Vineyards. Win-win!

Water to Wine Tour with Verde Adventures

Water to Wine Tour

While staying in Cottonwood, Old Town Jail Trail offers an accessible 1.5-mile, one-hour hiking trail through dense riparian forest that merges Old Town Cottonwood with Riverfront Park and the Verde River. Adventure lovers who are all for finding and completing scenic hikes throughout their trip will love checking out this unique stop along the way.


Trust us- this morning wake-up call will be worth it! The Hot Air Balloon Rides hosted by Hot Air Expeditions are a once-in-a-lifetime experience every adventure lover needs to try when visiting Arizona. This is the ideal way to start your day in the copper state as you get to experience Arizona from up top during sunrise. Say hello to sweeping, panoramic views of the Sonoran Desert as you embark on a journey like never before. Hot Air Expeditions provides premium, expertly-run hot air ballooning experiences that allow you to touch the sky- literally. A must-try as an adventurous date or fun family outing, hot air balloon rides offer an enjoyable, immersive, and breathtaking experience from ground to sky- and back again.   

Hot Air Balloon Ride

Hot Air Balloon Rides with Hot Air Expeditions

If you’re on the hunt for a fun stop in the city of Scottsdale, be sure to visit Wonderspaces, which is a year-round, evolving art show. This immersive exhibit features incredible artwork from around the globe and offers interactive installations throughout. As another great plus, there is a bar that serves up signature cocktails in the space so you can thoroughly enjoy the experience with a fun drink in hand (if you’re over 21, of course).



If you’re staying at the iconic Mountain Shadows Resort in Scottsdale, you’ll love the adventurous selection of events available at the property found here. Some highlights include; Paddleboard Yoga, and Operation 36 Classes that help with developing golf skills. Mountain Shadows Resort is a must-stay, offering world-class features such as on-site golfing, dining experiences, and swim & tone amenities. The guestrooms and public spaces are also designed in a modern yet contemporary way, allowing the space to maintain a retro look and feel while paying homage to the property’s archetypal heritage.

Mountain Shadows Resort

Mountain Shadows Resort

There you have it- an adventure lover’s guide to exploring Arizona- HOLR style. Be sure to add one or more of these must-tries activities and stops when it comes to your next getaway to the gorgeous Copper State.

Published by HOLR Magazine.