With all the chaos happening in the world, it’s nice to think of a time when everything will revert to its common state of normalcy and chaos shall once more be buried underneath the rug. In the meanwhile (out of pure boredom), I’ve comprised a short list of al fresco places within the borders of Arizona that you and your friends or family could take a short road trip to somewhere in the nearing future after COVID. Without further ado, here’s some of the best that the Copper State has to offer:
What’s a list of outdoor locations in Arizona without the mesmerizing red rocks of Sedona? Leaving Sedona out on such a list seems almost illegal, and as an Arizona native, I have to admit that I miss the extra-dustiness of the city. Sedona has a lot to offer for individuals of all ages: hiking, shopping, swimming, getting a massage at a five-star spa, fishing, practicing yoga, and finding your inner-self. Take a walk through Uptown Sedona to visit its vibrant art galleries and historical buildings and stop by at a fancy restaurant for fine dining. If you’re more into “outdoorsy” activities, plan a hike to Cathedral Rock or Boynton Canyon (Sedona boasts many rocks and canyons) or take a short walk through Oak Creek Canyon to Oak Creek where you can enjoy a refreshing dip in the swimming hole.
Not many Arizona residents are aware of the gigantic hole sprawled out in between Flagstaff and Winslow on Interstate 40. It’s like a miniature version of the Grand Canyon for those of you who don’t feel like driving four hours from Phoenix (okay, well, it’s not a replica of the Grand Canyon, but it is a giant hole in the ground in the middle of the desert). Once known as Canyon Diablo Crater, the crater is affectionately called “Meteor Crater” by Arizonans despite its real name being Barringer Crater, named after Daniel Barringer who was the first to guess that the giant hole was a result of a meteorite. There’s a fun science/history museum built outside of the crater that’s worth your attention before you go out on the deck and peer into the depths of a 560′ hole. Fun fact: for the Apollo program, NASA astronauts practiced inside Meteor Crater for their big mission to the moon.
Petrified Forest National Park
While we’re on the topic of landmarks older than the entire nation and state combined, the Petrified Forest National Park is a must. A little bit ways off toward the border of Arizona and New Mexico, the Petrified Forest is a forest consisting entirely of gigantic slabs of petrified wood that are -shockingly- naturally painted in all colors of the rainbow. The national park has several interesting and spellbinding stretches that’ll make you feel like you’ve walked straight into a fairytale. You’ll never probably get the chance to see real petrified wood in your life, so while you’re living in the sunny state of Arizona, make sure to take a road trip down to the Painted Desert and Rainbow Forest.
Within five miles of the city of Prescott, Lynx Lake just so happens to boast some of the clearest waters in Arizona. A common recreation destination for Arizonans, Lynx Lake has several trailheads to take long, refreshing hikes and picnic tables for a family barbecue. Visitors are often seen fishing, taking boats out onto the lake, kayaking or canoeing, and birding (also known as birdwatching!). Other activities include horse-back riding, camping, and mountain biking, among others.
Probably one of the most enthralling beauties Arizona has to offer (to which people usually might respond with, “That’s in Arizona?!”), Antelope Canyon is situated near Powell Lake and the Utah border on Navajo land, in close companionship with the prominent Grand Canyon. The canyon is split into two separate sections: Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. Beware: tours must be booked in advance!
Hopefully, some of these fascinating destinations might appeal to you. Remember to be extraordinary and strive for the impossible, Knights!