The Grand Canyon is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the entire United States. And for good reason; the million-plus-acre landmark is a truly incredible sight to behold, and one that every American should experience in person at least once.
That said, if you’re setting out on a road trip to see this one-of-a-kind wonder, you might want to stop at a few other spots along the way. Looking for suggestions? Here are four awesome Arizona attractions that you really shouldn’t miss:
Deer Valley Petroglyph Preserve
Though Deer Valley Petroglyph Preserve’s 47 acres of land might not make it as big or impressive an attraction as the Grand Canyon, as the largest concentration of Native American stone carvings in the region, it’s just as stunning in its own way.
Boasting more than 500 basalt boulders decorated with fascinating and beautiful pieces of centuries-old art, amateur anthropologists and hardcore history buffs will be enthralled. Just don’t let them wander off, or they might end up leasing Glendale apartments in order to put down roots.
The Hoover Dam
While the Grand Canyon is undeniably one of the greatest natural wonders in the world, the Hoover Dam might be its man-made equivalent. For close to a hundred years now, this massive concrete marvel has produced an annual 4.5 billion kilowatts of hydroelectric energy to power not only Arizona, but California and Nevada as well.
More than two million tourists visit the Hoover Dam every year, not simply to “ooh” and “aah” at its engineering splendor, but also to enjoy one of the most scenic views of the Colorado River anywhere.
Even if you’ve never visited Arizona before, you’ve seen Monument Valley. Probably more than once. Known for its awe-inspiring, bright red sandstone buttes, the region has appeared in countless movies, from 2001: A Space Odyssey and Forrest Gump to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and even The Lego Movie.
Even still, there’s nothing quite like seeing those towering red giants up-close and in real life, with miles of flat land leading all the way to the clear blue-sky horizon. If any Arizona landmark could compete with the Grand Canyon for sheer majesty, Monument Valley would be the one.
Petrified Forest National Park
“Petrified” as in fossilized, not “petrified” as in scared. Located in the heart of the aptly named Painted Desert, the Grand Canyon National Park is home to a huge assortment of naturally preserved vegetation dating back to the Late Triassic Epoch. That’s right, these trees are 225 million years old.
In addition to allowing visitors a chance to step back in time and get a glimpse of an ancient landscape that once was home to dinosaurs, the aforementioned Painted Desert dazzles with its rolling geological formations striped in shades of orange, white, yellow, and eye-popping lavender.